independent

Friday 20 October 2017

Niall proves he is a cut above the rest

Niall Bennett of H2O
Niall Bennett of H2O

Esther Hayden

New Ross hairdresser Niall Bennett placed seventh at the OMC World Hairdressing Championships in Paris in September.

Niall who is the owner and chief stylist at his salon H2O was up against stiff competition in his category - Ladies Salon Commercial Cut and Colour.

Niall was part of a 16 person strong Irish team representing Ireland at the championships for the Hairdressing Council.

Team Ireland Manager and Trainer Maeve O'Healy-Harte chose Niall to fly the flag for Ireland because of his innovative competition looks at several national competitions including the Best of the Best where he won the Ladies Fashion category and also The Alternative Hair Visionary Awards where he presented a fabulous fashion look in the Ireland final.

In total there 42 nations competing at the championships.

Placing in the top ten was something Niall hadn't even dreamed off before heading to Paris.

'This was my first international competition so I didn't expect to do as well as I did. It's a very technical challenge and you only have 30 minutes to cut and dry the model's hair so it's a big ask.'

All competitors get their own identical head model with shoulder length blonde hair. They then set about devising the look they want to create and can colour the hair before arriving in Paris. It took Niall nine hours to get the colour right on the model as there were a number of different colours and the hair had to be treated at various stages of the colouring process.

However the cut must be completed within 30 minutes during the competition.

For his edgy competition look Niall who called his head model Janice after makeup artist Janice Murphy of Vanity FX created a burning coals vibe where the hair was coloured to resemble burning coals with black roots fading into orange fading into yellow.

The cut was a very strong graduated asymmetrical bob with a geometric fringe. He said the look 'is very commercial'.

The judges obviously agreed as not only did Niall come 7th overall in his category of just under 100 competitors the organisers asked him if they could use Janice as a benchmark for next year's colour palette for competitors.

Niall spent six months honing the cut and colour before the competition going through ten head models as well as practicing certain techniques on clients in the salon. Janice was given a Gothic look to complement the edgy hairstyle.

Niall said that having come in the top ten this year he hopes to place next year and is already busy deciding on the competition look.

He also paid tribute to the team at H2O and said particular thanks must go to his wife Kate and their two sons, Fionn and Oscar saying the family kitchen was often full of hair each night as Niall practised after work.

His next competition will be the Fantastic Hair Awards in Dublin in November.

The World Championships started in 1946 in Paris and are the most prestigious awards one can possess in the industry from the five continents. It gives competitors a great platform on a global basis. It is truly a spectacular event.

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