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The Meaning Behind Popular Beauty Brands' Names

Where did 'Revlon,' 'Clinique,' and 'Estee Lauder' come from?

Have you ever wondered how your favorite makeup and skincare brands came up with their iconic names? 


3CE: Three Concept Eyes is based on three things to love about Korea: Beauty trends, charm, and confidence! [H/t: Sephora.ph]

AERIN: Named after its founder Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of Estée Lauder.

Banila Co.: Refers to "vanilla cosmetics," which promotes a Korean-style of makeup that is very distinct from Western beauty ideals and trends.

BECCA: Founded by makeup artist ReBECCA Morrice-Williams.

BIODERMA: It means BIOlogy at the service of DERMAtology, and according to their website, it's the brand's philosophy!

Bobbi Brown: Named after founder and makeup artist, Bobbi Brown.


BYS: Be Yourself cosmetics.

Cetaphil: 'Cet' comes from cetyl alcohol, which is used as an emollient. 'Phil,' on the other hand, means love. Cetaphil is, therefore, the love of softening and soothing skin.

Clio: Clio is one of the nine muses in Greek mythology and represents honor and history.

CLINIQUE: Inspired by "Clinique Esthétiques" in Paris, Evelyn Lauder loved the word because it suggested a fresh and clinical approach to skincare.


CosRX: A combination of the words "cosmetic" and "RX"—the latter meaning medical prescription.

CoverGirl: Consumer Health Digest reported that to build up hype for the cosmetics line, the company made ads using "cover girls" that appeared in fashion magazines while wearing the products.

E.L.F.: Short for "eyes lips face." 

EOS: Evolution of smooth, because once you apply the lip balm, your puckers "will evolve into the smoothest lips on the planet." 

Estée Lauder: Named after one of its co-founders, Estée Lauder, whose real name was Josephine Esther Mentzer.


Etude House: "Etude" means "beautiful study of Chopin" in French.

Ever Bilena: According to Filipiknow, Bilena is a combination of the words "bile," the Chinese term for beautiful, and "na," the word for lady. Ever Bilena therefore means "ever beautiful lady."

Garnier: Founded by French pharmacist Alfred Amour Garnier. When it was first established in 1904, it was called "Laboratoires Garnier."

Human Nature: The name came as an epiphany to co-founder and Creative Director Camille Meloto after reflecting on the first book of Genesis, which is why Human Nature is styled with a heart in the middle because "love is our center." 


Innisfree: The name originated from W.B. Yeats' poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." [Via Reddit]

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Kiehl's: Called "Brunswick Apotheke" until apprentice John Kiehl purchased it and renamed it to Kiehl Pharmacy.

L'Oreal: Means "the Oreal," which is the first hair dye formula founder Eugène Schueller created.

Laneige: Comes from the French words "la neige," meaning "snow," because as a brand they are committed to helping women achieve clear and radiant skin like snow.

Laura Mercier: Just like Bobbi Brown and NARS, Laura Mercier is named after French makeup artist and founder Laura Mercier.


MAC: It's short for Make-up Art Cosmetics. [Via The Guardian]

Maybelline: Named after chemist Thomas William's sister Maybel and her "favorite beauty aid."

Max Factor: Named after founder Max Factor.

NARS: Founded by makeup artist and photographer François Nars.

Nivea: Derived from the Latin words "nix, nivis," which means snow. Therefore, Nivea mean snow white.

NUXE: Refinery29 reported that it's a combination of the words "natural" and "luxury."


NYX: Named after the Greek goddess "who ruled the night and symbolized beauty and power."

Olay: According to AdWeek, it was originally called "Oil of Olay" after founder Graham Wulff was playing around with the word lanolin—a major ingredient in their anti-aging beauty fluid.

Pond's: Named after pharmacist Theron T. Pond who invented the "Golden Treasure," a tea extracted from witch hazel that could heal small cuts and ailments.

Revlon: Founded by brothers Charles and Joseph Revson, along with chemist CR Lachman. The brand name is a combination of Revson and the "L" in Lachman.


Simple: It refers to the brand's philosophy of saying no to harsh, artificial perfumes, and colors in their products that can upset skin.

Shiseido: The name comes from Chinese Yi Jing, the Book of Changes from the "Four Books and Five Classics" of Confucianism.

SK-II: Secret Key, which refers to, according to Refinery29, their hero ingredient: Pitera.

Smashbox: Slang for "box-style" camera, which was popular in the early 1900s. [Via Refinery29]

Snoe Beauty: A combination of "snow" and "Noe," daughter of founder Jen Diaz.

Stila: Derived from the Italian word "stilare," which means "to pen." [H/t: Allure]


The Balm: A lip balm was the first product founder Marissa Shipman created. 

Tony Moly: In Japanese, "tony" means nice and trendy, while "moly" means included or employed. [H/t: Tony Moly]

Too Faced: When co-founder Jerrod Blandino worked at a makeup counter, he used to call customers "too faced" because of how quickly they would turn from happy to angry if he was out of their favorite lipstick.

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Urban Decay: Literally defined as "the decay and deterioration of an urban area due to neglect or age," co-founder Sandy Lerner's ex-husband said the words one day and it stuck! [Via Refinery29

VMV Hypoallergenics: "VMV" are the initials of Dr. Vermen Verallo-Rowell, the founding dermatologist of the brand.

ZOEVA: Get The Gloss reported that it's a combination of Zoe, which means life in Greek, and Eva, meaning "first," stemming from Eve. Together it translates to "life of the first woman."  

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