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Hair Colorist Josh Wood Talks Trends

Superstar British colorist Josh Wood reveals that his career path came about by accident.

Sometimes, great careers can result from a detour from a planned itinerary, as in the case of Josh Wood, founder of Guardian of Colour Products and Josh Wood Colour Atelier, and global creative director, color, for Wella Professional. He also has a partnership with members-only club and hotel Soho House Group.

“I was training as a hairdresser, struggling with a blow-dry, when [a mentor] said, ‘I really think you should think about being a colorist.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘You’re pretty crap at hairstyling.’ With that information on board, I started a small revolution in hair color.”

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While Wood’s 16-seat Notting Hill-based atelier caters to a high-net-worth international clientele, his newer mini-chain, Cheeky Hair is designed for those who have the aspirations — but not the bankbooks — to visit the atelier, which currently operates in the U.K. and Germany.

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With so many options for color services, how can successful businesses stand out? Wood believes interpreting trends in a realistic way can help: “I work a lot in the fashion world, where trends are incredibly important to beauty,” he said. “[But] I’m not interested anymore in creating looks on the catwalk that don’t have a retail relevance. For me, being able to guide women toward the best color for them, something that fits their personality, is really what turns me on and gets me out of bed today.”

He does continue to do hair for top runway shows, including Prada, he said. “Working with designers has really taught me something about when I get back into my atelier,” he said. “No longer are women tearing pages out of magazines as images for me to work on. They’re actually bringing in selfies, they’re bringing in Instagrams, backstage footage, images that we created yesterday and [wear] today. My world is moving at a pace that’s very hard to keep up with, when ultimately I’m running a small business, and my key drivers are delivering looks from a trend perspective that fit women totally uniquely. And I really believe that today, color is a necessity, not a luxury.”