Arcancil is a legendary makeup brand, specializing in eye contour makeup. It happens that I modestly accompanied this brand for a while. Quick return on this adventure.
Founded in 1935, Arcancil results from a partnership between a chemist and a hair dyer, the Havlick brothers. Based on their hair dying skills, the name ARCANCIL was an obvious reference to the large choice offered by the rainbow colours. Initially settled Rue des Petites Écuries in Paris, the brand was soon successful thanks to its first creations, in particular mascaras and eyeliners. Arcancil’s flagship product was a mascara from which the brand’s name was derived.
Here is what the ad read in the 1930s.
@BnF Le Petit Parisien 15/12/1937
It was even added: “it activates lash growth. Thanks to turtle oil, which nourishes hair bulbs and enhances lash growth, lashes are strengthened and gain several millimetres.” The mascaras claimed to boost lash growth in the 2000s had better watch out. Available in several shades, including a colourless version “for women who want to get longer, strengthened, curled lashes without wearing makeup”, the product largely contributed to the brand’s fame.
Right from the beginning, Arcancil relied on a specific structure set up accordingly: Laboratoires VALDOR. This laboratory supported two brands which developed at the same pace: Arcancil and Guitare, for lipsticks.
Then, Arcancil kept growing in the makeup world.
Once associated with the SCHOLL brand, Laboratoires Valdor was purchased by Patrick CROUAN in the 1990s. The new organization boosted the brand’s development. There was a detour on the skincare segment in 1999: Arcancil launched a skincare range of eight products on the Monoprix Prisunic network. The skin-brightening products contained AHA, essential flower waxes, and algae derivatives. Then, the business was focused on makeup again.
Purchased in 2005 by Athéna Beauté, thanks to a group of investors headed by Loïc Collet, who had previously worked for Bourjois, the brand soon experienced more and more difficulties, resulting in Laboratoires Valdor’s liquidation in 2006. The company had been based in various successive centres in Puteaux, St-Prix, Sarcelles, and lastly, Argenteuil, around Paris.
The brand was purchased again by two investors: Anne Delleur, who had studied at the ESSEC School before working for LVMH and L’Oréal, and Romain Solal (ESCP School). They created the Caméane Institute, and the new team focused on the brand’s rebirth by reviewing all products, including the famous mascara.
In 2007, Arcancil successfully launched Khôl Kajal, a khol in the form of a stick presented in a black case. The product became Arcancil’s new iconic product.
In 2012, Anne Delleur, President of the Caméane Institute, took over the brand alone, partnering with a subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts and Oseo.
Here is the story of Arcancil’s rebirth. Later, a partnership with Galeries Lafayette helped the brand get back in the spotlight. More recently, in 2019, Arcancil developed a range of organic cosmetics.
Long live Arcancil.
Jean Claude LE JOLIFF
Thanks to Véronique Chabal Emery, who worked for a long time on behalf of Laboratoires Valdor, for her advice and the information she gave me.