An Ystrad Mynach salon celebrated a notable double success at Salon Cymru, Wales’ top event for hairdressing and beauty talent, in Cardiff on Sunday.
Janine O’Callaghan, 49, a partner in Spirit Hair Team who began a foundation apprenticeship in hairdressing six week ago, won the blow dry competition on her debut at the event, while Marcus Feeley, 20, won the barbering competition.
The dynamic annual event attracted 120 competitors and hundreds of hairdressing and beauty enthusiasts to Y Plas, Cardiff University’s Students’ Union. The competitions were open to all hairdressing and beauty learners from schools, colleges and training providers across Wales and the English border counties.
Organised by Bridgend-based ISA Training, the largest independent hair and beauty training provider in Wales, Salon Cymru is designed to showcase the nation’s young creative hairdressing and beauty talent in eight exciting competitions inspired by modern icons and the world of high fashion.
“The reason I want to do the hairdressing qualification is to be a role model for the rest of the team and to have a better understanding of the job,” said Janine. “I also want to prove that you are never too old to push yourself and learn new things.
“This award is a personal goal and I am hoping it will give the rest of my team inspiration to enter Salon Cymru next year. Since starting my apprenticeship a few older members of the team have asked if they can also do more qualifications and are now considering entering our next competition. That’s what it’s all about for me.
“I know it’s a cliché, but for me it was more about the challenge of taking part than the winning. I prefer to watch others develop, build confidence and compete, because it’s quite nerve racking on the competition floor and waiting for the result.”
Marcus said he was overwhelmed to win his award, especially as he didn’t think he stood a chance after seeing the standard of the other competitors’ work. He thanked Spirit Hair Team and ISA Training for their support and said his ambition was to travel with his career and to eventually open his own salon.
The overall Salon Cymru winner was Robyn Cooper, 18, who works for Tonic Hair Design, Pontnewydd, Pontypool and the rising star award, named after ISA Training’s chairman Shirley Davis-Fox, went to Charlotte York, 18, from Nantyglo, a level three apprentice with Feodora Hair and Beauty, Abergavenny.
In addition to the competitions there were masterclasses by inspirational celebrity hairdresser Patrick Cameron and international make-up artist for Laura Mercier Chris Howells. Hairdresser Charleine Wain, who reached the final five on last year’s series of The Apprentice and now runs an award winning hair and beauty salon in Plymouth, also attended the event.
It was the fourth time that New Zealander Cameron, acknowledged by his peers as the international ambassador for long hair, had attended Salon Cymru, which he said continued to successfully evolve.
“This event is important because it focuses on skills,” he said. “It’s very important for the hairdressers to hone their skills and competitions will do that in terms of timing, balance and shape.”
Shirley Davis-Fox, ISA Training’s chair, said she was delighted with the “fabulous, contemporary” venue, the number of entries and the standard of the work on show.
“Patrick is absolutely brilliant because he relates to the apprentices so well,” she added. “It was also fantastic to welcome Charleine to Salon Cymru. It was an amazing achievement for a hairdresser with Welsh roots to reach the final five on The Apprentice.”
She revealed that she would visiting Charleine in Plymouth to discuss the Hair Council’s campaign for all qualified hairdressers to be state registered.
Category sponsors are Wella, Dear Barber, Wales Hair & Beauty Show, Beauty Finder, City & Guilds, Welsh Government, Lifetime and The Andrew Price Group.