Sunday, June 4, 2023

1934 - the year Maybelline replaced the phrase ‘eyelash beautifier’ with ‘mascara’ in its advertising.

Maybelline's letter to Time Magazine, Jan 1, 1934

1933 ended with a lot to be happy about at the Maybelline Company.  Tom Lyle's brother-in-law, Mabel's husband, , Chet Hewes, finally joined the family business that year and started the DeLuxe Mascara company.  Most likely because of a scandal going on in the cosmetic industry, over a product called Lash Lure.  Read the entire article by James Bennett.   Cosmetics and Skin.

In a letter to Time magazine, Tom Lyle Williams, the founder of Maybelline, made the case clearly.

... As the manufacturers of the largest-selling, best-known mascara in the world, Maybelline, an absolutely harmless, non-smarting eyelash darkener that contains no dye or aniline derivative, we have suffered untold damage to our old established business by the ambiguous publicity given out concerning the Tugwell bill. In a recent issue of the Paramount Newsreel, Professor Tugwell told a truly appalling tale of injuries caused by a poisonous preparation, but neglected to give its name as “Lash-Lure” or to state that it was a dye, merely calling it an eyelash "beautifier,” and concluding his speech with the dreadful remark, “This is the kind of stuff you women use on your eyelashes!”

You can imagine how utterly damaging this was to us, inasmuch as the phrase “eyelash beautifier” is practically synonymous with our trade name Maybelline, due to our product being the most extensively advertised mascara on the market for the past 16 years. 

In reply to our protest wired Professor Tugwell and President Roosevelt, Tugwell wrote that he and the department regretted any damage caused us, and that a press dispatch had been immediately issued revealing the name and nature of the offending product, also stating in reference to our product Maybelline that “... we have never heard of any reports of injury caused by it.” Considering that Maybelline has been used consistently every day by millions of women in all parts of the world for over 16 years, this last statement was indeed complete exoneration of our product. However, it did not reach the millions who heard the newsreel speech, therefore, you will realize with what relief and satisfaction we read your discriminating account of the Tugwell propaganda (TIME, Dec. 4), knowing that the real facts in the case would reach your many intelligent readers.

Again thanking you for the inestimable service you have rendered us and all other reputable manufacturers by your careful and authoritative presentation of the news, we are


Maybelline Co. Chicago, Ill.

Williams also took more drastic action: 1934 was the year that Maybelline replaced the phrase ‘eyelash beautifier’ with ‘mascara’ in its advertising.

Read more about the Tom Lyle, Maybelline, Chet Hewes and Deluxe Mascara in, The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.

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