Is This Goodbye To The Classic Beauty Brand Of Revlon Forever?

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Revlon has filed for bankruptcy in the US after making cosmetics for people all over the world for around 90 years.

At the height of its fame Revlon was the ‘queen of lipstick’ and one of the first beauty companies to employ supermodels for marketing. But now it faces huge debt at the hands of supply chain disruptions, surging costs and the competitive influencer market.

What’s Happening To Revlon

In an industry where only a few hold the monopoly to big name brands Revlon has struggled to keep in the top spot but is this goodbye to the iconic brand forever? Not just yet.

The cosmetics company has filed for ‘Chapter 11 Bankruptcy’. That’s basically a type of bankruptcy in the US where the business in debt has to come up with a plan to ‘reorganise’ the company. In doing so, Revlon hopes to be able to continue operating, at least in the short term by receiving $575 million in financing from its existing lenders. However this will only happen if the court approves it.

Revlon’s CEO Debra Perelman hopes filing will “offer our consumers the iconic product we have delivered for decades, while providing a clearer path for future growth.”

A Look Back On The Beauty Brand

Revlon has been a staple product in the beauty aisle for much of the last century was first founded by brothers Charles and Joseph Revson and chemist Charles Lachman during the Great Depression in New York City in 1932.

Their first product to market was nail polish and by 1937 Revlon was selling nail polishes in department stores and chemists. Just six years later Revlon became a multi-million dollar organisation adding lipsticks and makeup to their line soon after.

By the 60s Revlon was one of the top sellers of lipsticks in the US and in 1970 Revlon became the first beauty company to feature a Black model, Naomi Sims. By the 1980s it made big moves to feature famous and upcoming models.

But as brightly coloured makeup and old-school glamour trends shifted to more subtle muted tones in the 90s Revlon was slow to follow suit. It proved even slower to keep up with beauty influencers reshaping the beauty market like Kylie Jenner’s widely successful lip kits and Rihanna’s diverse and affordable Fenty Beauty.

The company hasn’t been able to escape cruelty-free testing controversies over the decades either with PETA still citing on their website that products are tested on animals despite Revlon continuously denying it.

Who Owns Makeup?

Beauty companies that have been around forever most likely own a whole array of newer makeup brands without you even knowing.

L’Oréal for example is the biggest-selling beauty company with a total of 39 brands under its belt including Maybelline, Lancôme, Urban Decay and The Body Shop. Unilever owns more personal care brands like Dove and Vaseline while Estée Lauder owns Bobbi Brown, MAC and Too Faced.

L’Oréal sold $38 billion dollars worth of beauty products in 2021 while Revlon only sold $2 billion dollars worth. This also included sales of Elizabeth Ardern which it owns. Revlon now sits around number 20 on the list of the biggest selling beauty brands.

Can Revlon Survive?

Revlon also suffered from the pandemic when more and more people had to wear masks and reduced the amount of people wearing lipstick. In fact in April 2020 44% of women bought lipstick for themselves but in 2021 that figure dropped to 30%.

People also started going online to purchase makeup which according to beauty experts, puts pressure on legacy brands amidst an extremely saturated market online.

But there’s famously a vibe shift in the air, enter the “party girl” early 00s aesthetic over the “clean” look we’ve had for a while thanks to the internets’ obsession with skin-care routines.

Maybe this shift will take us back to bright, staple lips, either way only time will tell for the brand.