THERE was glitter and sparkle all round when hair and beauty students battled it out in an elaborate makeover competition.

More than 100 students from Redcar & Cleveland College created outlandish, mythical and imaginative models in the annual competition to find the greatest talents in make-up and hair design.

With themes varying from Christmas Panto and Futuristic/Space to Myths and Legends and Nightmare Before Christmas, the therapists went above and beyond to impress the judges with awe-inspiring styles, striking colour and unique finishes.

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In the College's lecture theatre, models dressed as Umpa Lumpas, Greek Goddesses, Space Queens and panto princesses were closely examined by external judges Graham Smith and Mandy Durkin.

Winners of the four categories were announced, and each will now be invited to take part in regional heats of the ATH competition in Newcastle before the national final is held in Blackpool.

Winners of the Level 3 team event were students Melanie Wright and Lisa Porter, who turned model Grace Weatherall into a futuristic vision with intricate braids and eye-catching make-up.

Mel, 33, of Marske, who works at VIP salon in Saltburn, also won the Level 3 Cutting and Blow Drying category.

She said: "We are really pleased to have won our category. We were working with Grace all day on the braids and her hair did take a long time, but we were happy with the look at the end. I got the inspiration for the braids from a picture I saw on the Internet, but I made the rest up as I went along. We didn't have a trial run beforehand - we worked it all out on the day - so we are delighted."

Lisa, 30, of Marske, said: "Winning has made all the hard work worthwhile. We really enjoyed it and it's great to win, especially as there were a lot of good entrants. We will probably keep the same style for the next round, so fingers crossed."

Judge Graham Smith, who owns Graham Daniel's Hair Studio in Billingham and who is a professional international judge, said the students had shown real flair.

He said: "The standard has been really good, particularly as we got to the Level 3 students. Some of the models looked excellent and we could see how much work had been put in."

Fellow judge Mandy Durkin, National Training Manager for Saks Education, added: "We were looking for the overall finish of the hairstyles, as well as the intricacies of them and how they sat with the make-up. The students have really shown off their creative talents."

Sandra Holmes, Acting Head of the Hair, Beauty and Business School, said the standard for the competition was higher every year.

She added: "All of our students have taken part, from those studying Level 1 to those more experienced who are now studying Level 3, and all have put their hearts and souls into it.

"I think the standard this year has exceeded our expectations - we have seen some amazing creations. It's wonderful to see all of the planning and teamwork come together."