Hazel Bishop

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hazel Bishop
Hazel Bishop.jpg
Bishop applying lipstick, 1951
Born Hazel Gladys Bishop
August 17, 1906
Hoboken, New Jersey
Died December 5, 1998(1998-12-05) (aged 92)
Rye, New York
Nationality American
Education Barnard College (Graduated 1929)
Occupation Chemist
Employer Hazel Bishop, Inc.
Known for Lipstick
Parent(s) Henry and Mabel Bishop

Hazel Gladys Bishop (August 17, 1906 – December 5, 1998)[1] was an American chemist and the founder of the cosmetics company Hazel Bishop, Inc. She was the inventor of the first long-lasting lipstick.

Early life[edit]

She was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, one of two children of businessman Henry Bishop and his wife Mabel.[2] Her father ran a dozen successful enterprises that included numerous stores on Washington Street,[3] which was the main concourse of Hoboken. During one Thanksgiving, her father brought Santa Claus to town on an elephant to advertise his candy emporium. According to her, the family talk around the dinner table was always about business.[2] She attended Barnard College in New York, originally enrolling in pre-med, with intentions of becoming a physician. She would graduate in 1929 with a degree in pre-med, with plans on attending Columbia for her graduate medical studies. She would begin graduate classes that same fall, however, the stock market crash that occurred in October of that same year lead to Bishop's eventual halting of her academic career. In 1935, she began working as research assistant to A.B. Cannon in a dermatological laboratory at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.[4] They would later launch the Almay hypoallergenic cosmetics line.[4]


In 1942, she worked as an organic chemist for Standard Oil Development Company, designing fuels for airplanes during World War II. During her time there she discovered the cause of deposits affecting superchargers of aircraft engines.[2] In 1945, she joined the Socony Vacuum Oil Company until 1950.[5]

Lipstick invention[edit]

Bishop was inspired by Cannon, and begun conducting experiments on her own time with the idea of owning her own business. Two ideas she worked on in the 1930s that did not make it to market included a pimple concealer and mentholated tissues. Aiming to appeal to a wider market, Bishop began experimenting in her own small kitchen with staining dyes, oils, and molten wax.[6] The goal was a non-drying, smudge-proof, long-lasting lipstick that would not smear on clothing or cups.[7] The resultant mixture, formed into a mold, was called "No-Smear Lipstick".

In 1950, she acquired some capital and founded Hazel Bishop Inc. with Alfred Berg to manufacture these "No-Smear Lipsticks". The lipstick debuted at Barnard College Club of New York in 1949 and in stores in 1950. The brand was unveiled in the summer of 1950 at Lord & Taylor, where the lipstick tubes sold for $1 each.[2] The product proved to be a success, selling out on its first day of launch.[2][7] She then asked Raymond Spector, an advertiser, to help her market the lipstick to consumers[8], giving Spector shares in the company rather than a specified budget. In 1951, Bishop becoming the first woman to appear solo on the cover of Business Week.[9]

Bishop's innovative use of bromom acids would set in motion what would be known as the "lipstick wars".[10] with competitors such as Revlon making their own versions of Bishop's formula in an attempt to combat her impact on the cosmetics scene. The advent of the "no smear" lipstick would prove to be a success for Bishop, as her debut line would not only sell out on the first day, but end up taking over 25% of the American lipstick market.

Sales by Hazel Bishop Inc. of its lipstick increased from $49,527 in 1950 to $10,100,682 in 1953. She lost control of the company in 1954 in a proxy fight with majority stockholders, led by Spector.[7] The case was settled on February 17, 1954, with the company (of which Spector was chairman and holder of 92% of the stock) purchasing Bishop's 8% of company stock, with the stipulation that she refrain from selling products under her own name and that she make clear in future ventures that she was no longer associated with Hazel Bishop, Inc.[4]

Bishop continued to start businesses and founded a research laboratory, but it could not legally be named after her. She became a consultant to the National Association of Leather Glove Manufacturers and developed "Leather Lav," a leather glove cleaner. She also developed a foot care product, marketed by H.G.B. Products Corporation, and in 1957 created a solid perfume stick called Perfemme.

In 1962, she became a stockbroker and financial analyst, and was an expert regarding cosmetics stocks, first with Bache and Co. (1962-1968), for Hornblower & Weeks-Hemphill Noyes in 1967, and finally for Evans & Co. (1968-1981). She was a sought-after speaker at the annual technical meetings of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists in 1953, the Columbus Section of the American Chemical Society in 1956, the Fragrance Foundation in 1975, and American Society of Perfumers' Annual Symposium in 1986.

Changing careers again, she became a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in 1978.[7] She was appointed to the Revlon chair in cosmetics marketing in 1980. Bishop helped develop a curriculum whose focus included marketing and merchandising principles, advertising, promotion, and publicity campaign concepts, and product knowledge. She stopped teaching in 1986, though she remained involved with the Fashion Institute as a consultant.

Professional Involvement[edit]

Bishop was involved in a plethora of organizations, being recognized for her strides in science by the American Institute of Chemists, as well actively participating in the American Chemical Society and the Society of Women Engineers. Bishop would also have a number of scientific journals published, and would be known as a pioneer in both science and economics after her death.[8]


She died on December 5, 1998 in the Osborn Home in Rye, New York, at the age of 92.


  1. ^ Susan Ware, ed. (2004). "Bishop, Hazel Gladys". Notable American Women: Completing the Twentieth Century. Harvard University Press. pp. 62–63. 
  2. ^ a b c d e TANNEN, MARY (December 10, 1998). "Hazel Bishop, 92, an Innovator Who Made Lipstick Kissproof". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ a b Inventor of the Week: Archive
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica.
  6. ^ Kennedy, Pagan (2013). Who Made That Lipstick?. The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c d Hazel Bishop Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
  8. ^ a b "American National Biography Online: Bishop, Hazel". www.anb.org. Retrieved 2016-11-30. 
  9. ^ "Bishop, Hazel, 1906-1998. Papers of Hazel Bishop, ca.1890-1998: A Finding Aid". oasis.lib.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2016-10-27. 
  10. ^ "Cosmetics and Skin". 

External links[edit]