CHICAGO — As pandemic restrictions continue to lift, beauty and hair care professionals say business is returning. But many salons continue to endure staffing shortages and the pressures of meeting demands.

A trade show on the Northwest Side hoped to ease the burden.

Following a year off, the Fusion Beauty and Barber Expo returned this weekend. About 2,500 beauty professionals commenced in Chicago for the two-day networking event. The competition was overflowing as barbers sought the $500 grand prize for the “best fade.” 

But the expo was more than just bragging rights. The event was a means to find ways to revive the struggling industry. 

A recent State of the Industry study found just 43% of salon owners have brought back their entire staff.

It’s why some attending the expo told WGN News they were also learning new skills, previewing the latest products and getting advice on self-promotion.  

WGN’s Judy Wang has more. Watch the full story in the video player above.