Molton Brown was founded as a hair salon in 1973 and has become one of the UK's leading upmarket cosmetic firms. Molton Brown’s products such as shampoos, shower gels and lotions are sold in many of the world's most exclusive department stores. The company also owns its own network of retail stores with locations around the world and is known for making its products in England, with its main production facility based in Hertfordshire in the UK.
The name “Molton Brown” is a fusion of the street name South Molton Street (where the first store was based) and the boutique Browns which was owned by the original founder Caroline’s Burstein’s parents.
In the 1990s Molton Brown launched a dedicated hotel, travel and leisure division which supplies some of the world’s leading five star hotels with high-quality skin and beauty products.
Japanese cosmetics firm KAO acquired Molton Brown for £170m in 2005 as part of an international strategy to expand its portfolio of upmarket brands. Kao retains Molton Brown as a stand-alone brand within its prestige cosmetics division. It has committed to maintaining the "Britishness" and heritage of the Molton Brown brand, thus Molton Brown’s products continue to be produced in Britain at their enlarged factory in Hertfordshire.
In February 2013 Molton Brown was awarded the BUAV Leaping Bunny stamp of approval by Cruelty Free International certifying all of the brand’s products to be free from animal tests under the international Humane Standards.
The brand celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013, which led to the unearthing of never- before-seen images of a then unknown Kate Moss from the company archives. The untouched shots, which can be seen on the Vogue UK website, show a young unsigned Kate Moss as a hair model for the brand in the early Nineties.