L’oreal Sustainability Strategy (Pros and Cons)

Deep in the heart of Paris lives the richest woman in the world. She just inherited a billion-dollar fortune from her family’s company. It’s enough money to buy every single NBA team and still have $20 billion left over. And yet, we know almost nothing about her.

The L’Oréal Legacy

This woman is the heir to the most powerful cosmetic conglomerate on the planet: L’Oréal. You’ve probably passed by many of their products in the store today without even knowing it. But you wouldn’t recognize her if she walked past you on the street.

It’s practically impossible to find a cosmetics brand that isn’t owned by her family’s company at this point. Almost half of all skincare brands available are controlled by this one company. Personal care products, makeup, hair care, skincare—they own it all.

The Mysterious Power Behind L’Oréal

Everyone knows the name L’Oréal. Their products are everywhere, yet they’ve managed to keep their true power a secret from the public. And it’s obvious why L’Oréal wants to stay low-key.

The company has faced lawsuits and accusations. For instance, several women diagnosed with uterine cancer are now suing L’Oréal and other cosmetic companies after a recent study tied the illness to chemical hair straightening products.

Dangerous Chemicals in Beauty Products

Scientists have discovered that an ingredient called octocrylene, used in some products to absorb UVB radiation, can degrade into a cancer-causing chemical when left unused for more than a year.

This ingredient can develop into benzophenone, an endocrine disruptor banned from food products in the US. Next time you’re in the beauty supply store, you might want to take the time to read every single ingredient on the back of those products—it could save your life.

There’s one woman, one family getting rich from it all: the Bettencourt Meyers family. She is the granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder and the richest woman on the planet. She’s sitting on a fortune that’s worth 15 times more than Donald Trump’s. Her family made this insane wealth by controlling what humanity puts on their skin.

The Birth of L’Oréal

It all started in 1909 in Paris, France. A 28-year-old chemist named Eugène Schueller was trying to figure out how to turn his scientific knowledge into a profitable enterprise. He began working on a hair dye that would be safe and effective.

After many trials, he succeeded and launched L’Oréal, originally named the French Company of Inoffensive Hair Dyes. The company quickly grew into a beauty empire.

L’Oréal didn’t stop at hair dye. They expanded into all areas of beauty, buying up other brands to control the market. From luxury brands like Lancôme to drugstore brands, they own it all. This strategy ensured they had a continuous flow of revenue from both high-end and everyday consumers.

The Dark Side of Beauty

However, the vast reach of L’Oréal has a dark side. Meet Marlene Corral, a 66-year-old woman from the UK. She purchased L’Oréal’s anti-aging cream and ended up with severe allergic reactions that took months to heal. The culprit? A preservative called methylisothiazolinone, used to increase shelf life and profits, but potentially harmful to users.

Every day, the average person uses multiple skincare products, exposing themselves to numerous chemicals that haven’t been fully regulated.

Some of these ingredients, like parabens, can disrupt hormones and increase cancer risks. Despite the known dangers, companies like L’Oréal continue to use them because changing formulations would cost billions.

The Real Cost of Cheap Ingredients

L’Oréal’s cost-cutting measures extend to sourcing ingredients. Many of their shimmery products use mica, a mineral often mined by child laborers in dangerous conditions.

These practices save L’Oréal billions but come at a great human cost.

Shamil, a six-year-old boy in India, works in a mica mine so that the Western world can have sparkling cosmetics. The conditions are harsh, and the pay is minimal. This labor keeps the cost of products low for companies like L’Oréal, while workers like Shamil see little benefit.


The story of L’Oréal is one of immense wealth built on a foundation of innovation, strategic acquisitions, and also ‘questionable’ practices.

The products that make us feel beautiful often come with hidden costs to our health and the well-being of those who produce them. But overall companies like L’Oréal have a responsibility to ensure their products are safe for consumers and ethically sourced.

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