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Guido Palau on the creation of Zara Hair

zara hair
Guido Palau on the creation of Zara HairCourtesy Zara

In today’s saturated beauty market, where celebrities masquerade as skincare experts and Tiktok influencers spout advice with questionable conviction, being a true master of your craft is truly priceless. And while many of the industry's most revered hairstylists have put their name on eponymous lines, Guido Palau – the man behind many iconic runway and red-carpet looks – is yet to leverage his reputation into a standalone brand.

Now, the stylist has revealed his first permanent collection of hair products for Zara. The collection, titled Everyday Basics, features formulas designed to tick those essential styling demands, from smoothing frizz to setting an up-do, enhancing curls and adding texture.

“We wanted to start the story of Zara’s venture into the hair category by introducing six products that can be used to create most styles,” says Palau. “Whether you want to add volume, hold, curl, texture or shine, these products are the pillars of a stylist’s kit.”

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Palau is a long-time collaborator with the Spanish retailer, and that pre-existing trust led to him enjoying significant creative freedom. The attention to detail is clear to see: from the fresh, elevated fragrance by renowned nose Jérôme Epinette (the man behind Victoria Beckham’s acclaimed perfume line) to the satisfyingly tactile packaging, these are products designed to please as well as they perform.

And perform they do: the Hair Balm is lighter than many, but makes easy work of smoothing frizz and adding that glossy finishing touch to a smooth blow-out. Similarly, the Hair Spray won’t overload fine strands, brushing out with ease at the end of the day. The Blow Dry Spray protects from heat without leaving a sticky residue, and the Curl Activator is a water-weight, milky cream that hydrates and defines curls without adding weight or crunch.

While this collection is the first permanent offering to come from the creative partnership, it isn’t the retailer’s first foray into the hair category. Last Christmas, Palau concocted a limited-edition line of fashion-led finishing products, including a glittering gold hair gel and hairspray. According to Palau, we can expect more ephemeral ‘drops’ to appear throughout the year, adding a fun, more creatively charged contrast to the essential, evergreen products.

“The gold drop, which we launched with Kaia [Gerber – a long-standing client of Palau’s] was a teaser of something we’re going to continue to do on this project. We’ll do little drops that will stay around for a minute, then go: it could be a fashion-led product, a hair accessory, really anything,” says Palau. “We’ve started with these six basic products, with something for all hair types, but we will be expanding. There will be a textured curl drop and a shine collection, which will be mainstays, and then fashion moments that may only stick around for a month."

It’s a smart move for the brand to be starting with styling products, rather than those in the treatment and care realm: many of us will be reluctant to break up with their trusted hair mask, shampoo or specialised serum, but in the styling realm we tend to practise less loyalty – and spend less money. A lot of us are willing to expand our budget to accommodate a sciencey split-end serum or sulphate-free shampoo, but we know a good hairspray or smoothing balm needn’t cost more than £20, which makes the high-street perfectly placed to succeed in this category. Pleasingly, every product in Zara’s Everyday Basics line comes in at £15.99.

While many high-street names have pivoted into the lucrative beauty sphere in recent years, few have managed to hit that coveted sweet spot that lies at the intersection of affordability and desirability. Zara, however, has cracked it before: its remarkably popular line of fragrance is created in partnership with Jo Malone, while its youth-centric make-up line is led by Diane Kendall, ensuring the credentials are cemented from day one. Considering the strength of these first hair formulas, combined with the heft that Palau’s name commands (and of course, the friendly price tags) we’d say the retailer is in for a similar success with this burgeoning venture.

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