Maybelline New York Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

Maybelline 100th AnniversaryGuess what? Maybelline New York Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary!

To commemorate this milestone, they’re releasing limited-edition Maybelline makeup and a nail polish with special packaging.

The Maybelline 100 Anniversary Collection will be available on May 12th in drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada.

PR kindly provided me with a thoughtful gift bag full of goodies on Friday. 🙂 Needless to say, it was a fun way to usher in the weekend!

They also provided four postcards featuring vintage Maybelline ads, which I find especially interesting. Over the years, marketing campaigns for makeup have changed, and you can learn more about a society by studying them.

In this post, I show you a closer look at the makeup plus nail polish, and I swatch the lipstick, eye shadow, and nail polish.

Edit (Sunday May 3 at 11:15 am): I wanted to share the official press release provided to me about Maybelline’s history, what it stands for, and their inspirational journey in the makeup world. You can find it at the very bottom of this post.

It’s lengthy, but I’m sure that you’ll learn something new about the brand that you didn’t already know, which is worth the effort.

So far, out of all the press releases that have been provided to me for blogging purposes, this was my favourite to read because it went into depth about the brand’s history through a social lens and how Maybelline built up its empire to amplify its message that women are smart, strong, and beautiful.

Yes, the press release at the bottom is long (my fingers know all too well as I was typing it up to share with you! Thank goodness my typing speed is 95-100 words per minute), but I think you’ll find Maybelline’s story to be impressive and inspiring!

Maybelline New York 100th Anniversary Pictures

Maybelline 100th Anniversary

Below are the four Maybelline New York postcards with vintage advertisements:

Maybelline Makeup 100th Anniversary

Here’s a closer look at each of them:

Maybelline Lip Makeup 100th Anniversary

Maybelline Eye Makeup 100th Anniversary

Maybelline 100th Anniversary Eye Makeup

Maybelline Lipstick 100th Anniversary

Maybelline Magenta-bulous Lipstick

Maybelline Magenta-bulous Lipstick 100th Anniversary

Maybelline Color Molten Stroke of Silver

Maybelline Color Molten Stroke of Silver Eye Shadow

The left shadow is silvery with some glitter bits. The right is a soft grey.

Maybelline New York Color Molten Stroke of Silver 100th Anniversary

Maybelline Baby Lips Ra-Ra Red

Maybelline Baby Lips Ra-Ra Red 100th Anniversary

Maybelline Color Show Beyond Burgundy Nail Polish

Maybelline Color Show Beyond Burgundy Nail Polish

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara Blackest Black

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara Blackest Black 100th Anniversary

Maybelline Unstoppable Mechanical Liner Onyx

Maybelline Unstoppable Mechanical Liner Onyx 100th Anniversary

Maybelline Magenta-bulous Lipstick Swatch &

Maybelline Color Molten Stroke of Silver Swatches

Maybelline Magenta-bulous Lipstick Swatch 100th Anniversary

Left to Right (Artificial Light): Maybelline Magenta-bulous Lipstick, (No primer) Maybelline Color Molten Stroke of Silver & (With primer) Maybelline Color Molten Stroke of Silver

Maybelline Color Show Beyond Burgundy Nail Polish Swatch

Maybelline Color Show Beyond Burgundy Swatch

Maybelline 100th Anniversary Press Release

Maybelline New York Marks 100 Year Milestone
with Limited-Edition Anniversary Collection

In 2015, Maybelline New York highlights the brand’s unique century-long legacy of bringing beauty trends to the masses and making women all over the world feel ‘#bornwithit,’ with the launch of a 100 Year Anniversary limited-edition collection.

These trendy collectables, which take a twist on some of the brand’s most beloved products in exclusive shades*, are an essential addition to any beauty lovers’ makeup bag. Paying homage to the brand’s colourful history and bright future, this collection is adorned with graphics inspired by the iconic New York City skyline, and designed by contemporary Brooklyn artist Meg Like. The collection features the following much-loved favourites:

  • Maybelline New York Great Lash Mascara (Original) in Blackest Black, SRP $6.49
  • Maybelline New York Great Lash Real Impact Mascara in Very Black and Blackest Black, SRP $6.49
  • Maybelline New York Unstoppable Eyeliner in Onyx and Espresso, SRP $8.79
  • Maybelline New York Eye Studio Color Molten Eye Shadow in Rose Rush* and Stroke of Silver*, SRP $9.99
  • Maybe line New York Baby Lips in Fuchsia Fix* and Ra-Ra Red*, SRP $4.99
  • Maybelline New York ColorSensational Lip Colour in Purposeful Mauve*, Magenta-bulous*, Strike a Rose*, Coral Cocktail* and Berry Chic*, SRP $9.99
  • Maybelline New York Color Show Nail Polish in Gold Stunner* and Beyond Burgundy*, SRP SRP $4.49

The story of this powerhouse beauty brand, today a favourite of women in over 100 countries, began with a bold young woman named Mabel Williams who wanted to stand out, and continues with a legacy tied to the pursuit of innovation and willingness to dare. As a brand credited with countless makeup “firsts,” products that remain staples through the decades alongside other countless innovations, and a roster of unmistakable spokesmodels, the next centennial promises nothing less.

Happy Birthday Maybelline! Celebrating the power of expression, Mabel would be proud.

Maybelline New York’s 100 Year Anniversary limited-edition collection will be available as of May 12, 2015 in drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada.

Keep up with our 100 year celebration by following @maybellinecan on Twitter and Instagram, on Facebook at MaybellineNewYork-Canada and visiting Please read on for a look at Maybelline New York through the decades.

100 Years of Maybelline New York

As Maybelline New York prepares to kick off its second century as the No. 1 international makeup name, we look back to the countless groundbreaking moments that transformed the brand through the decades, taking it from a startup family business to a household name and global trendsetter. One century of helping women from every background all over the world empower, reimagine, and reinvent themselves – it’s not every brand that gets to celebrate a birthday like this.

The Maybell Girl


The story of this powerhouse beauty brand, today a favourite of women in over 100 countries, began with a bold young woman who wanted to stand out – starting with more glamorous eyes. In 1915, Mabel Williams mixed coal dust with Vaseline and used this to amp up her lashes and brows. Her entrepreneurial brother saw the potential and developed a mail-order beautifier called Lash-Brow-Ine and christened his company Maybell Laboratories, Chicago.

The product caught on through print advertising, and two years later, Williams launched Maybelline (which combined Mabel + Vaseline and was copyrighted in 1920), an eyelash darkener. The box featured a line drawing of The Maybell Girl, eyes closed to display lush lashes, and contained “a generous cake of solid Maybelline, a truthful mirror, and a dainty single-row brush.” Hollywood glamour was then employed to help debut Maybelline on the national stage. “These famous Maybell Beauty Aids are used and recommended by stars of the stage and screen and beautiful women everywhere. Why not you?,” read an ad in the Chicago Daily Tribune on July 4, 1920.

From these earliest days, Maybelline had a clear mission that went beyond mascara: offer accessibility and visible results for a reasonable cost – “fine makeup, sensibly priced” – and appeal to women of all ages and backgrounds. “From 16 to 60, it’s easy to have beautiful eyes,” proclaimed one early ad, beneath photos of women from different generations. Advertisements employed before-and-after pictures to illustrate the dramatic results one could expect, and “smart” has always been part of the brand’s language, appearing in taglines like “smart women insist on Maybelline”. Women across the country responded to such ads in movie magazines, newspapers, and on the radio. As a result of the growing popularity of the brand, Maybelline moved beyond mail-order and into drugstores in the 1920’s.

Introducing: Eye Shadow!


In 1932, sample-sized Maybelline Eyelash Beautifier was sold in variety stores for 10 cents. Next came a refillable version in a pretty gold-and-red box, for 75 cents (refills: 35 cents). Mascara colours included black, brown, and blue, in either cream or cake form. American women were devoted to their mascara by the mid-1930s.

Time for Maybelline’s next big hits: eye shadow and brow pencils. Most “nice girls” had never actually worn such makeup, only seen it in the theater. “Eye makeup done in good taste,” the ads reassured them. “Not to use Maybelline eye beauty aids is sheer neglect of charm.”

Maybelline also took the intimidation factor out by offering makeup education in ads, featuring movie stars like Betty Grable doing easy three-step how-to (mascara, brow pencil, eye shadow). “It’s easy to have lovely, alluring eyes,” Grable says in one. “The magic secret is Maybelline makeup.” In addition to newspapers, the ads ran in Hollywood magazines like Movie Stars ParadeMovie Mirror, and Screenland Magazine. The moment was right for women to try something new and uplifting. On a billboard in Times Square amidst the darkness of the Great Depression, a Maybelline eye shadow ad was a bright spot of hope. At a time when girls couldn’t afford a new dress or shoes, they could sweep bewitching colour (blue, grey, blue-grey, brown, green, or violet) onto their eyes and light up the night.

A Bold New Makeup Era


New before-and-after ads showcased the dramatic impact of a full eye look, including mascara, brow pencil, and eye shadow. And as televisions appeared in homes, Maybelline was one of the first cosmetics company to advertise via this bold new medium. Meanwhile, the brand began its international expansion, starting with Ecuador, then Canada (1952). Maybelline’s tagline in 1952 was “Preferred by smart women the world over.”

The 1957 launch of Iridescent Eye Shadow Sticks in jewel tones, and soon after, Fluid Eye Liner in swinging shades like blue, marked a new era of confident, look-at-me makeup. Then, in 1959, Maybelline introduced a mainstay of daily American life: the first mass market “automatic” mascara, where product was already applied to the spiral brush when it’s pulled out. Genius! Magic Mascara made makeup application infinitely less messy.

Liquimatic Brow offered the first automatic, liquid brush-on brow colour. Improved self-service Maybelline racks in stores, $1 waterproof Ultra Lash Mascara (take “the shower test”!), and a four-step coordinated eye makeup system helped fuel a period of rapid growth.

Great Lash Is Born


Maybelline’s 1967 sale to Plough, Inc. – to become Schering-Plough in 1971 – boosted the company to the next level, marking improvements in research, manufacturing, and distribution. The company’s headquarters moved from Chicago, IL to Memphis, TN.

In 1971, a game-changer named Great Lash was born. The pink-and-green mascara tube that would win the hearts of women everywhere boasted a breakthrough formula that conditioned while it thickened, in black, brown, blue and dark green. By the year 2000, one tube of Great Lash was being sold every 1.2 seconds.

Meanwhile, Maybelline’s global reach widened, with products entering Guatemala (1970), Puerto Rico (1972), the Caribbean (1974), Mexico (1976), Australia and Southeast Asia (1978). And in 1975, the brand opened its dedicated manufacturing facility in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Moving Beyond Eye Makeup


The days of acting demure had given way to free-spirited, flirty fun, and makeup was no exception. Maybelline’s late-70s TV and print ads reflected a Studio 54 disco vibe and more daring attitude. Maybelline had mastered making the eyes beautiful (including lash curlers, fake lashes, and brow brushes), so in 1974, the brand launched its first makeup for the face and lips.

Flirty lip products like Kissing Sticks, Kissing Slicks, Kissing Koolers, and Kissing Potion (“Promise Roger your strawberry kisses. There are plenty of flavors left for Richie, Fred, David, Bob…”) began to give the cosmetics aisle a whole new dimension of fun. Women were also looking for fresh-faced makeup, leading to easy, lightweight products like the new Fingertip Blushers.

During the decade of no compromise, women also demanded more from their makeup, and Maybelline delivered, with high-performance products like Moisture Whip Lipstick, Eye Writers, Fresh Lash, and the new Shine Free Oil-Control makeup line. These introductions were given a workout by spokeswoman, actress Lynda Carter. Underneath the playfulness of the campaign was a powerful message: Yes, women can conquer the world. And yes, our lipstick and mascara will look great when we do.

Maybe It’s Maybelline


After its 1990 sale to investment firm Wasserstein Perella & Co., Maybelline kicked off a new decade with one of the most genius advertising slogans of all time: Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Maybelline. The phrase debuted in 1991 through head-turning TV and print ads featuring supermodel Christy Turlington (ads so iconic they’re woven into the fabric of the decade along with Doc Martens and Nirvana). The Maybelline of the 90s was fearless and straight-talking.

Despite its confident tone, Maybelline maintained its goal of being unintimidated and all-inclusive. In 1991, reinforcing its mission to be relevant to all women, it launched Shades of You, a makeup collection designed specifically for women of colour, characterized by special formulas that wouldn’t make dark skin look chalky. And in 1993, it launched the Revitalizing Face Collection (foundation, powder, blush and concealor) for women over age 35.

A Global Brand

On the global front, Maybelline became the first U.S. mass-market brand to sell its products in China in 1995. A gradual rollout began in South China in April using imported product while Maybelline finished work on a manufacturing facility in Suzhou. Lipstick production began there in January 1996. The Suzhou manufacturing and distribution facility served the growing market in China and throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim. By 1996, Maybelline was sold throughout the Americas (U.S., Canada, Mexico, all of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico), Asia Pacific (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, China, South Korea, Vietnam), and in South Africa. Next up: Lebanon, India, Indonesia, and Hungary (1997), Tunisia (2013), and Nigeria (2014).

The L’Oreal Era

When L’Oreal acquired Maybelline in 1996 and its headquarters moved to New York, momentum picked up even more. In the first quarter of the year, building on the great-performance heritage of the country’s top-selling cosmetic at the time, Great Lash mascara, Maybelline introduced four new “greats”. Great Lash Pro-Vitamin mascara contained Pro-Vitamin B5 complex (first developed for use in hair care, to thicken lashes from the inside out). Great Lash Waterproof Eye Liner, which never needed sharpening and delivered 12-hour wear. Great Lip Budge-Proof Lip Color, which lasted up to eight hours, with conditioners like Vitamin E. And, Great Finish Fast-Dry Nail Enamel with a formula that set in two minutes and lasted up to five days.

The Express Collection debuted in 1997, offering maximum speed and efficiency to women with full, busy lives: Express Finish nail lacquers, Lip Express (lipstick and liner in one), Express for eyes, and Express 3-in-1 Foundation. The face of this collection was actress Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sex and the City star Kristin Davis was another popular face to appear in Maybelline ads around this time.

Launching Success


The new millennium marked many more important Maybelline New York launches. Dream Matte Mousse raised the bar for what women wanted from their foundation in 2004 and remains a top-selling foundation worldwide today, thanks in part to skin-centric ads featuring supermodel Adriana Lima. After the economic downturn of 2008, at a time when lipstick had lost some luster and gotten a bit too sensible and safe, Color Sensational made women everywhere “fall in love with color all over again” with a vivid 60-shade collection.

Maybelline New York even managed to revolutionize mascara all over again, with the 2010 launch of the Volum’ Express big-drama mascara collection. With America celebrity-obsessed and stars wearing major faux fringe everywhere, the bar had been raised for ultra-big lashes – setting up Volum’ Express The Falsies to become an instant international addiction.

As cellphones morphed into smartphones that effortlessly ran multiple apps, Maybelline New York introduced the makeup that gives women eight amazing benefits in one stroke of genius with Dream Fresh BB Cream. Now it’s hard to remember a time before BB cream was a makeup-bag staple – and once again, Maybelline New York was ahead of the game.

Maybelline New York + The Runway

Maybelline New York has always been a New Yorker at heart – fearless, creative, outspoken, trendsetting. But its connection to the fashion capital was made official in 2009, when Maybelline New York became the makeup sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. Today, it sponsors 11 other fashion weeks worldwide: MADE Fashion Week in New York, Berlin, Istanbul, Toronto, Tallinn, Riga, Tokyo, Shanghai, Sydney, Lagos, and London.

With Christy Turlington still serving as its iconic face, Maybelline New York’s diverse roster of model personalities today includes Adriana Lima, Jourdan Dunn, Emily DiDonato, Marloes Horst, and Kemp Muhl. In 2014, Maybelline signed Yadim as its Global Makeup Artist. Known for his innovative editorial work and runway looks, he’s providing fresh artistic vision for the brand going forward.

To Having “It” for 100 More Years

Much has changed about beauty over the past century. But the power to transform oneself, through makeup or otherwise, has not. That spark, that determination, that urge to stand out and make a mark is what Mabel and countless women that followed have strived for and that’s exactly the “it” Maybelline has always been about. Maybe she’s born with it, Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Are there any products in this post that you’d be interested seeing me do an in-depth review on? What Maybelline product do you use and love? Did you learn something new after reading the above press release about Maybelline’s history?


8 thoughts on “Maybelline New York Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

  1. Melissa

    Happy Anniversary to Maybelline! Thanks for sharing this post with us. I especially like the vintage ads. very cool. 🙂

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Melissa!

      It’s my pleasure to share this with my awesome readers like you!

      Psst! If you have a chance, check out my post again. I’ve updated it to include a very long press release at the bottom. It’s worth reading because it goes into depth about Maybelline’s history and the brand’s inspirational story. It’s by far my favourite press release that I’ve ever received for blogging purposes! If you love learning about the roots of the makeup industry and how marketing campaigns evolve through the decades with a social perspective, you’ll enjoy reading it. 🙂

      P.S. Happy Sunday!

  2. Beth

    Love everything about this! I’m going to have to splurge on some of these items 🙂 Wonderful post, thank you Mary!

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Beth!

      I’m so happy to be able to share this information with readers like you! I find Maybelline’s story so inspiring, and it was cool to learn how the brand got its name. Plus the timeline was impressive, showing how far Maybelline has come as a company.

  3. Jessie

    Great post! I was surprised to find out that L’Oreal owns Maybelline. Interesting fact. 🙂
    It was fun to track and see when in years I started recongnizing slogans and lines. Started in the nineties for me. Personally, I never got what was so awesome about Great Lash mascara, it was horrible for me but I always bought their eye shadows and nail polish.

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Jessie!

      I only tried the original Great Lash Mascara when I was in high school and didn’t know how to properly apply it. Now that I have their latest version, I’m curious to see if I’ll get better results this time around. We’ll see! 🙂

      Also, only since last year or so, I’ve been trying Maybelline lipsticks. Love them! I think they offer such great shades and finishes for an affordable price.


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