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IndustryConsumer goods
Founded1880; 140 years ago (1880)
FoundersFranz Ströher
HeadquartersDarmstadt, Germany
Area served
ProductsHair care
ParentCoty, Inc.[1]

Wella AG is a major German hair care company headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany. Founded in 1880 by Franz Ströher, it specializes in hair care, styling and colorants sold to individuals as well as hairdressers and was controlled by Procter & Gamble from 2003 until it was sold to Coty, Inc. in 2015 along with some 40 other P&G brands.[1]


A 1971 Wella Magazine ad in Persian, Zan-e Rooz.

Wella was founded in 1880 by Franz Ströher, a hairdresser from Saxony, Eastern Germany. The company originally made tulles, the base used for making wigs. In 1890, he invented the Tullemoid Waterproof, a technique that allowed the scalp to breathe. In 1894, he opened his first factory in Rothenkirchen, Germany and his sons Karl and George Ströher joined the business soon after.

In 1924, the Ströhers registered the name Wella at the German patent office. As wigs and hairpieces fell out of fashion, the company turned to permanent wave products; the name Wella was taken from Dauerwellapparat, meaning "permanent wave device" in German. In 1927, they introduced the first perming appliance and supplied it to salons. In the 1930s Wella developed the first hairdryers with built-in motors and movable tubes that allowed head movement during the drying process. Also in the 1930s, Wella introduced Wella Junior, a portable perming machine.

After World War II, the German Democratic Republic seized the Wella factory and all its patents were declared state-owned. The Ströher family and some members of staff decided to start the business again from scratch in Hünfeld, Hesse. Production began again in 1945 and, by the end of the decade, the new Wella AG had 50 employees.

In 1950, Wella introduced Koleston, the first hair balm designed to protect and nourish hair. In 1954, Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor appeared in Koleston advertising.

In the 1960s, the company launched Wella Privat, a salon-exclusive product range that let customers take professional-style products home for the first time. In the early 1970s, Wella introduced Perform a new perm product that allowed hairdressers to create Afro style looks. In 1972 they released Wella Balsam, the first shampoo specifically produced for retail sales. The advertising campaign featured the stars of TV show Charlie's Angels: Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd. Wella also launched For Men, their first ever product line exclusively for men.

In 1995, Wella re-launched the Koleston line as Koleston Perfect. The new product included natural ingredients including fruit wax.

2002 saw the launch of Wella TrendVision, an annual presentation of Wella’s haute couture hair collections. The event is now known as the International TrendVision Award, or ITVA: a global hairdressing competition. In 2003, Wella was acquired by Procter & Gamble, further expanding the group’s beauty portfolio across Eastern and Western Europe, and Latin America.

Josh Wood became a Global Wella Professionals Colour Ambassador in January 2008 and in 2010 took on the full-time role as Wella Professionals’ Global Creative Director of Colour.[2] Eugene Souleiman currently serves as Global Creative Director for Wella Professionals.[2]

Wella founded Making Waves in 2011 – a programme that teaches hairdressing and life skills to disadvantaged young people. The program started in Brazil and has since expanded to include Romania. In 2014, Wella patented a new molecule called ME+. This molecule is a substitute for PPD, also known as p-phenylenediamine, which is present in most colouring products to fix the colour. PPD has been known to cause mild to severe allergic reactions. The ME+ molecule is used in the Wella Professionals colour brand Koleston Perfect Innosense, which was the first permanent colour product to be approved by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF). As of 2019 the ME+ molecule is now used in the complete Wella Professionals Koleston Perfect line.


Date Publication & Award Category Brand & Product Scope
April 2012 Total Beauty 2012 Beauty Awards Hair Gel/Rising Star Editor’s Pick Wella Professionals North America
March 2016 behindthechair.com Stylist Choice Awards 2016 Favorite Overall Professional Products Company Wella Professionals North America
March 2016 behindthechair.com Stylist Choice Awards 2016 Favorite Lightener For Foil Highlights Wella Professionals Blondor North America
March 2016 behindthechair.com Stylist Choice Awards 2016 Favorite Lightener For Balayage and Hand-Painted Highlights Winner Wella Professionals Blondor Freelights North America


  1. ^ a b P&G confirms names of all 43 brands sold to Coty (article date July 13, 2016)
  2. ^ a b "The Wella Professionals Heritage". www.wella.com.

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