L’Oreal: 10 Facts About the French Cosmetics Company

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L’Oreal is the largest and best-selling cosmetics corporation in the world. Founded 107 years ago as an unregistered, direct selling hair product company, it quickly became Paris’ most popular beauty brand. It currently has six research and development centers in Europe, North America and Asia, and it owns almost 40 different subsidiaries, including Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, The Body Shop, Maybelline, Lancome and Ralph Lauren. How much do you know about the cosmetics giant?

Number Ten: Anti-Animal Testing Ethics

L’Oréal is determined to end animal testing once and for all (or so they claim.) The French multinational financed and developed Episkin; a reconstructed skin model which provides new alternatives to animal testing for pharmacological and beautifying purposes. In 2014, they also acquired SkinEthic; an expert company in the field of tissue engineering. Despite all of these claims, some of L’Oréal’s subsidiaries are still regularly accused of animal testing in Asian countries.

Number Nine: Hair Dye Pioneers

Eugène Schueller, the founder of the company, was the first person to create and sell synthetic hair dye in 1907. He called his new product ‘Oréale,’ which, eventually, led to the establishment of L’Oréal.

Number Eight: The Nazi Controversy

Schueller was accused of setting up an extreme right-wing group which collaborated closely with Hitler’s regime during the Nazi occupation of France. In addition, the former chief executive of L’Oréal’s U.S. division, Jacques Correze, served prison time in France for his involvement in fascist activities as well. On an interesting turn of events, a young Jewish man, grandson of an Auschwitz victim, is now the heir of the company.

Number Seven: Richest Woman in the World

Liliane Bettencourt, L’Oréal’s main shareholder, is the 10th richest person—and the richest woman—in the world. She has an estimated net worth of $36.4 billion!

Number Six: Technological Innovation

Makeup Genius was the first ever virtual makeup tester application. The brand launched the app in 2014 for potential customers to try on every shade of eyeshadow, blush, foundation and lipstick from their vast collection. They also developed ‘Style My Hair,’ which allows customers to test new hairstyles and dye colors.

Number Five: Nanotechnology Leaders

L’Oréal is the top nanotech patent holder in the United States. The brand devotes approximately $600 million dollars a year to nanotech development, used, for the most part, on anti-ageing skincare lines.

Number Four: L’Oreal Supports Women in Science

The French partnered with UNESCO in 1998 to award and support talented women working in scientific endeavors. Five outstanding researchers are recognized for their contributions to different scientific disciplines every year.

Number Three: They Hire Mostly Women

L’Oréal employs 78,600 people of 156 different nationalities worldwide. 70% of their Research & Innovation workface, as well as 59% of their global managers, are women. In addition, only around 24% of the staff are actually French!

Number Two: A 100 Million Gift

Ex L’Oréal chairman and CEO Lindsay Owen-Jones received gifts worth €100 million ($110 million) from Bettencourt upon his retirement from the French firm. L’Oréal’s “honorary president” currently receives the highest pension in France (almost $4 million a year,) despite being a U.K. citizen.

Number One: World-s Best Selling Lipstick

L’Oréal Colour Riche Lipcolour in Fairest Nude is one of the top 10 best-selling lipsticks of all time. Yves Saint Laurent, one of the multinational’s Luxe subsidiaries, also counts with a lipstick on the list: their Rouge Pur Couture in #19 Fuchsia Pink. We hope you enjoyed our list!