Meet Michaeline DeJoria, the CEO on a mission to make caring for your hair and for the earth a breeze

… and thanks to her, John Paul Mitchell Systems has become a pioneering brand.

(Image credit: Paul Mitchell)

During my conversation with Michaeline DeJoria on a sunny day in Copenhagen, I am struck by two things: her breadth of knowledge of the minutiae of John Paul Mitchell Systems - she is the CEO of the company - and the fact that she is preternaturally composed in the heat. Her blue dress is crease free (the precise same one her best friend Miranda Kerr recently wore on stage, she tells me), and her hair unmarred by the frizz I’ve been sporting since getting off the plane.

The superlative hair is unsurprisingly, all down to Paul Mitchell products, and during our chats between filming she tells me she uses the whole range so she’s au fait with every offering. She has a particular fondness for the Paul Mitchell Clean Beauty Hydrate Shampoo and, my favourite, the Paul Mitchell Special Detox Tea Tree Kombucha Rinse.

Her composure is part of her nature. She took over from her father, the entrepreneur John Paul Jones Dejoria (a self-made billionaire who co-founded Paul Mitchell and The Patron Spirits Company, among other ventures) but her time at the helm has seen a change in tack.  She is emphatic on the need to lead with respect for the company’s past while maintaining a firm grip on innovation and moving forward - and she is determined to steer it to both greater heights of success and sustainability. 

A huge part of her plan involves making John Paul Mitchell Systems as sustainable as possible, and making sure the globally-recognised, 43-year-old company is doing everything in its power to help the planet at this pivotal moment. Michaeline’s vision includes a four-part sustainability pledge, which includes a focus on reducing virgin plastic, reducing the carbon footprint, sourcing from sustainable and ethical sources, and minimising waste to landfill.

Paul Mitchell Special Detox Tea Tree Kombucha Rinse and Foaming Salt Scrub

(Image credit: Paul Mitchell)

While moving towards greater sustainability is at the forefront of every responsible company’s agenda now given the environmental challenges we’re facing globally, Michaeline has actually pulled a thread from John Paul Mitchell Systems’ impressive past here. In1983, they founded an off-the-grid, solar-powered farm in Hawaii, established a partnership with the Waterkeeper Alliance in 2000, started reforesting and tree planting in 2005, and committed to planting one million trees with Reforest’Action in 2022. By 2030, they hope to have planted 2 million trees. 

Their efforts affect every part of the company, including how it is run by, for example, making sure photo shoots are carbon neutral, that their global distribution HQ is solar powered, and that they carbon offset corporate travel. They also target what’s in the bottle. The whole Clean Beauty range is manufactured with 100% certified clean energy from renewable sources, and each ingredient has been scrutinised to make it as earth-friendly as possible. The packaging includes zero plastic retail bags (eliminating 13.3 tonnes of plastic production annually, with 7p from the sale of each paper retail bag going to charity in the UK) plus bio-plastic packaging (90% derived from sustainably-harvested Brazilian sugarcane, and 100% recyclable).

Paul Mitchell Clean Beauty Range

(Image credit: Paul Mitchell)

And it’s not just the products which align with Michaeline’s vision. She was fixed on having the model and activist Quannah Chasinghorse as their Global Ambassador, saying that ‘her commitment to self-expression and authenticity is as inspiring as her unwavering determination to honour her heritage and efforts to protect our planet. Quannah is an absolute force and carries herself with grace, and she exemplifies our brand values and reminds us to push boundaries and lead with love, care, and compassion.’

Somehow I can’t help but feel that under Michaeline’s steer, the company will reach new heights of success while ensuring sustainability is a key tenet along the way. And after using the products to successfully tame my frizz-prone hair, I’m convinced that they’ll be launching some pretty outstanding products along the way. 

Madeleine Spencer

Madeleine Spencer is a journalist and broadcaster who has contributed to titles including Grazia, Glamour, InStyle, The Independent, The Evening Standard, and Stylist, as well as offering commentary for the BBC, Sky News, and ITV.

She is keen on exploring the significance beauty rituals, products, and memories have on people from different walks of life, and enters into conversation on the topic with guests on her podcast, Beauty Full Lives.