In search of Black Beauty at the International Hair & Beauty Show in New York.
IBS New York is always exiting to visit. With 91 years, it is the longest and largest running professional beauty event of the nation. Hairdressers, barbers and beauticians from all over the world visit the expo to be inspired by the latest trends, equipment, tools and gadgets in the ever growing beauty industry.
The exhibit hall is quite impressive. It is hard not to get overwhelmed by the dozens of stages surrounded by thousands of square feet of exhibitors. With loud bouncing music star stylists compete for a visitor’s attention by performing live coloring, cutting and adding extensions demonstrations. A directory is absolutely necessary to find your way and not get lost in the excitement.
Finding Black Beauty representation is not easy in the midst of this hair entertaining madness as naturally straight hair is the norm. Yet there are always a couple of companies to be found that cover Afro centric Hair care. Bronner Brothers, Bonika Shears, Image America and Upscale Magazine listed among the 17 ethnic exhibitors in the directory, have had successful representation at IBS for the last 3 years. However it is by mere accident that I encountered a couple of other companies that would fit well into the Black Beauty market.
Anu is a Black owned Canadian company that offers one of a kind skin care solutions for scars, dry skin and dehydrated lips. Ian Ramsundar and his business partners are an impressive team of young entrepreneurs who proved to be ready for the American market; White, Black and ever other color in between. Once visitors were lured by their attractive booth and products, the friendly founders had no problem sealing a deal by explaining and demonstrating their concept of total wellness.
Hair Rules was another impressive new comer at the IBS. Hairstylist Anthony Dickey and author of the book Hair Rules! introduced his brand new line of products based on his personal motto “Attain your beauty whoever you are.” Finally shampoos, conditioners and styling products that are designed with a love and understanding of naturally textured hair. Kinky, curly or nappy these products do not only care for delicate multi-textured tresses, this line enhances the beauty of each and every coil type. The products are not in store yet but be on the lookout. Check them out http://hairrules.com/
Workshops & Classes
Among the 125 classes and hands on workshops that IBS also offered Curly Twists by Maria Thompson and The Chubby Twist by Anu Prestonia were listed. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to attend Maria’s workshop but I managed to go to the Chubby Twist class. This is one of the signature styles of the well-known Khamit Kinks salon that grows in popularity. It was a very good class were I learned more about weaves and saw how to best weave natural hair. The end result was as like their pictures; very natural and very beautiful.
Besides hairstyling there were also a variety of makeup classes. Reggie Wells, Oprah’s makeup artist, taught the workshop “Old School, New School” for the seriously ambitious beauticians. Only a maximum of 50 students could get the opportunity to attend the three hour class of this master makeup artist for a fee of $225. Another master on the scene to share knowledge with an eager audience was Sam Fine. Celebrity makeup artist of Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks among others. His class “Celebrity Beauty Secrets for Women of Color” was very successful.
Immediately after Sam’s class attendees took him and Reggie hostage to take a picture a picture with either one or the both of them. It was wonderful to see how much they are loved and appreciated but at times I admired their patience with the occasionally too excited crowd. These brothers not only deserve credit for the way they master their art but also for the gracious way they handle a crowd. Celebrity hairstylist Oscar James who was Sam’s right hand didn’t go unnoticed. He was also featured on Oprah a couple of times and together the three of them made success look easy. They formed an inspiring handsome successful trio. Hopefully they will be at the IBS again next year. I’ll keep you posted.