Join my book club!

Reading glasses at the ready – it’s time for PAINT’s hair book club! Guest PAINTER Zoë Irwin – UK Colour Trend Expert for Wella Professionals and the 2018 Most Wanted Creative Talent – opens up her library

As a self confessed trend addict and reference collector, my bookshelves are full of titles ranging from scientific to tribal art, with a much loved fashion history section in between. When my favourite colourists and session stylists share their booklists, I always Google and search out a copy. It’s a wonderful insight into their minds, seeing the influences of their style. I find it equally as fascinating as inspiring.

I’ve always wanted to be in a hair book club and so I thought it would be interesting to share a few of my favourite titles with you. These I use regularly to help with my colour quotes and as references on my shoots.


Chemical and Physical Behaviour of Human hair
Clarence R Robbins

I’m often asked by hairdressers just what does it really take to be a brand ambassador and educator. For me, it begins with the science of hair. To become a credible source of hair facts is so important. From being asked by a client to being quoted in Vogue, the hows and whys of human hair and your knowledge of this… this is NOT to be underestimated!

The chemical and physical properties of hair are of importance to the cosmetics industry, which means constant interviews enquiring about the science of hair. This book is a teaching guide and reference volume that you will use your whole career . Subjects include the difference between shine and lustre and degradation products of hair pigments and different hair colours…  I have had to be as knowledgeable on colour pigments as the season’s latest colour trends, and this book has guided and helped me so much.


Nylon Pretty– The Nylon Book of Beauty

This book celebrates the individual and contains the most referenced beauty icons. For every hairdresser that wishes to launch an idea in their salon, to work in fashion editorial or to win a hairdressing award, this is a must.

It contains products, styles and inspiration. Most of all, it’s truly a one of a kind and small enough to pack in your kit. I have crafted so many beauty ideas from it and pulled it out when working with make-up artists on set. My latest Parisian Hair Trend launch began from these pages and it’s well-worn cover is the result of it being carried around daily!


A Book of Colors
Shigenobu Kobayashi

This is a great guide to discovering and understanding colour. Now, in the world of pastels and brights, where a client is just as likely to have pink hair with green as a classic set of creamy highlights, this is invaluable. It explains the essence of a colour’s meaning and force. It has led to me designing many colour palettes for my clients and for shoots. To understand fashion colour references such as ‘folksy’, ‘youthful’ and ‘energetic’, this truly is a essential guide.


Tashen basic Art Series 2.0
Jean Michel Basquiat
by Jacob Baal – Teshuva

This Taschen series of artists includes the books I have collected the most. And so useful for colourists! It’s the best selling art book collection ever published. Super slimline, it’s easy to take to meetings and includes illustration that’s big enough to scan for moodboards, which is what I use it for most. My most loved are Abstract Expressionism, Rothko, Jean Michel Basquiat and Kandinsky. There’s a great branch by the Gallery on the Kings Road in Chelsea that I always browse through, but I’ve bought just as many online.


See more from Zoë Irwin our Guest PAINTER here >

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