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Hair visionaries: Guido Palau


You don’t get to control the hair at Calvin Klein and Prada for almost 20 years without knowing a thing or two about styling. Dorset-born Guido is considered one of the world’s most conceptual hair designers. Look around you; this man is behind more than half of the advertising campaigns and editorial shoots that you see. Responsible for the ‘un-done’ hair trend that swept the Nineties and the re-emergence of the ponytail as high fashion, his ability to continually innovate keeps him at the top. With his experience, there is no-one better to ask for advice about styling hair…

“To style your hair well, your kit is everything. On a shoot I take 12 trunks filled with rollers, brushes, wigs, hairdryers and every size of hair iron imaginable. At home, you should have a round brush for blow-drying, a Mason Pearson brush for styling and a tail comb to move hair around a little. Product wise: dry shampoo – I use Redken’s Powder Refresh (it adds texture too), argan oil for condition and hairspray. Hairspray is to hair what salt and pepper are to food. Once sprayed, you’re finished.”

“Don’t underestimate the power of the pony. The hair equivalent of a classic white shirt; it’s incredibly versatile. Worn with jeans or a dress; sleek, messy or wet. It can be taken from schoolgirl to couture in an instant. A side parting makes it masculine, it looks demure paired with a headband and relaxed when tied at the nape. The most flattering position is worn just above the crown. Backcomb at the roots, secure it and tease under the band then pull the sides slightly down over your ears.”

“When you find the right product it will change your life. I understand that it can be daunting; with make-up you can wipe it off and start again but you can’t do that with styling products. It’s about deciding what you want to achieve and using your products properly. Women buy one product and assume it will do everything but there’s no point applying a serum to the roots if you want volume. Try to understand what your hair does and how it looks best, then work out which products can enhance that.”

“You wouldn’t cook chateaubriand for a dinner party without practising first. The best way to work out what suits you is to experiment. Get to know your hair; do a dry run and practise the night before you are due to wash your hair. When I develop products for Redken as their creative consultant I try them on my own hair, test how they feel and when they’re great they earn a place in my kit.”

“Welcome back straightening irons into your life. For the autumn/winter [2012] shows I didn’t use curling tongs once. At Prada, Miuccia wanted the girls to look like virtual princesses – only straighteners could achieve that dead straight, glossy hair. It felt new because they haven’t been used for such a long time. It’s strange how styles morph into each other.”

“Be honest about what you see in the mirror. Look at yourself and ask, have I got a big forehead? Do I have a long face or big ears? It’s hard to be objective about yourself but it will help you to decide how to style your hair – if you want to cover your forehead with a fringe or accentuate it, for example. Accept that if your hair is limp and fine you will never make it thick and wavy.”



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