Formula XO, Inc. is a Healthy Beauty solution company established to bring the benefits of Dr. Michael Zasloff’s pioneering dermal biome research to everyone to improve everyday health and well-being.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Sterling, Virginia, we develop, manufacture and distribute the illumai Biome Care System for the hair– the only hair system on the market made to protect, nurture and maintain the biome of the hair, skin & scalp.

The Need

If it’s not healthy, it’s not real beauty. Standard beauty practices destroy the dermal biome and are scientifically linked to the most common hair symptoms: dehydration and moisture loss, breakage and split ends, frizziness, color fade, dullness and itchy & flakey scalp.

Meanwhile, more and more people want healthier, natural and sulfate-free products - the growth forecast for the global natural personal care sector is at a CAGR of 9.64% through 2019.

What they don’t want: to compromise on the beauty experience or results. Most lathering sulfate-free products use organosulfates with the same damaging results and non-lathering shampoos don’t effectively clean.

Our Solution

A healthy biome delivers Healthy Beauty. We champion the biome with illumai -- the first beauty line made specifically to support this remarkable ecosystem.

Based upon 25 years of research, illumai uses patented formulas that preserve the essential proteins, peptides and oils natural to the hair and scalp. We generate hair that is stronger, shinier, moisturized and protected, and empower sustainable healthy beauty for any hair type.

The illumai
Biome Care Difference

Our solution is the only available shampoo or cleansing conditioner that does not disrupt the self- healing system supporting scalp and hair health, and works with the Biome.

The patented advances, XO-70, Lipid Complex and Isoleucine, each ensure proper water barriers and moisture levels of both hair and skin, and it protects us from irritation, infection, fungi, hair breakage, dandruff and other problems.

Wayne Willis

Co-Founder & CEO

Wayne Willis leads the illumai team with both head and heart. He is a seasoned CEO, entrepreneur, investor and advisor - with experience operating and scaling businesses at all stages of growth. Wayne co-founded Formula XO Inc. with Dr. Michael Zasloff and Mario Russo and is dedicated to bringing healthy beauty into everyday values through illumai products

A natural leader, Wayne is also a Managing Partner at Nodal Partners, a network of experienced executives that advise and invest in emerging growth companies. He has served on 26 boards, often as Chairman and/or CEO. Prior to co-founding Formula XO, he served as CFO of Vidtel, Inc. (successfully sold in 2013) and as Chairman of BeNotified Software where he successfully restructured and relaunched the company in 2003-4. Wayne has served in a Chief Executive or Executive Chair role at a number of companies, guiding them to profitability. These include Cyracom International,, and Healthscribe. Previous roles include co-founder and COO at Hyatt Legal Services. Wayne has earned a JD from Yale Law School and an MA from the Yale Graduate School (Administrative Sciences).


Dr. Michael Zasloff MD, PhD

Chief Science Officer

Dr. Michael Zasloff spearheads all scientific development for illumai and brings equal parts genius and kindness to our brand. Each product is a result of his research, discoveries and innovation. A former department head at the National Institute of Health, and former Dean of Research at Georgetown University Medical School, Dr. Zasloff is a world renowned expert in innate immunity and pioneer in the study of the human microbiome.

Prior to co-founding Formula XO, he founded Magainin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly-traded biotechnology company, and held multiple leadership positions therein. Dr. Zasloff has served on several corporate boards, including Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Biosynexus, and Enterin, Inc. and has also served on the scientific advisory boards of Novozymes and Dipexium Pharmaceuticals. He is responsible for the discovery and clinical and commercial development of several compounds, including Squalamine, for use on cancers and age–related macular degeneration and Pexiganan, a synthetic antimicrobial peptide developed to treat infection in diabetics. A genuine humanist, Dr. Zasloff has made numerous discoveries, innovations and advances in biotechnology and human health, resulting in over 45 patents in the drug and health industry.


Maria Fei

Account Manager, Salons

Maria Fei oversees illumai salon recruitment, sales strategy, training and channel management. She has over 20 years of experience in sales, having begun her career on the retail floor then ultimately running one of Boston’s most iconic lifestyle stores. As General Manager and VP, Operations of Louis Boston, Maria oversaw sales, merchandise, and operations for the company of over 200 people. Maria’s strong business acumen is met with taste and the uncanny ability to know just what a client needs, creating winning strategies for every salon in her book.


Lizann Slotta

Internet Director

Lizann is our software and operations guru, bringing 20+ years of info tech, finance, and manufacturing experience to the team. Lizann and her team manage our web properties, retail and wholesale orders, inventory, fulfillment, and customer service. She wrangles our vendors, charms the search engines, corrals our data, and generally keeps everyone working together and on task. Lizann studied Software Engineering and Management at CWRU and Weatherhead School of Management, earning a BSE and MSE.


Mario Russo

Vice President, Professional Product Division

A nationally acclaimed expert on the art and architecture of hair, Mario Russo is always on the cutting edge. If it relates to hair, he’s tried it - and knows how it works and with what hair type. Mario works closely with Dr. Zasloff in the development, refinement and application of illumai to ensure each product exceeds salon expectations and results. Mario’s expertise is the culmination of study at Northeastern University, Vidal Sassoon in London, Harlow in Paris and the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.

As the owner and visionary behind Boston’s highly-successful Mario Russo Salons, Mario’s reputation is unparalleled and cares deeply about the client his stylists are lauded as precise, on-trend masters of their trade. In addition to his salons, Mario developed and sells the Mario Russo line of hair, body and bath products in high-end boutiques and salons nationwide. A passionate art enthusiast, Mario has served on the board of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston since 1998 and regularly commissions installations in his salons. Mario takes pride in giving back and has long-standing charitable relationships with Rosie’s Place and the MSPCA.

The Advisory Board is composed of successful executives, consultants, investors and entrepreneurs who assist the management team by providing input, advice, introductions and seasoned judgment.



Robyn is a senior business leader, investor, and strategy expert who works directly with C-level executives. Since 2000, Ms. Davis has been Managing Director of AngelHealthcare Investors participating as an active private equity investor and portfolio manager for a group of qualified high net worth entrepreneurs and business leaders in the Boston area. In her earlier career, Ms. Davis was a founding Director of the Merchant Banking Services practice for Barents Group, LLC managing an international professional staff and advising financial institutions, corporations and governments on acquisitions and privatizations in emerging economies. Prior, at Bain & Company, Ms. Davis was a strategy consultant to a broad array of Fortune 500 clients.



Kim has extensive experience in all aspects of digital marketing and retailing of consumer products – from co- founding the first digital marketing agency (Novo Interactive), to working with Best Buy in sourcing innovative products from Silicon Valley, to co-founding Ovative Group’s capacities to help big-box stores move online, to teaching at Missouri’s journalism school, to founding, the web’s first home lifestyle site (now part of HGTV) – and to many advisory, investment and other relationships with scores of startup companies and the larger companies interested in them.



Dr. Gillespie is a board-certified Emergency Physician, TV and media health expert, and SVP of Sharecare,
a health and wellness engagement platform used by over 40 million people. She frequently appears as a guest on CNN, FoxNews Network, CNBC, The Doctors, and The Doctor Oz Show, hosts Sharecare Radio, a weekly hour-long radio program, and writes “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Health...and Sanity” for The Huffington Post. As SVP Clinical Strategy at Sharecare, she oversees the development of content for the award- winning app AskMD, as well as outcomes-driven challenges, programs, and other engaging digital interventions to improve users’ health and quality of life. Dr. Gillespie earned her MBA from Harvard Business School, her MD from the University of Rochester, and completed her residency at Yale University School of Medicine.



Ashleigh is a marketing leader, growth hacker and startup veteran with more than 14 years of experience on both the agency-side and client-side of helping disruptive Silicon Valley companies, including consumer-product startups, build brand awareness and grow sales through powerful messaging, positioning, content, public relations, social media, and integrated marketing campaigns. She’s been involved in numerous early-stage companies and currently oversees accelerator-programming for startups at RocketSpace.



Rich is a veteran cosmetics industry executive serving as Senior VP, Operations with Cheseborough Ponds; Executive VP – Worldwide Operations with Elizabeth Arden; and Senior VP, Operations for Charles of the Ritz. He has served as a turnaround executive for boards of trouble companies, advised investors considering major investments in cosmetic companies and provided services to a global client as Director of Strategic Services with KPMG.



For over 20 years, Ray served as Vice President, General Manager of L’Oreal’s Professional Products division, which created products for salons, spas and other professional outlets. Prior to that he served as Controller for Clairol. He also has served on the boards of the American Beauty Association (now merged/ renamed into the Professional Beauty Association), a trade association composed of manufacturers, distributors, major salons and stylists who make up the salon and spa industries.



Diggi has over 15 years of brand development leadership experience at Unilever, including 5 years in the hair care category, and was directly responsible for the launch of the iconic Axe brand in the USA. For the past 8 years as a trainer, facilitator and consultant, he has worked internationally with clients such as Unilever, Pepsi, Diageo, Beam, teaching the fundamentals of brand marketing and working with teams to innovate, reposition their brands and work more collaboratively and creatively with their agency partners.



Johanna began her career as an analyst (Goldman Sachs), management consultant (Bain & Co. and Strategic Decisions Group) and marketing manager in Pepsi’s Frito-Lay division. For the past 20 years, Johanna has provided strategic planning, operations, marketing, and financial consulting expertise to a broad range of clients. She has created several businesses, most recently Connect•Work•Thrive, that hosts conferences, workshops and individual coaching sessions to empower highly educated, mid-career professionals, who have difficulty returning to the workforce after a career break, find great jobs. Johanna holds a BS in Applied Mathematics from Yale and an MBA from Stanford Business School.



Julie is an accomplished brand manager with 10+ years experience building global consumer brands and delivering innovations in the beauty and beverages categories. Prior to her current assignment at Anheuser-Busch (AB-InBev), she established a track record of increasing responsibility and accomplishment at Unilever, including North American hair care products. Julie started her career as a brand manager at Mars (candy) and Revlon (cosmetics). She brings extensive experience leading culturally diverse teams and overseeing multiple external agency and media partners.

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