For Super-Stylist Guido Palau, Hair Is About Expressing Your Truest Self – And Everyone Is Invited

With decades of experience, Guido knows just how important our hair is – and how to get it right.

guido palau interview

by Cassie Steer |
Published on

Photographs, Willy Lukaitis; Hair & Creative Direction, Guido Palau Using Zara Hair; Words, Cassie Steer

We are in the midst of an ideological and aesthetic revolution spearheaded by our hair. Chances are, you just don’t know it. Turning up to your Zoom meeting with damp hair in a messy bun? You are overturning rules of convention, one untended tendril at a time. 'The idea of what beauty is is gradually being eroded,’ says Guido, who should know, since he’s instrumental in changing the face (or hair) of fashion. ‘There was a time where, if you didn’t have the perfect set or Farrah Fawcett flick, you were on the fringes of what was deemed acceptable. But those chains of conformity are breaking down; beauty is much more fluid.’

If there was one lesson to be learned from lockdown (aside from how to make banana bread), it was that there is something liberating about letting our hair take on the character it innately wants to be. That said, it’s not all about ‘natural’ hair either, says Guido.

zara
Alayna Neaum (she/her) Top, £11.99, Zara

‘Our hair is a great signifier of who we are, whether that’s our real self or a self we want to project,’ says Guido. ‘The biggest message to come from my conversations with women (and men) over the years is that they want to feel their most confident selves and to have the surety to represent themselves in their truest way.’ Sculptural statements sit happily alongside a straight-from-the-shower ’do in an ideological manifestation of what you might see on the New York subway or London bus – the street having always been a font of inspiration for Guido.

It’s also why his collaboration with Zara in the brand’s first foray into the hair arena makes sense; democratising the means to self-expression and making the hair of your dreams accessible to all. ‘It’s not about trends or emulating perfection, it’s about helping you to create whatever it is that makes you feel beautiful,’ says Guido. ‘The styles I’ve created here are extreme and are not meant to be taken literally, but they’re grounded in what I see on the street; sometimes you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone to find your true hair self.’ So, come as you are (or who you want to be).

Guido's Hair Rules

Hair Fluidity

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Ethan Charalambides (he/him), Top: £52, Intimissimi

‘Everyone wants dream hair once in a while and that doesn’t have to be dictated by gender,’ says Guido. ‘Gender fluidity has always been very interesting to me and the ambiguity of people is very appealing.’

Exude Confidence

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Lily Epstein (they/he), Full bodysuit: £50, Amazon Fashion

‘We often admire people who dare to look different and yet we don’t always apply it to ourselves. You don’t have to be confident to exude confidence,’ says Guido. ‘Hair is the perfect conduit to assume a more extreme persona.’

Play With Colour

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JiaYun Xie (she/her), Bodysuit: £17.99, Zara

‘Mixing natural hair with slices of blue feels a little anime,’ says Guido. ‘It’s this idea of having fun with your hair by adding colour – even temporarily using clip-ins or playing with a more extreme shape.’

Gilded Gold

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Anyerka Infante(she/her), Bodysuit: £56, Skims

‘I see girls on the street using hair accessories like these gold braid rings,’ says Guido. ’I’ve just pushed it here to make a bolder statement. It goes to show that hair can be used as a medium of nature, culture and sculpture.’

Shop: Guido's Ultimate Hair Toolkit

Palau's take on mousse helps to gradually build volume for natural texture and leaves hair shiny and smooth, sans the stickiness.

If stiffness puts you off using hairsprays, you'll love this new-gen iteration which boasts a soft-hold that can be brushed through without the fuss.

Dry, coarse, lifeless-looking hair? You'll want to try this. It adds a much-needed boost of shine and softness to keep things looking healthy.

A few days post-wash, hair can be in dire need of a pick-me-up. This helps to revitalise and lift roots, for a sexy slept-in look. And can be built up with next-level volume.

For easy curl definition, this lightweight spray will help to revive your natural texture and boost shine. If there's one product that'll help you to wash-and-go, it's this.

This hybrid spray works as a leave-in to condition hair and protect it against heat styling. We love how it leaves hair glossy and use it as a cheat to one-step glass-finish hair.

This lightweight spray will fast-become your bff as summer's sunny spells begin to break in. The mist has been 'Miami-tested’, boasts UV protection and pro-vitamin B5 to help defend your hair while keeping your style locked in for longer.

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Enriched with botanical oils including moringa and camellia, this leave-in cream gets activated once in contact with heat and helps to detangle, nourish and restore.

For smooth, effortless and comfortable styling, this comb glides through the wet or dry hair without tugging or damaging the hair or scalp.

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