What began as French chemist Eugène Paul Louis Schueller developing a hair dye formula in 1909 transformed into the world’s leading beauty conglomerate, The L’Oréal Group.
In 1909, French chemist Eugène Paul Louis Schueller developed a hair dye formula named Oréale, which he then sold to Parisian hairdressers. The vision of the brand, which later became The L’Oréal Group, was research and innovation in the field of beauty. In 1920, the company employed three chemists although it has evolved to an 88,000- strong team today. L’Oréal’s famous advertising slogan, “Because I’m worth it”, was created by a twenty-three year-old art director and introduced in 1973 by model and actress Joanne Dusseau. In the mid-2000s, it was replaced by “Because you’re worth it”. In 2009, it changed again to “Because we’re worth it” to create stronger consumer involvement. For L’Oréal Kids, the slogan is “Because we’re worth it too”.
Schueller provided financial support for French fascist-leaning and anti-communist group La Cagoule at L’Oréal headquarters. Its leader formed political party Mouvement Social Révolutionnaire which in Occupied France supported the Vichy collaboration with the Germans. In the aftermath of WWII, L’Oréal hired several members of the group as executives such as Jacques Corrèze, who served as CEO of the US operation. L’Oréal currently markets over five hundred brands and thousands of individual products including hair color, permanents, hair styling, body and skincare, cleansers, makeup and fragrance.
Under the management of Lindsey Owen-Jones, the conglomerate became the leader in cosmetics through the worldwide presence of its brands and strategic acquisitions. L’Oréal has six research and development centres in France, U.S.A, Japan, China and India. The company acquired Synthélabo in 1973. Synthélabo merged with Sanofi in 1999 to become Sanofi-Synthélabo, which in turn merged with Aventis in 2004 to become Sanofi-Aventis. On 17 March 2006, L’Oréal purchased cosmetics company The Body Shop for reported £562 million. In January 2014, it acquired Chinese beauty brand Magic Holdings for reported $840 million. The following month, L’Oreal bought back eight per cent of its shares for a reported €3.4bn from Nestlé. Few know Nestlé owned a stake in L’Oreal since 1974 when it bought into the company at the request of Liliane Bettencourt, daughter of the founder of L’Oreal, who was trying to prevent French state intervention. In February 2014, Shiseido agreed to sell Carita and Decléor to L’Oréal for reported €227.5 million. In June, L’Oréal acquired NYX Cosmetics. In September, it purchased Brazilian hair care company Niely Cosmeticos. The following month, it acquired multi-cultural brand Carol’s Daughter. In July 2016, L’Oréal acquired IT Cosmetics for reported $1.2 billion. In March 2018, it acquired beauty augmented reality company ModiFace. The same year, L’Oréal announce a new beauty and fragrance partnership with Valentino.
With Jean-Paul Agon as iChairman and CEO, L’Oréal has a clear mission statement: Beauty for All. ‘What makes us unique? The passion for innovation transmitted by our founder, a researcher. We have an obsession with superior quality, efficacy, sincerity, and safety of our products. Respect for diversity with strong brands that meet all needs and desires’ he stated in a company release. In 2020, chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet reported the growing importance of e-commerce for the company, explaining that e-commerce accounted for twenty four per cent of their turnover in the third quarter.
Offering all women and men worldwide the best of cosmetics innovation in terms of quality, efficacy and safety to satisfy all their desires and all their beauty needs in their infinite diversity.