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Robert William Redding
March 2, 1907
Rantoul, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||March 15, 1998 (aged 91)|
|Other names||Godfather of Hair|
|Occupation||Hairdresser, chemist and businessman|
|Known for||Jheri curl|
Jheri Redding (born Robert William Redding March 2, 1907 – March 15, 1998) was an American hairdresser, chemist, hair care products entrepreneur and businessman. Redding is best known for having created the Jheri curl.
Redding is credited with being the inventor of modern-day hair conditioner. He was the first to make "pH balanced" shampoos, to put vitamins in hair care products, and to market added minerals. He developed the perm product Jheri curl, as well as numerous other beauty products. He founded the international beauty products business that bore his name, along with three other hair-focused businesses.
As a young man in Chicago, Redding was teaching chemistry and working as a hair stylist using beauty products that did not perform to his expectations. He began experimenting with chemicals and other ingredients he found in his kitchen, such as mayonnaise and vinegar, to make his own shampoos, rinses and hairdressing solutions to improve the hair of his clients. From that grew the treatments, styling creams and gels that became known as Jheri Redding Products.
Redding moved to Los Angeles, California, shortly after World War II was over. Having adopted his unusual nickname along the way, he founded Jheri Redding Products Company in 1956, selling a cream rinse he developed. He later co-founded three other major national hair care companies, Redken in 1960, Jhirmack in 1968, and, in 1979, Nexxus, which he said stood for "Nature and Earth United With Science."
In the 1980s, Nexxus, under the day-to-day management of Redding's son Stephen, adopted the then-novel marketing strategy of advertising directly to consumers but selling its products only in hair salons. With advertising to consumers, Nexxus created the first large-scale successful retail sales in salons and spurring numerous competitors.
Marriages and children
Redding married four times and had three children, Stephen, Robert William, and Sean. At the time of his death, he had six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
As he succeeded, the recognized authority on hair color put his ideas into print when he wrote The Anatomy of a Permanent Wave. Redding also assumed a leadership position in the cosmetics industry and founded the Hollywood Design Council.
Awards and honors
- Johnston, David Cay (1998-03-21). "Jheri Redding Is Dead at 91; A Hair Products Entrepreneur". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
- "THE KING OF SHAMPOO Jheri Redding's latest company is aiming at beauty salons. - September 2, 1985". archive.fortune.com. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
- "Shear Madness". Nat Geo WILD.