Thursday, January 24, 2013

History of Beauty Brand Names - What's In a Name?

Do the words Shisedo or Maybelline ring a bell to you? There are so many odd names used in the cosmetic industry that are just plain common to us glam gal's and make up fanatics. You don't even have to know how to apply eye shadow to be familiar with the words Lancome and Sephora! Has the thought, "Where did that name come from?" ever cross your mind?  Well here are some very historical brands associated with beauty that I couldn't resist sharing! I must give all credit to for the fabulous story. Here are just a few of the historic tales:

"What's in a Name? How Beauty Brands Got Theirs!" 

Founder and chemist Armand Petitjean started Lancôme in 1935 and named the company for the ruins at Château de Lancosme in France, which he visited on vacation. The yellow flowers at the historical site inspired the brand’s golden rose emblem.

When chemist Eugene Schueller created a safe dye for hair in 1909, he called it l’Auréale after a hairstyle popular in Paris at the time. The company he founded in 1919 was originally called Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux (or "Safe Hair Dye Company of France"), and eventually became L’Oréal.

The name “Shiseido” translates as “praise the virtues of the earth which nurtures new life and brings forth significant values,” borrowed from the 2000-year-old Chinese Yi King. The beauty brand itself dates back to 1872 in Japan.

In 1945, the brand debuted colloidal oatmeal Soothing Bath Treatment as its first product. The company’s name comes from the scientific name for the common oat, Avena sativa.

Chemist T.L. Williams was inspired to create a product called Lash-Brow-Ine in 1915 after watching his sister, Maybel, apply a homemade concoction of coal dust and Vaseline to her eyelashes and brows. He later switched out its awkward original name for one based on his sister's: Maybel + Vaseline = Maybelline.


The beauty retailer got its start in Paris in 1970, with a moniker derived from sephos, the Greek word for beauty, and Zipporah, Moses’ beautiful wife in the Book of Exodus.

  When Fanny May Woititz couldn't find makeup that wouldn't irritate her sensitive skin, her chemist husband Alfred began experimenting with purer, gentler ingredients. The husband and wife founded the brand in 1931 and named it after themselves

Another beauty brand born during the Depression, Revlon also took its name from its founders: Charles Revson and his brother Joseph, along with chemist Charles Lachman (who contributed the L).

For more great pictures and stories, go to For the article "What's In a Name" from Beauty Blitz which I have referenced above, go to  

  Have a great day!

  GlamGal XOXO  

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! I love learning about the lore and origins of my favourite companies. Thanks for passing along these gems!