1984-2000 : Become number one in the beauty industry

Lancôme advertisement: Trésor

© Thorkil Gudnason

Lancôme advertisement: Trésor

© Thorkil Gudnason

These twelve years are marked by a great period of growth for L'Oréal, mainly driven by the significant investments made by the group in the field of research.

Alongside these efforts are strategic product launches that not only make history, but also succeed in strengthening the Group’s brand image.

In 1988, François Dalle's successor, the research and development pioneer Charles Zviak, hands over the reins of the company to Lindsay Owen-Jones, a truly outstanding director.

Under his management, the Group would completely change in scope to become the world leader in cosmetics through the worldwide presence of its brands and strategic acquisitions.



  • © L'Oréal Archives/ DR

    A loyal companion to François Dalle, Charles Zviak becomes director at the age of 62, following a long professional career at L’Oréal. Joining the company’s Monsavon brand in 1945, he participates in the development of the continuous saponification process.
    He then becomes part of L’Oréal’s research department, as head of development for the “cold perm” (Oréol).
    He goes on to set up a laboratory for applied research with some fifteen researchers.
    Eugène Schueller and François Dalle decide to separate fundamental research and applied research, putting the latter in the hands of Charles Zviak, who is appointed head of Production and Technology.
    As the true creator of applied research, Mr. Zviak believes in what he calls the Research/Marketing relationship, which promotes ongoing exchange between research and current marketing trends.
    In 1973 he is nominated Executive Vice-President of L’Oréal. Then in 1984, he becomes the company CEO, a position in which he remained until 1988.
    One overriding principle has always governed his work: quality. A man of great composure, he was known for his rigorous intellectual and ethical standards. When he died, in 8 July 1990, a profound sadness filled the laboratories.


  • © L'Oréal Archives/ DR

    At the forefront of new trends, L’Oréal embraces the style of the 80s. The street is bursting with endless sources of inspiration, hairstyles are let loose and become a mark of individual expression. L’Oréal therefore creates a complete line of hairstyling products: gels, mousses, sprays. Based on unique, innovative formulas, these products give everyone, regardless of age or hair type, the freedom to create their own style. It constitutes a veritable style toolbox, allowing users to become their own hairstylists. The result is tremendous worldwide success. Twenty-five years later, Studio Line retains its pioneering spirit, and remains in the avant-garde of hairstyling trends.
  • © Bruce Weber for Polo

    L’Oréal obtains the Ralph Lauren licence, and continues the fabulous saga of Polo fragrances for men, created in 1978. The acquisition anchors L’Oréal’s position in the Luxury Products market in the United States and in luxury men’s fragrances.
  • © Herb Ritts for Paloma Picasso

    With an eye to expanding its fragrance business, L’Oréal continues its strategy of collaborating with cutting-edge designers. It teams up with Paloma Picasso, fashion and jewellery designer, daughter of a symbolic figure and herself a charismatic spokeswoman of the 80s. She gives the fragrance her name, designs the bottle, selects its composition – a heady, distinguished chypré – and wraps it in red, her signature colour, unimaginable at the time in perfumery. She pulls it off masterfully: the brand is an instant success throughout the world.
  • © Jean-Loup Sieff

    At long last, the first line of skincare products designed exclusively for men! Their refreshing, non-oily textures, specially adapted to male skin, their ergonomic shapes, and their straight-forward media campaign win men over throughout the world. A true pioneer in 1985, Biotherm Homme is today’s leader in men’s skincare products in more than 70 countries.


  • © Fabrizio Ferri for Lancôme

    Niosome, the first anti-ageing cream, will bring Lancôme into state-of-the-art skincare technology. Thanks to a formula patented by L’Oréal in 1980, for the first time ever, active ingredients are “vectorised”, that is, encapsulated in order to protect them and convey them to the epidermal layers where they are most effective.


  • © DR

    L’Oréal puts its energy behind a brand new distribution network: mail-order catalogues. Teaming up with Les 3 Suisses, one of Europe’s leading mail-order companies, the Group launches a catalogue of beauty products, known as Club des Créateurs de Beauté (Club of Beauty Creators). All the products are created by top designers such as make-up by Agnès B., haircare products by Jean-Marc Maniatis, to name but a few, and are the result of L’Oréal Research. In 2008, L’Oréal becomes the sole owner of CCB.
  • © Vichy / DR

    Capitalising on its strong presence in the network of pharmacies, Vichy launches a comprehensive range of skincare products for men, called Basic Homme.


  • © L'Oréal /DR

    Under the leadership of this highly unconventional director, the Group undergoes a radical and profound transformation. Lindsay Owen-Jones takes what is essentially a French export company and turns it into an international group, operating in over 130 countries and present in all distribution networks. From a company producing primarily haircare products, he creates a more balanced range of activities, centred around 5 core businesses: hair colour, haircare, skincare, make-up, and perfume. From a plethora of national brands, he would create a portfolio of 23 international megabrands, designed to meet the needs of both women and men throughout the world. And from a group with an utterly “made-in-France” vision of beauty and elegance, he establishes a standard of diversity that embraces all types of ethnic needs, all levels of purchasing power, and all cultural expectations in the realm of beauty.


  • L'Oréal supports the "Look Good Feel Better" program in the USA

    Cosmetics also serve a social need, as they can greatly help ill people to feel better about themselves. Therefore, L’Oréal is deeply invested in the programme developed in the United States by the Personal Care Products Council, which helps women cancer patients deal with the physical side-effects of their treatments. Today, the programme is carried out with support from L’Oréal in several European countries.
  • © Igor Monsigna

    L’Oréal acquires Helena Rubinstein, the American brand of skincare products. This luxurious, innovative brand, created in the image of its famous founder, is already well positioned on the European, Japanese and South American markets. Rounding out the product range, the Group aims to position it as a flagship brand in its Luxury Products Division.
    Following Helena Rubenstein, L’Oréal signs a licensing contract with Giorgio Armani, allowing the company to promote this prominent name in fashion, synonymous with timeless elegance and prestige, in the area of beauty products and fragrance. These latest acquisitions enable L’Oréal to expand its international portfolio of luxury brands, together with the French brand, Lancôme and the US brand, Ralph Lauren.
  • © La Roche-Posay

    L’Oréal consolidates its dermatological expertise and its presence in pharmacy networks with the acquisition of La Roche-Posay, a high-tech dermatological product recommended by dermatologists all over the world.