The preparation has been constant for months. Each entrant has been consumed by their vision and their wait is over. The day of the competition has finally arrived. Each year the ALFAPARF Milano Fantastic Hairdresser Awards is the event you want to be a part of. This year it was hosted by Brendan Courtney in The Clayton Hotel and it was bound to be the best one yet.
It’s an early rise for the contestants. Most of us awaken to see 5am on the clock.  The first task is to get our makeup looks completed. Every look has been repeated many times so the execution is flawless. Gathering all the outfits and equipment needed the cars are loaded and we hit the road heading for the Clayton in Dublin both excited and nervous.
Upon arrival you check in to finalise your entry. Each participant is given a number and even this early in the day you can feel the buzz in the air. The nerves are at an all time high as you head to the preparation room. This is where you compose yourself as you get ready to go out and be viewed by the judges. The makeup is checked and the outfits inspected leaving no detail to chance.
Once out on the competition floor you have 30 minutes to complete your blowdry, upstyle or cut. If everything is going to plan that time is more than enough. If something is not working it’s like someone is speeding up the hands of time. The adrenalin rush is as good as any you’ll experience as you work on your model.
30 minutes is over, the stylists leave the floor. The model poses for up to a half hour as the judges walk around to examine the final looks. There’s nothing left to do now but cross your fingers and toes and hope that you have done enough. Another 30 minutes and the stylists will escort the models off the show floor.
At this stage everyone enjoys a well deserved break for some food and refreshments. This is also a good time to go and look at the work that other stylists have produced in other categories. The level of skill on show is so inspirational for anyone in the industry. From the make up to the costumes and of course the outstanding innovations in hair.
Before you know it 7 O’ clock has arrived and it’s time to enjoy the entertainment. There were two catwalk shows. One showcase was from The Next Generation Team of which Denise, the owner of Rustiq, is a member. Then Paul Stafford a world renowned name is hairdressing and Alfaparf Ambassador put on a display that literally blew the roof off the venue.
All of a sudden it’s time to announce the winners. The intensity in the room is unrivalled as we all wait and see if we are one of the chosen few. The winners are called out in each category. Initially 1st 2nd and 3rd  place and then the top ten. Although we are all in competition with one another the true winner is the innovation and creativity that the event brings to the industry.
Even though hair is the real victor we are proud to say that Rustiq did not go home empty handed. From Rustiq Carlow, Kelly Hogan took home 2nd place in the Junior Colour Cut category. From Rustiq Kilkenny, Sharon Murray took up 3rd in the category of Long Hair Up. Jane Fitzgerald and Patricia Cummins took home 6th and 7th in the same category.
At Rustiq we strive to stay current and fresh and that’s what these awards cultivate. It’s hard work, it takes a large commitment and you’ll search to the bottom of your soul for something new to create. When the day comes to an end even though you are exhausted a thought creeps into your head……. I wonder what categories I will enter next year?

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