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Merle Norman Cosmetics celebrates 90 years

Press release submitted to The Crossroads Chronicle on behalf of the local Merle Norman and its owner, Lisa Dailey

Merle Norman Cosmetics is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The brand has been established here since the early 1970s when Fayette Chance owned the first store on North Green Street on the square.

Susan and Tyson Stephens purchased the local Merle Norman in 2004. It was managed by Lisa Dailey, who received her certification in Los Angeles the same year. In 2008, the Stephenses were blessed with grandchildren, giving Dailey the opportunity to pruchase the store herself.

Dailey immediately moved the local Merle Norman to the Walmart shopping center, where it remained for 10 years. In 2018, she relocated to the establishment’s current location on South Circle Drive to better accommodate her customers and for more convenient parking.

Dailey has always been apart of the Merle Norman brand. Before becoming owner of the business in Swainsboro, she managed a Merle Norman in Thomson in the early 1990s. Dailey stated she began using Merle Norman products as a teenager and has always loved the line-up. She futher stated when she was younger, she tried using and selling other lines of makeup; however, she never liked the look or feel of the different brands and has always truly been a “Merle Girl.”

In 2017, she hired Caitlyn Brown, who has been with Dailey’s Merle Norman ever since. Brown is a Merle Norman certified beauty consultant. She stated, “Young girls think Merle Norman makeup is for older people, but that is not true. I’ve tried everything from Ulta to Walmart, and I’ve found that Merle Norman is by far the best.” The main thing she loves is the “try before you buy” aspect of Merle Norman, which is beneficial for young people who are trying to find what works best for them and their skin.

Dailey and Brown both stress that Merle Norman products have always been and continue to be made in the United States.

The history of Merle Norman

It’s a success story like no other. Back in 1931 Merle Nethercutt Norman began mixing ingredients in her “kitchen laboratory,” which resulted in the development of the three products that would become the basis for her eponymous cosmetic line and the cornerstone of what would ultimately become a beauty empire. Cleansing Cream, Miracol Revitalizing Cream and Powder Base Foundation were the first three products Norman developed, and they are so tried-and-true that they are still part of the best-selling “3 steps to Beauty” line-up available today.

Norman was a powerhouse. When she set out to realize her dream of creating a trusted brand, that was made in America, and offered women the opportunity to become business owners, she knew it had staying power. She would be very proud of how the business has evolved with the times, powered through the challenges, celebrated the victories, and provided more than just a pretty face. Norman was a mentor, is an icon, and will be celebrated for decades to come.


Norman set out to make lives beautiful. Her grit and determination to fulfill that desire helped guide her and the company through world wars, pandemics, generational shifts, and more. Offering women the highest quality products was imperative, but providing an opportunity for women to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs in their own right was the at the forefront of her goals. In 1931, Norman opened her first Studio in Santa Monica, California and by 1934, 94 independently-owned Merle Norman Studios were flourishing across America! Today, as the company celebrates its milestone 90th anniversary, there are more than 1,100 Merle Norman Cosmetics Studios across the U.S. and Canada. Proving that company philosophy and morals matter, some very special Merle Norman Cosmetics’ employees are celebrating 40 years with the brand.

Beauty is best shared

The way in which consumers sample beauty products is due—in large part—to Norman blazing the trail in 1961. She developed the first hygienic beauty sampling program with signature “Lip Bubbles,” which provided one-use lipsticks housed in an individual, disposable bubble to insure that the consumer loved the color on her lips before she purchased the full size product. This “try before you buy,” forward-thinking philosophy is still one of the best and most replicated programs in the beauty industry today and continues to evolve. For example, in direct response to COVID-19, Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios were the first in the beauty industry to deploy a stringent third-party verified Sanitation Conversation for all franchises to follow to maintain the health and safety of the employees and the customers.

Award-winning product expertise

In 1959, Merle Norman Cosmetics established itself as a household favorite by being bestowed with the illustrious Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. From the ‘50s to today, many of Merle Norman Cosmetics products have received beauty industry awards which cover both editor and reader’s choice including Perfecting Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 25, 24K Gold Firming Foundation Primer, Shadow Stick, and dozens more. The innovations are never-ending, thanks to a top-notch R&D team and a brand that listens to their consumers and follows the trends. Keep an eye out for a very exciting launch coming up that pairs the power of charcoal with the effectiveness of a scrub!

2015 to 2021 brought an array of innovation such as the Skintelligent System with probiotic technology, one of the first of its kind, Plush Lipsticks, Soft Focus Finishing Powder, and more. Wicked Lash Mascara was born in 2013 and immediately became a makeup artist, editorial, and customer favorite. The sky is the limit for the Merle Norman team, and they will continue to keep Norman’s drive and dream alive.

Today, Merle Norman remains family-owned, operated, and manufactured in their headquarters in Los Angeles. When a customer shops at a franchised studio, they are supporting the dreams of small business owners and they can expect the highest quality products and service—exactly how Norman envisioned it. Please help this company celebrate an extraordinary achievement in business and beauty: 90 magnificent years!

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