The twelve stylists arrive in Los Angeles where they will compete for $100,000 and an apprenticeship furnished by Nexxus, as well as a chance to style hair for an Allure magazine photo shoot. They meet new host Camila Alves and this season’s panel of judges – celebrity stylist Jonathan Antin (star of Bravo’s “Blowout”) and renowned stylist Kim Vo. In their first shortcut challenge, the stylists must give unruly punk rockers a more polished look, with the brash Antin as their first guest judge. The competition gets even more edgy during the elimination challenge when the contestants collaborate with hot Hollywood swimwear company, L*Space to create sophisticated styles for a risqué fashion show. Monica Wise, lead designer for L*Space Swimwear, joins as a guest judge.
The competition continues when Kim Vo arrives at the Shear Genius Nexxus salon to explain their next challenge, color repair, in which the stylists must refresh damaged blonde dye jobs. For the elimination challenge, the stylists travel to the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to create avant-garde hairstyles based on a tasting menu from the hotel’s famed Dakota restaurant. Joel Warren from the styling team of Warren-Tricomi joins as guest judge for this challenge.
In their third Shortcut Challenge, the remaining stylists are presented with a unique twist on extensions – applying them to men to give them sexier, longer looks. The steamy Elimination Challenge brings the stylists to a ranch that serves as the backdrop for photos for their first cover shoot, romance novels. The stylists work in teams to create sexy and dramatic looks for both a male and a female model. Extensions guru and celebrity stylist Ken Paves joins as guest judge for both challenges.
The nine remaining stylists must incorporate flowers into their hairstyles for this week’s Shortcut Challenge, which will be judged by Canadian celebrity stylist, Harry Josh. During the elimination round, the stylists leave the comfort of the salon to attend a real Indian wedding. When the ceremony ends, they are charged with the task of styling the bridesmaids’ hair before the wedding reception begins while over four hundred guests await their grand entrance. It doesn’t make the stylists any less nervous to know that Tabatha Coffey, star of Bravo’s Tabatha’s Salon Takeover and former Shear Genius contestant, is their guest judge for the challenge.
When curly-haired models enter the Shear Genius Salon, the stylists learn they must turn these wiry tresses into smooth, sleek bobs, all while cutting the hair completely dry. Famed international dry cutter Moulay Yacoubi joins to assess the stylist’s skills. For the Elimination Challenge, the stylists must transform military wives into pinup girls for a '40s style video to send to their husbands overseas. Hollywood stylist and author Robert Vetica joins as guest judge for this emotional challenge.
For the Shortcut Challenge, the seven remaining stylists are asked to interpret actual geometric shapes into edgy, angular hairstyles on challenging Asian hair. For the Elimination Challenge, the competitors must create two different headshot looks on working actresses that showcase their client’s personality and versatility. Nexxus’ Creative Director, Kevin Mancuso, joins to judge both challenges.
The stylists’ versatility is put to the test when they give their clients, recent high school graduates, sophisticated looks to open new chapters in their lives. Celebrity stylist Kimberly Kimble joins as judge. The stylists turn back the clock in the Elimination Challenge as they give VIP clients red carpet-ready looks inspired by the 60’s and 70’s for an album release party for Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, Estelle, who joins as guest judge.
When the remaining stylists arrive in the salon, they learn that other competitors must select a tool, a style and an inspiration for them to use on their model. Celebrity stylist Mark Townsend is on hand for this challenge, and is joined by Allure’s Editor in Chief Linda Wells for the elimination round. In this challenge, the stylists are charged with updating hairstyles from classic Hollywood movies for an editorial-style photo shoot.
The four remaining competitors find themselves at a Hollywood Hills home to style their first celebrity client. For the Elimination Challenge, legendary stylist Oribe joins as guest judge and offers the stylists some insight into creating a brand for themselves. In this challenge, the stylists must develop looks for two models to create a portfolio they feel best defines their signature look. Will the stylists wow the judges with their originality or will they be sent packing?
The third season comes to a close when the final three stylists team up with fashion designer Henry Duarte for their biggest challenge yet. They’ll each style six models for a fashion show where the designer will debut Duarte’s new line of edgy rock-and-roll inspired clothing. A few familiar faces return to assist the final three in this no holds barred, two-day long challenge. Editor-in-chief of Allure magazine Linda Wells rejoins as the final guest judge and one lucky contestant wins $100,000 courtesy of Nexxus Salon Hair Care, an apprenticeship with Nexxus, and a chance to style hair for an Allure magazine photo shoot.