When you realise just how many beauty firsts came from Revlon, it’s no wonder that their history is like looking at a make-up timeline and largely explains how we came to have the amazing choices in beauty we have now. Revlon is 80 years old this year.

A small selection of ‘firsts’ from Revlon

* In 1932, Revlon was the first brand to create opaque nail colour.

* In 1947, Revlon was the first brand to create self-sterilising products to reduce bacteria.

* In 1962, Revlon created the first cream eyeshadow.

* In 1963, Revlon created the first waterproof, non-solvent based mascara. 


* In 1967, the very first transluscent blush stick.


* In 1986, Revlon created the first silicone based make up.

The list goes on and on. Revlon’s history charts how far make up has come since the brand’s conception in 1932 – the timing of Revlon was crucial because it was founded in the middle of The Great Depression when everything was pretty gloomy. We talk about the Lipstick index today and it is well known that sales of lipstick go higher in troubled times and so it was then. The introduction of a new type of nail enamel could not have come at a better time when women needed something to divert from difficulties. Back then, make up was actually hard to get hold of – often consigned to a dusty corner in stores or only available ‘under the counter’ – the freedom we have now to purchase, try before we buy, experiment or sample was absolutely non-existent back in the day.



Funnily enough, Charles Revson, creator of Revlon, bought all sorts of different companies, from a cutlery brand (whose machinery allowed Revlon to make its own manicure equipment)  through to a shoe polish brand and on to diabetes drugs. Its history is far more diverse than beauty. However, being first with beauty products meant that Revlon paved the way for beauty to become affordable, wearable and acceptable. It also gave other brands inspiration to be more creative. Their gorgeous imagery made beauty attainable and also made glamour mainstream so that nail polish and lipstick didn’t just belong on the talons and lips of the ‘flighty’!!


It’s not really about what Revlon do now that is so important, because the beauty market has altered beyond recognition in its 80 years, but the brand must be recognised for changing the beauty landscape forever in the past and contributing so well to the future – where we are now. Wherever you look in eight decades of beauty history, Revlon is there.