Creative Head Most Wanted: National Recognition for Leading Talent in British and Irish Hairdressing

Highly skilled, creaive, entrepreneurial, and vital to our self-esteem and mental health, the UK and Ireland’s hairdressers and barbers are the best in the world. In fact, hair and beauty service providers, including salons and freelance practitioners, contributed an incredible £5.1 billion to the UK economy in 2022*.

Recognising the most outstanding, progressive, and game-changing talents in British and Irish hairdressing are the Most Wanted awards, established in 2001 by leading industry magazine Creaive HEAD. And now, the finalists of 2023 have been named, including Nicholas Nicola of Allertons based in Leeds, surpassing strong competition to become one of five finalists in the Business Thinker category.

This year marks the 23rd Most Wanted competition and the biggest in its history, with a record number of entries and 16 categories celebrating a multitude of disciplines, from creative skill and commercial acumen, to education, the client experience, and a commitment to sustainability. The awards not only shine a spotlight on hairdressing business owners breathing life into the high street, but the session artists setting global trends, and individuals, whose skills and smiles transform thousands of lives every single day.

Entries are judged by dozens of experts from inside the industry and beyond. On this year’s panels were influential names such as George Driver, senior beauty editor - digital at ELLE; broadcaster, journalist and entrepreneur Ateh Jewel; talent agents from Premier Hair and Make-up; sustainability experts from Oxfordshire Greentech and Net Zero Now; leading salon owners Andrew Collinge, Larry King, and Sophia Hilton; and session artists Sam McKnight MBE and Nick Irwin; among many others.

At stake: 16 highly prized Most Wanted trophies, gifts galore from the competition's generous sponsors, and a platform like no other to boost profile. Past winners have gone on to represent global brands, lead Fashion Week teams in London, New York, Paris, and Milan, launch their own workspaces and product ranges, get slots on prime-time TV, and collaborate with the world’s most famous designers and publications. The recognition can be career changing.

To discover their fate, Nicholas Nicola will now join fellow finalists at the Most Wanted and It List Grand Final, the most coveted event in the hairdressing calendar, taking place on Monday 4 September. Held at London’s iconic Tate Modern, the most-visited art gallery in the world, the Grand Final brings together a 700-strong, all-star guest list to celebrate the crowning of the 2023 champions.

“Hairdressing is a brilliantly diverse industry with a breadth of talent, innovation and originality that leaves you breathless – and that’s what Most Wanted is here to recognise and celebrate. We’re here for the cutters, the colourists, the barbers, the innovators, the business brains, the green heroes, the independents, and the inspirational educators. Earning a place on the list of finalists is something to be extraordinarily proud of – not everyone makes it to Tate Modern. These names are part of the elite, and we will honour their contribution in style.”

– Amanda Nokage, editorial director, Creative HEAD

For a full list of finalists visit | @creativeheadmag #MWIT23

*The Value of Beauty, Oxford Economics, 2023