In an industry where trends come and go in less time than it takes to “swipe left,” there’s something to be said for a company that’s held its place in beauty history for over a century.
Founded in 1915 by a 19-year-old entrepreneur named Tom Lyle Williams, Maybelline has kept us batting our lashes and begging for evermore cutting-edge products year after year.
Here we salute Maybelline for its innovations and contributions to beauty. So let us take off our editor hat for just a moment, while we play makeup historian.
1915: A Star is Born
Chicago chemist Tom Lyle Williams invented Maybelline Cake Mascara, the first modern eye cosmetic made for everyday use. The product was named after Williams’ older sister, Maybel, who inspired its creation. Maybel wanted to enhance her eyelashes and brows and had previously relied on petroleum jelly and coal dust. Williams saw an opportunity to improve upon his sister’s beauty hack by adapting the formula for easy application, allowing the product to both darken and shape her lashes for a more dramatic effect.
The experimental product quickly gained traction, and in just a few years, women were requesting it at drugstores, paving the way for the company’s mastery in the mascara department.
1971: Enter the Icon
Maybelline’s iconic mascara, Great Lash, launched. The product would go on to be a consistent best-seller, winning countless beauty awards and honors, including “America’s Favorite Mascara.” You probably know it for its pink and green packaging and non-clumpy formula.
Over the years, Great Lash has only picked up steam and now comes in multiple colors including blue, purple and clear, as well as waterproof versions.
1999: The Mascara That Slayed the ’90s
As the world prepared for the coming of Y2K, Maybelline started the party early with the release of millennial favorite Full ‘N Soft. The dynamic formula made quite a splash with its ability to lengthen and thicken lashes without leaving them stiff or brittle, as well as its unforgettable promo ad featuring the hottest vampire slayer in Hollywood. We heart you forever, Buffy.
2015: The Push-Up Bra of Mascaras
With bigger, badder lashes on high demand, Maybelline went to work to create a mascara that gave the appearance of fake lashes, sans actual fake lashes. Enter The Falsies Push Up Drama.
Taking a page from push-up bras, The Falsies features cup-shaped bristles that lifts the lashes, while a creamy plumping formula works to keep them lifted and voluminous. Although only on the market a year, the mascara is quickly making its way into the hearts of women everywhere, including the Makeup.com office (Senior Editor Angela Melero is a recent convert).
2016: Looking All Luscious
Innovating the mascara business yet again, Maybelline decided to throw some precious oils into the mix with this year’s new kid on the block, Luscious Sensational. The oil-infused formula goes on SUPER wet but dries quite nicely, delivering lashes that are intensely dark, voluminous, long and, most importantly non-crispy and non-clumpy.
The oil-infused product also scores in the removal department as the oils allow the mascara to wash off seamlessly, sans lash casualties, Yes, please!
2016: Along Came a Spider
Maybelline indulged the experimenter (and closet weirdo) in us by releasing Maybelline The Colossal Spider Effect Mascara.
Despite not being available to the masses just yet, (it’s out June 2016), the mascara made a not-so-quiet debut in October of 2015 at the Jason Wu fashion show for New York Fashion Week. The eye-catching and dramatic look caused quite a stir, spawning this year’s clumpy lash trend.