The Legacy of Horst Rechelbacher


Aveda Founder, the late Horst Rechelbacher once said, “If it’s not love, stop doing it.” It’s an approach to life that he cultivated over many years spent exploring the connection between feeling and looking good. 


Born in Austria in 1941 to an herbalist mother and a shoemaker father, Horst began working in a hair salon at the age of 14. By 17, he was working as a stylist at a prestigious salon in Rome, tending to the likes of Sophia Loren (then a mere starlet). At 20, he won the European Hairstyling Championship, which led to a tour of Europe and the United States.


A world-class stylist, Horst ended up in Minneapolis, Minnesota—where he eventually founded Aveda—after his car was hit by a drunk driver. He decided to settle and open several salons in Minneapolis. In the late sixties, Horst burned out from overwork and recovered thanks to yoga, meditation and herbal remedies prepared by his mother. After a retreat in India in 1970, Horst integrated Ayurveda in his lifestyle as well as in his salon business model. Specifically, he adapted holistic thinking to beauty; the belief that individual beauty is directly linked to the beauty of the world around us. “We are the earth,” Horst said. “We are soil. We are water. We are everything.”


Today, his words, values, and philosophy continue to develop products and treatments that beautify by harnessing the natural efficacy of plants and the tenets of Ayurveda. The most recent Aveda ritual, the tulasāra radiant awakening ritual, draws together several Ayurvedic traditions, in fact, including dry brushing, massage, the use of botanicals, and meditation. The ritual begins with cleansing breaths, and is followed by dry brushing the skin for exfoliation. After that, comes a one-minute facial massage to awaken microcirculation in the skin with the tulasāra radiant oleation oil, a blend of six plant oils and an aroma of certified organic geranium, rose, and jasmine. The oil is meant to stay on the skin for four minutes for ultimate nourishment during which time the user is encouraged to meditate, sip tea, or do any activity she wants, provided it is a nourishing experience. To quote the Ayurvedic Doctors Vinod and Kusum Upadhyay, experts and consultants to Aveda since 1978, “A daily ritual of dry brushing followed by a facial massage with oil nourishes skin, melts away facial tension and awakens subtle energies for a radiant complexion.” Thousands of years of wisdom and a visionary beauty expert can’t be wrong.



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