Dr. Farouk Shami – On Immigrating From Palestine and Building A Billion Dollar Company

Dr. Farouk Shami – On Immigrating From Palestine and Building A Billion Dollar Company

My heritage begins as an immigrant and son of a Sheikh and Chief of the olive farmers in Palestine where I grew up exposed to the trials and tribulations of war. I migrated to the US with only $71.00 in my pocket.

My career path of hairdressing resulted in illness from the harmful effects of ammonia which led me to create the first ammonia-free hair color. Known for many firsts, I went on to create award winning hair care and styling tools (including 23 patents) that have revolutionized the beauty industry.

Today, my company Farouk Systems, Inc. is in over 144 countries with over a billion dollars in sales. My passion for being an American success story has resulted in humanitarian efforts and a recent appointment as Special Representative and Adviser for International Affairs for the NDUF (National Defense University Foundation) and a frequent speaker on leadership at Harvard University.

I was also presented the first Doctor of Beauty Arts by SeoKyeong University in Korea. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon me for my vast achievements and outstanding contributions to the beauty industry throughout my 30 year career.

I started my company in 1986. Building on years of success with Sunglitz®, I continued to create hair care that would be used by women all over the world such as BioSilk® and later the beauty staple, BioSilk Silk Therapy®. Through continued innovation and Advanced American Technology, I introduced the world-famous CHI® line of products and tools which further revolutionized the industry.

What’s your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

My mother was a very creative woman who was reflected in her striking embroideries and woven baskets. It was here that I learned how to make natural dyes along with inheriting her love of nature and beauty.

Combining all that I learned from my parents, I knew that my love of color and artistry was my destiny.

I proudly obtained my cosmetology license in 1966 and began working in a salon. This would be just the beginning of a career that would significantly impact the professional hair industry and the world.

In 1978, I decided to move from Lafayette, Louisiana to Houston, Texas; forced to leave an industry I loved so much due to severe health issues caused by the ammonia found in hair color. After much suffering, I was diagnosed with an allergic reaction to ammonia, the very chemicals that made my career possible. It was here doctors told me to quit. However, I was not a quitter. My love for color and hair was just too strong. Instead, I decided to fight not only for myself but for the safety of other stylists.

After many tests and trials, the world’s first “ammonia-free” hair color was created; a brand I called, Sunglitz®. This passion and perseverance drove me to develop a safer product not just for hairdressers but for their clients.

1981 was the year Farouk entered into a partnership with his first Texas salon called, Le Salon. Here, he thrived as an owner, stylist and colorist, embarking upon yet another point in his life story: scientist and product developer. This mission to create safer and environmentally friendly hair care products led to the beginning of his accomplishments in Texas.

After years of growing my salon and clientele, I took another career path starting Farouk Systems, Inc. in 1986. Building on years of success with Sunglitz®, I continued to create more products and tools under the BioSilk® and CHI® lines. Farouk Systems now has more than 2,500 employees and product distribution in over 144 countries worldwide.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

I am currently working on a color machine with my LG Household & Healthcare partnership. Together, CHI and LG H&H have been trailblazing new color technologies that have been in research for two years and will take the guesswork out of hair color. It will revolutionize the professional salon industry and help colorists around the world create the ideal formulations.

I continue to serve as the National DefenseUniversity (NDU) Special Representative and Adviser for International Affairs. It has been a pleasure to serve the Nation Defense University (NDU) Foundation as a Board Member for the past 8 years. I have dedication and generously supported the NDU Foundation to enhance the goals for all graduates and especially for the International Fellows.

While education and my background has positioned me into this role, I hold dedication and commitment to my employees and the future of the company a priority. My plans include building new partnerships, creating new Advanced American Technology and growing the future of cosmetology students and schools.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Farouk Systems, Inc. has distribution in over 144 countries world-wide. In the United States we are part of Cosmoprof, Ulta Beauty, JC Penney, CHI.com, Biosilk.com and many other retailers.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The world itself is my teacher. Meeting people, listening to them and paying attention to everything around you can provide you with ideas, knowledge and experience.

I actually wrote a book about my life in hopes of inspiring others to overcome hurdles that we each endure. It is my story of loving this country and how fortunate we all are to be American. It is called American by Choice.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Never stop. If you stop, you don’t have the passion. And, if you don’t have passion, you will never grow.

Listen to others and observe the world around you. Inspiration comes from both and has never failed me.

Mistakes do not indicate failure as long as you learn from it. I never let anything hold me back and view it as education on what not to do next time.

Originally published by starterstory.com

Watch Now: The Contestants of Miss Houston Latina 2019 Get Pro Hair Tips from Farouk Systems Educators & Artists

Watch Now: The Contestants of Miss Houston Latina 2019 Get Pro Hair Tips from Farouk Systems Educators & Artists

Most of us think pageant contestants and reigning beauty queens have a 24/7 glam squad on standby to attend to all of their urgent beauty needs. Fact check: this could not be further from the truth and there are frequent occasions when contestants – and even title holders – have to swiftly go from one event to another without a professional stylist anywhere in sight!

The truth is that pageant life can be a whirlwind with barely enough time to touch up mascara let alone for full hair and makeup sessions. CHI Haircare has been a longtime mainstay on the pageant scene and their educators and artists understand this occasional dilemma. On June 30th the CHI Academy doors opened up to nearly 40 pageant contestants of Miss (and Miss Teen) Houston Latina 2019 in hopes of teaching the ladies how to style their own hair while on-the-go using their favorite CHI products.

Led by Farouk Systems Education Manager Alma Lopez, CHI Elite Artist Melissa Gonzalez and CHI Master Executive Educator Joy Williams, contestants learned the latest tips and tricks to create casual daytime and formal evening looks. They gained instrumental product knowledge (including the benefits of CHI tools and hair care), learned how to protect their individual hair types and also got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the attention and innovation that go into the making of Farouk Systems products during a facility tour.

 Moreover, this event was a way to empower each contestant so that they feel confident – on and off the stage – as pageant representatives.  

Pageant director Natalia Castillo-Ware was drawn to Farouk Systems’ focus on female empowerment, commitment to innovation and how passionate its educators and artists are about CHI products, tools and sharing that knowledge with others.

“The theme of our pageant this year is find the fire in you,” said Castillo-Ware. “During the competition, the contestants find different talents within themselves and discover their passions. I feel like everyone at Farouk Systems demonstrates this as well – their educators and artists are very passionate about what they do and I want our girls to find that same spirit and energy in their own endeavors. We hope providing transformative experiences and learning opportunities like these help the contestants find that fire within themselves. That’s what motivates each one and helps them all to inspire others.”  

Farouk Systems’ International Distributors Converge in the Lone Star State

Farouk Systems’ International Distributors Converge in the Lone Star State

Distributors From Around the Globe Celebrate Innovation and Collaboration in the Company’s Own Texas Backyard

HOUSTON, TX – Farouk Systems’ spirit of innovation infused a global presence when the company recently hosted a 3-day summit for their international distribution partners.

The event kicked off at CHI Headquarters in Houston, Texas where distributors from around the world (including Europe, the Middle East and other prominent regions) first congregated for founder and co-chairman, Dr. Farouk Shami’s opening remarks. He highlighted several notable product development updates, including the upcoming CHI Color Master – the latest breakthrough from Farouk Systems’ partnership with LG Household & Healthcare. President of Innovation, Lisa Marie Garcia, and LG H&H Research Lab Senior Researcher, Jungyong Lee, demonstrated how this hair color technology advancement can formulate over 150,000 pre-programmed color formulas as well as customizable options.

Furthermore, Garcia shared details about CHI Haircare’s upcoming launches, including the CHI LAVA tool line’s latest additions, a line extension for the CHI Ionic Color Illuminate Conditioners and the all-new CHI Ionic Color Illuminate Shampoos – the first color shampoos that are formulated with at least 90% natural ingredients.

New entries were also announced to the BioSilk with Organic Coconut Oil line: the Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, Whipped Volume Mousse and the Curl Cream.

The international distributors received an extra dose of southern hospitality when they were welcomed to Dr. Shami’s Woodlands home. They dined there for two evenings before traveling to the Rami Ranch just outside of Centerville, Texas. The ranch is where many herbs and nettle are planted and used to source ingredients for selected CHI Haircare products. Over the weekend there the distributors indulged in hayrides, authentic Texas BBQ and leisurely fishing.

“Meeting with our international distributors isn’t solely about business,” said Dr. Shami. “It’s about embracing unique global perspectives and coming together as a family. When you look at the person next to you as family, that bond unites us further in exploring collaboration that will forge our path for continuous innovation, longevity and overall prosperity.”

Dr. Farouk Shami Fights for Cosmetology Licensing Hours

Dr. Farouk Shami Fights for Cosmetology Licensing Hours

A call to action to stop HB 2843 – Less Education is not Better Education

Houston, TX ~ Dr. Farouk Shami, Founder and Chairman of Farouk Systems, Inc. one of the largest professional haircare companies in the world has devoted over 30 years to educating the hairdresser. To ensure that students have the same opportunity he has established over 500 CHI Partner Schools providing them with the necessary education, tools and opportunities the beauty industry offers. Most recently he has taken up the cause to increase licensing hours to 3000, instead of the proposal offered by a few Texas legislators to lower them from 1500 to 1000 hours. (link to House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures: https://capitol.texas.gov/Committees/MembershipCmte.aspx?LegSess=86R&CmteCode=C350)

The National Average is 1,544 hours. Currently 37 states require 1,500 – 1,600 hours. The states with greater than 1,500-hour requirements, such as Montana and Nebraska, are moving to 1,500 hours.

Less education is not better:  Cosmetology is best learned through practice and application.  Students must be given adequate time to learn by doing in a real, clinical salon setting.  This is best done in school; under the supervision of trained instructors whose only job is to help students learn.  Students and the Texas public deserve to have trained professionals who are confident at their start of their career and ready to work.

Dr. Shami hosted a gathering for beauty school icons, Armstrong McCall store owners, barbering school owners and the petition writer who has been fighting for this change. The increase in hours proposed by Dr. Farouk Shami include more “accounting, chemistry, marketing and business classes”.   This will help give stylists stronger skills to excel in the Beauty and Barber Industry.  We believe the extra course hours should be recognized as college credits thus improving our industry not reducing education to our industry.

HB 2843 is the bill that will reduce the hours for a cosmetology license from 1,500 to 1,000. HB 2843 was heard in the House Higher Ed Committee on April 10. The link to that committee’s webpage is : https://capitol.texas.gov/Committees/MembershipCmte.aspx?LegSess=86R&CmteCode=C290 . HB 2843 has three sections:

Section 1 adds approval to the steps that TDLR may take to develop and administer the licensing exams.

Section 2 modifies the barbering and cosmetology exams requirements by allowing students to take the exam after 1,000 hours of instruction in any of the three programs.

Section 3 allows the TDLR to approve the administration of the exams by public secondary schools, post-secondary, barber school or private beauty school, or at the Windham School District (the state penitentiary school district

Cosmetology and barbering experts appreciate the attendees for taking the time to join together as an industry to protect the future of the Cosmetology and Barbering and particularly, the quality of the cosmetology and barbering education programs in our high schools, community colleges, and career schools. Any legislation that could reduce licensing requirements to 1,000 hours or allow students to take the practical exam after 1,000 hours of instruction must be stopped.  HB 2843 could be considered by the House Higher Education Committee for a vote as early as April 24.  HB 2843 will reduce the required hours for cosmetology and barbering licenses. 

Use this link for the bill: https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB2843

The call to action includes HB 1705 & HB 2444/1507,  with the request to:

  • Call and write to the House Higher Education Committee members.
  • Call and write the House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures members.
  • Encourage all hair stylist, Educators, Salon owners, and School owners to do the same.

Dr. Shami says, “Our industry must stand strong allowing the future of industry to remain professional and help students receive the finest education so they are fully prepared. Reducing the required hours would only cheat students out of the necessary skills, training and knowledge they need to be successful.”

More Study Required Before Changing Statutes: The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Governors Association (NGA), and the Council for State Governments are working on a 3 year study with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to identify barriers to work from occupational licensing and increasing licensing portability. Efforts to reform licensed occupations should be put on hold until this study is complete.

Bold Innovation Is On the Horizon as LG Team Meets with Farouk Systems, Inc.

Bold Innovation Is On the Horizon as LG Team Meets with Farouk Systems, Inc.

Pictured from Left to Right:

Victor Lee, Seil Kim, UiKye Lee, Khaled Aly, Dr. Farouk Shami, JungYong Lee, HyongKyu Kim, JinHo Yoon & Dr. Roy Joseph

CHI and LG Household & Healthcare partnership has created a revolutionary new way to formulate hair color!

Houston, TX ~ Last week the Texas-based beauty leader, Farouk Systems, hosted meetings with business partner, LG Household & Healthcare (LG H&H), and their Innovation Team, at CHI Headquarters. CHI and LG H&H are trailblazing new color technologies that have been in research for two years and will take the guesswork out of hair color! Get ready: the CHI Color Master is coming!

The Innovation Teams’ collaboration began with Dr. Farouk Shami wanting to make hair color formulation easier for salons using precision technology to read the natural or tinted hair color. He turned to his partner, LG H&H, to help build a high tech spectroscope that will read the clients’ natural or current hair color then formulate their desired color. Stylists can even show clients what the color will look like on their hair using the CHI Color Master App. The Color Master will have the capability to mix over 18,000 formulations and allows the colorist to further customize with additional additives so hair color possibilities are limitless. Color Master is a result of collaboration that involves more than 6 companies within LG Group and its affiliates.

 “The discussions have been active and advancements have certainly been made,” said Dr. Roy Joseph, Farouk Systems’ Vice President of Research and Development. “The tireless efforts from LG H&H’s team will help to drastically push our endeavors forward and accomplish our goals in a timely fashion.”

Farouk Shami, Founder and Chairman of Farouk Systems, cannot wait to share Farouk-LG’s advancements with beauty professionals and consumers alike. “The new scientific breakthroughs and exciting opportunities that LG H&H provides combined with the chemistry and color knowledge  that our company was founded upon, will be able to write an entirely new chapter for the professional hair color industry and beauty lovers around the world.” 

Farouk LG is a continuing venture between Farouk Systems, Inc. and LG Household & Healthcare of South Korea, a subsidiary of LG Group which is a multinational company headquartered in Yeouido-dong, Seoul, employing 82,000 people working in 119 local subsidiaries worldwide.

Farouk Systems Helps Victims of Hurricane Florence

Farouk Systems Helps Victims of Hurricane Florence

Photo Credit: (left to right)

Bradley Tuggle, Brittaney Ratzlaff (founder of Carrie on NC), Candice Parker (Coastal Woman’s Shelter, Development Coordinator), Ryan Kaskey (Director of Sales), William Coley (Educator) and Sage Graverson (District Manager)

Houston, TX – On October 26 & 27th 2018, Farouk Systems, Inc. hosted the Hurricane Relief Palooza held at the Colony Trade Center/Church of God New Bern.  This 2-day relief program helped the victims of Hurricane Florence by distributing over $350,000 worth of CHI and BioSilk hair care plus styling tools.  On hand were Carrie on NC, volunteers and staff from Farouk Systems including Sage Graverson (District Manager), Bradley Tuggle (Artist), Amy Rodriguez (Educator), William Coley (Educator), Elizabeth Kaufmann (Educator) and Ryan Kaskey (Director). They traveled from all over to help both residents and salons in the area. An additional recipient was The Coastal Woman’s Shelter who lost everything amidst the hurricane’s devastation.

The event along with The Carrie on NC, Inc. served a total of 697 families and 1,399 people during the Hurricane Relief Palooza. In addition, the New Life Church put together activities for children as well as 100 relief supply buckets and the ongoing support of materials needed along the way.

Farouk Systems Director of Sales, Ryan Kaskey, as well as Global Artist, Bradley Tuggle, helped to coordinate the event. According to Ryan, “The opportunity to speak with those whose worlds have been destroyed by Hurricane Florence, losing everything and now facing their homes in ruins, to the tears shed in gratitude is something I will never forget.” He continues, “We also helped fellow hair stylists who lost their livelihood to now having a chance to get back on their feet and giving them a new start was heartwarming.  I would thank Brittaney C. Ratzlaff of Carrie On NC, Inc., Two Rives Church & New Life Church, New Bern for teaming up with Farouk Systems. You were all amazing to work side by side with the last couple of days!”

If you or someone you know was afflicted by Hurricane Florence in the South Carolina area, the relief effort will continue this weekend in Mullins and Longs! In partnership with Farouk Systems, Hunger Crusaders and SC Needs Help are organizing the following events this Saturday and Sunday, November 10th and 11th. In addition to products and supplies being offered, hot meals will also be served to those who attend.

If you would like to offer your support to the victims, monetary donations can be made to the organizers’ links below:

GoFundMe Donations to Hunger Crusaders Corp. can be made here:


PayPal donations to SC Needs Help can be made with the email address: scneedshelp@gmail.com