Beauty Nostalgia: Reminiscing With…Guido Palau
Beauty Nostalgia is a new, weekly column on Beauty Counter in which we ask influencers, tastemakers, and some of our favorite industry experts to wax poetic on the sticks, salves, and sprays that helped shape who they are today.
The Pro: Guido Palau, Redken Creative Consultant
The Product: “When I first started hairdressing in the eighties, I remember every cool guy I knew used Black & White Hair Dressing Pomade. It’s an American brand from like the forties or fifties that you couldn’t get in the U.K. easily at the time. The fact that you had to go out of your way to find it somehow made the product more elitist and special. It’s a really heavy pomade—not easily washed out and a total nightmare on your pillow—and was primarily for guys who wanted that 1950s pompadour look. But I used it on girls with short hair and models who had choppy bobs, which were really popular at that time in London. The smell is very distinct—it’s coconut-y, not very strong but as soon as I smell it, I’m taken back to this time in my career. I was just starting to work, so I wasn’t doing shoots for Vogue or anything fancy like that. My kit was minuscule compared to the 20 bags I carry today: I only had hairspray, mousse, and ‘grease,’ as we called pomade. My technique was to use Black & White to tightly slick the sides of the head and make the top messy. Back in the day, I never washed my hair that much, so I would run this pomade through with my fingers and my hair would literally stand on end. It gave you that perfect nonchalant texture. Now my hair wouldn’t cope well with that much product. So if I use it, I do so sparingly and I use it more for the nostalgic smell more than anything else. When people who were around in that era smell my hair, they’re like ‘Oh my god, is that Black & White?’ and they know exactly what it is just by the smell.”