Hair colourist Josh Wood on life, careers, colouring techniques and his signature style
Josh Wood is an expert colourist and the founder of Josh Wood Colour. When he‘s not running his Josh Wood Atelier and developing his brand, Josh works with the top celebrities, clients and media around the world.
Here, Josh talks about his profession, provides some of his tips for those looking for a career in hair colour, and shares his signature style for success.
Meet leading hair colourist Josh Wood
Starting out in hairdressing, Josh quickly found that colour was his calling. He discovered that colour was very subjective and involves tapping into what suits the client, bringing their own personality and features to life. The focus is on making someone both look and feel beautiful. With colour, a subtle change can transform someone‘s look.
No Typical Day
As an expert colourist, no two days are the same.
Josh juggles managing his Atelier, curating his Josh Wood Colour brand and travelling the world. Every day his work brings new opportunities and challenges. But for Josh, the best part of his job is working with clients at his Atelier.
Josh Wood Atelier
Josh‘s Atelier is no average hair salon. Beyond being a work place, the untraditional space serves as a meeting space for creatives, a top destination for clients looking for a touch up or new look, and a place of inspiration for Josh.
Celebrities, supermodels and socialites are often snapped leaving Josh‘s Atelier. Josh is no stranger to working with famous names, but creating a head of flaming red hair for David Bowie remains one of his career highlights.
But for Josh, working with well-known people is no different to creating a look for any other client. Everyone wants, and deserves, to look and feel their best.
‘Mobile Hairdresser by plane’
Josh‘s work frequently takes him abroad, either for private clients or professional engagements, such as media interviews and photo shoots. It may seem glamorous, but in reality, it‘s hard work and involves a lot of gruelling hours.
Jetting around the globe provides Josh with inspiration, a key ingredient for success in the hair colour profession. This practice, that Josh labels the ‘globalisation of hair colour’, is a particularly interesting development in the industry and something his travels have enabled him to explore in more depth.
The hair and beauty industry is a visual, client-facing field, meaning professionals have to interpret what customers say they want and translate this into a hairstyle or look. Although Josh has colour swatches, samples and other materials at hand to help his customers leave with the look they want and one that suits them, success on this side of the job is very much down to gaining work experience and getting to know customers on a personal level.
Josh’s roots as a colourist
Birth of a career
When Josh was at Art College, a friend asked him if he was interested in a weekend job. In what turned out to be a life-changing turn of events, Josh started sweeping the floor on Saturdays at a salon near his home in Yorkshire. This is where his passion for the hair industry was born.
Josh took part in a Youth Training Scheme (YTS), which gave him the chance to develop his skills and gain hands-on experience. From there, he went to a Vidal Sassoon salon in Leeds to continue his journey in the world of hair styling and colouring.
A move to London followed and the capital remains his base, and the home of his Atelier.
Setbacks and Knockbacks
Every successful entrepreneur meets obstacles along the way. For Josh, one memorable knockback was being told that hairdressing was not for him at the outset of his career.
Rather than let the comment defeat him, Josh used it to push him to hone his skills and become a success.
Making mistakes is part of the journey in creative industries, but what sets professionals apart is the ability to learn from their mistakes and take a professional approach to correcting mishaps.
Career advice for budding hairdressers
Starting your career in the hair industry
Josh believes the ingredients for success in the hair industry are hard work, dedication and inspiration. For young hair professionals hoping to make it big, a willingness to dedicate time and resources to honing the necessary skills, while nurturing your creativity are essential.
Josh highly recommends apprenticeships, since they allow those considering the industry to really get a feel for the profession. Working with hair is a physical process, more so than a theoretical one, so making sure you love that hands-on process is important.
Find your niche
When he first started, Josh trained as a hair stylist but quickly focused on colour as his area of passion. Years of experience, along with a love for expressing himself through colour, have fuelled his path to developing his expertise. So finding an area within the industry that you excel in can help guide your trajectory.
Josh believes identifying and training young talent should be a priority for the industry. Finding new practitioners to inspire and renew the field is important to keep the creative industries alive.
Josh himself benefitted from mentoring and more experienced professionals taking an interest in his work. It’s important to learn both from those more experienced than you and to work with budding professionals who can provide a new perspective.
Hairdressing is a community that benefits both experienced and new hair professionals. Being around other creative types can provide inspiration and the motivation to learn new techniques.
Building a brand
Successful stylists or colourists might look to open their own salon or start a new product line as their next step.
For Josh, this wasn’t the original goal, but rather an extension of his love for his job.
While having goals is important, anyone setting out to be successful should focus on their passion for whatever field they’re in.
Josh’s signature style
Contemporary colour characterises Josh’s signature look. Colour provides an opportunity to frame the features and bring out the client’s personality, so there is no template for creating the colour as there’s no one-size-fits-all model. Each colour is mixed based on the client’s requirements to ensure that it looks and feels natural.
He uses a blend of techniques to achieve layers of colour. After the colour is selected and blended, he applies precision colour using foil.
He then adds two or three different layers of colour using a free-hand technique, which allows him to express himself and create a custom look.
The start of a beautiful career?
Are you looking to follow in Josh’s footsteps and succeed in the hair business? Whether you’re just starting out, running your own business or still exploring your options, we’ve got a wealth of resources for hair and beauty professionals. Click here to take a look and start styling your very own pathway to success.