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Eugène Schueller

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Eugène Schueller
Eugène Paul Louis Schueller

(1881-03-20)20 March 1881
Paris, France
Died23 August 1957(1957-08-23) (aged 76)
Paris, France
Alma materChimie ParisTech
Occupation(s)Chemist and entrepreneur
Known forfounding L'Oréal
ChildrenLiliane Bettencourt

Eugène Paul Louis Schueller (20 March 1881 – 23 August 1957) was a French chemist and entrepreneur who was the founder of L'Oréal, the world's leading company in cosmetics and beauty.

Founding of L'Oréal


As a young French chemist of Alsatian paternal origin, Schueller graduated in 1904 from the Institut de Chimie Appliquée de Paris (now Chimie ParisTech) and became a laboratory assistant at La Sorbonne. A barber asked him to develop a new hair dye, but Schueller took this opportunity to lead his own research shop.[1]

Schueller developed an innovative hair-color formula in 1907, which he called Oréale. He formulated and manufactured his own products, and sold them to Parisian hairdressers.

In 1909, he registered his company, the Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux (French Company of Inoffensive Hair Dyes), the future L'Oréal. In his production unit, he developed the concept of proportional salary. In 1936, the social reforms led by Léon Blum in France suddenly created a vacation industry, and the sales of L'Oréal's sunscreen (Ambre Solaire) skyrocketed.[1]

Support for fascism


During the early twentieth century, Schueller provided financial support and held meetings for La Cagoule at L'Oréal headquarters. La Cagoule was a violent French fascist-leaning, antisemitic and anti-communist group whose leader formed a political party Mouvement Social Révolutionnaire (MSR, Social Revolutionary Movement) which in Occupied France supported the Vichy collaboration with the conquerors from Nazi Germany.[1][2]

In La révolution de l’économie (1941), he wrote:[1]

I know full well that we don’t have the chance that the Nazis did, coming to power in 1933... We don’t have the gift that the Germans had…We don’t have the faith of national-socialism. We don’t have the dynamism of a Hitler pushing the world.

L'Oréal hired several members of the group as executives after World War II, such as Jacques Corrèze, who served as CEO of the US operation. This involvement was extensively researched by Michael Bar-Zohar in his book, Bitter Scent.[3]



Schueller's daughter, Liliane Bettencourt, was the widow of André Bettencourt with whom she had one daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, chairwoman of L'Oréal's board of directors and according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index the richest woman in the world and the 12th richest person in the world, with a net worth of USD 94.9 Billion as of January 2022. Françoise Meyers is married to Jean-Pierre Meyers, whose rabbi grandfather was murdered in Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp.[4] In 2017, Liliane Bettencourt was the wealthiest woman in the world, with holdings estimated at US$39.5 billion.[5]



The head office of L'Oréal in Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine is named Centre Eugène Schueller.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Sancton, Tom (7 September 2017). "The Titan Who Founded L'Oréal Prospered Under the Nazis". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2024-03-09.
  2. ^ Malcolm Gladwell (March 28, 2011). "The Color of Money". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012.
  3. ^ Bar-Zohar, Michael (1996). Bitter Scent: The Case of L'Oréal, Nazis, and the Arab Boycott. Dutton. ISBN 978-0-525-94068-5.
  4. ^ Liliane Bettencourt, L’Oréal Heiress Vexed by Swindling Case, Is Dead at 94 September 21, 2017
  5. ^ Liliane Bettencourt & family Accessed 2 March 2017
  6. ^ "World Presence." L'Oréal. Retrieved on 14 July 2010. "Centre Eugène Schueller 41, rue Martre 92117 CLICHY"