Mark Townsend is one of the most talented celebrity hairstylists today. Mark worked with the beautiful locks of Reese Witherspoon, Penelope Cruz, Rachel Weiz, and Natalie Portman. In this interview Mark talks about some of the biggest breaks in his career, his experience as Matrix’s Celebrity Hairstylist, and to what he attribute his success.

What was your biggest break as a professional hair stylist?
I’ve really had many big breaks so far in my career. I graduated cosmetology school and got my license in Lakeland, Florida. I knew I wanted to work in fashion so I moved to NY and got a job as a hair assistant at the Oribe Salon, where I really learned how to treat hair. I ventured out of the salon and spent 4 years assisting some of the biggest hairstylists in the field, including 2 years with Sally Hershberger, who then referred me to work on the film Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz. Filming took me to Los Angeles and I met my agent Lisa Walker who convinced me to stay in LA after the film wrapped. That’s when Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz started booking me for photo shoots and jobs all around the world.

What have been some of your most memorable celebrity collaborations?
Everyday is a new collaboration, that’s what I love about my job. I love talking to the client as well as makeup artists and stylists to create a look. Of course working with Reese Witherspoon for the 2007 Golden Globes and Oscars was an amazing collaboration with fantastic results which shows sometimes simpler is better. Another collaboration I really loved was Natalie Portman for the 2006 Golden Globes when she had very short hair. Natalie has curly hair, so I had to spend hours straightening her hair with a specially made flat iron for short hair, but it was worth the effort because she looked magical on the red carpet.

One of my favorite people to collaborate with is Rachel Weisz. She is so inspiring to work with. Every time we work together on photo shoots or red carpet events we spend time really talking about our inspirations and what tone we want to set. Sometimes on shoots we even create characters together and decide what kind of hair that character should have. We share an appreciation for texture and we can talk about hair forever, which I love. When I look at my portfolio, my favorite photos are always ones with Rachel because it’s the time I get to experiment and just “play”.

“Of course working with Reese Witherspoon for the 2007 Golden Globes and Oscars was an amazing collaboration with fantastic results which shows sometimes simpler is better. “

How do you go about choosing a hair style for a celebrity?
I never really think about choosing a hairstyle for a celebrity. I think about personality, what she is wearing and what is inspiring me at the time. I get really obsessed with shapes and texture and learning how to create that in hair with the right tools and products.


As Matrix’s Celebrity Stylist, what hair care products from this line
do you swear by?

Matrix makes the best hair care and styling products available, so I’m very happy I get to work with them. I’ve seen such great changes in my clients hair after I set them up with the right Matrix shampoos and conditioners to take home with them. I love the Biolage volumatherapie Bodifying Spray Gel and Amplify Full Body Texturizer.I cannot live without Vavoom Gold Heat Iron-In Control Protective Dry Mist! This is the product I used to create Reese’s straight, sleek, shiny hair for the Globes. You spray the hair with this, then run a flat iron over the hair and it seals the hair and fights against humidity. I also love the Vavoom Freezing Spray. On photo shoots, we have to do several different hairstyles, and this spray gives great hold and never flakes and gets cake-y. Every style I create is finished with the Biolage Shielding Shine Mist. It gives the hair amazing shine without weighing down the hair and its great for touch ups through out the day. And, my latest obsession is the new Biolage Cooling Mint Oil Control Treatment – it totally revives a blowout and I think it works better than dry shampoos to absorb oil and refresh the hair.

What are some of your favorite hairstyles of all time?
I am really inspired by the hairstyles of the 30’s, 40’s and 60’s. I find that I like to take those styles and textures and make them a little more modern.

What advice can you give for choosing the right brush for our hair?
I always use the same brushes: Mason Pearson for detangling and blowing out bangs and Spornett mixed bristle round brushes for blowouts. The mixed bristles grip the hair and create enough tension to get the hair really smooth without pulling on the hair.

To what do you attribute your success as a celebrity hair stylist?
I have a really good agent!

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

I love my job so much because every day is a new experience. One day is a premiere with an actress, the next could be a photo shoot with 10 models for a fashion magazine or ad campaign. I also love the amazingly talented people I work with, from the clients, to photographers, makeup artists, and stylists. I especially love the experiences this job has given me.
I’ve traveled the world doing hair. I’ve been to fashion shows in London, Paris, and Milan; I’ve seen the ruins in Rome and saw the Mona Lisa up close. I saw the cherry blossoms in Tokyo and the markets in Turkey, and so many other amazing places that I might not have been able to see if it wasn’t for this job. Of course, it’s not always glamorous…there’s the airlines constantly losing your luggage, or not being able to sleep because you’re so jet-lagged. And because of the constant traveling, you
have to have very understanding family and friends, but I love every minute of it!

What city in the world is most inspirational to you?
This is a hard question! I get so inspired when I travel and the people I meet in every city. I live between New York and Los Angeles and both cities inspire me in different ways, but if I had to pick one city it would have to be Paris. To be more specific it would be at The Ritz Hotel in Paris, it’s my favorite place in the whole world.

What’s next for Mark Townsend?
Who knows, I don’t even know where I’ll be next week!

It was a pleasure to interview Mark you can read more about his life at his new blog: The official Matrix website is:

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 211 user reviews.

There Are 11 Responses So Far. »

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  2. i really love blondes like Reese Witherspoon. she is damn pretty..;`

  3. Reese Witherspoon is still one of the cutest american actress out there. I love here role on Sweet Home Alabama.:“

  4. reese witherspoon is just so cute, i wish i was as beautiful as her,.,

  5. what i do love about Reese Witherspoon is her very sweet smile and very young looking face~;”

  6. Rachel Weisz should have been always the leading lady of the Mummy movies because she really fits that role ..

  7. Reese Witherspoon have the most beautiful eyes among american actresses, i just can’t get enough of her beautiful eyes :~~

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