Sebastian surfaced from a vision of beauty without boundaries. We follow our artistic ambition to new depths and surge past the status quo, creating new possibilities for self-expression. The annual Sebastian What’s Next Awards is your opportunity to shape the evolution of creative vision within and beyond our industry. Enter the National Competition for a chance to compete onstage with the fiercest talent in the styling industry, including Top Sebastian Artists. The What’s Next Awards are where innovation and ambition collide. Careers are made here. Art is defined here. Now, it’s your turn to capture What’s Next.


  • August 15, 2017 – Entries Open
  • December 15, 2017 – Entries Close
  • January 8, 2018 – Semi Finalist Announcement 
  • January 18, 2018 – Finalist Announcement
  • February 25, 2018 – Finals Live in Los Angeles, California


  • $1,000 cash prize
  • Assist at a Sebastian-sponsored editorial photoshoot
  • Stylist started kit valued at over $1000


  • $2,000 cash prize
  • Sebastian-sponsored editorial photoshoot
  • All-inclusive trip to NYC to assist backstage at New York Fashion Week

 Affiliated Artists

  • $1,500 cash prize
  • Sebastian-sponsored editorial photoshoot
  • 2-night trip to city of choice for Day of Creative Mentorship

How to ENTER


Complete required fields in the “Submit an Entry” tab and agree to the required User Generated Content Agreement and Official Rules.

There are three categories to enter: Student, Professional and Affiliated Artist .


Open to aspiring stylists who are enrolled in an accredited cosmetology program or barber school.


Open to stylists who are licensed cosmetologists.


Open to stylists who are contracted by the Wella Company as a Professional Educator including but not limited to Top Artists, Core Team Members, Design Team Members, or Brand Educators.



You can view the 2018 Creative Brief HERE.



Models must be over the age of 18 and must sign a consent form.

Consent from model and photographer to use photo in competition (see Contest Rules and Requirements tab for details).

Modeling agencies are the best sources but can be expensive, and some models cannot stray from their existing look (i.e., they won’t allow you to cut or color their hair dramatically). Make sure you discuss this upfront before you begin work on your model.

Use your own network of clients, friends, relatives, friends of friends, post listings at gyms, coffee shops, nightclubs, or online networks such as Model Mayhem or Facebook.

Models should radiate the essence and attitude
of Sebastian Professional’s “Fighting for Creativity Beyond Convention” mantra, fit the creative brief and be molded to bring your vision to life. Stylists should also choose models that are photogenic and open to doing something visually creative for their portfolios.



Begin with word of mouth.

Try using online bulletin boards, Facebook or even posting “photographer wanted” flyers on college community boards (i.e., Art Center College of Design, New School, Brooks Institute, Art Institute, Hallmark Institute of Photography and Pratt Institute).

Review the photographer’s portfolio before hiring them; their style may not be suitable for you.

A great photographer will understand your vision and help to capture your creativity.



There is NO LIMIT to the number of looks/image submission. However, all will need to submit a close up (chest and above) so that the judges can see both your mastery and talent.

Lighting is everything in photography. We highly recommend you work with an expert in photography – either a working professional or student.

Find angles that best illustrate your hair look.

While hair is the focus, What’s Next Awards is about creating the whole package. Wardrobe and makeup should both compliment the look you are trying to achieve.

The photo can be in .jpg .jpeg .png or .gif format and a maximum size of 4032×4032 pixels and 4MB.