The Beauty, Hair & Spa Awards took place in The Shelbourne in Dublin on 6 November, with over 300 industry professionals attending the gala event.
This was the first year of these awards, which are different to other awards because they are judged by the industry, for the industry, making them the fairest and most rigorously-tested in the market. With years of experience in the business, the expert panel who decided on the winners know exactly what is needed to achieve excellence.
Hosted by Andrew Ryan, some of the biggest names in the industry were in attendance at the glittering ceremony, to see the deserving winners crowned in 14 categories across beauty, hair and spa.
“It’s so good to see so many faces, both established and new to the profession, and to share the excitement of the winners, as they celebrate their hard work and success,” said Mark Moloney, managing director, Professional Beauty Group.
The winners of the Beauty, Hair & Spa Awards impressed the judges with their innovation, dedication, skills and client care. Over the following pages, we’ve profiled each one to find out what makes them so special.
Hair Salon of the Year
Winner: LS Hair, Westport, Co Mayo
Opened in November 2012 by Lynda McNally and Siobhan Moran, LS Hair is a full-service salon that also operates as an education centre for staff, trainees and other salons.
With a team of 12, the co-owners are dedicated to providing an exceptional, stress-free environment for everyone in the workplace, leading to outstanding service for their clients.
In 2019, they oversaw a €120,000 refurbishment of the salon, which now consists of two floors. The first floor is home to the retail, reception and styling area, while the second floor houses the colour bar.
Passionate about education, LS Hair runs a six-week Transition Year course each October to give students an insight into the industry. McNally and Moran pride themselves on having hired a junior stylist every June for the past 10 years – to date, five of those juniors are now senior stylists in the business.
With a mission to give back and serve its community, LS Hair is also committed to supporting a number of local charities annually.
“This is a real competition, so we’re over the moon to win. After marking our 10th year in business recently, we are really proud of how far we’ve come.”
■ Brown Sugar, Dublin
■ BUUHUU Blonde Studio, Leixlip, Co Kildare
■ Hair at 74, Galway
■ Hemera Salon, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
■ Hillary.ie, Dublin
Hair Salon Team of the Year
Winner: Ritzys Hairdressing, Tullamore, Co Offaly
Headed up by Caroleen Creevy Murphy, there are 14 on the team at Ritzys Hairdressing, including cutting and colour specialists, hairdressing assistants, a salon co-ordinator, and a front of house and events manager.
Passionate about the importance of team culture, the team believes that trust, mutual respect, understanding and appreciation make for a successful working environment. Everyone recognises their own worth and the important role they play within the team.
Known for their positivity, they are also dedicated to training, working in groups combined of different strengths and abilities to help each other grow. The goal is always to create a competitive, rewarding and fun atmosphere.
Team initiatives include a salon social club, and the recently launched Ritzys Got Talent competition, which is now set to become an annual event.
The Ritzys team is 100% committed to client care, guided by the salon’s Ritzys Book Of Gold Standards, and taking pride in the fact that some clients have been coming to the salon for over 30 years.
“We entered because we wanted all our hard work to be recognised, and winning is a big deal because our team culture is so important to us.”
■ Alison Hehir Studio, Kilkenny
■ Bankz Hair Group, Portlaoise, Co Laois
■ The Glam Loft, Navan, Co Meath
Colour Technician of the Year
Winner: Jade Connor, Ashleigh Kelly Hairdressing, Dublin
Jade Connor began her hairdressing career after she finished school, where her favourite subject was art. She attended college for a year, obtaining her FETAC Level 5, before joining the team at Ashleigh Kelly Hairdressing, where she completed her apprenticeship.
Working in this salon for the past eight years, she has continued to train and upskill in a range of areas, including sustainable colour with Danielle Gardener from Wildflower; texture cutting and styling with Rick Roberts; and essential cutting skills with Daniel Granger and Rebecca Jacques.
Connor enjoys every aspect of hairdressing, from cutting and colouring, to styling and extensions, and loves being able transform her clients' look, while also lifting their mood. One of her favourite parts of her job is that because there is always a new trend or technique, she is continuously learning, which keeps her career interesting.
With a desire to create something soft, romantic and feminine for her PB/HJ Awards entry, her Pastel Perspective collection was the winner in the category.
“Winning this award is an amazing, indescribable feeling! It’s put more fire and drive in me to see what’s next.”
■ Caroleen Creevy Murphy, Ritzys Hairdressing, Tullamore, Co Offaly
■ Margo Kilkenny, Halo Hair Design, Ballymahon, Co Longford
■ Roisin McAllister, Obsessed Hair Salon, Limerick
■ Laura O'Dowd, Ashleigh Kelly Hairdressing, Dublin
■ Debbie O'Keeffe Crinnion, Montana Blu Hairdressing & Academy, Fermoy, Co Cork
Business Director of the Year
Winner: Susan Fox, Eden Beauty Group, Wicklow
MD of Eden Beauty Group, Susan Fox has worked in the beauty industry for over 30 years, having qualified in 1987 with CIBTAC and CIDESCO diplomas.
She opened her skin clinic on Wicklow town's Main Street in 2001. Starting off as a two-room salon, within 10 years she grew the business to a two-storey, purpose-built premises, with seven treatment rooms, along with a skincare distribution business.
In her role as MD, Fox has built a strong and enduring business that has a reputation for excellence. In an industry with a high staff turnover, over half of her team have been with her for a decade, and her longest serving member has been with her for 18 years.
During the pandemic, she developed a homecare range so that clients could experience Eden treatments while salons were closed. The line has been hugely successful and has since expanded.
Fox plans to keeping growing the business, offering clients the best innovations on the market, as she continues to learn and develop as an entrepreneur.
“Recognition by your peers and your industry is the ultimate accolade, and I am very honoured to be the recipient of this award.”
■ Barbara Aldritt, Bankz Hair Group, Portlaoise, Co Laois
■ Marcia Flatley, SeaBreeze Beauty Clinic, Oranmore, Co Galway
■ Rasa Levinaite McGreer, The Wicklow Street Clinic, Dublin
■ Eve Leva Markava, BUUHUU Blonde Studio, Leixlip, Co Kildare
■ Sarah Mason, Sarah Mason Professional, Galway
Irish Hairdresser of the Year
Winner: Julie Cherry, Shane Bennett Salon, Lisburn
Julie Cherry has been with Shane Bennett Salon since 2004, and in that time she has won Northern Ireland Hairdresser of the Year three times at HJ's British Hairdressing Awards. She has also been inducted into HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards Hall of Fame, which is one of the highest accolades in hairdressing – to achieve this, hairdressers must win the same category three times.
An all-round stylist, with a well-known passion for fashion, Cherry specialises in cutting and finishing hair. She is also the manger at Shane Bennett Salon, with responsibility for the day-to-day running of the business.
Cherry believes that entering awards helps her to stay current, competitive and at the top of her game. For her winning PB/HJ Ireland Awards entry, she created a modern, wearable collection that stands the test of time. Taking inspiration from street fashion, it makes a statement using pairs of models with reflecting hair.
“I'm very happy to have won such a prestigious award. This event highlights the wonderful talent within the hairdressing industry, and provides a platform for us to showcase our ability.”
■ Julio Sartori, The Salon at The Shelbourne, Dublin
■ Sarah Haughey, Red Velvet Hairdressing, Newry
■ Ashleigh Kelly, Ashleigh Kelly Hairdressing, Dublin
■ Hillary O'Reilly, Hillary.ie, Dublin
■ Jordan Stewart, JS Hair Academy, Lisburn
Digital Salon of the Year
Winner: Ashleigh Kelly Hairdressing, Dublin
Ashleigh Kelly Hairdressing positions itself as a personal brand, always interacting with existing, new and potential clients on social media. According to salon owner Ashleigh Kelly, she and her team put consistent storytelling at the heart of its digital strategy, focusing on highlighting its products and services.
Striving to create “perfectly imperfect raw content to drive interaction”, Kelly believes in staying relatable and honest, while advertising and showcasing the business.
Key to its success is its engagement with clients; everyone on the team is a problem-solver, giving advice and consultations through DMs/PMs. Always putting client needs first, social media is used to communicate the salon's positive attributes, such as its commitment to sustainability, and any training undertaken by staff.
Each member of the team has a social media profile that is connected to the business, and Kelly encourages everyone to post to their individual target market because they are operating a minibusiness within the overall business.
“The team and I are absolutely thrilled with this win – it will really give us the drive to keep pushing the digital element of the business.”
■ Culture Club Beauty, Dublin
■ The Wicklow Street Clinic, Dublin
Make -up Artist of the Year
Winner: Ella Carr, Ella Carr MUA
An iTEC-qualified make-up artist, Ella Carr trained with Vanity X in Dublin and has worked in fashion and TV.
Beginning her career with Inglot Ireland, she gained experience with time-sensitive appointments and counter work, before making the decision to become a freelance MUA. This gave her the flexibility to be available for private clients and photoshoots, and the time to train with other artists.
She was a tutor for a Dublin make-up academy prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and used her spare time during lockdown to teach online classes for free, raising funds for mental health charity Pieta. She also made her own face masks and sold them to raise over €2,600 for Alone, a charity for the elderly in Ireland.
Passionate about her job, Carr reinvented her own style in recent years, moving away from colourful and dramatic looks to her 'less is more' signature look, which enhances her clients' natural beauty. She is now booked out weeks in advance with her own clients, along with new referrals.
“Winning this award is very important to me because the winner was chosen by experts who are so highly respected in the industry.”
■ Evelyn Byrne, By Evelyn Byrne, Dublin
■ Grace Glynn, Grace Glynn Make-up, Co Cork
■ Jessy Malone,Jessy Malone MUA, Dublin
■ Aoife Rogers, Aoife Roger Hairstylist & MUA, Ardee, Co Louth
Aesthetic Clinic of the Year
Winner: Laser & Skin Clinics, Dublin and Co Westmeath Highly Commended: Elite Aesthetic Clinic, Derry
Laser & Skin Clinics offers a choice of diverse non-surgical treatments, along with a variety of solutions to an array of skin concerns.
With 20 treatment rooms across three clinics, and led by founder Anna Gunning, the entire team keeps on top of the latest advances and techniques in the field of aesthetics by continuously updating their skills and knowledge through yearly conferences. With a commitment to client-focused quality, results and innovation, the business ensures it has the latest machines, products and protocols to deliver results.
All new treatments and technologies are put through an extensive internal testing process before becoming part of the treatment menu. Aside from getting results for clients, Laser & Skin Clinics also strives to empower them with knowledge and information so that they feel involved in their journey.
The scoring in this category was so close that Elite Aesthetic Clinic was Highly Commended by the judges.
“Winning gives us lots of energy and enthusiasm going forward, and we’re delighted to be part of the celebration of the best in the industry.”
■ Beyond Skin Clinic, Belfast
■ Dr Emma Clinics, Newry, Dublin and Slieve Donard
■ Elite Aesthetic Clinic, Derry
■ SeaBreeze Beauty Clinic, Oranmore, Co Galway
■ The New You Clinic, Sligo
Nail Salon of the Year
Winner: Duchess On Duke St, Dublin
After postponing its launch due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Jan Cleary opened Duchess on Duke Street just over a year ago, designing each detail to make it a luxurious, relaxing and supportive space for both staff and clients.
With its pink and gold colour scheme, and ‘Real Queens Fix Each Other’s Crowns’ slogan, Cleary's aim was to make the Dublin salon the most 'Instagrammable' in Ireland. Each floor of Duchess offers a photo opportunity, while all of the pink furniture and fittings were handmade in Ireland.
The team of nail technicians at Duchess are qualified in a number of specialist areas, including gel polish, acrylic extensions and gel extensions, with each member doing regular training to stay up-to-date with all the latest trends and techniques.
Cleary places a strong focus on education, ensuring that staff rosters are organised around upskilling. As a result, team members have confidence in the products they use, and are excellent at promoting the business's retail offering, including its own cuticle oil range.
“This win is absolutely amazing. We are open just over a year now, and we’re already looking forward to winning more awards.”
■ Blooming You Beauty, Maynooth, Co Kildare
■ Fab Nails, Thurles, Co Tipperary
■ Home of Shellac and Beauty Academy, Carlow
■ Our Secret Beauty Salon, Birr, Co Offaly
■ The Beauty Bandit, Ennis, Co Clare
Aesthetic Practitioner of the Year
Winner: Dr Emma Cunningham, Dr Emma Clinics, Newry, Dublin and Slieve Donard
Having qualified as a dental surgeon, Dr Emma Cunningham completed a master's in aesthetics, and now combines non-surgical techniques with a bespoke skincare regime and nutritional advice at her clinics.
She works with clients on an individualised basis, to deliver natural results to their specific requirements, and will only administer treatments after a thorough consultation, and if she feels it is in the client’s best interests.
Regularly attending refresher courses, more recently she began studying the area of women's health. She is also doing a second master's in skin ageing and aesthetic medicine at Manchester University, specialising in menopause, its effects on the skin and how these issues can be addressed.
She is using this knowledge to partner with a selection of skincare brands, with the overall aim of using her voice, reach and expertise to educate clients and social media followers on how best to achieve their skin goals.
“This is such a prestigious award, and I’m among many professionals who deserve it, so I’m very proud to have won.”
■ Tina Coyne, Coyne's Aesthetics, Ennis, Co Clare
■ Michelle Westcott, Aesthetic Training Academy Ireland, Dublin
Beauty Salon of the Year
Winner: SeaBreeze Beauty Clinic, Oranmore, Co Galway
Operating for over two decades, SeaBreeze Beauty and Skin Clinic has grown and adapted along with its loyal client base to always provide the most modern treatments.
With a menu that includes advanced peels, mesotherapy, microneedling and microdermabrasion, owner Marcia Flatley stays ahead of the game with the most innovative and cutting-edge technology and skincare, while maintaining a focus on wellness and aftercare so that clients can get the most out of their therapies.
For example, the salon has introduced supplements, herbal teas and food intolerance tests to help clients understand what might or might not be working for their skin, and to help reinforce the treatments and products they are using.
Passionate about supporting Irish brands, SeaBreeze also works with local businesses to help expand its client base; it recently partnered with the Connacht Hotel at the Galway Races, which is one of the largest annual events in the county.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to win this award. We are 22 years in business now, and this is really a huge achievement for us.”
■ Chez Elaine, Galway
■ Eden Beauty Group, Wicklow
■ In Vogue Skin & Beauty, Dublin
■ Rouge Skincare & Beauty Clinic, Newry
■ Skin & Bodyworks, Navan, Co Meath
Beauty Salon or Spa Team of the Year
Winner: Eden Beauty Group, Wicklow
With over 110 years of experience between them, the team of 10 at Eden Beauty Group includes three qualified instructors and a team of professionals who have trained in the UK, Spain, Belgium, US and Italy at various times over the years.
Led by MD Susan Fox, the members are consummate professionals who have helped grow the business with their passion, friendship, kindness and dedication, both to clients and each other. From challenging economic times to lockdowns, reopenings, Covid-19 outbreaks and staff shortages, they have shown resilience, professionalism and strength.
Eden holds ongoing events and initiatives to help members bond outside of work as well. For example, together, they decorated the salon’s courtyard for Pride to show their love and support for their LGBTQ+ colleagues. They also organised a food collection for Ukraine. Such initiatives give everyone on the team a common goal to work toward, along with a sense of achievement and community.
“I entered this award because I work with the most amazing team of women and I wanted them to have the recognition they absolutely deserve.”
■ Aqua Sana Longford Forest, Co Longford
■ Eden Elements at Eden One, Dublin
■ No13 Beauty House, Dublin
■ The Buff Day Spa, Dublin
■ Urban Beauty & Skincare Centre, Belfast
Spa of the Year
Winner: Thermal Spa Village, Galgorm, Co Antrim
With 11 treatment rooms, The Spa at Galgorm is designed to provide both residents and day spa guests with a unique experience in a calming environment.
A recent €2.28m investment saw the introduction of an array of new spa offerings, while the company's customercentric ethos has evolved over the last year, so that it now puts a major focus on the client experience, which is delivered through a range of exclusively-designed treatments, the award-winning Thermal Spa Village facilities and a doctor-led aesthetics clinic.
The team at The Spa at Galgorm believes that memorable experiences are cultivated when each intricate detail of the client journey has been carefully considered and tailored to them accordingly.
An in-house trainer ensures that all staff are equipped with the skills required to deliver on its brand promise of ‘Delighting Every Time’. Each therapist undergoes a tailored training plan, alongside regular training from partner product houses, to ensure an expert level of service.
“We’re absolutely delighted to win this award, and all the staff are thrilled too. Thank you so much to everyone!
■ Chill Spa at Ice House Hotel, Ballina, Co Mayo
■ The Spa at Parknasilla, Parknasilla Resort & Spa, Sneem, Co Kerry
■ The Spa at The Kingsley, Cork
■ The Spa, Kilronan Castle Estate, Co Roscommon
Therapist of the Year
Winner: Gillian Redmond, The Zen Room, Co Wexford
Waxing therapist Gillian Redmond opened The Zen Room in 2016, initially offering a full range of beauty treatments, before deciding to pivot the business and focus on one area – waxing.
Passionate about education, she has completed many courses to enhance her skills, as well as her business acumen. Striving to be the best therapist possible in her chosen specialty, she has trained in pregnancy waxing and waxing business management.
Noticing that many of her clients were experiencing fertility issues, she also completed a comprehensive course in fertility, which has enabled her to talk to her clients with confidence on how to deal with any issues they may be having, and how it may affect their treatment. As a therapist who is in a unique position of working closely, one-to-one with clients, Redmond felt it was important to educate herself on other issues, such as domestic violence and skin cancer. She believes that all this education has given her the expertise needed to treat her clients with the utmost care and attention.
“It is an honour and a dream come true for me to win this award, particularly as it is judged by the best in the business.”
■ Jenny Boyce, The Wicklow Street Clinic, Dublin
■ Lisa Moroney, Skin Smart Clinic, Dublin
■ Grace O'Grady, AURA Aesthetic & Well-Being Clinic, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny
■ Christine Power, AquaSpa, Cork
■ Maria Rajska, The Buff Day Spa, Dublin