by Jessi Marshall, PBA Director of Education and Industry Programs

Throughout the years, The North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) has evolved from a small awards ceremony in 1989 to the star-studded, prestigious, career and life-changing photographic competition it is today. Receiving a NAHA is a great honor for industry professionals, and a goal worth striving for. Each year, the artists recognized represent the best in the industry, and each award celebrates the skill of the professional salon industry.

2014 marks 25 amazing years for the NAHA awards. The Professional Beauty Association (PBA), producers of NAHA, is taking a step back in time to look some of the most influential moments in our industry and our culture, and how it has changed over the years.

1989 – NAHA debuts in Chicago with five categories, founded by Modern Salon Media and Redken Laboratories. The event was black-tie optional and a champagne reception and gourmet dinner.

1990_madona_cone_bra1990 - Madonna has been a fashion icon for decades, but one of her most memorable looks was the cone bra that Jean Paul Gaultier designed for her Blond Ambition Tour in 1990.

1991 - NAHA awards Paul Mitchell the first Lifetime Achievement (posthumously)



1993_kate_moss_calvin_klein1992 - Kate Moss changed the fashion world forever. As a teenager she helped pave the way for the era of “heroin chic,” a controversial style celebrating androgyny and incredibly slim figures.

1993 – NAHA introduces the Student Hairstylist of the Year category.

1994 – NAHA introduces two new categories: Nail Makeovers and Permanent Waving. Awards Ceremony is held in San Diego in January during the Winter Buyer’s Conference.

1994_the_rachel1994 - Jennifer Aniston’s “Friends” character Rachel Green became famous for her layered, choppy hairstyle, created by Stylist Chris McMillan. “The Rachel” remains one of the most iconic hairstyles of all time, and was the most requested celebrity cut of the ’90s.

1995_spicegirls1995 - The Spice Girls burst onto the mid 90’s scene and celebrated girl power and individuality. Each with their unique looks, Posh, Scary, Baby, Ginger, and Sporty, each offered their unique looks that girls all over the world wanted to emulate. The Spice Girls paved the way for platform shoes, pigtail buns, and body glitter.

1995_clueless1995 - Cher Horowitz, and her electronic, revolving closet swept over the fashion industry with her knee-highs and mini skirts. the movie “Clueless” went on to become a cult classic and Cher will forever be one of the most celebrated style icons.

1995 – Redken icon Paula Kent Meehan is named first Hall of Leaders recipient during the February ceremony in Anaheim, CA.

1997_gianni_versace1997 - Gianni Versace was one of the most influential fashion designers of the ’90s, and he staged his last couture show at the Ritz in Paris, less than a year before his untimely death outside his Miami home.

1998_SATC1998 - Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Sex in the City” character, Carrie Bradshaw, started countless trends and became a fashion icon. With her quirky, seamless fashion sense and expensive taste, she helped make upscale, luxury brands a household name.

1998 – The NAHA Tribute Journal takes the shape we see today with images from all finalists.

botox2000 - Fillers like Botox and Restylane took over Hollywood with young stars like Jessica Simpson sporting filled-in lips. The trend transcended age and gender, with men and women of all ages seeking this cosmetic treatment.

2001 – NAHA introduces two new categories: Long Hair Dressing and Contemporary Classic.

2002 – Salon Team of the Year category is added.

2003_liya_kebede_estee_lauder2003 - Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede became the first woman of color to sign a contract with Estee Lauder’s in the company’s 57-year history. Later she was named by Forbes as one of the top 11 highest grossing models of 2003.

2004 - The NAHA Awards Ceremony finds its current home at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in fabulous Las Vegas.


2004 - Audiences were all abuzz about the infamous live wardrobe malfunction during the Superbowl halftime show by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake – during JT’s “Rock your Body”.


2007 – NAHA introduces the new Category Fashion Forward. 

2009 - The show “Glee” Airs for the first time bringing Musicals to nighttime television. The pop musical scores and cover songs became global hits and topped the charts in multiple countries. The first season alone earned 19 Emmy nominations.

2010 – The Salon MBA category is introduced to recognize the amazing work of today’s business savvy salon/spa owners.

jessica-biel-ombre (1)2010 - A huge year for hairstyles and new trends. Ombré hair becomes all the rage, and actresses like Jessica Beal and Drew Barrymore at the forefront of the Ombré movement. Then, Alice Dellal walked the fashion runways with one side of her long hair shaved, and the undercut trend was born. This popular hairstyle is now seen on stars like Rhianna, and Miley Cyrus today.

2011- The NAHA Awards Ceremony is hosted by industry icon Tabatha Coffey.

2011_Royals2011 – Prince William marries Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey with 1 million people present and an estimated 2 billion people watching worldwide.

2012 – Newcomer Stylist of the Year is introduced to bridge the gap between Student and Hairstylist of the Year.

2012_anne_hathaway2012 - Anne Hathaway unveils her pixie style on the red carpet for her role in Les Miserables, starting a pixie-cut trend that is still going strong today.

2013 – Men’s Hairstylist of the Year category becomes 14th NAHA category.



Tune into the NAHA finalist announcement April 30, 2014! Visit and get your tickets this spring to celebrate NAHA in person, July 13, in Las Vegas. Visit for details and updates. 

About the Author

Jessi Marshall is the Director of Education and Industry Programs for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA). PBA develops and offers progressive, relevant and quality education for our members. Our live and online education and resources meet the needs of today’s busy professional and cover a range of topics. Along with our Education program, PBA provides our members with Government Advocacy, Signature Events, Charitable Outreach, Research and Business Resources. Visit for more information.