RURAL Tyrone and afros are two words not normally used in the same sentence, but one local hairdresser is looking to change that.
Strabane’s Hair Therapy Heavenly Beauty has made it through to the semi-finals of highly prestigious UK hairdressing award and will now compete against London’s top hair and beauty establishments in the rather unlikely ‘Afro Look’ category.
The salon, run by Maria Patton (30), is the only salon in Ireland, north or south, to reach the finals in the Oréal Colour Trophy Afro Look Award 2018.
The Conthem Road based salon beat off serious competition in the opening photographic round and will now be one of only 15 finalists to compete at the semi-finals on March 26.
Here Maria will present a model which showcases her salon’s interpretation of a well-executed, inspirational, modern colour with a beautiful inspired style and finish on a female model of African/Caribbean descent.
The 2018 judging panel consists of some of the industry’s elite judges and the overall winner will scoop a ‘money can’t buy’ prize which includes, a three day European trip to shoot the winning look and bespoke educational support from one of the highly skilled L’Oréal Professional technicians.
Maria said that whilst it was a tough category to get through to – and that as a Co Tyrone hairdresser with little access to Afro-style hair – she saw it as a challenge that needed to be overcome.
“Not a lot of salons offer treatment for Afro-style hair,” she says. “Some hairdressers find it too challenging. To get the hair poker straight, if the client wants it that way, is extremely hard. Most people, if they want their Afro hair done have to go to Belfast or Donegal. I want to bring it to Strabane, I want people to have it on their doorstep.
“For the first round of the competition I brought my model friend Connie Chadwick over from London and we gave her a Afro hair a total transformation, leaving her hair smooth and sleek.”
Maria says that, despite the fact that there is not an abundance of Afro hair styles in Strabane to work on she wants to be able to attract customers from all over the UK and Ireland to her salon.
“I already have clients coming to me from Liverpool, Belfast and all over,” she said. “I want to give this a shot, it could lead anywhere. I am very passionate when it comes to my work. I love to challenge myself. The industry is constantly changing, we need to adapt.
“We are just a small salon on the outskirts of Strabane and to get through to this stage is absolutely amazing. I’m hoping that by doing this and getting this far it will show other small salons that they can do big things also.
“It has always been my dream to go to the L’Oreal Headquarters. Even if I don’t win, that is unreal. I can’t wait.”