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T.L. Williams – Founder of Maybelline

Friday, January 14th, 2011

According to Maybelline Co., modern mascara was born in 1913 when Maybelline creator T.L. Williams marketed his sister’s recipe for makeup in Chicago. His sister Maybel used petroleum jelly mixed with coal dust to make eyelashes look more dramatic. Williams adapted the formula in a laboratory and produced a product sold locally called Lash-Brow-Ine, which became a local hit. In search of a catchier name, Williams renamed the product Maybelline, which is a combination of Maybel and Vaseline.

In 1915, the company Maybelline was founded as a mail order company. In 1917, Williams’ company produced Maybelline Cake Mascara which was the first compact mascara and was very popular. By 1920, Maybelline began to sell eyeshadows. In the 1930’s new lines were added to their product mix including eyeliners. By 1932 Maybelline shed the mail order business model and began to sell products in stores, making them more accessible to customers than ever. For the next 30 years Maybelline was very successful, and in the early 1960’s introduced Ultra Lash – a revolutionary product that was the first mascara to be dispensed in a tube with a waterproof formula.

In 1967 Williams sold Maybelline to Plough, Inc. (now Schering-Plough) in Memphis, TN. As a result, the company moved from Chicago to Memphis. In 1975, the company moved again to Little Rock, AK. In 1990, Schering Plough sold Maybelline to New York investment firm Wasserstein Perella. In 1996 company headquarters moved to New York. “Maybe She’s Born With It” became Maybelline’s advertising slogan in 1991. The company was purchased by L’Oreal in 1996 and now also sells lipsticks, nail polish, and foundations.

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