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Every year in our Game-Changers issue, MODERN SALON editors feature 100 of our favorite Instagram beauty pros—the artists whose work we repeatedly screenshot. We annually spotlight a mix of well-known personalities (@larisadoll, @lalasupdos, @mustafaavci) and names you might not have heard yet (@traehowardhair, @hairspray_studio, @erin.mills) in an effort to give rising stars the attention they’ve earned, regardless of following. Scroll down to see our complete list of 2019's MODERN SALON 100 honorees. 

In the past, word-of-mouth and business cards were our industry’s best way to attract new guests, and it took years to build a solid clientele. “In 2009, our instructors told us it was going to be tough to build a clientele in the current economy,”says Erin Cheney, @hairbyerinc. “They were right, but I persevered. I began using Instagram to post client photos as often as I could. I studied the patterns of hashtags and photography/styling. Appointments from clients who found me on Instagram started pouring in. Social media has revolutionized the industry.”

Even if your goal isn’t to become the industry’s next big superstar, Instagram has changed the lives of salon professionals around the world: From access to limitless education to tutorials and formula posts, connecting with major beauty brands and feature pages, forming friendships with like-minded stylists and reigniting a passion for the industry.

“Because of Instagram, I no longer do perms or relaxers and only have a few clients left that are strictly cuts,” says Montana Schmidt, @paintslikeschmidt.“I’ve created a dream clientele and I’m booked out far enough that I’ve been able to cut my hours and spend more time with family.”

A staggering statistic used to exist that showed the prevalence of hairdressers leaving the industry as they found themselves bored and uninspired after a few years. As we surveyed our MODERN SALON 100, we frequently learned Instagram has upped their passion and love for their craft, making them more inspired and motivated than ever.

WHO ARE THE MODERN SALON 100?

When our editors began to put together the 2019 MODERN SALON 100, we felt it important not to publish each artist’s number of followers—in an effort to not deter your attention from their deserving work just because someone might have fewer than 1,000 followers.

First and foremost, they’re salon professionals just like you. It’s when you compare their work side-by-side you can see that, though there isn’t a checklist—many are specialists in color, some focus on men, texture, updos and bridal styling, braids—they’re taking the right steps to ensure they’re best capturing and marketing their content in a way that’s drawing an audience.

THE PHOTOS

When we interviewed each of the 100 artists you’ll get snapshots of here, the number-one takeaway when it comes to quality content is: lighting is everything. Natural lighting is key—a flash creates a glare, distorts color and emphasizes frizz.

A ring light can make the most immediate difference in your photos. Jack Martin, @jackmartincolorist, says he uses more than one ring light to capture the best shot of his clients—one for over the head and another for direct, front-on light. Some successful artists are finding their posts perform the best when they style the whole shot, not just the hair.

Christina Kreitel, @christinakreitel, recently hired a professional makeup artist for her salon so her clients would look incredible in “after” pictures. Jamie Sea, @prettylittleombre, says she keeps leather and denim jackets at her station so her clients are photo-ready when it comes time to create content.

And don’t underestimate the power of a quality shot: Sarai Speer, @theplatinumgiraffe, says she invested in a professional camera and frequently posts about the difference in quality and capturing true-to-tone color versus using an iPhone.

Madison Fetterhoff, @hairstylist.madison, says she chooses pictures to post based on which ones look better when reduced to thumbnail size. “When people scroll #balayage, they see smaller thumbnails of people’s work not the large-scale detailed shot. I choose which picture to post based on what looks better from farther away.”

THE CAPTION

When looking for work to feature on @modernsalon, we gravitate toward posts with a story. In addition to brand tags and formulas, we want the application details, tips on placement and the backstory—was it a color correction? Tell us. How long did the transformation take? Are the behind-the-scenes in your Instagram Stories? Give us more.

“People get bored so quickly—what is going to capture someone’s already-short attention span in an over-saturated, competitive market? Education!” says Amelia Fugitt, @ameliahairmakeup. “The majority of my followers are hairstylists looking for education, so having an informed caption that’s educational or introduces something new always does well. I love to see beautiful hair, but I want to know what technique and product were used and why.”

HASHTAGS

Hashtags are an incredible tool to find new content that’s relevant to your interests and improve the visibility of your own posts. If you’re looking to attract new guests through your Instagram, use local hashtags and client-friendly hashtags that they might be exploring when looking for hair inspo (#miamiweddinghair, #miamistylist).

If you’re looking to up your profile in the professional industry and build out your opportunities, use professional hashtags such as #platinumcard, #teasylights, #foilyage and be specific—only use #colormelt if it really is a color melt, not just because it’s a popular tag.

BE ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY

Our favorite piece of advice to gaining more exposure is to be active in the community. Comment on posts you love—don’t just “like.” Social media doesn’t just give you a voice and the ability to inspire; it also validates other voices and keeps the inspiration flowing. Although the best way to get your photo seen by the editors of MODERN SALON is to Direct Message us, it’s much better for you to use #modernsalon vs @modernsalon. With 1 million followers, our DM inbox can get out of hand super-fast. Use #modernsalon in your photos because that’s what we use to best find work that our followers want us to see.

2019 MODERN SALON 100:

Morgan Abernathy

McKenna Anzaldua

Dawn Atkinson

Shakhnoza Azimova

Amber Baranzini

Dre Barranon

Emily Boulin

Danilo Bozic

Stephanie Brinkerhoff

Nadria Brown

Brendan Buoni

Casey Campisi

Danielle Canseco

John Carmona

Tabetha L. Carns

Fiorella Castro

Kat Chase

Amy Chen

Erin Cheney

Tucker Cinalli

Kristen Colon

Liz Cook

Josh DeMarco

Wynter DePriest

Justin Dill

Jessica Domoney

Jess Dworniczak

Melissa Eppers

Alex Faction

Danielle Ferguson

Madison Fetterhoff

Victor Fontanez

Amelia Fugitt

Courtney Gann

Breann Garcia

Ursula Goff

Sadie Jean Gray

Katlin Green

Samantha Harman

Sheridan Holyoak

Bridget House

Trae Howard

Sade Huckabee

Trevor James

Michael Kelley

Haley Kimble

Christina Kreitel

J Ladner

Leigha Lane

Savannah Laney

Janel Latessa

Alfredo Lewis

Johnee Livingston

Megan Lorson

Amanda Ludwig

Mirella Manelli

Carrie Marginian

Haley Marshall

Jack Martin

Carla Massimo

Sean Michael

Luis Miller

Erin Mills

Kelly Naso

Patricia Nikole

Andreana Nunez

Nicole O'Hare

Sara Ortega

Sai Phet

Casey Powell

Jamie Pressman

Marissa Pusateri

Chelsea Rae

Bree Ritter

Chelsea Roberts

Alisha Rodrigues

Shannon Romano

Elyse Rox

Bianca Salazar

Lisa Salgado

Debbe Salvino

Christiana Sayyah

Heather Schmick

Montana Schmidt

Jamie Sea

Marina Sellecchia

Melanie Sorrow 

Sarai Speer

Kayluh Stewart

Akeiri Taylor

Daniel Tetreault

Natalie Thomas

Mary Thomaston

Ellie Toia

Justin Toves-Vincillone

Kim Tran

Debora Vargas

Alaina Walker 

Jessica Wright

Michelle Zeller-Porumb

NEXT YEAR

Want to catch our attention and get featured on @modernsalon? Make sure you’re following us and using hashtag #modernsalon! We’re always looking for our next featured artist.The more you post and engage with our posts, the more we see you.