Josh Wood, the James Bond of hair colour, has a lot on his plate right now. His just opened, completely revamped Atelier Beauté in Notting Hill is in hot demand as the ultimate beauty emporium, offering a holistic experience to visitors, with his dream team of experts; specialising in everything from tanning to couture lash extensions. A project that was a long time in the making, the acute attention to detail and carefully curated interiors create a soothing space that takes pampering to a whole new level. And on top of this, Mr Wood is also looking forward to the imminent launch of his hair colouring collaboration with Marks & Spencer – an ingenious range of professional-quality hair products, notably the Blending Wand, a sort of ‘marker pen’ for painting out offending roots and stray greys, or giving hair a colour boost between salon sessions. In the midst of the excitement, the internationally-acclaimed ‘Guardian of Colour’ answers some of Flora Hughes-Onslow’s quick-fire questions…
What first attracted you to the industry?
I kind of fell into it… I was studying at art college and got a Saturday job at a salon, just sweeping up. As soon as I entered that environment I knew it was my natural habitat.
And when exactly did you decide to go down the colouring road?
I was training at Vidal Sassoon and simply wasn’t very good as a stylist. I was assisting a very famous session hairstylist and he asked me if I’d thought about colour. As soon as I had a go, it was obvious I had an eye for it.
How do you approach the conundrum of a customer wanting a change but not knowing quite what exactly?
Part of my role is to develop trends and create colour that communicates how a brand wants to look on the catwalk, so having a client that is unsure about change or the direction they want to go in is exactly when I’m at my best. I love helping to make women look the best they can.
Do you think men are now as open to the idea of colouring as women?
I think they always have been, it’s just less obvious and the results are generally more subtle. Male colour is as interesting and sometimes as challenging to create as women’s. There should be no stigma about men wanting to explore colour and de-age in my mind…
You’ve coloured some pretty big names but do you have an ultimate dream client? (Living or dead)
Wow! I’m so very lucky to have worked with some of the most beautiful and famous women in the world but I guess having Marilyn Monroe in one’s chair would be pretty darn thrilling.
Who does your hair?
Marilyn Humphreys, who I work with at the Atelier. She has perfected her craft of cutting men’s hair to a world-class skill. Sharp, neat but not looking obviously done.
Where did you begin curating your team for the Atelier Beauté?
The first day I started working I found that like-minded people stick together and the ones that have been around for a while like me must be doing something right, so I just tried to surround myself with those individuals. I am so blessed to work with the best in the world. It’s a real privilege.
Your magic wand collaboration with M & S is a wonder tool, but do you necessarily think that grey hair should be covered up?
No, not at all. I think I’m quite renowned for grey. I sent 40 models down the catwalk with grey hair for Jean Paul Gaultier, I look after the hair of Kristen McMenamy and I created the iconic look on Daphne Guiness. I love grey on the right person and as a statement but of course most people feel younger and fresher keeping something of their original colour.
Do you think that the mainstream hair industry is lacking anything in terms of affordable products? I.e. what might you consider launching in the foreseeable future?
I think there are some incredible products out there at every price point – things that really work. My passion is to get hair care out of toiletries and into the wider beauty arena.
What would be your desert island hair product?
Bleach! Can’t do much without the ability to make hair lighter. Oh and a great hydrating shampoo and conditioner from my range after all that bleaching too…
Josh Wood Atelier Lansdowne, 6 Lansdowne Mews, W11 3A; joshwoodcolour.com