In 1907, Eugène Schueller, a young French chemist, developed an innovative hair-color formula. He called his improved hair dye Auréole. With that, the history of L’Oréal began. Eugène Schueller formulated and manufactured his own products, which he then sold to Parisian hairdressers.
In 1909, Schueller registered his company, the Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux (“Safe Hair Dye Company of France”), the future L’Oréal. The guiding principles of the company that would become L’Oréal were put into place from the start: research and innovation in the interest of beauty.
During the early twentieth century, Schueller provided financial support and held meetings for La Cagoule at L’Oréal headquarters. La Cagoule was a violent French fascist-leaning and anti-communist group. L’Oréal hired several members of the group as executives after World War II.
In 1920, the small company already employed 3 chemists. By 1950, the research teams were 100 strong; that number reached 1,000 by 1984 and is nearly 2,000 today.
L’Oréal got its start in the hair-color business, but the company soon branched out into other cleansing/beauty products. L’Oréal now markets over 50 brands and many thousands of individual products in all sectors of the beauty business: hair color, permanents, styling aids, body and skin care, cleansers and fragrances. They are found in all distribution channels, from hair salons and perfumeries to hyper- and supermarkets, health/beauty outlets, pharmacies and direct mail.