Lancome: History, Meaning & Luxury Status

We’ve already talked about some of the greats when it comes to French luxury - Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain, to name a few. Just one of the many things they have in common is that they’re named after their iconic brand founder - however, Lancôme bucks the trend. This brand was created to capture the spirit of French beauty - starting with being named after a beautiful region in France.  

Lancôme: Quintessentially French

Lancome three cornerstones image


Lancôme was founded by French Guillaume d’Ornano and Armand Petitjean. Unlike other French luxury brands, Lancôme isn’t actually named after a person - it’s named after a historical French castle, called the “Château Lancosme”. I know what you’re thinking - how come the brand isn’t spelt ‘Lancosme’, then? (By the way, the ‘s’ is silent!)

Petitjean wanted to ensure that his brand was recognised anywhere as a French brand - from his perspective, his products carried the essence of French beauty itself. So, he changed the spelling from ‘Lancosme’ to ‘Lancôme’ - a word that’s instantly recognisable as French due to the circumflex over the o. This was something that would feature in many of their product names too, such as Hypnôse and Grandiôse.

It’s not a coincidence that the Lancôme logo is a single golden rose, either. While seen as an icon for the Lancosme region, for Petitjean, they were a symbol of French beauty that he wanted to keep linked to the brand. 

Petitjean and d’Ornano wanted to export the idea of French beauty and class to the world, starting with fragrances. They first launched the brand as a perfume house - presenting five new perfumes at the 1935 World’s Fair: Tendre Nuit, Bocages, Conquete, Kypre and Tropiques. These fragrances went on to win awards - not bad for a brand that was new to the scene!

Lancome Renergie Multi Lift Image
Formulated to nourish and smooth skin, locking in hydration and moisture as the final step to a night-time routine. 

Lancôme Skincare & Makeup

This was followed up by skincare in 1936 with the creation of Nutrix cream, an all-purpose, rich moisturiser for the skin that’s still in Lancôme’s skincare lineup! They also entered the makeup market soon after, making the three core tenets of the brand perfume, makeup, and skincare. The first makeup created by the Lancôme brand were lipsticks, all with iconically French names as an homage to France and to the beauty of French women.

Lancôme’s brand success didn’t go unnoticed by the L’Oréal company. While back then it was much smaller than the beauty conglomerate that we know today, they knew something good when they saw it! Lancôme was eventually acquired by L’Oréal in 1964, adding the brand to their luxury beauty stable.

Fun fact: Petitjean said he never wanted to allow Lancôme to use advertising, and that their reputation and word-of-mouth should be how people come to know their brand. While today we can’t imagine Lancôme without their iconic ad campaigns including celebrities like Lily Collins, it’s totally understandable for Petitjean to have not wanted to use ads - especially after Lancôme’s success at the world fair!

Lancome Advanced Genifique Serum

Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum | $160
Formulated with 10% Bifida Lysate, this serum nourishes and revitalises skin by creating a healthy skin microbiome.


Legacy of Lancôme Beauty

Lancome beauty counter with genifique products

They’re still incredibly successful in France and worldwide - La Vie est Belle is one of the best selling fragrances in France and has been since 2014. Alongside their super-successful fragrances like La Vie est Belle and Trésor, one of Lancôme’s biggest skincare icons is the Génifique skincare line. 

What sets Génifique apart from the other equally amazing skincare lines is the use of ferments in the line - yes, just like SK-II’s pitera Treatment Essence and La Mer’s miracle broth-rich Cream, Lancôme’s skincare uses skin-nourishing fermented ingredients, too.

Génifique products contain a unique probiotic extract called Bifida Ferment Lysate, an ingredient proven to strengthen the skin barrier and prevent water loss. Combined with anti-aging ingredients like Vitamin C and hydrators like hyaluronic acid, the Génifique line is worth its weight in gold.

As a brand, Lancôme perfectly captures French beauty from iconic fragrances to scientifically-proven, yet luxury skincare - so what are you waiting for? Get your beauty affairs in order with a touch of French luxury from Lancôme!

Need some help putting together the best skincare routine for your skin type? Try our skin quiz!

Beauty Affairs Skin Quiz Image

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Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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