THE FACT THERE WAS no regional hairdressing competition in Hawke's Bay this year didn't stop a team from MPHOSIS Hair Stylists from competing.

They went on a road trip to the Bay of Plenty to compete and came home with a car full of awards.

Michelle Ironside, who is in her third year, took out the Bay of Plenty Regional Hair Stylist of the Year Next Generation, and she was first in the Hair By Night Live Next Generation and second in The Colour Presentation Next Generation.

Grace Nisbet, who is in her second year, was first in the Cut Live Next Generation and first in the Colour Presentation Next Generation, while Erica Johansen took out third place in the Hair By Night Live Senior and Paige Christieson was second in the Day Style Presentation Pre Apprentice.

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Grace and Michelle took out all the Next Generation events they entered, which are held for stylists with up to four years' experience.

Michelle's aggregate award means she will represent Hawke's Bay and compete at the National Hairdressing competition to be held in Hamilton on October 8.

Tash Bird, owner and operator of MPHOSIS, said she was very proud of her team.

Ms Bird, who trains the girls, intends to challenge a ruling which means Grace is not allowed to compete at the nationals because she didn't win at her regional competition.
Michele qualifies as she had enough aggregate points.

The reason there is no longer a branch of the New Zealand Association of Registered Hairdressers (NZARH) in Hawke's Bay is because they no longer have a president or other key roles.

"Everyone involved in the committee has done their dash and there was simply no fresh blood. We haven't given up though - we will relook at it in February and in the meantime we are still, of course, part of NZARH."

Grace and Michelle are no strangers to competing and they both love the buzz surrounding competitions.

"While I'm focused on what I'm doing I'm also nervous. There are so many people watching. It's quite nerve-wracking," Grace said.

"I love the hype surrounding it and meeting inspirational people. It's great being somewhere where everyone loves doing the same thing."

Grace intends to keep competing and she doesn't mind giving up her time to ensure she's ready to do so. "I stay after work and come in on my days off - I've even come in to practise when I've been on annual leave," she laughed. Michelle said she was very excited "but nervous" about the nationals. She loves working with colour and says it's almost like "doing art on someone's hair".

She thinks people are a lot more adventurous with colour. "People like to have their own individual look."

Ms Bird says the girls won because their cuts were executed well and their colouring was technical and clever. She said hair colour is used the same as makeup to contour and shape the face.

"It's about skin tone, the shape of your face and the style of your cut. The general rule now is cool eyes, cool skin, warm colour to contrast - it's very bespoke - everyone is different.

"Pastel tones were still popular and coming into the warmer months people will want to freshen up their look."

Grace said she thought younger people were going for "all one length, whether that be long or short".

"Fringes are back in but only if they suit you. Everyone has their own individual look and we help them achieve that."

*MPHOSIS Hair Stylists, 220 Queen Street West, Hastings, phone 8786497