Thursday, November 30, 2023

How a Commitment to Cruelty-Free Shampoo Built the Paul Mitchell Haircare Empire


Paul Mitchell is a name synonymous with quality, innovative, and sustainable haircare. From its early days to its position as a category leader, the brand has always been committed to using natural, cruelty-free ingredients and to promoting eco-friendly practices. Here, we dive into the legacy brand.

John Paul Mitchell Systems (Paul Mitchell) has been a mainstay in natural haircare for more than four decades. Founded in 1980 by the late hairstylist Paul Mitchell and his business partner John Paul DeJoria, the brand has become synonymous with high-quality salon hair care products that are beloved by stylists and consumers alike with more than 150 products and tools used in salons and sold around the world generating more than $1 billion in sales per year.

Paul Mitchell (1936-1989), the man behind the brand, was a celebrated hairstylist in the 1970s, known for his cutting-edge techniques and his work with celebrity clients. By 1980, he was ready to take the next step and partnered with DeJoria to launch the eponymous hair care line. The brand was an instant success, thanks in part to Mitchell’s reputation in the industry and DeJoria’s business savvy.

Mitchell’s untimely death from pancreatic cancer came just as the brand was taking off; DeJoria, now 78, has kept it running with support from Mitchell’s son Angus and the support of customers around the world. The brand has expanded its product line to include a wide range of shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and tools. The brand has also been committed to giving back, with a focus on animal welfare and environmental sustainability.

Impact on the hair care industry

Since its launch, Paul Mitchell has had a significant impact on the hair care industry. The brand has been a leader in promoting natural, cruelty-free ingredients and sustainable practices, helping to set the standard for quality in the industry.

As DeJoria once noted, “We wanted to create a brand that would stand for something, and that would help to make a difference in the world. That’s what Paul Mitchell has always been about.”

Paul Mitchell co-founders
John Paul DeJoria (left) and Paul Mitchell (right) – Paul Mitchell co-founders. Courtesy Paul Mitchell

Today, Paul Mitchell products are used by stylists and consumers all over the world. The brand has won numerous awards for its products, including the Allure Best of Beauty Award, the Cosmopolitan Beauty Award, and the American Salon Professional’s Choice Award.

And while the brand has grown significantly over the years, its commitment to quality and innovation remains as strong as ever.

Cruelty-free shampoo and haircare

Animal welfare has been an important part of the Paul Mitchell legacy since its inception in 1980. The company was one of the first in the beauty industry to speak out on animal welfare issues; in 1983, it became one of the first hair care brands to publicly oppose animal testing.

Its commitment to animal welfare has only grown stronger in the decades since, with DeJoria turning the brand into a leading example of conscious capitalism. From using only cruelty-free ingredients to supporting animal rescue organizations and other initiatives, Paul Mitchell has become a leader in the fight for animal rights and responsible business.

“We’ve always been committed to using only cruelty-free ingredients in our products,” DeJoria said in a 2018 interview. “We believe that there is no need to test on animals when there are so many alternatives available.”

Paul Mitchell
Paul Mitchell has grown into a haircare empire. Courtesy Paul Mitchell

This commitment to animal welfare has been a cornerstone of the Paul Mitchell brand, and it has helped to set the standard for other beauty companies to follow.

The company also has a long history of partnering with animal welfare groups to help raise awareness and funds for their work.

The brand’s annual “Pet-A-Palooza” event brings together animal rescue organizations, pet lovers, and Paul Mitchell employees for a day of fun and fundraising in Las Vegas. Since its inception in 2003, the event has raised millions of dollars for animal rescue organizations across the country.

In 2011, Paul Mitchell took its commitment to animal welfare a step further by launching the Paul Mitchell Peace, Love, and Animals campaign. This campaign, which is focused on promoting animal welfare and environmental sustainability, includes a range of initiatives and partnerships with animal rescue organizations. The company has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States to help raise awareness of animal cruelty and to promote the adoption of shelter pets.

John Paul DeJoria
John Paul DeJoria co-founded the Paul Mitchell haircare brand | Courtesy Paul Mitchell

DeJoria’s story was the subject of a 2017 award-winning documentary, Good Fortune, which details his rags-to-riches rise to success after struggling with homelessness and living out of his car. DeJoria, who also co-founded the high-end tequila Patrón Spirits Company, is now worth more than $3 billion.

DeJoria’s philanthropic work also includes supporting the South African Mineseeker Foundation alongside Brad Pitt, David Attenborough, and other A-listers. He’s also worked with the activist group Sea Shepherd, which named a patrol boat after DeJoria in 2018.

“Everyone has a definition of success,” DeJoria says in the film. “It’s not where you are today and how much money you have, or what kind of a big position you have. Success is, are you the best at what you do? And, success unshared is failure.”  

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