A WOODLEY salon manager has been named as a finalist in HJ's British Hairdressing Awards 2020.

The awards, sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional, promotes professionalism, innovation, and excellence, while recognising those individuals and teams who work tirelessly to raise the profile of the hairdressing industry and drive the sector forward through outstanding talent and creativity.

Despite the pandemic forcing hairdressers to put down their scissors and hang up their hairdryers for four months this year, there were a record numbers of entries.

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Altin Ismaili, Salon Manager at Marc Antoni in Woodley, impressed more than 80 hair industry judges to be named one of just six stylists shortlisted for the Southern Hairdresser of the Year category – which welcomed entries from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

To allow for the disruption of lockdown, this year stylists could choose to submit four hair images made up of pre-existing work to create a collection.

Altin's creative hairstyling and skill in cutting and colouring ensured his photographic work stood out from the rest.

Now, Altin will submit another two images of his work in the hope of catching the judges’ imagination further with his expanded trend-led collection.

This artistic hairdressing will put him in the running to be named Southern Hairdresser of the Year on November 30 – the most anticipated night in the hairdressing calendar.

Delighted with his achievement, Altin said: “Through these awards it’s wonderful to see the whole community pull together to inspire each other.

"These awards prove that we are strong and resilient and that our creativity cannot be dampened.

"I’m thrilled to be nominated as there are many amazing hairdressers in my region.”

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Commenting on the announcement, Jayne Lewis-Orr, executive director of HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards, added: “To be named as a finalist in the Southern Hairdresser of Year category is a huge achievement, and it’s inspiring to see the power of creativity and their exceptional work.

"His hairstyling demonstrated fantastic skill and vision, and rightly gives him the acknowledgement as one of the UK’s best hairdressers.”

HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards have launched the careers of a host of household names: from John Frieda and Nicky Clarke to TONI&GUY creative director Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, as well as TV favourites Lisa Shepherd and Andrew Barton.