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5 Iconic Cosmetics

Oil of Olay

Many women feel naked if they leave their homes without moisturizer on their faces, but that doesn't mean they want moisturizer to be visible -- it should be as natural as possible. That's the conclusion that Graham Wulff came to while listening to his wife, Dinah. Wulff, who worked as a chemist in South Africa, saw his wife apply thick, greasy facial creams. After learning about the properties of lanolin in one of his work laboratories, he figured there had to be a better product for women. Using Dinah as both muse and guinea pig, Wulff set about creating a formula that would emulate the feel of a young woman's skin. Rather than creating another sticky cream, Wulff developed what he called "beauty fluid," a concoction that was similar to the skin's own sebum [source: Olay]. The product, Oil of Olay, was introduced in South Africa in 1953 to immediate success; Wulff went worldwide in 1959. Though the product was known by a variety of names, including Olaz, Ulan, Oil of Ulay and Oil of Olay, the product was the same everywhere. The name was standardized to "Olay" in 2000, one year after Graham Wulff was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the best-selling skin care product in the world [source: Mngoma].