Learn about the Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards

What are the Contessas?

The Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards – the Contessas – are the gold standard in Canadian beauty awards with the longest-running track record of excellence. Since 1988, each year the Contessas bring the best of Canada’s talent together to measure their creativity in a photo-based competition. The Contessas are open to all licensed beauty professionals, from coast to coast.

How are the winners chosen?

Two prestigious panels of independent experts are responsible for assessing the entrants. Judging for the photo-based awards is performed blindly with identities of the entrants remaining anonymous. The first round is live judging, with judges selected from within the Canadian professional beauty industry. The second round is completely online, and judges are international experts in hair and beauty. In the past, this panel has included beauty editors, photographers and celebrity hairstylists.

The Canadian Nail Artist and Interior Design categories are judged separately by experts in those fields. The John Steinberg Award for Community Service is judged by the Allied Beauty Association.

When and where are the winners announced?

To crown the Contessa winners, an über-glam gala is held every year in Toronto where the winners are announced to a full house of more than 1,000 guests. The event kicks off with lavish cocktail party – your chance to rub shoulders with the best of the best in the industry – and ends with a ‘guest-list only’ after-party at one of the poshest clubs in town.

Who produces the Contessas?

The Contessas are produced by Salon Communications Inc., a media company that publishes Salon Magazine (English and French editions), consumer magazine Elevate and online platforms www.salonmagazine.ca as well as www.elevatemagazine.com.

How can I enter?

Find out how to enter now and read some of our helpful hints articles to get an edge over the competition for next year!

The entry deadline for the 30th Annual Hairstylist of the Year Awards will be announced soon!

In the meantime….

1. Make sure that you’re signed up for our e-newsletter to be the first to hear the latest Contessa news.
2. Get some expert tips from past winners! We have a Contessa tips & advice section.
3. Find inspiration for your entry by checking out collections from previous winners and finalists in the Contessa online gallery.

All about the Contessa Gala!

To crown the Contessa winners, an über-glam gala is held every year in Toronto where the winners are announced to a full house of more than 1,000 guests.

The event kicks off with lavish cocktail party, which is your chance to rub shoulders with the best of the best in the industry. Following a delicious dinner, awards are presented as well as three inspiring and innovative presentations from expert stylists at the top of their game (see past years presentations on the Contessa video page). The evening ends with a ‘guest-list only’ after-party at one of the poshest clubs in town. Tickets sell out every year, so buy early!

You can relive the 2017 gala here or watch the Contessa highlights video.

What are the Contessa awards?

Click here to read more about the Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards, which honour the best work for the year in the professional Canadian beauty industry.

How do I enter?

The Contessas are a photo-based competition. After shooting a collection, you can submit your images via mail as digital photos on a CD or submit your entry online. Follow our instructions outlined on the entry page.

Do I need to send in different discs to distinguish hi-res from low-res photographic entries?

Please send only one disc with untouched images, low-resolution images and high-resolution images of each look, as well as your bio shot. If you are entering online, only high-resolution images are needed.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

The competition is open to every bona fide, working member of a Canadian professional beauty salon, including freelancers to the industry, and salon owners. Students/apprentices who enter do not need to be licensed, but they can only enter the Canadian Salon Team and Student/Apprentice Hairstylist categories if they submit a letter from their school or salon confirming enrollment.

What are the rules?

The rules are outlined in the entry form, which you can download on our entry page. To see a list of the categories you can enter, click here.

Can I enter multiple categories? If so, can I enter different photos from the same photo shoot?

You may enter as many categories as you wish, but some categories require an exclusive collection. This means, that for those categories, the collection must have a different look and feel from your other collections.
Work submitted in the following categories cannot be shared with other categories (exceptions in brackets):

1. Canadian Hairstylist
2. Elite Master Hairstylist
3. Master Colourist
4. Session Hairstylist
5. Canadian Salon Team (with the exception of Canadian Nail Artist, Canadian Colourist and Makeup Artist)

29th Annual Contessa Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

CANADIAN HAIRSTYLIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS

The 29th Annual Contessa Awards Highlights Video

The 29th Annual Contessa Awards Highlights Video

Relive the magic of the 29th annual Contessa Awards! The 2018 Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards took place on November 12, 2017 at the.. Read More →
Contessa 2018: Wella Professionals Presentation

Contessa 2018: Wella Professionals Presentation

Creative director for Wella Professionals, Sherman Wong, took the creative lead at the 29th annual Contessa Awards for the brand’s colourful, retro-inspired presentation, inspired by iconic.. Read More →
Contessa 2018: Moroccanoil Presentation

Contessa 2018: Moroccanoil Presentation

Contessa 2018: Moroccanoil Presentation For the 29th annual Contessa Awards, Kevin Hughes, artistic director for Moroccanoil, led the team with inspiration sourced from avant-garde fashion.. Read More →

LATEST NEWS & TIPS

Tracey Hughes Awarded HALL OF FAME at the AHIA

Tracey Hughes Awarded HALL OF FAME at the AHIA

Tracey Hughes has been named the 2018 recipient of the HALL OF FAME at the Australian Hair Industry Awards (AHIA), an award program.. Read More →
The Royal Wedding Launches A New Era of Wedding Hair

The Royal Wedding Launches A New Era of Wedding Hair

Meghan Markle is famous for her easy, breezy, beautiful hair and most notably for bringing the messy bun to the royal forefront. Unlike.. Read More →
The 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards Winners!

The 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards Winners!

We asked, you answered. The 25 winners have been named in Salon Magazine’s 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards. This annual competition is the only.. Read More →

FEATURED COLLECTIONS

Contessa Winning Collection – Supernova Salon

Contessa Winning Collection – Supernova Salon

Salon: Supernova Salon, North Vancouver, B.C. Category/Catégorie: Salon Interior Design | Design d’intérieur Designer: House of Bohn Design Photos: Provoke Studios {igallery id=5153|cid=1637|pid=2|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}.. Read More →
Contessa Finalist Collection – Blueberry Hair Salon and Spa

Contessa Finalist Collection – Blueberry Hair Salon and Spa

Salon: Blueberry Hair Salon and Spa, Oakville, Ont. Category/Catégorie: Salon Interior Design | Design d’intérieur Designer: Helena Gussman, Roz Khosravani, Shahram Sarvian Photos:.. Read More →
Contessa Finalist Collection – Dean Delmonte & Company

Contessa Finalist Collection – Dean Delmonte & Company

Salon: Dean Delmonte & Company, Toronto Category/Catégorie: Salon Interior Design | Design d’intérieur Designer: Sandbox Design, Trifon Voltsinis. Sharon Mimran Design Photos: Michael.. Read More →

In Case You Missed It

Contessa 23 Winner Collection – Chrissy Allan

Contessa 23 Winner Collection – Chrissy Allan

Name/Nom: Chrissy Allan Category/Catégorie: Student/Apprentice Hairstylist | Étudiant / Apprenti de l’année Salon: A Michael Levine Salon Group {igallery id=8858|cid=1865|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}.. Read More →
Contessa 23 Finalist Collection – Noelle Berlingieri

Contessa 23 Finalist Collection – Noelle Berlingieri

Name/Nom: Noelle Berlingieri Category/Catégorie: Student/Apprentice Hairstylist | Étudiant / Apprenti de l’année Salon: Soho Salon & Spa {igallery id=6126|cid=1866|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}.. Read More →
Contessa 23 Finalist Collection – Merita Ferrada

Contessa 23 Finalist Collection – Merita Ferrada

Name/Nom: Merita Ferrada Category/Catégorie: Student/Apprentice Hairstylist | Étudiant / Apprenti de l’année Salon: Edward Carriere {igallery id=4334|cid=1867|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}.. Read More →
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