About Us

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.

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.

Our Science

Patented and Globally Recognized

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.

XO-70 ®
A combination of Lauryl Methylglucamide (coconut oil/plant starch) and Decyl Glucoside (corn germ oil/plant starch), ingredients derived from natural resources. These mild lathering surfactants remove excess oil, sweat and product build-up, but leave the biome intact. XO-70® is not anionically charged – it won’t cause static or leave a dulling film. It also doesn’t lift the cuticle - so it won’t cause structural weakness and can’t remove color from the hair shaft.
Patented Isoleucine
An essential amino acid that triggers the biome to produce antimicrobial peptides and provides a source of strengthening protein. With other naturally-derived ingredients, this patented formula is attracted to the most damaged areas, then rinses clean with no residue.
Lipid Complex ™
A patented mix of lipids from natural vegetable sources that, when shaken, draw together, target existing structural weaknesses, detangle and provide a protective shield.
illumai Essential System
Our patented formulas work together in this 3-step system to restore and protect the biome at it's essence, leaving hair soft, shiny, manageable and full of Healthy Beauty.

Our Leadership

Experienced, Successful, Expert

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, Ditto.com, 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).

Lizann Slotta


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.

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.

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.