Haircare has been a male-dominated industry for years. But slowly, more and more ladies are claiming their rightful spots as the leaders and visionaries behind some of the world’s biggest beauty brands. From mega-salon owners to internationally acclaimed celebrity hairstylists, we sleuthed out the eight most badass women in hair. It took a lot more than just a large celebrity clientele to make our list–these women are full-on moguls. Read on, and get inspired by the most influential women in the hair industry who inspire us to work hard and break barriers every day.
It’s fair to say that the name Odile Gilbert is ubiquitous backstage at fashion weeks around the globe, and for good reason. Since the early 1980s, Odile Gilbert has been one of the most influential hairstylists in the business, drumming up the tresses seasonally at major shows like Alexander Wang, Thakoon, and Azzedine Alaia. The reality is that Odile is a trendsetter in every sense of the word. She sets the trends and tone of the season with a flick of the wrist. Off the runway, Odile constantly delivers the aspirational through top-notch editorial shoots and ad campaigns, where she works alongside the greats like Peter Lindbergh and Annie Leibovitz.
There’s a reason why color master Tracey Cunningham tends the tresses of just about every A-list celeb you can think of. With over two decades in the hair industry, Tracey has proven time and time again that she is the queen of color. Emma Stone, J.Lo, Charlize Theron, Jessica Biel, and Khloe Kardashian are just a few of the mega mane muses who frequently take a seat in her chair. But that’s not the only reason why Tracey is one of the most badass in the business. Tracey lends her skills to Redken as their Creative Consultant for Color and serves as an Olaplex Ambassador, all while co-owning one of the most esteemed salons in Los Angeles, MeCHE.
If there is one woman who really broke the gender “glass ceiling” in the hair industry, it’s Sally Hershberger. Known for revolutionizing the hair world with her keen cuts and trendsetting vision, Sally was one of the first female hairdressers to reach celebrity status thanks to her talent, business acumen, and of course, that famous Meg Ryan shag. Sally also has successful salons in both Los Angeles and NYC and has a sleek product line Sally Hershberger 24k.
Alli Webb, the founder of DryBar, just opened her 70th DryBar location in South Beach just a few weeks ago. To say that she completely transformed the hair industry is an understatement. Seven years ago, Alli founded the DryBar, a blow dry only salon, after noticing a huge interest in her own personal clientele in her $40 blowouts. “No cuts, no color, just blowouts,” was Alli’s mantra, which was heard by women around the world who now frequent her salon for their $45 blowout and styling services. Worth well over $70 million, Alli’s company includes salons worldwide, and an equally successful product line that is sold in-salon, and also at Sephora and Ulta. Alli also penned her own book, The Drybar Guide to Good Hair for All: How to Get the Perfect Blowout at Home.
Back in 1993, Lisa Price was encouraged by her mother, Carol, to start her own line of haircare that catered to natural, textured tresses. Out of her kitchen in Brooklyn, the wildly popular brand Carol’s Daughter was born, and it was one of the first of its kind. In 2014, Carol’s Daughter was acquired by L’Oréal and is still a mainstay for women worldwide.
NYC born and bred, Rita Hazan has been making major waves for years. Known for her eponymous 5th Avenue salon, Rita caters to the manes of the majors. Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Jessica Simpson—do any of those ring a bell? Yeah… and Rita is just as major as the ladies’ hair she tends to. In addition to her brick and mortar, Rita is known for her successful line of products specifically designed for color-treated hair.
Three words: “Formation” music video. Yep, mane master Kim Kimble is the secret sauce behind Queen Bey’s highly talked about looks from that kickass music video. Besides Bey, Kim also styles A-listers like Rihanna and Lady Gaga. Plus, she’s got her own line of haircare products that are available at Sally Beauty. Who run the world? Kim.
It goes without saying that our ultimate mane master and Mane Addicts Editor-in-she-if, Jen Atkin, is slaying the hair game. NY Times dubbed her the most influential woman in hair back in 2015, and she’s made some seriously major strides in the hair industry since then. Sure, she styles and cuts the hair of the Kardashians, Chrissy Teigen, Cindy Crawford, but she also launched a wildly successful hairline, Ouai, which has been selling out like crazy worldwide. Not only that, she’s the ambassador for Dyson and Slip Silk, all while being our Mane Addicts editrix.
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