Our List of Industry Trailblazers Who Got It First


Malibu C was the first company to use active vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in products for the hair and scalp. What’s more, Tom Porter and his wife Deb have been pioneers in the wellness treatment category since they founded the company in 1985. One of their signature products—the Malibu MakeOver—is a two-step treatment containing a patented blend of antioxidant vitamin crystals that removes chlorine and mineral deposits, dramatically reconstructing and rebuilding hair.
Hair care visionary Jim Markham discovered baobab, a superfruit packed with vitamin C on a trip to Africa with his wife Cheryl and incorporated the breakthrough ingredient into his Baobab Heal and Repair line for ColorProof Evolved Color Care. The products combine the powerful benefits of baobab with proprietary technology to repair and strengthen damaged hair.
Fromm, a leading marketer of beauty essentials, was founded as the Illinois Razor Strop Company by James Simon in 1907. The company continues to develop innovative tools, like a new round brush that incorporates copper into the design for temperature control, even heat distribution and faster drying time
Denman patented the D3 in 1938, and it quickly became known as the “hairdresser’s hairbrush.” Its popularity soared in the 1960s when Vidal Sassoon and his team began using it to blow dry their signature hairstyles. Even now, no Sassoon-trained hairdresser uses anything else.
Redken created a whole new category when it introduced Shades EQ, the first demi-permanent, ammonia-free hair color with the legendary tagline, “The hair color that thinks it’s a conditioner.”
Aveda introduced the beauty industry to aromatherapy in 1978 when Horst Rechelbacher pioneered the use of high-performance, plant-based hair, skin and body products based on the principals of Ayurveda and started a holistic beauty trend.
Andis introduced the Master Clipper in 1922, and it remains one of the company’s most popular models. Today Andis products are available in 90 countries around the world.
Ouidad opened the world’s first hair salon exclusively for curly-haired clients in New York City in 1984. “Everyone—from beauty editors and bankers—told me the idea was crazy,” says Ouidad, who ignored the naysayers and not only opened the salon but also launched her own line of products for women whose hair is anything but stick straight.
Wahl has been a leader in the professional grooming category since 1919 when Leo J. Wahl applied for a patent on his electromagnetic hair clipper. He’d been experimenting with a vibrating electromagnetic motor since 1911 when he was a junior in high school.
Skin care icon Lydia Sarfati introduced seaweed-based skin care to the American market in 1980 when she launched Repêchage. “We all come from the sea and have in our veins the same percentage of salt that there is in the ocean,” Sarfati says. “This wonderful salt is what keeps our skin nicely hydrated.” Currently, Repêchage organically harvests 12 different species of seaweed from the coast of France.
Reuzel, the men’s grooming pomade from Schorem barbers Leen and Bertus, a.k.a. Holland’s “scumbag barbers of Rotterdam,” is coming to the U.S. thanks to Laurence Hegarty, co-founder of American Crew, who has made it his mission to bring the brand to the states. A complete line of men’s grooming essentials is already in the works.