By Mary N. DiZazzo

Wash and Wear Hair and Paul Mitchell Started it All

Ciao bella,

The cosmetology industry can take many credits for its creation of hair icons—the masters of hair—artists in their own right that changed the course of style trends. One of these men is Paul Mitchell, known as Mr. Paul in the early 1960s.

Born Cyril Thomas Mitchell in Scotland in 1936, Paul Mitchell started his cosmetology training at his mother’s strong request. Since she was the town’s first hairdresser, mum decided hairdressing was a more solid career than what he yearned to be “an actor.” So Paul took center stage in hairdressing.

His early years were spent in England on the competition circuit. Then after studying under Vidal Sassoon he came to America, styling “wash and wear” ‘dos. At only 29 he was training stylists when Sassoon opened his first salons.

While working on Madison Avenue in N.Y.C. he met Geraldine Stutz, the president of Henri Bendel, an upscale department store in Manhattan. She recognized Mitchell’s talent and inspiration to open an affordable salon without appointments. Crimpers was born on Lexington Avenue and 62nd Street. It was a profitable venture with salons opening up everywhere with his concept.

He started the Paul Mitchell Cutting Club where hairdressers could train under his tutelage. It was then in the early 1970s that he invented the shag.

After moving to Hawaii in 1975, he founded the Paul Mitchell Systems with John Paul DeJoia who remains CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, a line of hair products to keep hair healthy and shiny.

Unfortunately, Paul only lived to be 53 years old, but his legacy lives on in my industry.

Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America!

Have you missed any of Mary's columns in the Post-Gazette? Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns on her website She is a third-generation cosmetologist and owner of Mary for Nails, etc. natural nailcare salon in Andover, and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183. She also sees select clients by appointment in Boston at (617) 742-6881.