Judged entirely independently, The IBI Awards is an International Hair Competition open to any salon, stylist or hair artisan, from all over the world.
You’ll be judged on one thing – your work.
“DESERT WARRIOR” by Jamie Wile, USA – 2019 Finalist, Best Fantasy / Creative Style
The 2023 IBI Awards closed for entries on November 9th, 2022. Winners will be announced in December.
The IBI Award Statuette & Finalist Certificate
Custom created in New York City by the designers behind the Emmy® and MTV awards.
If you slayed hair in the past year, then you’re eligible to enter.
IBI’s mission is to recognize excellence, talent, hard work and creativity in global beauty industry artisans, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or who their clients are.
What would becoming Internationally Award-Winning mean to you?
The IBI (International Beauty Industry) Award is the first hair and salon competition of its kind to celebrate the work of beauty artisans working behind-the-scenes all over the world.
“Multi Colour Beauty” by stylist AhKim Anthony Tan of Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia.
2018 FINALIST, Best Avant-Garde / Hair Art category.
INdustry Hair & Asthetics Salon
Based in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, salon owners and hair artisans Marilyn and David Venditteli won the most 2018 IBI Awards in both cut and color categories. And picked up a bunch of media attention, including TV.
“We’re going to keep competing, keep creating,” said Marilyn, who hopes the focus will eventually shift to the salon’s other stylists and beauty professionals.
We’re so fortunate to have professional judges like veteran master stylist and colorist Alison Valsamis who donate their time and expertise to make sure the #IBIAwards are fair and independent.
We do a blind judging to ensure that the focus is always on the artistry. This is what makes our awards so special.
Alison’s dreamy braided updo went viral after being inspired by planting roses with her grandmother. “…my intention was to challenge myself as an artist and as an educator. On Instagram there’s such an incredible community of artists that support each other and inspire each other and we keep challenging each other to do more, and be better.”
– Featured in –
The Complete Guide
How To Prepare For An International Hair Artistry Competition
Do you have an unmatched talent for creating next-level hairstyles?
Why not take your skills to the next level and compete on an international stage?
Get rewarded for your talent and get noticed by big names in the industry simply by doing what you do best!
If you’ve never taken steps to compete before, you’re likely wondering where to start.
Thankfully, we’re here to guide you through the entire process for a stress-free and fun experience.
We have all the details you need to get you prepared for one of the leading hairdressing competitions in 2022 – the International Beauty Industry Awards.
Focus On Your Strengths
Consider what makes you unique and what will ensure you stand out from other applicants.
If your skills and expertize are in coloring, then it makes sense to pursue a hair color competition or competition with hair coloring as a category such as The IBI Awards.
Likewise, if glamorous and outstanding haircuts are your specialty then our hair stylist competition category is for you.
Decide On A Category Or Categories
All hair competitions have several categories within which you can compete and The IBI Awards are no different.
The IBI Awards competition categories focus on specific niches in the world of hair.
This includes working with hair color, natural hair, fantasy hair and more as part of the overall haircut competition.
If your talents lie in hair braiding competitions then our Best Braided Style category may suit.
You may be able to apply to more than one category depending on the rules of the hair stylist competition you’re interested in.
The IBI Awards allows multiple category submissions so you can truly demonstrate your talents in one exceptional competition.
You can focus on more than one area so you can battle it out confidently without becoming overwhelmed by the challenge.
Choose A Photographer
Ensuring your submissions are captured at their best is critical to winning.
The IBI Awards are a wholly online hair design competition.
This means your work will not be judged in person, so choosing the best photographer to showcase your work is essential.
Photographing your work is also a great opportunity to showcase your talent in a portfolio.
You can also use these photos to show your clients, your fan base and any social media followers your incredible work.
Find Your Model
Finding the right model who can work with your creative vision is also very important.
Be sure to select someone patient, open to change, and not afraid to change up their appearance.
Opting for a model with an unusual look or interesting side profile can help your entry garner more attention.
For natural hair competitions, seek out models with great hair texture and work to highlight this as much as possible.
Make-Up And Clothing
Be sure to also select clothing and make-up that flatters the model and your hairstyle for the most aesthetically appealing look.
Making the right selections in these areas can enhance the overall result.
Be sure to choose clothing that adds to the look and doesn’t distract from your work.
Apply To Compete Or Submit Your Entry
Once you have decided on the above, you’ll need to review our competition guidelines and rules.
Having an awareness of competition rules is important as it ensures you adhere to all requirements.
For our online contest, you’ll need all your photographs ready to submit.
For all competitions there are usually entry fees to cover at the time of registration, these are required whether they are held online or in a venue.
Support team – If you’re planning to compete in a live setting, you may like to prepare a support team.
A support team can help you manage the stress of the event, keep you on track, and best position you for a win!
One of the major appeals of The IBI Awards is that you prepare your submission in your own time with none of the stress of a live event.
Product Selection – You may have your favorite hair products lined up and ready to go, or you may like to contact a supplier and see if they’ll sponsor your entry.
Making sure you have the best possible products at hand that are specific to your needs will help you deliver the best results.
“Braids & More” by Krisztina Keresztes Romania // 2022 Semi-Finalist Best Braided Hair
What Are Judges Looking For In Hair Competitions For Hair Stylists?
Before you decide on your hair design, it makes sense to think about what the judges are going to be looking for when judging and voting for a winner.
While this won’t guarantee a win, it makes sense to endear yourself to the jury by appealing to their preferences and thereby improving your chances.
So what are IBI’s judges looking for?
Innovation & Creativity
While new isn’t always better, it can go a long way to helping you stand out.
Judges want to see solid techniques applied in creative ways.
Match your energy and creativity to the theme at hand for the best results.
At an Avante Garde hair competition or fantasy hair styling competition for instance our judges will be expecting something truly out of the ordinary.
Comparatively, for our more traditional hair salon competition categories, our judges are less likely to expect these types of entries.
Attention To Detail/Technical Expertise
All hairstyling competitions will include a judgment on your attention to detail and the way you demonstrate core competencies.
The IBI Awards are no exception to this.
Messy or unfinished-looking styles are unlikely to be among the winning entries.
Even fantasy hairstyles competitions and categories that require whimsical elements will need to show technical skill.
Our Judging Council are expecting to see a selection of your best work, so make sure every detail is top-notch.
Adherence To Rules
There could be nothing quite so disappointing as making it to the finale and then being disqualified for an oversight.
Our judges will check that your submission, no matter how glamorous or impressive, meets all the rules.
Entrants that use hair extensions for instance in a long hair competition category where only natural hair is permitted will quickly be eliminated.
Presentation & Visual Success
As mentioned earlier, the overall presentation of your model will be judged.
Style your model’s makeup and clothing with your judges in mind.
Consider the impression each of these elements makes and how it contributes to your vision – our judges will be considering this too!
Spending time on developing a unique look for your submission will go a long way to helping your entry get more votes.
Know Your Judges/Audience
As an aside, you should also factor in who is judging your work.
If a competition is hosted by a group of magazine editors purely judging on aesthetics they may not rate your color or vision simply as it doesn’t resonate with them.
This is not the case for The IBI Awards where only leading experts in the hair industry are engaged as judges.
Being judged by recognised gods of the hair industry that are familiar with spectacular and out-of-the-box ideas, you’ll likely get better results from pushing your competition hair into new territory.
A top tip is to review the social media profile of your judges – particularly if they are hair gurus.
This is a great chance to see their work and get a feel for what they appreciate.
Review their most recent posts, look at what they are tagged in, the brands they associate with and any comps they have competed in and won.
All these insights can help you get noticed by the Judging Council moving you to the next stage of the competition or becoming one of its winners!
“Transcend” by Chrystofer Benson Collective Utah, USA // 2022 Semi-Finalist Best Unconventional Hair
How To Best Present Your Work To Hair Artistry Contests
Hairdressing competitions are a great international platform, offering opportunities that can help you further your career.
This is particularly true for The IBI Awards hair competition 2022 where your work is entered via photo submission.
Your chosen image needs to be absolutely captivating. Artists can submit work on themselves but typically selfies just won’t cut it for quality!
You should focus on:
Great lighting can make or break an image.
Overexposed images that are too light will often distract judges from your work or make it hard to assess.
The presence of too many shadows or darkened images may also hide the finer details of your creation.
Framing the Image
Avoid busy backgrounds that will detract from the focus of your image – your work!
You want the judges to zone in on the model and not the environment where they were photographed.
You may need to crop unwanted backgrounds out for the best effect.
Imagine you submit your work, but it’s unable to be opened – all your hard work for nothing.
The IBI Awards hair show competition clearly outlines accepted file sizes and file formats in the entry and selection criteria.
Be sure to adhere to these or your work will never be seen by the judging panel.
Your entry whether it is to a Christmas hair competition, hair magazine competition, or the North American Hair Awards is your copyrighted property.
When you apply to The IBI Awards, be aware that the terms and conditions stipulate that IBI as the organizer is permitted to use your imagery to promote you as a winner.
When you submit your work you are certifying you are the copyright owner and retain ultimate ownership unless you agree to sign the rights over.
“Ballarina Sunset” by Rusty Phillips Missouri, USA // 2022 Semi-Finalist Best Fantasy Color
What Are Typical Hair Award Categories You Can Submit To?
There are so many themes for hairdressing competitions. Some you may not have even heard of!
The beauty of so many hair themes for competitions is that there’s truly something for all hair artisans.
Let’s review some of the categories…
Hair Artistry – Hair artistry competitions focus on the creation of sculptured artistic styles and clever use of color and texture.
Film / TV Hair – As it sounds, this theme is about creating character-specific styles that help tell a story.
Stage/Event Hair – Stage and event hair is usually bigger and bolder and incorporates a little more glamor than other categories.
Student Hair – Hair competitions for students focus on testing the skills and knowledge of apprentice hairdressers with specific talents needing to be demonstrated. The IBI Awards offers active beauty students one free entry into this category.
Best Hair – Showcasing the newest and latest styles and techniques, this category decides on an overall best-in-show and is a common theme at hair and beauty competitions.
Best Natural Hair – Focused on relaxed, uncolored styles this theme highlights the beauty of natural hair textures and is often included in afro hair competitions and black hair competitions.
Best Glam Hair – The perfect category for upstyle specialists, this theme will show your technical skill and artistic vision in one. This is a popular category at hair up competitions.
Best Before & After Hair – Skilled at transformations? This category suits talented haircutters and colorists that can create fabulous new looks with ease.
Best Creative / Unconventional Hair – Have a unique idea that you think could win? This category accepts all kinds of unusual and weirdly wonderful submissions.
Best Avant-Garde Hair – Use color, artistic elements, accessories, and more to create whimsical and eye-catching creations in this theme. Avant Garde hair competitions are always captivating in their creativity.
Best Editorial Hair – Wanting to gain notoriety in an editorial space? This theme lets you demonstrate your fashion credentials and ability to create sleek, high-fashion styles.
Best High Fashion Hair – If you want to work in fashion as a stylist, this category is the ideal place to grow your fan base. Create fashion-forward styles that work on the runway or for fashion shoots.
Best Culturally Inspired Hair – Taking inspiration from all over the globe, this theme honors cultural hairstyles both traditional and modernized.
Best Men’s Hair – Seen at both mainstream hair show competitions and barber competitions, this theme
Best Special Effects Hair – Innovative hairstyles and techniques are welcomed in this category. Show your creativity and technical mastery to full effect.
Best Character/Cosplay Hair – Cute and character inspired by this theme allows you to go all out with costumes and make-up too!
Best Drag Hair – This fantasy hair competition is all about big and bold! Get creative with color, accessories, and more.
Best Body Painting Hair – Painted body art and unique hairstyles combine in this category – perfect for anyone wanting to show off their artistic flair.
Best Use of Glitter In Hair – Ideal for a Frozen hair competition or hairdresser competitions that focus on fun, unique styles this category doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Best Reparative Hair – Have a winning protective style or reparative method that you feel is worth entering? This category is perfect to showcase your ability to restore someone’s self-esteem through the use of wigs, hairpieces, and styling.
Best Eco-Friendly / Sustainable Hair – Demonstrate your ability to deliver outstanding styles while using eco-friendly products and sustainable techniques that minimize waste.
Best Bridal Hair – A bridal hair competition is often an eclectic mix of hairstyles incorporating both upstyles and more relaxed natural styles as well as accessories.
Onstage Hair – Musical theater enthusiasts and performers unite! This category is all about showcasing eye-catching stage styles that can withstand a lot of movement.
Who Competes In Hair Styling Challenges?
Have a knack for working with hair and would love to compete but are not qualified as a stylist or hairdresser?
The good news is that The IBI Awards hair competition 2022 makes several allowances so that people from all walks of life can compete.
Pro Hair Stylists/Hairdressers
This is of course the most obvious participant in our challenges and represents a great opportunity for career growth.
The recognition entrants can achieve from participating can help them to expand their client base, open their own business with confidence, or branch into other areas.
The ability of influencers with fabulous hair or hair styling skills to create a look and post it for their followers can lead to valuable product endorsement opportunities.
Competing in one of our challenges and becoming a finalist is another excellent way to expand their fan base and create further business opportunities.
Hair Styling Hobbyists
From talented moms to teens with a flair for hair, participating in the hair competition or challenges is a great way to gain recognition for your skill.
It may also lead to amazing professional opportunities that take you beyond doing hair as a hobby.
Amateur Hair Stylists
If you have a passion for hair and hope to eventually make it your career, participating as an amateur in one of our challenges may help you achieve this dream.
Gain recognition for your skill and use this to support applications for traineeships or further study.
Student Hair Stylists
If you’re on the journey to becoming a qualified hair stylist, participating in our competition can be a fun opportunity to test your skills.
Should you win or become a finalist this will also advance your future employment opportunities in the industry. Active beauty students studying hair, barbering or cosmetology are eligible for one free entry.
“Perla” by Lumine Salon Missouri, USA // 2022 Semi-Finalist Best Vivid Color
Can My Hair Salon Business Compete For The IBI Awards Hair Competition?
If you own your own hair salon business, entering The IBI Awards is a valuable opportunity.
Entering offers so many benefits to your salon business including:
- Boosting your public profile
- Promoting the skill and expertise of your stylists
- Demonstrating your commitment to continued learning
- Showing your dedication to quality workmanship
- Offering opportunities for staff to connect and encourage one another
- Giving you a winning Statuette to proudly display at your salon
If you have never entered your salon business into a hair styling competition, you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity!
Hair Competition TV Shows For Inspiration
If you’re seeking a refreshed perspective and a boost of inspiration, there is a wealth of hair competition TV shows you can enjoy.
Here is our shortlist of some great reality shows centered on hair and beauty and where to watch them.
We Are The Champions – Season one, episode three, watch as hairstylists compete in the fantasy category of the Bronner Brothers Hair Competition in New Orleans.
America’s Next Top Model – Non-stop, jaw-dropping, high-fashion transformations involving cuts, colors and more in every episode!
RuPaul’s Drag Race – If fantasy hair and big, bold, colorful looks are your style, this is the perfect show to gain inspiration.
Shear Genius – Twelve stylists go head-to-head in this fast paced reality show, all vying to win $100,000 and the opportunity to style hair for Allure magazine.
L.A. Hair – An entertaining look at celebrity hair stylist Kim Kimble’s experiences dealing with Hollywood A-listers.
Split Ends – Stylists exchange places in one another’s salons and are challenged as they experience new clients and situations.
American Beauty Star – 12 contestants with experience in fashion, hair and beauty compete in a series of tasks and seek to be crowned the winner.
The Global Barber – Follow Master Barber Cedric Small as he cuts hair in barbershops all over the world, learning new techniques and hearing incredible stories.
Tabatha’s Salon Takeover – Renowned Australian hairstylist and salon owner Tabatha Coffey visits struggling salons in Los Angeles and New York with a view to saving them.
Superstar Hair Challenge – Watch as stylists compete in a series of challenges designed to test their imagination, execution and character under pressure.
Hair – Set in the U.K. this show seeks to find out Britain’s best amateur hair stylist. Enjoy a quirky journey through the country and be floored by the talent.
Masters Of Balayage – North America’s most renowned balayage artists battle it out to prove they’re the best. Warning, the competition in this show is fierce!
Hair Battle Spectacular – 10 stylists create their most outrageous hairstyles with a view to win the $100,000 grand prize. From wedding cake styles to those with moving pieces, anything is possible.
The Shop – Set in a barbershop, professional basketball star LeBron James and businessman Maverick Carter engage in debates and discussions with guests while they have their hair cut.
Extreme Hair Wars – Billed as ‘a journey into the follically impossible’ this show is all about finding Britain’s best fantasy hairstylist, be prepared to be amazed!
These shows are wonderfully entertaining and highlight the incredible nature of competing, but these competitions are not for everyone!
They require weeks of travel, being away from your family, and a huge personal commitment.
If you want to compete with minimal stress and time out from your life, then the International Beauty Industry Awards is the perfect fit.
As a wholly online competition, you are in control of your time and just need to submit to your chosen category by the provided deadline.
“Mushroom Veil” by Sarah Janine Mosqueda Louisiana, USA // 2022 Semi-Finalist Best Student Hair
International Hair Competitions
Another wonderful aspect of our hair competition is its international appeal.
Have you already competed on a national scale and want to push yourself harder?
Perhaps you simply prefer the categories of an international show.
Whatever your reasons, there is a wealth of international competitions every year to choose from.
The following are our top three recommendations for each location…
Hair Competitions 2022 USA
International Beauty Industry Awards – open to international competitors, this independently run competition gathers some of the world’s leading global talent in one place.
North American Hairstyling Awards – Open to residents of the United States, Canada, or Mexico, this event seeks to crown North America’s top artists. Running for over 30 years it is one of the best known hair competitions in the USA.
Bronner Brothers Online Fantasy Competition (BB hair competition) – A multicultural beauty show and convention in one, this competition is all about showing off your fantasy hair skills as well as celebrating natural hair textures and styles.
Hair Competitions Canada
International Beauty Industry Awards – a prestigious international competition open to anyone with a passion for hair. Conducted wholly online for the ultimate accessibility.
Canadian Hairstylists Award (Contessas) – Open to qualified Canadian industry professionals only, this event celebrates talented hair stylists, colorists, makeup & nail artists.
ABA Competitions – An online competition for junior barbers across Canada to showcase their talent and gain international recognition.
Hairdressing Competitions UK
International Beauty Industry Awards – Submit your best work online alongside a wealth of global talent. This competition is open to all levels of talent, anywhere in the world.
Denman Stage Star – Entry via video and sharing of your work, this competition offers the chance to work with UK brand Denman. Win and you can help develop new products, attend industry events, work on Denman creative shoots and more!
National Hair & Beauty Awards (NHF hairdressing competitions) – Open to all related businesses nationally no matter their size, this free competition is a great starting point for anyone new to competing.
Hair Competitions Europe
International Beauty Industry Awards – Welcoming entrants from across the globe, this competition is proudly independent and unsponsored for the most unbiased judging experience.
OMC Hairworld World Cup – Open to competitors from across the globe, this event sees top stylists battle it out with the goal to be crowned the World Champion in their field.
The Hair Games – Held annually in Belgium, this is both a convention and a competition event that welcomes industry professionals from across Europe to attend.
Hair Competitions Asia
International Beauty Industry Awards – Perfect for skilled stylists in Asia that have fewer local competition choices, this event is open to global participants and is held entirely online.
Hair Asia (a sponsored Matrix hair competition) – Held in Manila, Philippines for over a decade this event is open to Filipino nationals and focuses on both hair and make-up.
Shiseido Professional Beauty Innovator Award (BIA) Asia – Combining both photographic submissions and live model events, this competition seeks to evaluate the technical skills as well as the artistry.
Hair Competitions South Africa
International Beauty Industry Awards – With fewer competitions in South Africa than other nations, this online only, global competition makes it possible to battle it out amongst the world’s best.
Salon International – A photographic competition with the winner announced at the annual expo, this event has just four categories in which to impress the judges.
EOHCB Digital Hair, Nail and Makeup Artistry Competition – With a South African theme, this online only event celebrates local Professional Hair, Nail, and Makeup Artists.
Hair Competitions Australia
International Beauty Industry Awards – Don’t feel isolated living Down Under! Register for our global, online event and show off your skills amongst the world’s best.
Hair Festival – One of Australia’s largest hair competitions, this event welcomes modern, dynamic stylists to learn, compete and connect.
Australian Hair Fashion Awards – Open to Australian and New Zealand stylists, this is Australia’s largest, longest running and most successful independent hairdressing awards program.
Hair Competitions NZ
International Beauty Industry Awards – Gain international recognition with this prestigious online only event. Be judged side by side with the world’s best stylists by an independent judging panel.
Hair & Barber Competitions 2022 NZ – Open to hairdressers and barbers from students to pros, this competition is run solely on Instagram and offers a range of great prizes.
Style & Color Trophy L’Oreal Event – Win the national competition and proceed to the global event! Focused on color and styling this event values technical expertise.
This listing is by no means comprehensive as there are several industry competitions and awards events in each country or region every year.
The IBI Awards represents one of the largest independent platforms for you to compete in and is all online, ensuring no one is excluded due to location or travel costs.
With no sponsors or brands funding the competition, our judges are able to deliver fair and unbiased assessments.
This makes The IBI Awards a leading hair competition in the international sector.
“New Normal” by Vincent Silvester Netherlands // 2022 Semi-Finalist Best Men’s Cut & Style
What Do Hair Competition Winners And Finalists Receive?
Wondering what you stand to receive as a prize for all your hard work, aside from the acclaim and personal satisfaction?
While prize packages across events may differ, they most often include one or more of the following
Cash prize amounts are usually higher the more prestigious the event.
The details of how much you can expect to win should be outlined in the fine print of the entry form.
Most cash prizes are provided through the generosity of a brand or sponsor.
This may mean there are more conditions levied on how styles are created.
They may require the use of certain products, stipulate the types of categories and who will judge the results.
Social Media Promotions
Arguably as valuable if not more so than a cash prize, social media promos stand to boost your business profile and place your services in high demand.
Tagging of your winning work as voted by judges is one of the quickest ways for clients to find you and to be recognized by an international audience.
One of the downsides to any social media based competitions is of course that applicants with the largest followings most often win.
Consider this when selecting your competition type as this could unfairly compromise the outcome for you.
Industry Expert Training
Enjoy one on one training with an industry expert. Hone your skills and prepare for the next competition!
Trophies or Statuettes
Always fantastic to have, trophies, certificates and plaques can be displayed at your salon to advertise your skill and obvious expertise as a winner.
The International Beauty Industry Awards statuette is the industry’s most eye-catching!
How do you participate in the hair competition?
The IBI Awards were created to be as inclusive as possible, entering is simple!
As an online competition you just need to follow three easy steps to enter:
- Upload photos of the look(s) you’ve created and would like to enter. You may also include a description or technical information for the judges in this step.
- Choose competition categories that make the most sense for your images.
- Include payment and shipping information and await the final results!
Please note, for your entry to qualify the accepted file formats for all images are JPG and PNG, 10Mb or under. The recommended minimum dimension is 1000 pixels.
How can I pay for my entry?
Entry fees are paid via our secure online platform. The entry fee can be paid using Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club, JCB, or Apple Pay.
If you are an active student or entering in the reparative hair category your entry fees will be waived.
Students should apply using the Student Eligibility Application and are entitled to one free entry.
Artists helping those with disease, injury or disfigurement through Reparative Hair can always enter this work for free.
How many categories can I submit to?
There are almost 50 categories to compete in at The IBI awards, a single piece of work can be submitted in up to three categories for consideration.
Your number of entries is only limited by how many qualifying photos you have to submit.
Is there a discount if I submit to multiple categories?
No, as an artist-funded and independently run competition with no industry sponsors, these fees are designed to cover the costs involved with hosting the competition.
For each category entered the fee is $75 (USD) regardless of how many categories you submit for.
After entries close, how long is it until competition results are announced?
Following the closure of the competition, winners and finalists will be announced within 5-6 weeks.
This allows ample time for our judges to vote for the best works.
How will I find out the competition results?
Winners and Finalists will be advised of their results by email with their hand-crafted, and personalized IBI Award Statuette or Finalist certificate shipped out soon after.
What are the copyright rules when I submit my work?
You retain full ownership of your work at all times. Under the terms of submission, we assume permission is given to feature or promote your work on our site and social media channels.
Ready to be part of the leading hair stylist awards in 2022?
Not ready to enter today?
We’ll remind you about important dates and other competition info.