Life & Style

Suki Hairdressing

L'Oréal Colour Trophy Competition Finalist

It would be a massive honour to win. Being able to represent Newcastle is a big thing, I feel like the big cities often take all the glory, but Newcastle people have a strong sense of style, particularly when it comes to their hair.

On Monday 25th February Shaleena Winter from Newcastle’s Suki Hairdressing will be going up against some of Australia’s best hair colourists, in Melbourne, at the L'Oréal Colour Trophy Competition.

Selected as one of 15 finalists the National competition run by the L'Oréal Professionals could potentially see Shaleena, if selected as the winner, heading off to Paris to compete against the worlds best colourists in 2020.

To learn a little more about the competition and just what it takes to create a finalist ready hair style, we caught up with Shaleena as she prepares herself for the big event.

A finalist in the L'Oréal Colour Trophy sounds like a pretty big deal, for people not in the hair industry, just how big is this competition?

It’s massive, both within Australia and overseas. The competition is open to literally thousands of hairdressers around Australia, each salon that has a L'Oréal account is given the opportunity to enter the competition. In October last year, twenty hairdressers from each state were selected, which I was one of, to audition live in front of the L'Oréal team and this is where I was required to recreate the image that I initially submitted on a live model.

So you had to recreate your hairstyle live in front of a team of L'Oréal judges?

Yes, I went to the L'Oréal Academy in Sydney and recreated the look in front of about a team of five L'Oréal staff and then a blind judging was undertaken.

That must have been a bit of a pressure situation?

Yeah, it was a little nerve-wracking, I had four hours to colour, style, cut and Elle, my model, had an hour with a makeup artist who also had to recreate the makeup from my original image, all within the four hours. Which isn’t long!

The competition winner is announced on Monday 25th February, how is it all going to play out.

On the 25th February Elle, myself and some of the team from Suki will be flying to Melbourne where I will once again recreate the look in front of a panel of judges. I’ll be up against the 14 other finalists, and again I’ll only have four hours to create the look.

Following this, there will be a catwalk parade to showcase each of the finalist's hairstyles, and then that evening an event is being held at Crown Casino which is when the overall Winner and the People’s Choice Awards will be presented.

So the People’s Choice Award is judged by the people, does that mean anyone can get involved in the voting process?

Yes that’s right to vote for my hairstyle you just need to visit Marie Claire and select the above image to get behind me.

The style you came up with is stunning, can you take us through the thinking behind it?

I decided to go for a Stevie Nicks type of look with a bit of a modern twist, Stevie Nix was a little more boho/dishevelled then this and Elle has quite thick hair so a more structured fringe worked quite well.

How big a deal would this be for you and your career if you were to choosen as the winner?

Oh, it would definitely be a massive honour, I think in the last five years colourists have become cool again, previous to this it was always about session stylists and how hairdressers could create odd shapes. I feel that trend has changed, so winning would put me on a platform that would allow me to showcase my work a little more.

Also being able to represent Newcastle is a big thing, I feel like the big cities often take all the glory, but Newcastle people have a strong sense of style particularly when it comes to their hair and being able to showcase that is really incredible.

Have you always been based in Newcastle?

I grew up in Newcastle and I’ve been working with Suki for 12 years now. I had always wanted to work at Suki, and when I left school there weren’t any positions available at the time but as soon as I heard there were, I was on Sandy’s doorstep waiting to get in. Sandy’s such a nurturing boss I really love working here, it’s more like a family than a place of work.

What would you say makes a good colourist?

It’s much more than just the hair colour, you need to take many things into consideration such as their eye colour, skin tone and what sort of lifestyle your client has to then be able to determine what colour is going to work best for them.

Trends, what do you see happening with hair for the coming seasons?

I feel like solid colours are out, I think the trend is going more towards multi-dimensional colouring, so as to achieve that more natural look. I also feel that coppers are coming in strongly, which is why I chose to work with Elle’s auburn tones, it’s that striking beauty.

When I was researching for the competition I had noticed there were a lot of warm tones used on the front covers of Marie Claire, not so much brunettes or icy white blondes. I feel like those ashy tones are leaving us now and everyone's embracing the warmth. I think it’s beautiful having that warmth and dimension.