Happy birthday L'Oreal Paris!
2009 sees L’Oreal Paris mark its centenary and to celebrate, we’re charting the cosmetics giant’s most memorable moments.
1907: young chemist and entrepreneur, Eugène Schueller, creates his first hair dye formula, Oréal. Using harmless chemicals, the dyes are revolutionary for the time as they provide a subtle colour in stark contrast to the bright, artificial look created using henna dye.
1908: March 24, Schueller files for a patent for his hair dye.
1909: on July 30, Schueller sets up the company that will later become L’Oreal, Société Française des Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux.
1910 – 1913: Oréal hair dyes are an international success in Italy, Austria, the UK and the US.
1925: Schueller unveils L’Oréal d’Or, a revolutionary hair-lightening product that creates natural-looking golden tints.
1929: L’Oréal Blanc bleaching powder launches with Schueller claiming: “One day, millions of brunettes will want to be blonde.” How right he was. Long before Aggy's time, Hollywood stars such as Jean Harlow dabbled with the most seductive shade of the era.
1931: ever the entrepreneur, Schueller hangs a sheet over a Parisian building creating a giant billboard for O’Cap hair lotion.
1932: you can thank Schueller for paving the way for many-an-annoying jingle, he was the first to air a commercial that was sung rather than spoken this year.
1933: a Jack-of-all-trades, Schueller publishes Votre Beauté, the first monthly women’s health and beauty magazine that offers a new approach to thinking about appearance.
1933: a revolution in haircare, Schueller creates the first non-soap shampoo – Dopal; gentle on hair and sold in 1L bottles, it still sells today under the name Dop.
1935: with women enjoying greater freedom and revealing more skin, the suntan is now regarded as the benchmark of health and modernity. Thus, Schueller develops Ambre Solaire, a sun protection oil, perfectly timed for when the French are preparing to take their first-ever paid holidays in 1936.
1939: on April 4 the Société des Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux officially changes its name to L’Oréal.
1962: Elnett becomes the ‘golden goddess’ of hairsprays thanks to its innovative silky soft touch (and of course, the elegant gold packaging). Its iconic status is cemented in ’68 thanks to the micro-spray delivery system that offers a fine, evenly distributed mist that brushes out with ease.
1966: the launch of Récital, L’Oreal’s first at-home hair colouring kit makes hair colouring a comfortable and cost-effective experience.
1978: Cacharel calls on L’Oréal to develop its first fragrance, Anaïs Anaïs, which promptly becomes the world’s top-selling perfume and remains so for many years.
1982: L’Oreal ventures into the skincare mass market with the launch of Plénitude whose slogan reads “Delays the signs of aging”.
1994: Excellence Crème launches internationally and rapidly becomes a world leader in hair colour.
1995: Revitalift, an eye cream that diminishes the appearance of wrinkles thanks to hero ingredient pro-retinol A, launches and quickly cements its ‘facelift in a jar’ status. The worldwide best-seller is still a market leader today.
1997: supermodel Claudia Schiffer becomes a L’Oreal spokeswoman.
2004: a first for the men’s mass market, L’Oréal Paris Men Expert offers a range of targetted skincare. A boom in the grooming market ensues. Matthew Fox later joins as ambassador in 2007 with McDreamy set to steam up our screens in L’Oreal Paris Men Expert ads later this year.
2005: Casting Crème Gloss with its new, ammonia-free formula and optimum grey coverage launches and becomes an international success.
2006: showing that the brand is always thinking outside of the box, Jane Fonda becomes brand ambassador, aged 68. She proves that “staying beautiful and fit after 60 is a modern reality,” according to L’Oreal Paris General Manager, Youcef Nabi.
2009: L’Oreal Paris celebrates being an innovative market leader for 100 years. New faces to join the family include actresses Evangeline Lilly, Elizabeth Banks and Freida Pinto.
What is your favourite L'Oreal Paris product?
Image credit: L'Oréal / DR