Long, straight hair won't disappear but big, bouncy curls are making a comeback and for anyone tired of their drab, mousey hair colour chalking can add a rainbow hue.

New York - Long, straight hair won't disappear but big, bouncy curls are making a comeback and for anyone tired of their drab, mousey hair colour chalking can add a rainbow hue.

They were among the biggest beauty trends, along with argan oil and applique nail art, featured at the International Beauty Show and the International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference in April, where hundreds of exhibitors showed the latest looks and beauty techniques for 2012.

“We've seen a lot of the straight look over the last couple of years and I am not suggesting that we are not going to keep seeing it,” said Dana Lupton, vice president/group director at Questex Media Group, who organised the show. “Everything is based on the runway and we're all reacting to what happens in fashion.”

Designers showing their fall 2012 collections at New York Fashion week featured 1920s and 30s styles inspired by films such as the Academy-award winning “The Artist” and Woody Allen's “Midnight in Paris.”

Hair stylists have picked up the look with more waves and and big curls.

“It's very loose, very deliberate, if you will,” Lupton explained in an interview. “You've seen in the last few years long, straight hair on any age woman. Now you're seeing some big curls and bounce.”

And colour, thanks in part to hair chalking.

Chunky chalk sticks similar to the ones used by children and street artists to draw on sidewalks and pavement are being used to add a boost of temporary colour to drab, dull hair. They come in an array of colours from yellow and orange to dark brown and black and wash out with the next shampoo.

“It is a new application, a new product line to change up colour. It's a chalk,” said Lupton, adding the varied rainbow colours are part of the appeal.

“You can be as crazy or subdued as you care to be because you are really only doing it to the next wash out,” she added.

Other products popular at the show were argan and macadamia oils. Produced from the kernels of the argan tree found in southwestern Morocco, the oil contains vitamin E and is used to treat skin and strengthen hair and nails. Macadamia oil, derived from the nut, is another product to add a gloss and vibrancy to hair.

“This is a category that didn't exist a few years ago,” according to Lupton, who has produced the annual three-day New York show, which attracted tens of thousands of visitors, for 13 years.

But some of the biggest products in the $60 billion a year beauty and spa products industry have been nail polish, gels and appliques, which have carved out an increasing chunk of the industry.

“A sliver of the pie used to be nail care. Over the past couple of years the nail care category has exploded on to the horizon,” said Lupton. “I refer to it lovingly as nail wars. These current manufacturers have cut into the hair care market.”

Nail products account for a $6.2 billion slice of the $60 billion pie but that portion is expected to grow by as much as 15 percent thanks to new technology, according to Lupton, who added there are 57,000 nail salons in the United States.

In tough economic times a manicure, and nail art can be a more affordable luxury than other more costly beauty treatments.

Nail art is also competitive. Lupton organises a nail competition each year.

“People fly in from all over the world to compete,” she said. - Reuters