Story of Us, 1920-1930: Show Time

The International Beauty Show (IBS New York) is one of the top trade shows for the professional beauty industry. American Salon’s sister group spearheads IBS every March and the show’s main objective is to educate.   

This education objective has always been the anchor for beauty shows which started in the 1920s. In the April 1920 issue of The American Hairdresser, we covered the second annual exhibition of the American Ladies’ Hairdressers’ Association held in Palm Garden, NY. Deemed an unqualified success, the event showcased salon equipment demonstrations, styling techniques and business matters. The program also included instructive lectures. The Marcel waving lecture focused on the proper way to handle the iron. Charles Nestle—the permanent waving pioneer—had his company present his treatment which he claimed was “one of the most profitable branches of the salon business.” And coloring wasn’t left out.  A presentation showed the principles of hair dyeing—stressing the necessity of oxygen in order to achieve color results.

While all of these topics were important and relevant to the 1920s hairdresser, the most significant issue was gaining recognition and respect from the general public. “The qualifications of a hairdresser have to be standardized. A hairdresser should not be allowed to be a hairdresser of his own until he has qualified. An assistant should not call himself a hairdresser’s assistant until he has qualified—and such qualifications can only be administered by organizations. We could be powerful both politically and economically were we to organize and put our houses in order,” read the message in the exhibition’s program. Establishing itself as a formal trade would become priority number one throughout the decade. 

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