Rimmel once an independent British makeup company, is now a brand of Coty, Inc.. Rimmel started off as a perfume company before moving into cosmetics. In existence for over 150 years, Rimmel still distinguishes itself as "Rimmel London."
Monsieur Rimmel came from France to London in 1820 to manage a Bond Street perfumery. In 1834 he opened his own House of Rimmel, with his son Eugene Rimmel as his apprentice.
Within a decade Eugene Rimmel was both an expert perfumer and cosmetics designer. He developed hygiene products and the company gained royal warrants for its products.
After Rimmel's death in 1887 his sons carried on the business and developed new products, including mascara. Robert and Rose Caplin acquired the business after WWII and continued to grow it.
After being bought and sold by several owners, Coty Inc. acquired Rimmel in 1996. Coty was founded in 1904 by Corsican Francois Coty. Coty hired supermodel Kate Moss as its celebrity spokeswoman in 2001.
In 2005, Moss came under fire for photographs of her using drugs. While she lost many contracts as a result, Rimmel kept her on. In 2008, musician Sophie Ellis-Bextor took over from Moss as their spokesperson.
According to the Rimmel website, in some countries, "rimmel" is used generically to mean "mascara." Mascara was one of Rimmel's major products after World War II.