Why Jennifer Aniston Became A Hair-Care Entrepreneur

A star partnered with an MIT professor. What happened next changed the way we think about frizz.

Why Jennifer Aniston Became A Hair-Care Entrepreneur
Jennifer Aniston and Living Proof CEO Jill Beraud

Why would Jennifer Aniston, who is so mind-boggingly famous that her character’s name (Rachel) on the ’90s sitcom Friends would become a haircut, decide to co-own a hair-care company?


“Honestly, this was my gut,” she tells CNBC of her taking equity in the beauty startup Living Proof, with a CEO, Jill Beraud, who is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2013. “We just want to do really good things for gals and their hair.”

Turns out the really good things are actually damn good: Living Proof was cofounded by Dr. Robert S. Langer, a biomedical engineering professor at MIT who recently received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Note: If it’s true that you want founders to be product innovators, a guy who developed nanoparticles to fight cancer might be a good bet.

How to make a better bottle? Langer started by setting out to understand one of hair care’s most persistent problems–frizz. He and his team realized that while almost every other anti-frizz product relied on silicone, they could solve the fuzzy problem with some clear understanding.

“What causes frizz is moisture, so other materials—polymers can keep moisture out better than silicones and actually would be lighter than silicones, [and] it could cover hair better than silicone,” Langer says. “When we did this, we came up with a totally different material called a PolyfluoroEster and that works a lot better.”

The proof is in the Living Proof: Entering the market five years ago, the brand is now in more than 1,000 retail locations across North America, the U.K., and Australia. Aniston’s partnership accelerates the startup, which was seed funded with $1 million from Polaris Partners.

Now, CNBC reports, the company is going after the $50 billion dollar global hair-care products industry. Aniston described what makes her company special:


“This is a fun opportunity to sort of enter into a business and be a part of something that I think women really appreciate–to have healthy hair,” she says, “and we’re sold a lot of crap.”

Bottom Line: If the incumbents have fuzzy solutions, make one that’s clear.

[Image Courtesy of Living Proof]

About the author

Drake Baer was a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covered work culture. He's the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation.