40 Years of Paul Mitchell: People, Products & the Planet

by akesha / last updated January 15, 2020

John paul Mitchell Systems John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell

With just $700 to their name, forty years ago two friends, Cyril Thomson Mitchell and John Paul DeJoria had a dream to create salon-quality products at an affordable price point. Four decades later Paul Mitchell Systems supports the success of hairdressers across the globe. Here we dive into the world of John Paul Mitchell Systems, then and now…

John Paul Mitchell Systems – Before the Brand

Cyril Thomson Mitchell (who later become known as Paul) was born in Carnwath, Scotland where his mother was the town’s first hairdresser. After trying his hand at a few different jobs he followed in his mother’s footsteps in hairdressing. Moving to London to train at Morris School of Hairdressing he accrued many awards and achievements over the years in the U.K capital city. As the 1960s came around Paul began work with Vidal Sassoon and after 5 years Vidal asked Paul to train the staff in his first U.S. salon.

The 1970s brought great change for Paul as he welcomed his son Angus, opened his New York salon Superhair and met John Paul DeJoria, their friendship becoming the starting point for their successful company.

Before meeting Paul, John Paul DeJoria had numerous jobs to make ends meet, including selling encyclopedias, working as a janitor and pumping petrol. Eventually he began a career working at beauty companies before becoming an independent consultant. It was at that point he met Paul and the two started concocting their ideas for the brand shortly after.

John Paul Mitchell Systems – A family brand

The duo launched Paul Mitchell Systems with just three key products; Shampoo One, Shampoo Two and The Conditioner. The conditioner was the first professional leave in conditioner on the market.

The company grew from strength to strength under the leadership of John Paul and Paul, who regularly fronted the brand’s advertising campaigns, as did their family.

John paul Mitchell Systems John Paul and Michaeline DeJoria Heydari

When Paul died of pancreatic cancer in 1989 he left his shares of the brand to his son, Angus, who now runs it alongside John Paul. The brand remains truly family-owned, with John-Paul’s daughter Michaeline DeJoria Heydari holding the position of vice chairman at the company.


John paul Mitchell Systems Angus Mitchell and John Paul DeJoria

John paul Mitchell Systems John Paul and Michaeline DeJoria


John Paul Mitchell Systems was built on the principle of helping hairdressers and this remains a cornerstone of the brand to this day.

Despite hugely lucrative offers from public corporations to buy 
John Paul Mitchell Systems, they refuse to sell the company because of the initial vow Paul and John Paul took to stand by the professional beauty industry.

John paul Mitchell Systems 40 year anniversary

Since no public corporation has guaranteed it will market John Paul Mitchell Systems brands only through professional channels – selling has never been an option.

John Paul Mitchell Systems is continuously committed to the professional beauty industry around the world and has been supporting hairdressers for four decades now boasting a portfolio of products with over 80 products and professional styling tools.

John Paul Mitchell Systems and the planet

The brand has been green from the start, before sustainability was a buzzword and eco-friendly ventures were so public. The brand has never tested on animals and in 1982 Paul and John Paul established a sustainable, solar-powered Awapuhi Farm in Hawaii, back in the day before eco-friendly ventures had become a thing.

John paul Mitchell Systems Awapuhi farm

The awapuhi plant is still harvested there today to contribute to the manufacturing of Paul Mitchell and Awapuhi Wild Ginger products. This is also the final resting place of Paul on the farm in his spiritual home of Hawaii.

Looking to the future the brand has committed to planting 1 Million trees by the end of 2022.

A culture of giving

“Success unshared is failure,” says John Paul. The culture of giving instilled in the company is helping to change the world. Over the years, John Paul Mitchell Systems and Paul Mitchell Schools have donated millions of dollars to hundreds of global philanthropic causes; from environmental protection to children’s charities and human rights. But they don’t just give with their cheque book, they mobilise their entire community to get involved and lend a hand, helping to change the world one good deed at a time.

John paul Mitchell Systems team

For more information

This post is sponsored by Salon Success

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