Kristen Erickson and Cosmetologists Chicago Win 20th Design Award for America’s Beauty Show 2017 Advance Program

The award winning ABS Advance Program

The award winning ABS 2017 Advance Program

Creative Director Kristen Erickson and Cosmetologists Chicago, owners and producers of the blockbuster event America’s Beauty Show (ABS), received their 20th prestigious American Inhouse Graphic Design Award, presented by Graphic Design USA magazine.

The American Inhouse Design Awards recognizes the brilliant work of in-house designers, marketing and communications departments within corporations, publishing houses, non-profits, universities and government agencies. This prestigious showcase is highly selective. In 2017, nearly 6,000 entries were submitted and only 15% were recognized with a Certificate of Excellence.

Cosmetologists Chicago’s Creative Director, Kristen Erickson created the award-winning ABS 2017 Advance Program that showcased cover photography by Luis Alvarez and the Aquage Team.

Since 2008 and all for Cosmetologists Chicago, Erickson has won eleven Graphic Design USA American Inhouse Design Awards, seven Graphic Design USA American Graphic Design Awards, one Graphic Design USA American Web Design Award and one HOW Design In-HOWse Award.

“It has been an honor working with Luis Alvarez’s creativity,” said Erickson. “The past 6 years have been so inspirational. I am especially proud to be part of our America’s Beauty Show team, giving us the opportunity to bring worldwide beauty to Chicago.”

Cosmetologists Chicago president Larry Silvestri on congratulating the team added, “On behalf of Cosmetologist Chicago, I applaud the creativity of Kristen and Luis. America’s Beauty Show 2017 was a huge success, and it could not have been done without the commitment of all our teams. Kristen and Luis could not be more deserving of praise for their innovative and inspiring work.”

To find out more about America’s Beauty Show or for information on membership and upcoming educational events, visit

Be sure to save the dates for next year’s America’s Beauty Show: April 28-30, 2018, downtown Chicago in McCormick Place North.

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Color Melting at First Mondays by Cosmetologists Chicago

Color Melting was the theme of the June 2017 First Mondays education by Cosmetologist Chicago. The sold-out class was at the University of Aesthetics in Downers Grove, IL.

Prodigy Hair and Beauty CEO Christine Renella and Prodigy ‘Color Guru’ Brenda Zermeno taught the audience of professionals how to achieve the perfect color melt, a technique to create a smooth transition of color throughout the hair. The Prodigy educators demonstrated a step-by-step approach to accomplishing a silver shadow root on a live model and a pink color melt on a mannequin.

From the CC class, here are three tips for the perfect color melt:

  1. Use feathering to ensure the hair is fully saturated with color. “Both sides of the layer you are working on should have color,” Renella said. “Use the same pattern of color application on each layer, and all pieces will melt into a seamless flow of color.”
  2. Use a soft bristle brush for a simple application and allow for the diffusion of color. An audience member gave the tip to use 1-inch soft bristle chip brushes from the hardware store. They are inexpensive and great for feathering.
  3. Practice, practice, practice. “Don’t be afraid to get a mannequin and start experimenting,” Renella said. “The best way to perfect a color melt is to practice the technique.”

Everyone in the audience had the opportunity to practice the technique on a mannequin at the conclusion of the class.


Join Cosmetologists Chicago for the next FIRST MONDAYS class with Eric Zamarippa of Johnny B. HairCare on July 10, 2017, at the Pivot Point Academy, Bloomingdale, IL. Seating is limited; register here.

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CIDESCO Section U.S.A. Supports Global Wellness Day 2017

CIDESCO Section U.S.A. announces its commitment to CIDESCO International’s participation in Global Wellness Day on June 10, 2017, and encourages estheticians and beauty professionals to share a global wellness “thought of the day.”

“We at CIDESCO Section USA hope all American beauty professionals will share their wellness voices in the worldwide conversation on social media,” notes Paul Dykstra, CEO, Cosmetologists Chicago/CIDESCO Section USA. “By using #GWDwithCIDESCO, #GlobalWellnessDay and #CIDESCOUSA on your social messages, we will promote the concept of investing in wellness together.”

Global Wellness Day supporters are also encouraged to bring wellness into the forefront of their minds and lives, as well as friends, family and clients, by implementing this daily 7-point manifesto:

1- Walk for an hour

2- Drink more water.

3- Don’t use plastic bottles.

4- Eat healthy food.

5- Do a good deed.

6- Have a family dinner with your loved ones.

7- Go to bed by 10:00 PM.

According to Anna-Cari Gund, CIDESCO’s International President and Sweden’s Global Wellness Day Ambassador, “It’s fantastic to see that year on year Global Wellness Day is reaching a larger audience and that more and more of our schools, students and graduates are practicing the tips not just for the day but in their daily lives. Wellness is incredibly important to us and something that we hope all CIDESCO members prioritize in their lives to ensure a happy and fulfilling work-life balance.”

For more information on CIDESCO Section U.S.A. visit

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One Year Later: NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Top 3 Speak Out

Last year’s NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Top 3 finalists, 2nd from left — Winnie Huang, winner, Sarah Elmaz, 2nd runner up, and Celina Rydén, 1st runner up — all say their deep friendship is the biggest prize they won.

Last year’s Next Top Nail Artist Final Challenge at America’s Beauty Show brought three women together in competition … and ultimately in deep friendship. Winnie Huang (winner), Celina Ryden (first runner up), Sarah Elmaz (second runner up) arrived from literally around the globe to Chicago in March 2016 to compete in the final stages of the competition. (Winnie is from Canada, Celina hails from Sweden, and Sarah lives in Australia.) Now, one year later, here’s what they have to say about the experience.

NTNA: How’s this year been going for you as one of the top 3 nail artists in the world?

WH: It’s been a whirlwind! I’ve done so many things that are on my nail bucket list and met so many people.

CR: Same for me. My year has included lots and lots of travel (which I love) to the states and Europe, doing classes and workshops.

SE: Since the Finale I’ve had more time to devote to workshops around Australia and internationally. It’s nice to be able to meet people who have my same passion for nails.

NTNA: Who are some of the key people you’ve met as a result of your NTNA involvement?

CR: Sarah and Winnie, hands down.

SE: Meeting Celina and Winnie was the highlight for me. And of course Jan Arnold!

WH: Yes, ditto. These two are my amazing nail BFFs. Also Jan Arnold and the CND family. Oh, and Johnson Hartig of Libertine … so many other artists and pros I’ve looked up to since the beginning of time.

NTNA: Has your business as a nail tech been enhanced by this experience?

CR: Absolutely. I pushed myself farther creatively than I ever had before. I never thought I would make it as far as I did. It was fascinating to see how far you could push your mind and then actually execute the idea.

NTNA: What are a few things you DON’T miss from those intense weekly competitions?

WH: The weekly deadlines, and video editing. Ugh.

SE: Also the nervous waiting on results day!

Why do you feel like the three of you bonded so deeply?

SE: No one knows what this is like until you are knee deep into the competition. We were all in the same boat, just trying to get through each week.

WH: Our personalities are similar; we laugh at the same things and we were there for whoever needed support, which made our connection so much deeper. NTNA was an important chapter in our lives. We live so far apart, but the good news is we are meeting up at a nail show in Japan this fall. We are extremely excited to see each other!

CR: I remember saying to myself in week one [of the competition] that if I could dream of being in the Top 3, I would want to be there with Sarah and Winnie. Like Winnie said, I could tell that we were all very much alike.

NTNA: Three words you’d like to say to this year’s Top 3?

CR: “Go! Go! Go!”

SE: “Soak it in!”

WH: Wait, just three words? OK: “Congratulations! Inspire and Enjoy!”

NTNA: Will we see you at ABS this year?

WH: Absolutely!

SE: Not this year, sadly; I have a Get Buffed workshop in Malta; but I’m excited to hear the results.

CR: Yes! Catch me at the Light Elegance booth and doing classes.

For more information about NAILS Next Top Nail Artist, go to

See Parts 1 and 2 of the Top 3’s Final Challenges here:

More details of the NTNA Grand Finale at America’s Beauty Show coming soon!

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Illinois law enlists hairstylists to prevent domestic abuse


In this Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, photo, Karen Gordon, left, works on the hair of a client at J. Gordon Designs in Chicago. The state law requiring one hour of abuse-prevention training for stylists, barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, hair braiders and nail technicians as part of the licensing process goes into effect Sunday, Jan. 1. The National Conference of State Legislatures says the Illinois measure appears to be the first of its kind in the country. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois law that takes effect Sunday aims to take advantage of the trusted relationship between hairstylists and their clients to prevent domestic violence.

Stylists, barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, hair braiders and nail technicians in Illinois will receive an hour of mandated abuse-prevention training as part of the licensing process. The law does not require them to report any violence, and it shelters them from any liability.

Instead, the training provides beauty professionals with information about local help and resources they can share with clients. The Illinois measure appears to be the first of its kind in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hairstylists are well situated to notice signs of abuse, said Vi Nelson, spokeswoman for the industry group Cosmetologists Chicago.

Abusers “tend to try to find places where it could be an accident or it’s not as visible,” Nelson said. “They may hit them in the back of the head, and there’s a bruise or a bump. The hairdresser is touching you and can see things that cannot be visible to the casual observer.”

Clients and stylists often develop yearslong relationships, said Karen Gordon, who owns J. Gordon Designs salon in Chicago.

“We get very close with our clients, even so far to say we love our clients,” she said. “You know people through life’s ups and downs. When people come into a safe environment like a beauty salon, they tend to open up.”

State Sen. Bill Cunningham supported the measure, in part, because his wife is a former hairstylist whose customers frequently shared incidents of domestic violence.

She “had a difficult time dealing with these issues when they came up. She wasn’t sure what to tell her clients,” said Cunningham, a Democrat.

That’s why the new law was written to connect victims with services, not to have beauty professionals act as therapists, he said.

“The main goal is to get victims of domestic violence professional help if they want it,” he said. “It could be as simple as providing their client with a phone number. In maybe more extreme cases it could be putting their client in touch with a shelter.”

The domestic violence prevention nonprofit Chicago Says No More said the mandate was needed because past training efforts never caught on. The group’s founder, Kristie Paskvan, said beauty professionals are an ideal source to provide help because they can be more objective than family and friends.

“They’re listening and then they can say ‘Hey, if you’re interested, here’s some information,'” Paskvan said.

State Rep. Fran Hurley of Chicago, who supported the legislation, said she knows of one Chicago-area salon owner who puts business cards for a local anti-domestic violence group in her beauty shop’s bathroom.

“You’d be amazed at how many times she has to replace them,” said Hurley, also a Democrat. “She refills them all the time.”

Cosmetologists Chicago helped write the measure so that it did not require beauty professionals to become involved or report violence unless they choose. Once that was clarified, Nelson said, the professional response was “overwhelmingly positive.”

The first training sessions will be offered in March at an industry trade show in Chicago.

Gordon has been in the beauty industry for 38 years and said she thinks she would have used the training if it were offered earlier in her career.

“I wish I’d had the tools,” she said. “I wish I’d had the resources.”

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