In 1909–1956 the first steps, constructing a model, Eugène Paul Louis Schueller, a young French chemist of German descent, developed a hair dye formula called Oréale. Schueller formulated and manufactured his own products, which he then decided to sell to Parisian hairdressers. On 31 July 1919, Schueller registered his company, the Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux (Safe Hair Dye Company of France). The guiding principles of the company, which eventually became L'Oréal, were research and innovation in the field of beauty. In 1920, the company employed three chemists. By 1950, the team was 100 strong; by 1984 was 1,000 and is nearly 82,000 today.
Schueller provided financial support and held meetings for La Cagoule at L'Oréal headquarters. La Cagoule was a violent French fascist-leaning 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 Germans. L'Oréal hired several members of the group as executives after World War II, such as Jacques Corrèze, who served as CEO of the United States operation. This involvement was extensively researched by Israeli historian Michael Bar-Zohar in his book, Bitter Scent.
L'Oréal got its start in the hair-color business, but the company soon branched out into other cleansing and beauty products. L'Oréal currently markets over 500 brands and thousands of individual products in all sectors of the beauty business: hair color, permanents, hair styling, body and skincare, cleansers, makeup, and fragrance. The company's products are found in a wide variety of distribution channels, from hair salons and perfumeries to hyper - and supermarkets, health/beauty outlets, pharmacies and direct mail.
According to wikipedia