Joanne is a cut above!

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A DUNLOY hairdresser proved she was head and shoulders above the rest by being officially named one of the best in the business in the whole of Europe, writes Nevin Farrell.

And it literally was a hair-raising experience for Joanne O’Neill of Joanne O’Neill Hairdressing when she won a ‘fantasy’ competition with an outstanding entry modelled by Ciara McStravick.

Joanne spend hundreds of hours creaing a stunning dress made of human hair for Ciara to wow the judges at the OMC European Hairdressing Championships in Dublin.

But it was Joanne’s wonderful hair styling which saw her come away with first place in the ‘Senior Fantasy Competition’.

Joanne admits that the type of hairstyle she brought home the title with is not the sort of thing customers in her Dunloy salon ask for but she said it is wonderful to be able to step outside the box and really do something creative.

Joanne told the Times: “I am ecstatic at winning Gold at the OMC European Hairdressing Championships.

“There were over competitors from 24 nations competing in the Senior Fantasy Competition. The standard was amazing with a full array of fantasy images and to win this was surreal.

“The most important aspect of this competition is the fact that it is judged by world class competition hairdressers and as such it is an acknowledgement from them that my work stood out.

“It was such a great feeling to stand and receive my European Gold and my Irish Championship Gold in front of literally thousands of my hairdressing peers. I got great cheers from ‘Team Ireland’ who I was competing for and also from ‘Team GB’ who I have worked with over many years in the Nhf Artistic Team.

“Since winning I have received hundreds of emails from hairdressers across the world praising me for my work.

“I spent hundreds of hours creating this Tribal fantasy piece and is made entirely of human

hair - even the clothes are made from hair. I love the freedom of the Fantasy category, where I can really express myself artistically through the medium of hair. Indeed all the feathers, clothes, headdress and horns Ciara used were all constructed from human hair.”

Joanne has been hairdressing for 20 years and has won many accolades over the years in cutting and colouring disciplines, “but it is Fantasy that I can let my creative juices flow,” she added.

She described winning the OMC European Fantasy Title and the IHF Fantasy Champion title as some of her greatest achievements.

She added: “My clients enjoy the buzz the competition creates in the salon and from seeing the hair creation taking shape, but definitely don’t want this for a look on a Saturday night.”

But Joanne’s success on the international stage is certainly good for business. Clients are attracted to the salon because of its success in Cutting and Colouring competitions which showcase skills.

The OMC European Hair and Beauty Championships were hosted in Dublin recently with over 600 competitors entered from 24 countries from across Europe and beyond. The only European Gold captured by Team Ireland was by Joanne O’Neill.