Nearly 60 massage professionals are putting their skills to the test under the eagle eye of the judges at Olympia Beauty in London.
Emma Gilmore is the head judge for the The National Massage Championship. She explains the sort of thing she and her fellow judges are looking out for.
“We look at important things like using a variety of techniques. Again that prevents you injuring yourself. We look at whether people are… it’s called palpation… actually feeling into the body and responding to the body, rather than just going through a routine. So actually responding to what the body needs and taking care of their clients is also really important.”
Chomnaphat Smith, originally from Thailand, is demonstrating some of her Eastern-inspired practices.
She isn’t afraid to climb up onto the massage table and really get to work on her subject.
Her efforts have paid off – she scooped a top prize at the end of a long day.
After collecting her win, she says: “It’s really lovely to perform on the table, or high up, like oh my God what am I going to do? And if I fell, what’s going to happen? But what I did, I breathed and relaxed. I breathed through it and said “I’m ok”. I thought out what I did. I didn’t do anything wrong I just have to perform the best ever I can do today, even though I have only half an hour.”
Olympia Beauty is a trade event so there is a heavy focus on professionals networking and learning from one another.
The Lash Games is a good example of this. It is a competitive event with beauty professionals competing in four classes of eye-lash extensions.
This is the Light Volume category and the competitors have just three hours to create their look, with the added pressure of performing in the middle of the Olympia Beauty show.
Floor judges are examining how clean the competitors work, but four judges behind the scene work anonymously and score the finished work with thorough examinations.
Julie Knight, the Lash Games organiser, explains the part of the scoring system: “The other thing they’re looking for is symmetry, very, very rare that we have people with symmetrical features. One eye bigger than the other, one eye set a little bit higher than the other. So they need to balance the fact that they may need to use different lashes on one eye than the other. I mean that is really tricky stuff, so the more they do that, the higher points they get.”
The winner walks away with an armful of beauty products and lights, but the prestige and the marketing opportunities of winning are the real prize.
Every competitor receives detailed feedback from the judges to help them further their career.
Elsewhere in the 17th edition of Olympia Beauty – and the first since 2019 as a result of the pandemic – the show floor is packed with beauty treatments.
18,000 professionals are in attendance to network and check out some of the latest trends and innovations in the industry.
Much of the show floor is made up by nail products, one of the most popular beauty treatments in the UK.
Of course with so much competition it’s important to stand out and nail artist Van Nguyen from HAT Store UK is creating an autumn inspired theme to demonstrate his talents.
He says: “The most difficult part I think is hand-drawing. So every single line I’m drawing you have to stop breathing. Sometimes when I draw something too detailed I have to stop breathing to get away from being nervous.”
Patience is also a very important factor… Nguyen and his model have been sat for five hours in the same spot working on this design.
Olympia Beauty runs from 3-4 October, 2021.