Hello, San Diego — 2014 L'Oreal Professionnel Artists Training

Twice a year the LP Artistic Technical Team members gather together for training, motivation, and plenty of conviviality. For all of you who asked what we learn and do at these gatherings, here's your glimpse into our last one...

This Spring, we gathered in San Diego. What an incredible and inspiring place. We stayed at the Hilton Bay Front Hotel, and the view was gorgeous. Beautiful place, helpful staff, great location. Because of social media, the excitement started early as I saw many of the LP portfolio artists posting photos from the location ahead of our arrival time, prepping for what was an incredibly creative and inspiring fashion show. Portfolio artists are educators at the top of their profession. They lead the industry and are the face of the company. They teach at top accounts, in the LP SOHO academy in New York (and California, etc), and they are the artists behind the education videos, techniques and imagery that the company releases.

The first night opened with a cocktail party. I spent time talking to people who do the same thing as me gathered from all across the country and meeting the new artists, in anticipation for the weekend's big kick-off. When the main doors finally opened, everyone rushed in to get a great spot close to the stage. We wanted to make sure we had a good vantage point to see the show.

It's hard to explain what these hair fashion events are like, but picture a dance club crossed with New York Fashion Week, where you see models coming down the runway. Except the audience isn't in chairs. As we watch the show, we surround the stage(s) and dance along with the music, take pictures of the models walking by, and admire the incredible hair, done by the portfolio artists. There is always a theme and inspiration behind the looks. Usually, it is some form of what we will be coming back and teaching to local salons. It is basically what is trending in hair for the season. Yes hair, just like fashion, follows global trends in shape, color, and style. The show is also a precursor to what we will be learning hands-on throughout the weekend.

After getting a small nights rest, we started bright and early in a group meeting that gave us some insight into current industry and consumer philosophies. Did you know that women consider getting their hair done a necessity? "Treating themselves" would be getting a mani or pedi these days. But the hair, it must be done! Interesting, right? Also, most women want their stylist to be their image/fashion consultant, but oftentimes, the stylist doesn't step up to the plate. Great food for thought. Definitely something we will be working on here at Cultures. We also got to see the new products and looks that will be released this spring.

After this initial meeting, we split up into our specialties for the hands-on portion of the training. I am a haircolor specialist, so that's what the majority of my classes are focused on. The first day we did balayage training all day long. I have done balayage for years in the salon, but it's still so fun to spend the day learning different application techniques, patterns and designs for current celebrity looks. There is always a different way to approach a look, and I love learning from different artists. The people teaching these classes are the best of the best in their field! After a small break, we went back into the color room and played with the new LP Hair Chalk. The new chalks are a great way to try on color (especially fun colors) without the commitment. Think of it like an accessory for the hair, or like makeup that can be changed to suit your look each day. Dinner was on my own and then we met back for another cocktail party. Hairstylists like parties.

The next morning, we had another general meeting which focused on the marketing side of the company and how salons can market their new services and products. Fun stuff! Then it was back to the hands-on color room to learn all about the new "It Looks" for Spring-Summer 2014. We focused on learning and teaching some really simple, updated looks for clients to be on trend, without breaking the bank.

After the hands-on portion, we met back in the general meeting room again, where I learned to become a better public speaker and educator with techniques taught by Blair Singer. After Blair's training, we watched this closing video (posted below) to reminisce about our weekend. With a final champagne (or apple cider) toast, our training ended.

I actually stayed for one more full day of training with a small group of educators (about 18 of us) that teach in an advanced program for LP called Expert Network. I'll tell you about the Expert Network another time, but let me finish by saying...

What I LOVE about San Diego:

The views
The lifestyle
Sand between my toes
Mild weather
Salt in the air
Delicious food
So many things to do and see

I lived in San Diego for a year an a half in my early 20s, and I always love "going home" there. Did I mention that I love the beaches? Because I do.