Americas English

Kao_Americas_History_Header

Kao_Americas_History_Header_1024

Kao_Americas_History_Header_Mobile

Our History

Built on more than a century of integrity and innovation

In 1887, pioneering business man Tomiro Nagase founded the company that would later become the Kao we know today. The Americas Region found its start five years earlier when the Andrew Jergens Company was founded in Cincinnati, OH. Since the creation of the first Jergens® product in 1882 coconut oil soap formulated to perform in hard water—we have been built on a strong foundation of integrity and innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit that started everything nearly a century and a half ago still inspires everything we do today.

Corporate

Kao_Americas_History_Corp1887

1887

Mr. Tomiro Nagase starts Nagase Shoten, a Western sundry goods dealer that would later become Kao.

Kao_Americas_History_Corp1991

1991

Kao USA opens the Jergens Research facility.

Kao_Americas_History_Corp1993

1993

Company invests $15M to increase the capacity of the Cincinnati plant.

Kao_Americas_History_Corp2003

2003

Manufacturing adds Line-25 high-speed lotion line, removing three low-speed lotion lines.

Kao_Americas_History_Corp2008

2008-2009

Manufacturing expands hair care production capacity with additional making and filling equipment.

Kao_Americas_History_Corp2012

2012

Kao Mass Brands integrates business activities with Salon Professional Brands and Molton Brown. Kao USA expands to downtown Cincinnati at Plum Street.

Kao_Americas_History_Corp2018

2018

Kao acquires Washing Systems, LLC (WSI). Kao Professional Services (KPS) grows to No. 2 player in Japan with sales of $316M.

Kao_Americas_History_Corp2019

2019

Kao launches new ESG Strategy “Kirei Lifestyle Plan” to support consumer lifestyle changes.

Kao_Americas_History_Corp2021

2021

Kao is recognized by the Ethisphere Institute, a U.S.-based think tank, as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies 2021 – 15 years running.

Back to top

Kao Consumer Division

Kao_Americas_History_Cons1882

1882

Andrew Jergens Sr. and Charles H. Geifus found the Andrew Jergens Company in Cincinnati, OH. The first product is coconut soap, specially formulated to perform in hard water.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons1901

1901

Jergens® classic cherry-almond lotion, now known as Jergens® Original Scent, becomes the best-selling hand lotion in America.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons1988

1988

Kao Corporation acquires Jergens® making them part of the Kao family.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons1989

1989

The John Frieda® Frizz Ease® Hair Serum is launched and lands a spot in Allure’s Cosmetic Hall of Fame and is named InStyle’s Product of the Decade.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons1997

1997

Kao launches Bioré® in the US. Their Pore Deep Cleansing Nose Strip is introduced and becomes the top-selling skin care product.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons1998

1998

Kao acquires the skin care brands Curél® and Soft Sense from Bausch & Lomb Incorporated.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2000

2000

Kao acquires the Ban brand from Chattem, Inc.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2002-1

2002

Kao acquires John Frieda Professional Hair Care, Inc.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2002-2

2002

Kao introduces Bioré® Warming Deep Pore Cleanser, one of the first warming cleansers in the Mass category to mimic the spa at home.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2005

2005

Jergens® Natural Glow, a revolutionary daily moisturizer, is invented. It sells out during the first week of advertising and becomes the largest new product launch in the history of its category.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2009-1

2009

Kao launches Jergens® body washes.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2009-2

Kao launches John Frieda® Go Blonder, a breakthrough product tailored to deliver what blonde hair desires most.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2014

2014

Kao introduces Bioré® Charcoal products to the marketplace. They become a top-selling innovation and reshape the Mass skincare category.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2015

2015

Kao launches two new Jergens® products—Wet Skin Moisturizer and Natural Glow Instant Sun.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2018

2018

With diversity and inclusion in mind, Kao looked to various Historically Black Colleges and Universities for fresh, intuitive perspectives. Wakati (Swahili for “time”), a new hair care brand designed for people with natural hair textures was launched—a groundbreaking collaboration with Florida A&M University.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2019-1

2019

Kao launches John Frieda® Violet Crush to help blondes neutralize stubborn brassy tones for cooler, brighter blonde.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2019-2

Kao launches Bioré® Rose Quartz, one of the first products to promote self-love for your pores in the marketplace.

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2020-1

2020

Kao also launches SOL by Jergens® sunless tanning launch

Kao_Americas_History_Cons2020-2

Kao launches MyKirei by Kao, the first new brand developed and launched specifically for the U.S. market that incorporates Kao’s unique film packaging technology, using significantly less plastic than traditional bottles.

Back to top

Kao Salon Division

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1882

1948

Hans Erich Dotter, 27-year-old businessman, founds Goldwell, building a company that focuses exclusively on hairdressers as business partners. Its first product is an innovative cold perm.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1901

1956

Goldwell creates a shampoo system that’s economical in terms of dispensing and professional in terms of handling as well as Sprühgold—still the no. 1 salon hairspray in Germany to this day.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1971

1971

Goldwell moves into the fast-growing permanent color category.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1976

1976

Biochemist Jamey Mazzotta uses his passion for creating innovative haircare products to establish KMS California in Redding, California.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1978

1978

Goldwell creates the first color lotion depot system for convenient and consistent results with 100% accuracy.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1984

1984

KMS introduces Control, one of the first heat styling products on the market.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1989

1989

Kao acquires Goldwell in 1989, making them part of the Kao family.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1995

1995

KMS introduces FLATOUT, known today as THERMASHAPE Straightening Cream, the first professional non-chemical relaxer.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_1996

1996

KMS introduces breakthrough product HAIRPLAY Molding Paste.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2001

2001

In a true breakthrough with new technology, Goldwell introduces its expert color range with a Kao patent, Elumen.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2002

2002

Goldwell acquires KMS California.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2008-1

2008

Renowned editorial and celebrity hairstylist, Oribe Canales along with Daniel Kaner and Tevya Finger create Oribe Hair Care. Their 20-product launch in salons was featured in Vogue Magazine.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2008-2

KMS introduces two innovative products—HAIRPLAY Makeover Spray, one of the first modern dry shampoos, and HAIRPLAY Dry Wax, a styling product developed to create a matte look that has been a best-seller since its launch.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2013

2013

Goldwell® introduces new Kerasilk, the first long-lasting and customizable Keratin treatment service with an additional home care program.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2014

2014

Oribe launches its Gold Lust Repair & Restore Collection and is named in Forbes’ list of Most Promising Companies in America.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2015

2015

Oribe launches best-selling Bright Blonde for Beautiful Color Collection.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2016

2016

Oribe launches its Bodycare Collection.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2018-1

2018

Kao adds Oribe to its family of brands.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2018-2

KMS introduces STYLE COLOR, the first temporary hair color giving people around the world the opportunity to change their hair color like they change their clothes.

Kao_Americas_History_Salon_2019

2019

Oribe launches the Moisture & Control for Highly Textured Hair Collection.

Back to top

Molton Brown

Kao_Americas_History_MB_1973

1973

Caroline Burstein co-founds Molton Brown, blending haircare products by hand above a salon on London’s south Molton Street, Mayfair.

Kao_Americas_History_MB_1979

1979

Molton Brown launches its first collection of body products, starting their love affair with exotically scented skin-conditioning body washes, body lotions and bath oils.

Kao_Americas_History_MB_1985

1985

Molton Brown launches MB Men, a full skincare, haircare, fragrance and shaving line-up.

Kao_Americas_History_MB_2002

2002

Molton Brown launches its instantly-bestselling Black Peppercorn Body Wash.

Kao_Americas_History_MB_2005

2005

Kao acquires Molton Brown making it part of the Kao family.

Kao_Americas_History_MB_2012

2012

Molton Brown named winner of Cosmetic Executive Women’s “Best British Brand” award and is granted Royal Warrant for the supply of toiletries to the royal household.

Kao_Americas_History_MB_2015

2015

Molton Brown® wins awards for “Best Men’s Grooming Product” for Post Shave Recovery Balm and “Best Bath & Body Product” for its Rhubarb & Rose Body Wash.

Back to top

Page Top