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Tresemme new logo.png
Product typeHair care
OwnerUnited KingdomNetherlands Unilever
Produced byUnited States Godefroy Manufacturing Company (1947–1968)
United States Alberto-Culver (1968–2010)
United KingdomNetherlands Unilever (2010–Now)
Country United States
Introduced1947; 73 years ago (1947),  United States
Previous ownersUnited States Godefroy Manufacturing Company (1947–1968)
United States Alberto-Culver (1968–2010)
TaglineProfessional. Affordable.
Used By Professionals

TRESemmé is an American brand of hair care products first manufactured in 1947 by the Godefroy Manufacturing Company in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. It was named after the renowned hair care expert Edna L. Emme.[1] The brand name is a phonetic respelling of "beloved" (French: très-aimé) that includes the surname of its namesake.

The TRESemmé product line was initially marketed only to beauty salons. The TRESemmé brand was purchased by Alberto-Culver in 1968, and then acquired by Unilever in 2010.[2]

A bottle of TRESemmé shampoo


The TRESemmé brand was launched in 1947 by Godefroy Manufacturing, and was bought in 1968 by Alberto-Culver, a manufacturer of hair and skincare products. The original intention was to only distribute the products of the brand within beauty salons; however, as the product line became more popular, it was marketed to supermarkets and pharmacies.[3]

In 2010, Alberto-Culver was bought by Unilever, an AngloDutch multinational consumer goods company.[4] At that time, the product line was further developed and more products were added.[5]

Product range[edit]

TRESemmé creates formulas suited for different types of hair.[6] TRESemmé products include: shampoos & conditioners, dry shampoos, mousse, gels, hair sprays, crème & milk, and other styling sprays. TRESemmé's products are used in hair salons across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Asia, particularly for hair repair treatment from heat damage caused by hair ironing and blowdrying.[7]

As of 2014, a software tool called "PROfiler" on the TRESemmé website allowed consumers to find the right products for their hair.[8] As of 2018, the tool was no longer available.


The brand spent an estimated US$17 million on advertising in 2004.[9] As of 2006, advertisement campaigns included one promoted under "Professional, Affordable".[10]

South African racism controversy[edit]

In August 2020, TRESemmé was accused of being racist when its marketing campaign at South African retail chain Clicks ran an ad showing the text "dull and frizzy" and "dry and damaged" under the portrait of a black model while "fine and flat" and "normal" appeared under a white model. Following an uproar across South Africa against Clicks and TRESemmé, protest action, damage to some Clicks stores by members of the South African political party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and a call by Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni to remove all TRESemmé products, Clicks issued an apology, temporarily closed a number of its stores, suspended staff responsible for approving the advert, pulled all TRESemmé products, and pledged to fill the gap with locally sourced hair care brands.[11][12][13][14].

National retail chains Shoprite/Checkers, Pick n Pay, Makro, Dis-Chem and Woolworths also announced their intention to remove all TRESemmé products from their shelves.[15][16][17] On 10 September, the EFF released a joint statement with Unilever South Africa on Twitter where they announced Unilever's decision to remove all its TRESemmé products from all retailers for 10 days as a show of remorse, conduct an internal investigation into the campaign, and take disciplinary action on those involved. The statement also said that the director involved in the campaign left the company and country[18]

The intent behind the damaging advertisement is not universally regarded as purposely malicious[19] and neither Clicks nor TRESemmé consider its racial undertone to be intentional. TRESemmé issued an apology in September 2020, stating that "the campaign set out to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions that TRESemmé offers" and that "we got it wrong".[20] Commenting on the controversy, black television personality Somizi Mhlongo said that there may be some truth in the TRESemmé ad, noting "The hair that they showed is the hair that looks like what happens when we relax our hair. My hair right now is not natural, it has chemicals, it’s damaged."[21]

Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week[edit]

TRESemmé was the official hair care sponsor of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2014 in New York in February, and had been since 2006.[22]

TRESemmé created a team called "Runway Insiders" that included American model and DJ Harley Viera-Newton.[23]


Awards won by the TRESemmé brand include:


  1. ^ "TRESemmé". Hindustan Unilever Limited. Unilever 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  2. ^ Bittar, Christine; Positioning: Tresemme Hair Line Goes Back To Its Roots; Brandweek; [2004-06-28]; retrieved on 2007-12-24
  3. ^ Keen, Melissa. "Tresemme Marketing Strategy". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  4. ^ Nicholson, Chris V. (2010-09-27). "Unilever to Buy Alberto Culver for $3.7 Billion". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  5. ^ Pederson, Jay P (2001). International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 36. Detroit: St James Press.
  6. ^ "TRESemmé". Unilever. Unilever 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  7. ^ On August 7, 2012, TRESemmé will have its first international release in the Philippines.]; retrieved on 2007-12-24
  8. ^ "Hair Profiler". Tresemme. Unilever 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  9. ^ Bittar, Christine; Positioning: TRESemme Hair Line Goes Back To Its Roots; Brandweek; 2004-06-28; retrieved on 2007-12-24
  10. ^ It is also sold in drugstores and supermarkets across the U.S."Professional. Affordable." It says it all!; ciao!; 2006-11-25; retrieved on 2007-12-24
  11. ^ "South African retailer Clicks to remove TRESemmé products from shelves over advert". Reuters. 2020-09-09. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  12. ^ "Clicks takes drastic steps, clears shelves of hair product". IOL. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  13. ^ "Five arrested for destruction at Clicks in Alberton". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  14. ^ "WATCH: EFF 'fighters' destroy and shutdown Clicks stores". NewsLite SA. 2020-09-07. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  15. ^ Grobler, Riaan. "Clicks hair advert: senior exec resigns, TRESemmé to be removed from shelves, employees suspended". News24. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  17. ^ Grobler, Riaan. "Dis-Chem, Makro latest retailers to pull TRESemmé from shelves". News24. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  18. ^ @EFFSouthAfrica (10 September 2020). "Joint Statement of The EFF And Unilever On The Tresemme-SA Racist Image" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ "Is Thuli Madonsela's stance on Clicks ad an insult or part of the fight? SA divided on this one". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  20. ^ "TRESemmé apologises for Clicks ad". eNCA. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  21. ^ "WATCH: Somizi says there is some truth in the Clicks hair advert". Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  22. ^ Irwin, Tanya. "Tresemme Sponsors Fashion Week, Bows FB Group". MediaPost. MediaPost Communications 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  23. ^ "TRESemme Looks to Make Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week as Famous for the Hair as It Is for the Fashion". PR Newswire. PR Newswire Association LLC 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  24. ^ "Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards 2010: Best Hair Products". Cosmopolitan. 2014 Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  25. ^ Devash, Meirav. "Best of Beauty: Hair". Allure. Condé Nast 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  26. ^ a b "Beauty Awards". TRESemmé. Unilever 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  27. ^ Schaffner, Liana. "2011 Readers' Choice Breakthroughs". Allure. Condé Nast 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.

External links[edit]