💡Founders Story of Redken: A History of Innovation

The26The26
Jun. 15
The Redken brand was founded by actress Paula Kent and chemist Jheri Redding. They combined the first syllables of their last names to create the Redken name. Paula grew up in Burbank, California and dropped out of high school at 15 to have her son. She later worked as a model and actress in TV shows and commercials. While working in this industry, she found that many of the hair products available at the time would damage her hair and irritate her sensitive scalp. 
She turned to chemist Jheri Redding to find a solution, and he developed hair products with a low pH balance that wouldn’t be drying or irritating. Soon afterward, they launched the Redken brand, which quickly became a worldwide success. Stylist Vidal Sassoon toured for Redken products, bringing them even further into the mainstream. Redken quickly became a preferred choice for stylists around the world because their products were protein-based. At the time, many other haircare brands were only focusing on the appearance of hair, instead of also focusing on its health. This science-based approach was very novel for the industry. 
Kent eventually bought out Redding, and her husband, John Meehan, joined the company’s operations in the ‘70s. Through the years, Redken continued to innovate and provide new opportunities in the beauty industry. They began offering education for hairdressers in the 1970s, teaching about key scientific concepts as well as basic entrepreneurial skills. The brand also held hair symposiums and presented groundbreaking exhibits at industry shows. Redken went public for a time, but eventually Kent and Meehan decided to buy back the entire company. 
Throughout her time at the company, Kent was frequently recognized as a leading businesswoman. She received many awards for her leadership and entrepreneurial skills, as she had gone from being a high school dropout to leading one of the world’s largest beauty companies. Paula continued to reside in Beverly Hills until her death in 2014. She was a philanthropist and frequently donated to community organizations. 
In the early ‘90s, L’Oreal purchased Redken and the brand moved to New York. Since then, Redken stylists have worked on some of the world’s most high-profile runway shows. The Redken Exchange was also set up to continue the brand’s tradition of educating salon professionals. They have continued to innovate and expand their product line, which is now available in 43 different countries. Redken has also been progressive with the models and stylists they partner with. Most notably, in 2014 they hired Lea T as their spokesmodel, making her the first openly transgender model to be the face of a beauty brand. 
Redken continues to be hugely popular among professional stylists. Some of their more recent innovations have come in the form of hair color products. Their Chromatics line contains nutrients to strengthen the hair instead of stripping it of its natural oils. Redken has also launched their Style Station app for professional stylists, which provides resources and tools. They also have an online app you can use to see what you would look like with a different hair color! Redken’s continued commitment to developing new technology and working stylists has cemented their position as an industry leader. 
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