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What happens when the nerd is let out of the lab @ HAIR EXPO 2013.

June 9, 2013

What a fun day that turned out to be!

I love to get my kids involved in my day job as:

A) It means I don’t need to pay a babysitter 


B) I think it is great that they get to see what I actually do to earn the money to pay for their football membership,  pottery classes and schooling….

So, with that in mine we all trotted off to Sydney to see some beautiful hair thanks to PR agency Maxted Thomas who provided me with an access-all-areas media pass!

Before I launch into my picture fest I want to take a few seconds to explain how I see things as a nerd girl chemist.  I think of my chemicals (be they natural or otherwise) as a painter would his paints.  They are the tools with which I ‘do’ my art.  For me cosmetic formulating is as much art as science – the science is the way of thinking about my chosen medium, the desired outcomes and the method I will use to achieve that. The art is that certain X factor that you can’t put your finger on but you can feel, smell and touch when it all comes together.  That is what I aspire to achieve every time I walk into my lab and that is what the guys exhibiting at places like this are putting on display.

So what did I find.

1) Goldwell Launch Pad Stage with e-salon stylists Leigha and Simone.

These young genius’ from e salon are off to the Alternative Hair Show in London soon and this is the work that they will showcase.  The theme for the competition is ‘Enigma’ and the girls told how they played around with that word, getting to know what it means and how to apply it to their situation before settling on the word ‘Cryptogram’ which means the same thing but focuses on the puzzle/ sculptured element of the word.

I was blown away by what these two managed to achieve and how well they had interpreted this ‘brief’. What’s more it reminded me of what my customers and I are trying to do every day – interpret a brief, get across that WOW factor, connect with and challenge our audience.  When it works, it works and these two really did pull it off.

e salon show

On the left Leigha created her piece of art from hair cuttings.  The cuttings were collected and sprayed flat into sheets before being dyed then cut and then glued into shape using hair extension glue.  Simone the braiding expert challenged us with a mix of braided maze plus curly mow hawk to give an etherial and feminine creation. I only wish that I’d have gone and got a close up for you.  Missed opportunity right there!

Learning point:  Live, breathe and feel your brief BEFORE you start.

2)  Spilt Milk – Hair Cosmetics.

If I had to sum up the ‘next big thing’ in hair according to the 2013 Hair Expo I’d say ‘hair cosmetics’ and more specifically powders.  They are EVERYWHERE and that does make sense as the European market has gone ballistic for these things too over the last year or so.

There were a few different variants on offer but this one SPOKE to me.  When it comes to branding, product offering and user experience Spilt Milk have got it right.  Their powdered colour-life-extender powder is simple yet genius and solves a real problem – how to get more than a couple of weeks out of your colour before the dreaded re-growth rears its ugly head?   Here’s what happened when brand owner Bridgette got hold of me….

First Spilt milk

First Bridgette told me all about the product that she designed and has had made here in Sydney, Australia!  Supplied as a powder it comes in lots of yummy flavour inspired fragrances to keep your hair looking and smelling great!

Second she had a look at my hair and more specifically my re-growth areas and GREYS!!!!  I can’t believe she said I had grey hair LOL.

second spilt milk

Once I’d got over my (pretend) shock at needing her wonder product I sat back as she brushed it in.  This salon-only treatment is the perfect way to finish off your blow dry before a big night out – I only wish I had somewhere better to go tonight than my lab……   Last we evaluate the results and I must say that yes, greys and re-growth gone and looking groovy.  What a lovely person she turned out to be, I wish them all the best xxx

Learning Point:  Branding, branding, branding. That and understanding the in’s and outs of what your product is there to do.

3)  Napoleon Perdis comes to shake our hands!

Well this was a bit of fun! Having never met Australian make-up artist to the stars this was a moment not to miss!  Napoleon was in town with his henchmen and dolly birds and man oh man didn’t they look fab!  Napoleon’s style is quite possibly the furthest from mine possible but I love him for that and boy did we all love that Manga style – WOW! This is one guy that knows how to PARTY and has a real eye for feminine beauty.  As an artist I think he totally rocks and as such his brand acts as a magnet for like-minded artists young and not-so-young.  His brand exudes confidence, excess, femininity and charisma just like the big man himself.  Here’s our moment – it was exciting hence the terrible wobble shots lol.

Napoleon Perdis

Learning Point:  If you’ve got it flaunt it baby (and if you haven’t, fake it ’till you make it).

4) The Genius that is Eugene Souleiman.

Wow is all I can say about the work that was on display from this guy. Wow, wow and double wow. It is no wonder that he is touted as one of today’s most influential hair stylists as his work is just amazing.  It always astounds me how people can take hair and turn it into anything from ropes to birds nests, murder scenes to ballet.  He is a true genius whose work connects on a deep and often spiritual level and while I have no real understanding of hairdressing lingo in my nerdy chemist talk this guy rocks.

Here are some of my favourites from his exhibition shots.  

Eugene Souleiman collage

Learning Point: Great art stimulates all of the senses and connects with the heart and soul of its audience.  

So, who wants to be a hairdresser?


Amanda and her grey hairs x.


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