Artists’ Session with Guido Palau and Josh Wood

Palau, left, with Wood

Calling Guido Palau (@guidopalau) a hair visionary is an understatement. The gifted artist juggles everything from fashioning coifs for major ad campaigns and powerhouse publications to crafting style statements on more than 100 runways. 

Guido Palau brings his expressive style backstage at spring 2018 Dolce & Gabbana fashion show.

Equally talented, Josh Wood (@joshwoodcolour) is arguably one of the most influential colorists in the world. In addition to elevating color on the catwalks, Wood has pioneered game-changing techniques such as hyper-natural, making gray OK and surf-kissed, all of which have left an indelible mark on the international beauty scene.


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The consummate colorist, Josh Wood perfects one of his signature techniques

Josh Wood: Guido, we’ve both been in the industry for a number of years—I got my start working at Vidal Sassoon in Leeds and my first big break was working with David Bowie. How did you get your start? What was your first career breakthrough, and how has your career changed since then?  

Guido Palau: My career breakthrough came when I worked on the George Michael “Freedom! ’90” video. Looking back, it was such a huge shift from where I was. From that point on, my career took off. I’ve been lucky. 

JW: One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is keeping ahead of the curve, staying inspired and being able to share that inspiration. Have you ever felt particularly challenged or defeated in your career, and how did you overcome it?

GP: Constantly! You’ve got to keep soldiering on, finding inspiration and challenging yourself. As with anything, if you’re feeling a bit deflated, you must tap into that inner self and push yourself. When you’ve had a long career, that’s how you achieve it. It’s not all smooth sailing. You can’t rest on past glories. You have to keep going and recognize that you’re not always going to feel 100-percent inspired. But, there is always something that I find in myself that pushes me forward. You must look for that.

JW: What advice would you give to an aspiring stylist? 

GP: Be true to yourself. Don’t take criticism personally. Go with your madness.

JW: I find inspiration for my work all around me but art is a constant catalyst. Where do you look for creative inspiration?

GP: The streets have always been a huge influence on me; how real people wear their hair and how youth culture appropriates its style remain big inspirations.

JW:  Between photo shoots and fashion weeks, we are both traveling frequently. I’m based in London, but my favorite cities to visit are Mumbai and New York City, where you’re based. What’s your favorite city to visit, for work or fun? 

GP: I always love Paris. I also love the West Coast.

JW: We’ve worked together on several campaigns and runway shows. One of my favorite things we’ve done together is Prada. How do you see haircolor evolving at Fashion Week in the coming seasons?

GP: At the moment, hair is about celebrating models’ individuality. I hope that will influence real people to celebrate their own naturalness and their own beauty. We’re at a really pivotal point in terms of beauty and inclusion, which is very exciting for both men and women.

JW: I began my role as Redken’s global color creative director last year, and I’m already a huge fan of City Beats and the new Shades EQ Pastels. You’ve been the brand’s global creative director for 13 years. What are your go-to Redken products?

GP:  My favorites are Triple Take 32, Wind Blown 05 and Shine Flash 02.

JW: What would you say are the most important lessons—in life and behind the chair—that you’ve learned over the course of your career?

GP:  Stay true to yourself, keep your eyes open and continue learning. Never feel that you’ve reached your peak. Keep striving for more.