After two years of formulating and manufacturing his own hair dye called Aureole, Eugene Schueller, a young French chemist, registered his company in 1909 under the name: The Societe Francaise de Teintures Innofensives pour Cheveux.

Though it originated in the hair-color business, L'Orleal branched out into skin care, sun protection, makeup, perfumes, and hair care.

The founder's daughter, Liliane Bettencourt, and the Swiss food company Nestle each control over a quarter of the shares and voting rights of L'Oreal.

L'Oreal is the top nanotechnology patent-holder in the U.S.

L'Oreal has pursued a continued growth strategy through acquisitions and expansion, such as Maybelline in 1996, Soft Sheen in 1998, Matrix, Kiehl's and Carson in 2000, ARTec in 2002, and SkinCeuticals in 2005.

Headquartered in the Paris suburb of Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, L'Oreal is today the world's largest cosmetics company.

Company News/Recent Launches:

In 2006, L'Oreal took over ethical cosmetics company The Body Shop, which came under fire for abandoning its principles due to L'Oreal's practice of testing new ingredients on animals.

The L'Oreal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science was established to improve the position of women in science by awarding female researchers who have contributed to scientific progress with a $100,000 grant.

The newest anti-aging cosmetic to come from L'Oreal is RevitaLift Anti-Wrinkle moisturizers, such as the Deep Set Wrinkle Repair 24HR Eye Duo.

L'Oreal's latest makeup launches include Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara, Infallible Never Fail Plumping Lipgloss, Bare Naturale eyeliner, and HiP High Intensity Pigments.

Key Ingredients:

Mexoryl- L'Oreal's patented sunscreen ingredient.

Pro-Xylane- (naturally derived molecule that can penetrate all of skin's layers) in the Skin Genesis range.

Calcium microspheres- in the Age Perfect Pro-Calcium range.

Pro-Retinol A- in the RevitaLift range.

TIA's Take:

Considering the expansive breadth of L'Oreal's skincare, cosmetics, haircolor, haircare, styling, and men's products, it is near impossible to summarize their strengths and weaknesses. Our reviews of specific L'Oreal products below give a glimpse at the many innovations, ingredients, and imperfections of the brand as a whole:

L'Oreal's EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System isn't so pure

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick

L'Oreal Age Perfect Pro-Calcium Radiance Perfector Sheer Tint

L'Oreal's alfalfa collagen rebuilder

L'Oreal Visible Lift with 'Serum Inside'