"Do you love hairstyling?" the young man dressed in black boomed, pausing as he cut a model's hair on a small stage in the main exhibition hall at the Long Beach Convention Center on Sunday afternoon. Over the throb of rock music, the crowd signaled its approval, as video monitors overhead gave a close-up view of the young man's handiwork.
Indeed, it is likely that almost everyone in the hall loved hairstyling -- or caring for nails, skin, faces or bodies in some way or another. With a head count expected to surpass 25,000 by the time it closes late Monday afternoon, the 2 1/2-day annual International Salon and Spa Expo is the West Coast's largest event for beauty professionals.
The man in black was demonstrating his skills for TIGI-Bedhead, one of around 400 vendors displaying techniques and/or selling products (at an appealing discount) to working pros, who jostled elbow-to-elbow for OPI polishes priced six for $22, hair dryers, curling irons, face creams, combs, scissors and more. In the circus-like atmosphere, what could a vendor do to get attention? Good-looking men in body-paint shirts helped draw folks to the Enzo Milano Professional Styling Tools booth.
Elsewhere, models in tiny swimsuits (two women and one exceedingly hunky man) grabbed attention. Which is why I thought the very tall man in the blue micromini-dress and blond wig lounging in a salon-style chair at Dermatologica was there to get attention for the line. But soon he got up and sauntered away. Apparently he was just resting his tootsies, and, no, one really shouldn't wear sky-high plexiglass stilettos to an event that calls for covering so much territory by foot.