The beauty industry has a rich and complex history. Many modern cosmetics empires began with makeup artists who felt they didn't have the right tools for their jobs, from Bobbi Brown to Charlotte Tilbury to Sonia Kashuk. We dove into the histories of some of the most famous beauty brands to unearth the the craziest facts about our favorite lipsticks, nail polishes, and blush.
1. Clinique's Connection to Another Beauty Giant
Clinique's squeaky clean aesthetic was the brainchild of Evelyn Lauder, daughter-in-law of Estée Lauder, who launched Clinque after she saw a need for allergy-tested, dermatologist-driven cosmetics.
2. MAC Was Made for the Limelight
MAC Cosmetics was born after makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and salon owner Frank Angelo needed makeup that looked better under intense light.
3. Elle Woods Wasn't the Only Beauty Queen to Attend Harvard
Birchbox co-founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna are both graduates of Harvard's business school.
4. Sephora Put Some Serious Thought Into Their Name
The name "Sephora" comes from two ancient sources: the Greek word "sephos," meaning beauty, and "Zipporah," a biblical name. Zipporah was the wife of Moses, and supposedly quite stunning. A power marriage and good looks, that's how women got a shout-out in the ancient world.
5. The 1980s Covergirl with a Record-Breaking Contract
Covergirl has been putting out iconic advertisements for decades, starring America's Next Top Model Winners, actresses, and, our favorite, Ellen. But the true queen of Covergirl is Christie Brinkley, who modeled for the company for 25 years, which is currently the longest cosmetics modeling contract ever.
6. The Nars Product That Sells Over 3,000 Pounds Per Year
NARS' most successful product by far is their "Orgasm" blush. Each year, they sell enough of the product to equal the weight of a Lamborghini.
7. The Company That Was Too Good to Advertise
Lancôme founder Armand Petitjean famously declared that his company would never advertise. Spoiler alert: times have changed. Having started Lancôme in 1935, Petitjean predated the age of Don Draper, so his statement was a little more realistic back then.
8. This Drugstore Favorite Began as Old Hollywood Glam
Revlon was born as a nail polish company, and dates back to the Great Depression. Founders Charles and Joseph Revson were said to have been inspired by classic Hollywood actresses, whom the Revsons thought needed a nail lacquer to match their scarlet lipsticks.