Since 1917  Maybell Labs. had another product which was an earlier version of what  later would be the “cake mascara”. The product was not made with  vaseline, but a mixture of sodium stearate soap and pigments, extruded  into strips, stamped and dried. The product was applied with a small  brush, which must be wet before rubbed into the cake. The origin of the  name was attributed to a combination of his sister’s name, Mabel, and  “vaseline”, but, as the product didn’t contain vaseline, it’s preferable  to assume that it was only an extension of the word “Maybell”, the  laboratories’ name.

Both products, Lash-Brow-Ine, and Maybelline, coexisted from  1917 until 1921; since that year, Maybelline was the only name for all  the products, and in 1923 Maybell Laboratories were also renamed  “Maybelline”.  In 1933, they started to use the word “mascara” instead of  “eyelash darkener”. At that time, Maybelline started to be a leader  industry in eye cosmetics.  In the next years, the company was expanded to Canada and  Europe, and in 1966 they were selling more than $25 million a year, with  more products in catalogue, like a self sharpening eyebrow and eyeliner  pencil, and a “magic mascara” with a spiral brush. In 1967, Tom Lyle Williams sold the company to Plough; in  1990 was acquired by Wasserstein-Perella & Co., and in 1996 by  L’Oreal USA, who actually owns the company, renaming it “Maybelline New  York” in 2001.


Sources:,  by James Bennett; (2010) Encyclopedia of Hair, a Cultural History, by  Victoria Sherrow; Maybelline, About Us: History:; Riordan, Teresa, Inventing Beauty (2004);  Williams, Sharrie & Youngs, B.: The Maybelline story and the  spirited   family dynasty behind it.