Real improvement in hair care began in the 1960’s.  The scientific community had progressed sufficiently to determine that the PH of the hair was between 4.5 and 5.5.  This proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle that JR was looking for.  Until then, PH was not a major consideration in the beauty industry.  As a result, several products simply didn’t benefit the hair as their PH was typically closer to that of water – 7.  A second hurdle overcome was the introduction of collagen proteins into hair care products.  The combination of PH balanced to the hair and the focused proteins (comprised of the newly discovered amino acids) proved to be a great success., And Redken, (Jheri REDding and Paula KENt), now owned by Loreal, became the front runner in professional hair care.  Always the consummate creator, JR chose to have the business be taken over by his partner.  JR also agreed that he would not start another beauty products company for a period of 5 years.  This was in 1967.

JR stuck to his agreement and did not start a beauty products company during the moratorium.  Instead, he created a line of vitamins, a recently discovered passion of his, in 1970.  Joining forces with his wife and two close business colleagues, Jhirmack (JHeri – IRene – MArgie – JaCK) was formed.  During the restricted years, JR sold his vitamins the same way he sold his beauty products – through beauty salons.  This decision proved to be brilliant, as it kept the connection open between JR and professional salon operators.  Once the moratorium was lifted, JR quickly launched his next product line.  Based on ever increasing technological innovations, he produced products founded on the smaller components of protein – nucleic acids (NCA’s).  Perhaps his largest success came in a newly formulated permanent wave solution, enhanced with NCA’s, called Jheri-Kurl, a product still used in the industry nearly 40 years later.  Again, JR’s creative side took precedent and he parted ways with with Jhirmack.  Again, he agreed to yet another moratorium.  This was 1977.

By 1981, after the four year moratorium was lifted and the next line of vitamins were continued to be sold in salons, Nexxus launched with the next level of beauty product innovation.  Always looking for the next advancement, JR looked to the textile industry for inspiration. There, he found that enhancements to natural fibers were being done through the synthesis of protein blocks.  This synthesis was the result of the bonds between protein strings – polymers.  Not satisfied with just one innovation, he looked to agriculture for the next brainstorm.  Using his experience from nearly 50 years earlier, JR experimented with hundreds of plant products to determine the effect on the hair.  These “botanicals” combined with the protein polymers provided the foundation for his greatest innovation, which remains the leading foundation of beauty products to this day.  This company, besides being on the cutting edge of hair care technology, was also structured completely different from the prior enterprises.  JR was head of research and development, owning none of the company, which he placed in the hands of his two sons.  This allowed for JR to focus on creating rather than deal with the nuances of running a business.  As a result, Nexxus became the industry leader for professional hair care - a pattern not unfamiliar to JR.  For more than 25 years, Jheri Redding and Nexxus continued to provide the industry with the leading edge of hair care.

Retiring from product development in 1990, Jheri Redding spent his final years with a long standing passion – thoroughbred horses – raising champion racers on his dream ranch in Atascadero, California.   

JR - The Shampoo Guru, “formulated his last product” on March 15, 1998.

JR then moved to a more radical solution – cow’s blood.  Again, the protein properties brought him to believe that it would provide protection during treatment.  His theory proved to be quite correct.  The hair was protected throughout the chemical treatments.  The drawback?  It turns out cow’s blood also colors the hair; not necessarily something the client was enthusiastic about.  Still, it maintained properties that were effective in protecting the hair.
In the 1940’s, JR moved to California, where he gained notoriety as a platform artist and competition winner.  While he didn’t focus wholeheartedly on creating products for the hair, he continued his tinkering during this decade, attempting to determine the most effective solutions.

It was during the 1950’s that JR truly began his saga as a beauty product innovator.  His first company, Jheri Redding products, was founded on his discovery of proteins within milk and honey.  Based on a long standing home remedy, JR did his best to break down the two natural products into their constituents to allow them to effectively benefit the hair.  The restriction of technology of the day prevented what JR was looking to achieve.  Nonetheless, milk and honey proved to be light years ahead of the products of the time.  While it met with some success, JR was not interested in the direction of the Jheri Redding products and eventually split with his partner who in turn sold the venture to Conair.

Jheri “JR” Redding graduated the University of Indiana in 1928 with a major in art/music and a minor in science/chemistry.  While teaching in the 1930’s, JR had a chance meeting with a fraternity brother who convinced him to rethink his profession.  Not surprisingly money was tight during these depressed years, so it was then he decided on a career in hair styling – a decision that literally changed how we look at hair care today.  While working the beginning years of the beauty profession at his salon in Rantoul, Illinois, JR quickly discovered that serious problems occurred while doing chemical services (color/permanent wave).  Varying degrees of damaged occurred during the procedures, yet solutions to protect or correct the hair were virtually non-existent.  Using his background in chemistry, JR experimented with some success trying to protect the hair during chemical procedures while still using age old industry methods.  His first effort involved pancake mix.  JR surmised that the protein in the mix would help protect the hair.  (Science at that time had determined the hair to be comprised of 97 percent protein and 3 percent mineral ash).  Unfortunately, pancake mix becomes a messy goo when heat is applied during the chemical treatments.  Customers were none to pleased with this and he withdrew the solution.

pH & The Advancement In Hair Care

Protecting Hair During Chemical Procedures.


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