Spotlight on Hair Stylist Luis Gonzalez of Vida Salons

Vida Salon’s Luis Gonzalez is the country’s leading hair colorist—a role that allows him not just to see the trends but define them.

Luis Gonzalez
Photo by Jake Holschuh.

The country’s top hair colorist calls Denver home. Luis Gonzalez, the winner of the 2023 North American Hairstyling Awards Colorist of the Year, splits his time between his Vida Salons in the Highlands and Cherry Creek. When he’s not behind the chair (which he tends to be at least a few days a week, since he’s booked out three months in advance), he’s also the color director on Aveda’s North America Artistic Team. That role allows Gonzalez to oversee hair color for all of the North America market, and he gets to spend a lot of time with their creative teams, working behind the scenes on hair color campaigns. We caught up with the color magician last month as he prepared his entry for the 2024 NAHA Awards and prepped for the Aveda Congress— two of the biggest events in the trade, where Gonzalez won’t just be presenting about current trends—he’ll be introducing the styles that will define the future. He gave us a preview of what to expect.

“I always start with the overall story. For the NAHA awards, I wanted my submission to be colorful, a celebration of cultures—a full spectrum of vibrant colors.”

“The way that someone wears their hair speaks volumes about how they see themselves. You can express who you are through so many different avenues. Hair color is a huge part of how we present ourselves to the world.”

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“Expressing yourself through a fashion color is allowing yourself to be open to interpretation.”

“If you add that type of color to your hair, it really accentuates your personality and shows it off to the world.”

“You don’t have to do an all-over head of blue. Adding hidden little pops of color that just kind of peek through here and there give a pop of pizzazz without having committing to something so intense.”

“I like to be very organic when it comes to coloring my clients’ hair. I always take into consideration their lifestyle. If there’s somebody who comes in once every six months into the salon, we take the way that color fades into consideration.”

“I’m Aveda’s art director for hair color for North America, so I get to oversee hair color for all of the North America market.”

“At the Aveda Congress, we’re presenting a really cool segment all about the future of beauty and where we see ourselves and where we see our industry going.”

“We’re playing with really cool futuristic colors—all very beautiful metallic versions of pastels. It’s all about this joining of different cultures.”

“It’s a celebration of different artists coming together to create beautiful art.”

“I love Denver. I moved here from Mexico with my family when I was six years old and grew up near downtown.”

“I’ve always had a feeling that Denver is going to get big in fashion and beauty. Some of the best artists that I’ve ever worked with have been out of Denver. There’s such a beautiful, synergistic energy here. It’s a small city, but it is pretty impactful.”