horst pic

18.02.14 – One of the leading lights of the natural beauty industry has left us.  Aveda and Intelligent Nutrients founder Horst Rechelbacher passed away at the weekend on 15 February at age 72 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011.

A man with a big love for the planet, a clear vision and an important mission, his was a rags-to-riches story which started at the tender age of 14 when he began a 3-year apprenticeship in the beauty and salon industry.

Profoundly influenced by Ayurveda, Austrian-born Horst loved the planet and he loved plant-based medicine. He was the epitome of someone who found – and promoted – that sweet balance of “science meets nature”, collaborating with noted physicians, chemists and pharmacologists, as well as with experts and traditional healers throughout the world. Winner of too many “lifetime achievement”/beauty pioneer awards to list in this post, he believed in the bridge between beauty and medicine and was on the Board of Directors at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and was a supporter of the Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program in Rochester, Minnesota.

You could say that in the same way that Anita Roddick championed Fairtrade beauty, Horst Rechelbacher put plant-powered beauty on the map. And that map just got bigger and bigger as the Aveda brand spread globally.

He was an innovative businessman, artist, provocateur, organic farmer, artist, author and speaker, but probably he was first and foremost, he was a passionate environmentalist who lit, and led,  the way for us, educating us about the magical, healing powers of plants, flowers and herbs, reminding us that it’s up to us to protect our fragile planet, and that nature’s healing garden is just steps from our doorsteps. And as mother nature protects us, we must protect her.

“He saw himself as an environmentalist, and increasingly more so over time. He saw the plight of the planet and the ongoing damage we’re incurring. He felt that very intensely, and saw that the way he could contribute to improving that was thinking about choices people were making from the consumer point of view — their purchasing power.”

– Kiran Stordalen (his wife)

If you haven’t read it yet, AVEDA RITUALS is a very special book.  There’s no Kindle version, so I hope they change that – it’s one of the first books I read on natural beauty and still,  one of the best.


aveda cover

aveda book

minding your business

A look back at his life and work

At just 14, Horst began a three-year apprenticeship in the beauty and salon industry. His intuitive talent, creativity and dangerous charisma catapulted him to the top of the swinging sixties hair competition circuit. A rock star life followed, leading him to the U.S. where fate landed him in the Midwest. By 1965, he started his own salons and a product line called Horst.

In 1978, he founded Aveda Corporation, ushering in a new consciousness into the world of beauty and building a bridge between beauty and medicine – his goal. Almost two decades later he sold Aveda to Estee Lauder and went on to shift his focus to Intelligent Nutrients, the hair, health and beauty company committed to 100% food-based, safe, non-toxic and organic ingredients.

Comments are closed.