And thus concludes another instalment of Hair Expo Australia.

A mass medley of hair education, new product innovations and the people who make our industry great; Hair Expo spanned a mammoth three days of workshops, seminars and live demonstrations… artfully wedged between a jam-packed exhibition hall and plenty of off-site activities (cough). With something for just about every poison, you’d be forgiven for missing a highlight or two… so we’ve compiled a (non-exhaustive) list of key takeaways from the long weekend that was.


A world first in digital consultation technology, piiq has wowed users since its whirlwind launch to market. With its ground breaking digital mirror, facial recognition technology and embedded consultation software, the piiq platform has revolutionised the client experience, equipping stylists with one of their most lucrative tools to date (on screen retail prompts anyone?).

Amping the tech factor a further trillion fold, piiq debuted it’s soon to be released Augmented Reality function to visitors of Hair Expo Australia, inviting expo-goers to read-test the new action ahead of its global release. An interactive, virtual colour service, the new function allows clients to experience a range of colour transformations by way of a live, mirror simulation. Genius.


The GlamPalm Absolute Styling Team (Ambassador Geoffrey Herberg, Educator Sandy Turner and Education Manager Eunah Choi) lifted the misconception around curls and straightening irons on Day One, demonstrating the multi-texture talents of GlamPalm irons in response to growing global trends. “My looks were inspired by Glam Gypsy; taking from fashion’s current preference for prints, florals and old-school pattern work,” (cue: check and tartan). “We really wanted to push the fact that you can create curls with your straightening iron,” said Geoffrey.

“GlamPalm offers a variety of different sized irons, so the opportunities are endless. For one look, I create a tight corkscrew-curl style with the GlamPlam Mini … and people commented that they’d never seen an iron cerate anything like it. Stylists are all too familiar with creating waves in-salon but the trends are changing, clients are more open to wearing and experimenting with texture, and we need to know how to deliver this. GlamPalm is the ultimate tool for hairdressers’ creative confidence.” For those who missed it, Geoffrey and Co will be presenting a GlamPalm curling workshop at Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo in July.


It’s no secret we love Paul Mitchell’s Global Artistic Director Robert Cromeans (who doesn’t) and at this year’s Hair Expo the platform artist, businessman and self proclaimed ‘Cat in a Hair’ more than made his presence felt. (Clearly you can’t keep a good creative down). Chatting exclusively to The Journal Mag following his Main Stage slot, Robert had this nugget of advice for hairdressers the world over: make your clients colour dependent. “My goal as a hairdresser is to make every client chemically dependent on me,” shared Robert.

“It’s a reality of the business: colour can help subsidise your revenue, make you a happy successful hairdresser and ensure your clients come back more often – which is what it’s all about. One of my favourite concepts is ‘Frequency of Visit’, which is not about how much you chart but rather how many times a client comes in. Services such as grey coverage bring clients back. It’s important you use systems that make clients come back more often. If you can get a client to visit 6 times a year, you’ll increase your business by 40%.”


Hair Expo Australian Hairdresser of the Year Finalist and winner of Best Salon Design, 2019, Uros Mikic of Kinky Curly Straight took an intimate group on tour of his award winning men’s cutting techniques in the Best of Men seminar. “It’s important we use tools to make our lives easier. For example, never fade or blend with texturizing scissors … unless your guy wants to look like a hedgehog. Texturising scissors are not designed to thin the hair, they’re designed to create shapes.” Uros went on to crush any fear around use of razors in the men’s room, rather endorsing their place when removing length (particularly with longer, thicker hair).

“Clients come into the salon and specifically ask the cutter not to use a razor, why is this? It’s nothing to do with the razor, it’s the hairdresser using it. Understand your tools.” Moving to the retail shelf, Uros shared the golden number of retail products to recommend, per visit. “Four. If you recommend three of more products there is a 75% chance they’ll take one. Two or more, 50% chance of taking one product. One, just 25%.” And don’t be shy to suggest colour! A big men’s service at Kinky Curly Straight is ‘Brolyage’ aka balayage for bros. “It’s all about ‘how can we make this client return and refer?’ Beer is not enough anymore, think about what else you can do.”


In town once again for Hair Expo Australia (yay), Candy Shaw aka the ‘Balay Lama’ guided crowds through her time tested tricks and techniques for achieving balayage mastery. But that was not all. Speaking at her Monday Seminar, Candy shared a heartwarming analogy passed on from her father and hair mentor. “The beauty industry is a fast moving train,” she recalled. “You can get on it at any station, but the secret is [learning how to] stay on.”

That proverbial train? Ongoing education and constant skill honing. “He who trains best wins,” said Candy. “I teach because I want to help people and I really believe that they can turn their lives around. [More often than not] the teacher learns more than the student. It’s important you love your craft. You have to stay a student (of the craft), work hard and never give up.” An expert in both colouring and business, Candy’s words ring universally true.


Potentially the coolest guy onsite at Hair Expo in 2019, ANTI Creative Director and all-star DJ (as we discovered later that evening), Nick Irwin delivered a hand selected cast of bonafide rave kids to Mainstage on Day Two, and wasn’t it epic. Genuinely cast at a Sydney rave just weeks earlier, each model presented an ‘Antified’ version of their identity. “Sub culture is a very important aspect in what we do, it allows us to create images and styles; a visual aspect to what we’re about.”

Nick and the ANTI team worked with the natural texture before them conscious not to hide the nuances defining each head – rather using them as a reference point to determine the final finish. “This isn’t about us standing here telling you what’s cool … you don’t have to do this. We’re here to encourage hairdressers to embrace these clients when they come through the door, it’s not about changing their style, it’s about working with it.”