“If you don’t look good, we don’t look good…” – Vidal Sassoon

Sometimes an extraordinary person comes along who recognizes the ‘signs of the times’ and changes an industry forever. Such was Vidal Sassoon, hairdresser extraordinaire, whose name became a household word and an international brand. Born on the 17th of January 1928, he became one of the movers-and-shakers of the 20th century. He left us on the 9th of May 2012 but his heritage will live on…
Beauty, for centuries, has been a matter of a lot of work. Cleopatra had her maids to dress her hair; in every period, women have worried their hair into current fashions. To achieve the romantic, flowing hairstyles of early ages or the back-combed and lacquered ‘beehive’ of the 1950’s, women slept in tightly rolled hair curlers and spent hours under hair dryers. Sassoon swept all that away in the mid-1960’s with his simple but dramatic geometric cuts that required no extra fuss.
“My idea was to cut shape into the hair, to use it like fabric and take away everything that was superfluous…Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power. They didn’t have time to sit under the dryer anymore,” Sassoon said in a 1993 Los Angeles Times interview.

He has been likened to Christopher Columbus discovering a new world, and called “the most innovative person ever to enter the industry.” He opened his first hair salon in London in 1954, but his breakthrough came in 1960 when he cut actress Nancy Kwan’s hair into a short bob for the movie, “The World of Suzie Wong.” He went on to create short geometric hairstyles – like the famous “pixie cut” for film star Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby.” Not since the “Roaring 20’s” had hair been so short.
His hairstyles were the perfect pairing to the fashions of the iconic 1960’s “London’s Carnaby Street” style epitomized by the model Twiggy. They were the perfect marriage to the rising miniskirts and hot pants designed by the leading fashion designers of the day including Mary Quant who wore his famous geometric “five-point bob.” He is credited with being a real force for the women’s liberation movement.

In the years following his initial success, his company grew steadily to become one of the most important manufacturers of haircare products. In keeping with his ideas for empowering women, his 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner ‘Wash-and-Go’ became the biggest selling hair product of the 1980’s. A brilliant entrepreneur, he was among the pioneers of ‘name branding’ – appearing in his own advertisements so that his name became identified globally with quality hair products.
By the mid-1980’s, he shifted his focus to philanthropy through the Vidal Sassoon Foundation including support for the Boys Clubs of America, the Music Center of Los Angeles and relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He established the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA), a research centre devoted to the non-political, interdisciplinary gathering of information about antisemitism. He also funded numerous educational projects around the world.
Said Madison Avenue stylist to the stars, Oscar Blandi, “He truly changed the world of hair and beauty. He was definitely the most innovative person ever to enter the industry.”
He was an inspiration. He will be missed… Says Paul Penders, “He was my idol.”
Paul Penders says: “Back when I was starting the company, Vidal Sassoon was one of my idols. I was inspired by his thinking and visited his salon in London. He was an innovator and a risk-taker. In addition to his brilliance with hair styling, he also made great shampoos. It is saddening to me that nowadays an innovator like Vidal Sassoon might not be allowed to be so creative or to make his mark. Inventive small businesses are being suppressed by the big corporations and unreasonable government regulations. I salute the memory of his creative spirit. May his soul rest in peace.”
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By Teviot Fairservis.



Australian Hair & Makeup Artist Promotes Natural, Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

One of the very proud moments in my life with the incredible Jane Goodall during the launch of her film at IMAX…. A brief background on myself… Hi : -) I am Nicole Groch. I have been a professional freelance hair & makeup artist based in Melbourne, Australia for over 19 years. I have been working in the fashion, advertising and music industry both in Australia and overseas. Quite some year’s back now, I took it upon myself to rethink my attitude towards the makeup & hair products I used in my kit.
I had been a vegetarian for many years for ethical reasons, and only used ‘cruelty free’ products in my work, but I was also very interested in all the natural and organic products that were becoming more readily available.

I did research into the common ingredients used in the majority of cosmetic brands and was astounded at how many toxic ingredients they contained and how they can adversely affect our health. I then converted my kit, so I now use on my clients only the safest, cruelty free and natural products that I can source. This is how I came to love the Paul Penders range as they stood for everything I believed in, vegan, natural and safe. Over the years I got to know Paul and he is an incredible inspirational person.
Because I didn’t believe it was ethical to use or promote any products that were tested on animals I was constantly turning down work for companies that either used such products, or had real fur in their ranges, including their TV commercials, fashion parades, fashion shows and product editorials. Particularly I wanted to do something positive with my makeup skills to help animals!
So I got in contact with the Australian (they accredit cruelty free companies) and offered to start “The Cruelty Free Makeup Tips”. I arranged a huge celebrity launch for the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” poster campaign I had put together and did all hair and makeup for it as well.

I was able to use my connections to get celebrity support for the front covers of our magazines and for campaigns. After a few years I was asked to become a Director of Choose Cruelty Free and as their PR Director I found Paul Penders products. Our Preferred Product List lead me to do PR work for other natural and cruelty free companies.
Now I am the mother of two beautiful children. And along with doing my hair and makeup work, and PR for CCF, I embarked on a journey that I am very passionate about! I have become the writer, editor, photographer, marketing and PR person for a website my husband Jonathan (an IT professional) and I together designed, called:

The aim of Living Safe is to give individuals easy tools and accurate knowledge to help them create a safe and healthy environment for their children, pets and …ultimately themselves! Since we have launched the site several months ago we have been getting fantastic positive feedback, especially from parents thanking us for creating this much needed site. It has made them more aware and informed about these very important issues. We hope our site will help to create a better world for the all of us. We also have a directory of “Safe & Non-Toxic” companies and of course, Paul’s products are on it as well as they fit the Living Safe ethos perfectly!
Paul Penders is now available in Australia. For more information please visit:
Author: Nicole Groch