For most of us, this year has felt different. We’re not going to sugarcoat it: 2020 has been hard. The coronavirus pandemic forced salons to close and kept stylists from their chairs and guests (it still is in some states at the time this is going to press). It’s amazing artists were able to get their hands in hair, let alone post it on their Instagram feed.

In an industry of artists, there isn’t a lack of creativity. Stylists dusted off their mannequins, logged onto virtual education, kept their skills polished on relatives they were quarantining with, and even repurposed old photos to keep their Instagram feeds looking fresh. Passion for their craft kept these artists motivated during these tough times.

“Making people feel good is a luxury I didn't realize I had until COVID-19 took it away,” says Toni Jennings (@toniiii_j_hair). “I love watching people’s face light up as they see the final result. It’s a journey and privilege to be able to create art with and on a human canvas!”

“I love that I get to create beauty every single day,” says Carlos Rojas (@carlosrojas911). “It became really apparent when I couldn’t do hair during the quarantine. It was tough for me because I couldn’t create. Silver lining: I realized that I was in the perfect career and doing exactly what I should be doing.”

Because this year has been different, when compiling the MODERN SALON 100, we looked at it through a lens that we hadn’t yet examined it through before: how is this person impacting our industry for the better?  Yes, we still focused on who is producing beautiful content on their Instagram feed, but we also considered who is defining what it is to be a game-changer: Who has been an early adopter to TikTok in the pro-beauty realm? Who has been using their platform to make a social impact? Who really represents the #StylistsSupportingStylists movement?

We surveyed artists why they believe their audience follows them, and the most common answer was authenticity. Especially during a time when stylists couldn’t be with their guests face to face, being “human” through posts, stories and messages was impactful.

“It starts with being authentic,” says Cameron Kepford (@cameronkepford). “From the moment my guest is in my chair we establish a connection. I create the energy of our experience and navigate what their comfortable with.”

Speaking of connection, when asked why our MODERN SALON 100 class of 2020 loves being a hairstylist, the number-one answer was the human connections made between other industry professionals and their guests.

“What I love most about being a stylist is being blessed with a talent that can change someone’s complete disposition,” says Hullema Reddick (@the_covered_colorist, @hstylze). “The human connection and ability to create a vibe for someone who’s day may not have started out so great.”

“I love being a hairstylist because of the hair community and relationships it has helped me form,” says Natalie Ruzgis (@natalieruzgis). “I love making people feel good about their hair. I love teaching about hair. I love learning about hair. All of those things connect us and it’s the people and connections that keep me going.”

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. Start to follow these artists, engage with them and be inspired by them.


Adina Pignatare, adina_pignatare

Aleisbel Vázquez, curlpop

Alex Brown, alexbrownhair

Alexandra Pelerossi, alex_haircraft

Alicia Iannone, liciebaby

Aly Davis, alydavishair

Amanda Fiorita, hairbyamanda.f

Amy Malarchik, askforamy

Andrew Collett, buzzedandfaded

Ariel Brewer, arielbrewerhair

Ashley Brace, charlestoncolorist

Ashley Leoncini, phillyhair

Ashlie Marmo, ashytones

Beto Sanchez, betoloveshair

Britny Bassett, hairbybritny

Caidy Brasure, caidycreate

Cameron Kepford, cameronkepford

Carlos Rojas, carlosrojas911

Carly Zanoni, the.blonde.chronicles

Cassie Siskovic, cassiskovic

Chanel Spaulding, chanelstylez

Chloe Jones, createdbychloej

Christina Crook, tina_doeshair

Claudia Janel Molinar, hairbyclaudiaj

Colby Smith, itscolbs

Cristina Morales, hairbycm

Daisy Henson, curlyhairdaze

Danielle Carrington, deecarrington

Darcee Rogers, dayswithdarcee

Dominique DiBenedetto, hairbydom22

Elaine Cavada, elainecavadahair

Elanda Dunn, elandadunn_stylist

Erin Bonney-Hassell, erin.boha

Evan Joseph, evanjosephcurls

Fiorella Castro, fiorellacastrohair

Freddy Razo, razothebarber

Gilad Goldstein, myguiltycrown

Hailey Mahone, haileymahonehair

Hakoum Herro, herrohair

Heather Ferg, allhailthehair

Hullema Reddick, hstylze, the_covered_colorist

Jade Federico, colour.jade

Jamal Edmonds, lamajbackwards

Jamie Brice, thestylist.jamie

Jasmine Ashley Braud, livjazzashley

Jay Minier, bluejayhair

Jayme Williams, wavesofhairbyjayme

Jeannetta Walker-Ridgers, watchmyhairbounce

Joel Torres, joeltorresstyle

Jonathan Wright, iam_jonathan_

Jordan McLeod, prettyispricey

Jordan Zimlich, jordanaveryz

Juan Torres, juahnn

Julie Smith, thathairmagic

Justine Marjan, justinemarjan

Kat Collett, katkolors

Kate Eissinger, kateloveshair

Katelyn Baker, bridalhairbykatelyn

Keelan Baker, keelanshaircouture

Kelley Brandon, kelleyscanvas

Kelli Mason, _kellimason_

Kelly Martin, kellyawesomesauce

Keya Neal, keyaartistically

Kiyah Wright, kiyahwright1

Kristi Day, kristidaybeauty

Kylie Bussing, kyliebussinghair

Leo Valencia, leo.valencia

Madison Carbrey, hairbymadisoncarbrey

Maguy Rosen, themaneartistry

Marie Simone, mariesimonehair

Marisa Mitchell, marisacuts

Marwa Bashir, marwabashirhair

Megan Grimm, megan.e.grimm

Monae Everett, monaeartistry

Morgan Brack, themorganbrackhair

Najah Aziz, najahliketheriversalon

Natalie Ruzgis, natalieruzgis

Nicole Loyola, nicoleloyolahair

Nikki La, hair_bynikki85

Nina Muresan, hair.and.nina

Oluchi Zelda Opara, oluchizelda

Rachel Williams, rachelwstylist

Ricardo Jara, ricardojarahair

Ronesia Barrs, ronesiabarrshair

Sabrina K Banks, xocurls_s.b

Sabrina Yamani Yamga, sabrinathehairwitch

Sage Kinney, sagekinney

Sally Lemmo, clevelandhairboss

Sara Pestella, saramay_level10

Shannen Deloatch, shand_hair

Sheena Dickerson, queenstylista

Sila Reilly, silastylist

Sonna Brado, sonnabrado

Taylor Leven, bytaylorleven

Taylor Murphy, madeandtaylored

Toni Jennings, toniiii_j_hair

Veronica Nunez, veronica_nunez

Whitney Burkhart, wb_upstyles

Whitney Hawkins, whitneynhawkins

Zaid Bakeer, himnhair


Read more about each honoree in the digital edition of MODERN SALON.

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