The Maine Stage: Celebrity Stylist and Color Wow Artistic Director Joseph Maine
When you meet Joseph Maine, it’s like you’ve known him for a long time. And not only have you known him, but you’re also his best friend. From the moment you sit in his chair, Maine puts an immediate focus on making sure you feel comfortable and inspired. Whether you crave a Texas-sized blowout or want braids for days, Maine isn't only up for the task—he's also excited by the challenge. From the consultation to the shampoo and final style, Maine’s conscious efforts and upbeat attitude make you feel like a VIP.
And boy, does he have knowledge of how to treat VIP clients. Maine has worked with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Ashley Benson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Sophia Bush and Jennifer Aniston—just to name a few. He’s also spent time traveling the world to do hair at Fashion Week events, Coachella and numerous shoots as the Artistic Director with Color Wow—a brand aimed at tackling problems related to color-treated hair through its line of root cover-ups, styling products, shampoos and conditioners.
Maine is on his way to leaving his mark on the beauty industry. But despite his success thus far, Maine isn't egotistical. Perhaps his groundedness comes from his Southern roots. Growing up in Katy, Texas—a small town outside of Houston—Maine was raised by a single mother and spent time taking care of his younger sister. He often helped his sister with hairstyles for school and church, but she was also part of his hair experiments.
“I remember having my sister lie in the driveway one day,” Maine says. “I fanned out her hair above her and sprayed Sun-In I had found all over her hair. I thought it was a masterpiece.”
Maine also recalls taking his sister’s Barbie dolls and giving their hair what he called his “signature layered cut.”
His grandparents also had a guest bathroom full of old beauty tools, and Maine loved to experiment with whatever he could find in the room.
“My grandma was very glamorous; she had lots of hot rollers and curling irons,” Maine says. “She would color her own hair, so she would mix her own hair color. She’d mix a red and brown together to get the color she needed. She had tons of extra colors that she kept in the guest bathroom along with tools and products. It was like the land of old lost hair tools.”
Maine also had an uncle with a punk rock past, so the bathroom was home to nontraditional colors such as Manic Panic blue. He used any opportunity he could find to try the products and colors on his sister’s and his own hair.
“I had access to stuff many 10-12 year olds didn’t have,” Maine says. “It was more of an accessibility thing, not an inspiration thing. I like to take inspiration from beautiful things, but this room of stuff allowed me to experiment with new colors and tools.”
But despite these hair transformations, Maine says he never thought of hairdressing as a career or talent.
“It came so naturally to me,” he says. “I thought anyone could do this. It wasn’t until much later that I really felt like the best version of myself when doing hair and being around stylists and where I thought—‘this is it.’”
At 16, Maine studied hair at a vocational school during his junior and senior years of high school for half of the day. He says he was embarrassed to enroll, but his family encouraged him, and his uncle even lent him $300 for his hair kit. While at school, Maine excelled and won many competitions.
“I always recommend this sort of community schooling for hairdressers,” he says. “There’s no need to go into debt for school in this industry. The schooling is meant to help you get your license; the real skills come from your training thereafter.”
After receiving his license at 18, Maine worked at a small salon in Katy. He stayed with the salon for a year before realizing he wasn’t happy.
“My perspective on the industry was small,” he says. “It was before social media, so I wasn’t aware of all the facets of the industry; I really only knew about salon work. Everyone at the salon was doing highlights with long hair; everyone wanted to be a blonde. I just couldn’t imagine myself growing old doing foil highlights every day. The possibility of doing weddings or anything like that didn’t occur to me. It felt like my like my job was repetitive.”
Uncertain of a future with hairdressing, Maine decided to pursue fashion in Los Angeles. He graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising with a degree in Apparel Manufacturing after two years. He worked numerous internships but eventually realized he didn’t want a career in fashion.
“After going to school and pursing internships, I knew that the fashion industry also wasn’t for me,” he says. “I randomly started working at this store in L.A., and in just one week I had met three different hairstylists who had happened to come into the shop. They told me what they were doing at top salons in L.A., and I took that as a sign. I started interviewing at salons and seeing the experience and what it could be.”
Maine soon landed a job at the famed Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon where he eventually spent every two weeks flying and working between L.A. and New York.
“L.A. gave me a bigger perspective on the industry," he says. "I met stylists who were traveling the world and getting to be more innovative and creative."
The longer he worked and traveled, the more Maine realized working as a hairstylist was his true calling after all. Maine was also introduced to Color Wow while living in L.A. He says he was inspired by the brand's innovation and wanted to be part of anything they were doing. After five years in L.A., Maine moved to New York City, where he signed with the Wall Group, an agency for fashion stylists, hairstylists, makeup artists and production designers.
Working with Color Wow and the Wall Group has advanced Maine’s career. He says he’s learned so much from the opportunities he's been given.
“I’ve gotten to meet so many incredible people and have had lots of experiences I would have never had otherwise,” he says. “There is more to working with celebrities than just doing great hair. I recommend assisting someone who has the career you would like to have; spend the years it takes to absorb all you can.”
Maine continues to challenge his skill set by teaching himself new things. Whether it’s spending time on YouTube or going through old issues of magazines, Maine looks for inspiration and challenges himself to recreate looks on a mannequin or friend.
Moving forward, Maine says he has set goals for himself to continue to grow and create. He says it’s important for hairdressers to look at competition with a positive outlook.
“Feel inspired and encouraged by others in the industry, not competitive. There’s plenty of hair to go around,” he says. “[Personally,] I really want to make an impact on the industry; I’ve got some things up my sleeve—stay tuned.”
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I really love that every day is different! I get to be social and creative—it’s unreal to me.
Favorite Color Wow product?
Style on Steroids. It’s my prep spray for dry styling, it protects hair and it fattens up hair without dulling the color or sticking hairs together.
LA or NYC?
LA to visit. NYC to live.
Curly or Straight?
Fun fact about you.
I have a Wheaten Terrier named George whom I rescued in L.A. eight years ago.
If you weren’t a hairdresser you’d be…?
An interior designer, an architect or a real estate investor. Or all of the above.
Dream place to live?
NYC has always been my dream place to live and still is. Hopefully through my travels I’ll decide where I want to retire; Thailand has a special place in my heart.
Who inspires you?
Color Wow Founder Gail Federici, Serge Normant, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah and Suri Cruise
What’s your mantra?