Vidal Sassoon's trademark technique was to turn everything he touched into something beautiful -- including the lives of the needy people he was passionate about helping.
The hairstyle mastermind, who died Wednesday at the age of 84 after battling leukemia, spent the latter part of his life as a philanthropist and volunteer after selling his companies in the 1980s. Among his causes were the Boys Clubs of America and the Performing Arts Council of the Music Center of Los Angeles, lompocrecord.com reports.
But when Hurricane Katrina struck, Sassoon watched devastated families and crying children on TV, sparking something inside him.
"It brought back memories of my childhood," he told nola.com. "It's not something you can really talk about, but I was shocked and outraged. I was angry."
Sassoon and his brother grew up in England, living in a Jewish orphanage for seven years after their single mother struggled to provide for the family.
He and a friend launched "Hairdressers Unlocking Hope", which raised enough money to build 20 Habitat for Humanity homes in East St. Tammy, La., and Sassoon also donated $100,000 of his own money to build two more, nola.com reports.
In 1982, Sassoon founded the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, an organization that researches the history of antisemitism to better understand its causes.
He was awarded for his charity work in 2009 with the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honors, mothernaturenetwork.com reports.
To honor the style icon, Sassoon's family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Friends of the Hebrew University in support of Vidal's foundation.Find out more about honoring his legacy here, click here.