The founder of Lancome, Armand Petitjean was exploring the ruins of a castle, Le Chateau de Lancosme, while vacationing in the French countryside and was inspired by the wild roses growing around the castle for his company's symbol, a golden rose.

In 1935 at the World's Fair in Brussels, Lancome launched its first five fragrances: Tendre Nuit, Bocages, Conquete, Kypre, and Tropiques.

In 1955, Lancome launched the Oceane line, enriched with seaweed and algae extracts.

Lancome is part of L'Oreal's Luxury Products division.

Company News/Recent Launches:

Lancome's Fall 2009 Color Collection, Declaring Indigo, is by Aaron de Mey.

Lancome's products cropped up regularly throughout New York Fashion Week 2009, such as at the Chris Benz and L'Wren Spring 2010 shows.

On June 14th, 2009 in Paris, 25 National Makeup Artist nominees were granted diplomas in a ceremony presided over by Odile Roujol, Lancome's International General Manager.

In the past couple of years, the following makeup products have won beauty editorial awards: Absolue Powder, Color Design eye shadow, Definicils mascara, Color Ideal makeup, Color Design blush, Le Crayon Khol eyeliner, Hypnose mascara, L'Absolu Rouge lipcolor, Juicy Tubes lip gloss, Oscillation mascara, Virtuose mascara, and La Laque Fever lipshine.

Nutrix, a soothing treatment cream which was originally launched in 1936, celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2006.

Key Ingredients:

Mexoryl- patented sunscreen ingredient owned by L'Oreal (parent company of Lancome)

Pro-Xylane- sugar-protein hybrid anti-aging ingredient known to stimulate the production of glycoaminoglycans

Bio-Network complex- wild yam, soy, sea algae, and barley

Hydroxy(a)-Calcium- hydroxy apatite, yeast extract, ginseng

Phospho-Firm- lactobacillus ferment, marine extract, brown algae

TIA's Take:

Lancome has an outstanding track record for churning out popular and pioneering mascaras, although we think the vibrating Lancome Oscillation (which appeared on MSNBC's line-up of innovative beauty products) is more of a gimick than a useful mascara gadget. As far as sun protection goes, nearly all of Lancome's sunscreens contain avobenzone, titanium dioxide, or the FDA-approved proprietary ingredient Mexoryl for adequate UVA protection. Lancome's UV Expert sunscreen and Anthelios XL moisturizer are superior chemical sunblockers for their use of this ingredient, also known as ecamsule. However, much of the anti-aging technology touted by Lancome products is esoteric, and complete ingredient lists are hard to come by online. It is a mystery what comprises the Pro-Xylane complex, but the active ingredients and botanical extracts in most formulas appear far below the fillers and fragrance. Overall, many of the skincare products are overpriced and mediocre, though a handful of makeup items are worthwhile.