13 Maybelline Ads From 1920 To Now Showing The Amazing History Of Beauty

The brand's century of advertisements charts social history as much as it does the evolution of beauty and features stars like legendary actress Hedy Lamarr and Wonder Woman Lynda Carter.

Break out the birthday cake: one of STELLAR’s fave brands, Maybelline, is the grand old age of 100, and doesn’t she look sweet? To celebrate, we’ve got a look at some of its print ads over the last century and they’re fascinating, whether you’re a beauty buff, interested in social history, dig graphic design or want a nosey on who May-b used as their brand faces down the years.

From its inception back in 1915 when founder Thomas L. Williams whipped up a mail order lash ‘n’ brow beautifier called Lash-Brow-Ine inspired by his sister Mabel’s DIY lash booster (made from um, coal soot and Vaseline), to today, when everything’s just a bit more high-tech, this is a brand that’s kept on innovating, as its ads ably show.

So what else has Maybelline – the name’s a portmanteau of Maybel, Thomas’ sister, and Vaseline, FYI – done that’s noteworthy in its 100 years? Oh, loads:

  • In 1917 Maybelline introduced cake mascara.
  • In the 1930s the brand used huge screen stars like Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth to push its brow pencils and eye shadows using step-by-step how-tos. It was a big move: ‘nice girls’ hadn’t worn such make-up, but had only seen it at the theatre, so times were changing.
  • In the 1940s the brand became America’s number one mass-market make-up brand.
  • The war proved fodder for advertising with a June 1945 advertisement in American Vogue mirroring the social trend of the moment: getting married to your veteran fiancée.
  • In 1947, the actress Hedy Lamarr was the face of the brand.
  • In 1971 Great Lash mascara was born and it still remains the world’s number one mascara more than four decades later.
  • No longer all about eyes, in 1974, Maybelline rolled out products for face and lips.
  • In the 1980s, actress Lynda Carter became Maybelline’s first official spokeswoman.
  • 1991 now, and the famous catchphrase we all know landed: “Maybe She’s Born With It. Maybe It’s Maybelline,” debuts in  TV and magazine ads with Christy Turnlington as a spokeswoman.
  • In 1996 L’Oreal bought the brand and by 2000 one Great Lash was sold every 1.2 seconds.
  • In 2004 Dream Matte Mousse upped the foundation ante.
  • British supermodel Jourdan Dunn and Dutch supermodel Marloes Horst were signed as spokeswomen and Adriana Lima returned to the brand in 2014.
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