The L'Oréal Group is the world's largest cosmetics and beauty company. With its registered office in Paris and head office in the Paris suburb of Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France, it has developed activities in the field of cosmetics. Concentrating on hair colour, skin care, sun protection, make-up, perfumes and hair care, the company is active in the dermatological and pharmaceutical fields and is the top nanotechnology patent-holder in the United States.
L'Oréal is a listed company, but the founder's daughter Liliane Bettencourt and the Swiss food company Nestlé each control over a quarter of the shares and voting rights.
In 1907, Eugène Schueller, a young French chemist, developed a hair dye formula called Auréale. Schueller formulated and manufactured his own products, which he then sold to Parisian hairdressers.
On July 30, 1909, Schueller registered his company, the Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux ("Safe Hair Dye Company of France" literally "French Society of Inoffensive Tinctures for Hair"), the original L’Oréal. The guiding principles of the company, which eventually became L’Oréal, were research and innovation in the field of beauty.
In 1920, the small company employed three 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 and beauty products. L’Oréal currently markets over 500 brands and many thousands of individual products in all sectors of the beauty business: hair color, permanents, hair styling, body and skin care, cleansers, makeup and fragrances. The company's products are found in a wide variety of distribution channels, from hair salons and perfumeries to hyper - and supermarkets, health/beauty outlets, pharmacies and direct mail.
L’Oréal has five worldwide research and development centers: two in France: Aulnay and Chevilly; one in the U.S.: Clark, New Jersey; one in Japan: Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture; and in 2005, one was established in Shanghai, China. A future facility in the US will be in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.
From 1988 to 1989, L'Oréal controlled the film company Paravision, whose properties included the Filmation and De Laurentiis libraries. StudioCanal acquired the Paravision properties in 1994.
L’Oréal purchased Synthélabo in 1973 to pursue its ambitions in the pharmaceutical field. Synthélabo merged with Sanofi in 1999 to become Sanofi-Synthélabo. Sanofi-Synthélabo merged with Aventis in 2004 to become Sanofi-Aventis.
On 17 March 2006, L'Oréal purchased cosmetics company The Body Shop for £652 million.
The company has recently faced discrimination lawsuits in France related to the hiring of spokesmodels and institutional racism. In the UK, L'Oréal has faced widespread condemnation from OFCOM regarding truth in their advertising and marketing campaigns concerning the product performance of one of their mascara brands.
A book by Monica Waitzfelder, published in French as L'Oréal a pris ma maison and in English as L'Oréal stole my house!, details how L'Oréal, a company claimed to be anti-Semitic by the author, took over the Waitzfelder home in the German city of Karlsruhe (after the Nazis had engineered the removal of the family) to make it its German headquarters.
L'Oréal's famous advertising slogan is "Because I'm worth it". In the mid 2000s, this was replaced by "Because you're worth it". In late 2009, the slogan was changed again to "Because we're worth it" following motivation analysis and work into consumer psychology of Dr. Maxim Titorenko. The shift to "we" was made to create stronger consumer involvement in L'Oréal philosophy and lifestyle and provide more consumer satisfaction with L'Oréal products. L'Oréal also owns a Hair and Body products line for kids called L'Oréal Kids, the slogan for which is "Because we're worth it too".
Protest group Naturewatch states that L'Oréal continues to test new ingredients on animals. The company states that no animal testing for finished products has taken place since 1989 and that L'Oreal has invested significantly in alternative methods for chemical safety testing, though they implicitly acknowledge that they continue to perform animal testing of ingredients.
Following L'Oréal's purchase of The Body Shop, who continue to be against animal testing, The Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick was forced to defend herself against allegations of abandoning her principles over L'Oréal's track record on animal testing. Calls were made for shoppers to boycott The Body Shop.
L'Oreal has made quite a few statements on claims of animal testing. Since 1989 the have stopped all testing on animals. which also can be found at their Company website
In 1987, L'Oréal and 3 Suisses founded Le Club des Créateurs de Beauté specializing in mail order sales of cosmetic products.
February 2011: L'Oreal will have the largest factory in the Jababeka Industrial Park, Cikarang, Indonesia with total investment of US$50 million and it will be ready in October 2011. The production will be absorbed 25 percent by domestic market and the rest will be exported. In 2010 significant growth occurred at Indonesia with 61 percent increase of unit sales or 28 percent of net sales.