The following list of the 5 most influential hair designers in history is by no means inclusive of all the hair designers that have become famous and forever affected the popular styles of men’s and women’s hair. This is completely subjective- just one person’s list of the 5 people who seem to have positively changed this industry the most.
1. Kenneth Battelle
This was the first hairdresser who was commonly known simply by his first name. Kenneth became a legend in the 1960s thanks to his work on Marilyn Monroe’s hair, making it look soft and lovely despite countless bleaches and perms. Ironically, he was the one who did her hair when she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F Kennedy, and he was also the one responsible for Jackie Kennedy’s famous bouffant hairstyle. Other famous clients that Kenneth worked with included Lauren Bacall and Audrey Hepburn.
2. Olive Benson
This master hair designer was responsible for many of the most popular African American hairstyles that are still common today. Her salon was the first to offer advanced curly hair techniques and treatments for African American hair, and she was the first African American to receive a number of hairdressing awards.
3. Jeanne Braa
As artistic director of John Paul Mitchell Systems, Jeanne Braa was a huge influence on female hairstylists and on the industry in general. After a great career that included being the first recipient of the North American Hairstylist of the Year Trustees Award in 1993, she quit the business and began traveling the world doing humanitarian work with her husband.
The man known simply as Christiaan has been a leading name in hairstyling for more than 40 years. This internationally known editorial hair stylist has worked with some of the most famous celebrities, including Deborah Harry of Blondie, model and actress Grace Jones and, more recently, David and Victoria Beckham. He is known for edginess, independence and creativity.
5. Paul Mitchell
Although he is now deceased, Paul Mitchell is still a huge influence on hair stylists all over the world. As co-founder of the world-renowned Paul Mitchell brand, products are available in stores everywhere across the globe, and he has been a household name since the 1970s and 1980s when his cuts appeared on the covers of magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Many attribute Paul Mitchell with freeing women from the constraints of bouffant hairstyles.