Midwest Hairstyling Awards

The fifth annual Midwest Hairstyling Awards’ regional Celebration Event is scheduled for Sunday evening, September 15, 2024, at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, MO.

A fun-filled, celebratory evening is being planned and will feature some of the top artists in our industry! The highly regarded MWHA Celebration Event nearly doubled in size in 2021 and quickly became one of the most popular regional award events in the beauty industry. Inspired by successful regional awards shows in the Northwest, Southwest, the MWHAs hosted an array of industry leaders and artists that are well regarded nationwide as well as international.

Our ethos is about successful beauty industry professionals supporting and growing one another. MWHA was created by hairstylists for hairstylists with the sole purpose of recognizing and celebrating the best of the best in the American beauty industry.   By dividing the country into regions, this allows artists who might not be ready for national competitions the opportunity to share their work and receive deserved recognition.  Our platform creates a non-political, level playing field for all stylists and makeup artists of any experience to submit their work with a chance to create a stronger professional position in their home communities. The individual’s ability to market themselves, their team and their salon or spa with an award of this caliber could be life changing.  In addition to awards at the Celebration Event, we also provide individual educational and mentorship opportunities provided by some of our judges and/or presenters. We have held educational events the day after our celebration and will continue to do so as an effort to inspire and motivate the attendees who want to elevate their knowledge and skills.

This awards show covers the Midwest region of the United States which includes Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

This contest is open to licensed professionals in the beauty industry in the Midwest region.  Hairstylists, Barbers, and Makeup Artists submit photographs of their work.  Winners are chosen through a judging process that includes some of the most well-known national and international professionals in the beauty industry. Winners will be announced live the evening of the awards ceremony.

The MWHA Celebration Event will showcase hair and fashion runway segments featuring five (invited) salon teams from the Midwest region and, new this year, up to four professional beauty brand sponsored segments interspersed with the announcement of winners in up to 11 recognized categories.  We will also announce three special honorees.  Again, this evening features several high-profile artists in various capacities.



Hairstylist of the Year
Dazzle us with a collection that shows your range and versatility in cutting, styling, editorial or outré hair (or any combination of it all). Anything goes!

Master Hairstylist of the Year
This category is designed for those with 15+ years of experience who have mastered their craft. Attention to detail and difficulty of execution count.

Newcomer of the Year
This category is designed to recognize licensed hair professionals with no more than three years of experience in our industry. Be creative and show us you bring a fresh perspective.

Barber Stylist of the Year
Whether classic or extreme, this category’s collections may use models of any gender. Entrants can be either licensed barbers or cosmetologists. Show us how well your detail work enhances your model’s features as well as compliments their hair texture, density and style.  We do caution that any digital retouching of any kind including altering lines, fades, etc., will result in your entry being disqualified.

Avant Garde Hairstylist of the Year
​Let your imagination take over and devise your most astonishing designs. Do something arresting, dynamic, innovative, and most importantly, something we have never seen before!

Hair Colorist of the Year
From classic to over the top, express yourself, show off and submit the absolute best of what you do. Difficulty, taste and execution are key! Be ambitious! Remember, NO synthetic hair of any kind is allowed in this category. Human hair wigs, hairpieces, and extensions ARE allowed.

Textured Hairstylist of the Year
Entries in this category must reflect skills used on multiple hair textures showcasing a professional ability to either alter or embrace a variety of textures of hair. This category will be judged by a panel of industry professionals known for their expertise in this area!

Artistic Team of the Year
Are you part of a group of professionals from a variety of workplaces that collaborate to create collections or maybe you are an Artistic Team from a single salon?  Jump in here and show us what beautiful minds with boundless creativity do when they work together!

Makeup Artist of the Year
A look is never complete without makeup, so we have an award for that too!  Whether it’s glamorous, eccentric, transformational, or classic, makeup can enhance or completely change the look of the person wearing it.  Show us what you do with your brushes, powders and creams!

Future Hairstylist of the Year
This category will not accept submissions but will be nominated by Directors of accredited, licensed learning institutions offering industry training necessary for professional licensing. Finalists will be chosen by members of the Hair Awards USA Style Council.  Finalists will be required to produce a short video displaying their passion, creativity and individual style. You’re our future!

Photographer of the year
We are bringing this category back because as we all know, a photographer is an important part of putting a collection together. Once there is an understanding of the feel for the artist’s need, it’s the photographer’s job to capture the story. Important key elements to executing the image are staging, lighting, angles, positioning, editing, etc. The expertise of the photographer can create impactful and award-winning images.
We will accept one entry per photographer. The entry will need to contain 3 images from one collection.

Special Awards

Special Awards

Uncensored Beauty Award
For the artist who follows the road less traveled; the one who paves their own path.  This artist knows no boundary and is willing to break the rules to tell a story with their art.  They make it possible for others to go against the norm.  This artist will not be put in a traditional box; they won’t be censored.  They are the epitome of Uncensored Beauty. This category will not accept submissions and will be nominated by Hair Awards USA Style Council members.

Inspiration Icon
This award will be given to an industry leader, artist and mentor who uses their knowledge to move one’s mind and emotion to encourage confidence in their own creativity and technical ability. No submission will be accepted for this honor award.

Lifetime Achievement
This award recognizes all the work, art and service that this individual has accomplished within the span of years in their career. No submission will be accepted for this honor award.



We strive to celebrate creativity, talent and excellence. We think the criteria should be simple to understand and inspire more professionals to submit their work! However, these are not guidelines. Any submission, no matter how artistic and beautiful, violating any of the following will be disqualified.  To enter your work for consideration, all hairstylist and hair colorist entrants must be licensed in the region they are applying.

  • Entries will only be accepted through this website.  Ensure you include the category you are entering at the TOP of your  submission, your professional name, city and state.  If you work in a salon, please include the salon name and location. If you have professional social media pages, please provide your handles.
  • All category submissions require a collection (separate looks) of three images. Not four or more, only three. You may use the same model, but the hair must be different (not the same hair from three different angles). Each FINAL image submitted for consideration must include both a BEFORE photo of the model, as well as a raw (before digital retouching) AFTER image, of the same.
  • Makeup category submissions must follow the same as the hair criteria above.
  • Entries for Hair Colorist of the Year must include a diagramed head sheet in addition to the above photo requirements. NO synthetic hair of any kind is allowed in this category.
  • Images MUST be:
    • 2000 (W) x 3000 (H) pixel dimension in size
    • 300 DPI
    • JPEG (.jpg) file
    • file size no larger than 5mb
    • anything else will not be accepted
  • Include the following credits: Model’s name, hairstylist, hair colorist, makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, photographer and digital operator if used. Failure to include credits will result in disqualification.
  • We welcome you to try something different – models of ANY age, gender, and ethnicity are enthusiastically encouraged.
  • Any licensed professional interested in applying for multiple awards is invited to do so however, a collection cannot be entered in multiple categories by the same entrant.  Each category must be a different collection for a single entrant. A collection may be entered in multiple categories if there were different professionals completing the work (for example, a hair colorist and a makeup artist may submit the same collection for consideration in there respective categories).

This is meant to be a fun way to express your creativity and develop your eye. If it’s your first ever entry into an award category or program, celebrate your work with courage, confidence, and commitment to your craft!

The submission deadline for the 2024 MWHA awards has passed.

The submission deadline for the 2024 MWHA awards has passed.