Celebrate 80 Years of Clairol Professional

Take a look back at the many ways we've reinvented the salon color business.

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Our History

"We can never do enough for the hairdresser."
--Lawrence M. Gelb, Clairol Founder

For millions of people everywhere, the name Clairol is synonymous with beautiful hair color and healthy-looking hair. Clairol, part of Procter & Gamble Company, is an acknowledged leader in the research and development of professional salon beauty products. The founder of Clairol, Lawrence M. Gelb, actually introduced hair color to salons over sixty years ago. Today, salon hair color is a billion-dollar business nationwide.

How It All Started
In 1931, while the US was in the midst of the worst depression in the country's history, Larry Gelb, a chemist from New York, set off to Europe with his wife Joan and their two sons, Richard and Bruce. Larry was on a mission to find a new product to launch and market in the United States. This was not the best of times to begin a new business, but Gelb was an energetic entrepreneur and was determined to beat the depression odds.

During his extended trip, Gelb examined dozens of cosmetic and fragrance products, but his interest was captured when he came across an intriguing European hair color preparation named Clairol. Unlike other available hair-coloring products which coated the hair, Clairol actually penetrated the hair shaft, producing softer, more natural-looking tones

Gelb's wife Joan, a beautiful woman with a strong fashion sense, immediately saw the potential for this new hair coloring product in America. After closely observing how the hair coloring process worked and how natural the results were, the Gelbs brought Clairol back to the States and demonstrated it to a spellbound audience of beauty salon professionals. The hairdressers were delighted and quickly endorsed Clairol. The Gelbs were in business and hairdressers enthusiastically added hair color to their menu of salon services.

The new hair color that would change the look of America was called Instant Clairol Oil Shampoo Tint. The excitement this new, modern product generated was contagious! Not only did Clairol's sales soar, but salon hair color service sales began to soar as well. Women everywhere were emerging from beauty salons with beautiful, new, natural-looking hair color.

Making Hair Color Simpler
As the years went by Gelb worked to improve his product. He knew that if hair coloring was easier, if it could be done in one step rather than the long and tedious five-step process that existed, more women would want the service and more hairdressers would embrace the art. In 1950, after seven years of research and development, Clairol introduced new Miss Clairol Hair Color Bath. Within six months of Miss Clairol's introduction, the number of women going into the salon for permanent hair coloring services increased by more than 500 percent. Now hair was lightened, tinted, conditioned and shampooed in only one step, in only 20 minutes!

Educating Stylists
Gelb understood that professional education for the hairdresser was the key to ensuring the best possible results for salon clients and for selling Clairol. He and Joan traveled the country, lecturing and demonstrating the technique to hairdressers and the press. As a result, Clairol helped to boost the expertise of hairdressers, the satisfaction of their clients, and the total image of the salon industry.

As sales grew, so did Clairol's commitment to the salon and the hairdresser. Clairol trained scores of educators, published instruction materials which were distributed free to salons, and held training workshops at Clairol schools and clinics across the country. Clairol Professional single-handedly taught an entire profession how to color hair. Today's master colorists once learned their craft and developed their artistry through Clairol classes and products.

Innovative professional products and excellence in technical education are Clairol Professional's on-going commitments to the salon industry. Through decades of dynamic growth, this commitment to salons has never been stronger.

Clairol's Crown Trademark
The Clairol Crown trademark is the symbol of product quality and excellence. For many years, as Clairol worked to build a strong salon hair coloring business, the Crown appeared on Clairol products, packaging and in advertising and educational materials. Clairol products displayed the Crown trademark to emphasize Clairol's commitment to women everywhere and to the hairdressers who helped them achieve a personal beauty all their own.

Our History
 
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