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The Identity Of Beauty Legend Sally Hansen Was Just Discovered And Her Story Is Fascinating

The original #GIRLBOSS.

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If you've ever stepped foot inside a drugstore or supermarket, chances are that you've walked past (if not purchased) a beauty product by the legendary cosmetics brand, Sally Hansen.

Sally Hansen

The company, which is most known for its strengthening nail treatment, has been a household name in the industry for decades.

But despite its popularity, one question has always remained: Who IS Sally Hansen? Was she even a real person?!

According to Sally Hansen parent company, Coty Inc., "Who is Sally Hansen?" was among the most searched inquiries on the internet in 2016. Some believed that she was a myth and that her namesake brand was based on a fictional woman!
Pogrebkov / Getty Images

According to Sally Hansen parent company, Coty Inc., "Who is Sally Hansen?" was among the most searched inquiries on the internet in 2016. Some believed that she was a myth and that her namesake brand was based on a fictional woman!

Well, I'm here to tell you that she was totally real, totally beautiful, and A TOTAL BADASS.

Coty Inc.

And BuzzFeed has the first EXCLUSIVE images of the iconic entrepreneur!

Through buried photos, marriage certificates, and digging through 49,120 (!!!) women by the name of "Sally Hansen," a team of journalists not only confirmed her existence, but also discovered a fearless, progressive woman whose views were far ahead of her time. An OG #GIRLBOSS, if you will.

Current Vice President of Global Marketing at Sally Hansen, Jeremy Lowenstein, told BuzzFeed that he felt compelled to research Sally and learn more about her life.

I took the helm of the brand [Sally Hansen] about three and a half years ago and I was always surprised that no one ever really knew the founder's story. And I sort of set out on this quest to say, "Who was Sally Hansen?" We had people from PR to marketing who had known the brand for 30-plus years and couldn't actually tell me if there was truly a person behind it. Even though women around the world believed in their hearts that Sally Hansen was a woman, and I believed it as well, I wanted to find out for myself.

Here are 8 fascinating facts we learned about the inspiring CEO:

Coty Inc.

1. Sally Hansen, née Finney, got her start in the beauty industry by working at La Finné cosmetics, her family's store, ultimately transforming it into an empire.

Coty Inc.

In 1935, she acquired La Finné and converted it into House of Hollywood, a parent company of brands and products spanning multiple categories, including cosmetics, hair care, and fragrances.

Coty Inc.

And in 1941, just as the US entered WWII, Hansen orchestrated a stunning corporate turnaround by taking HOH national and becoming president.

By 1945, Sally was living in New York City, where she moved to expand her business and set up Sally Hansen, Inc.
Coty Inc.

By 1945, Sally was living in New York City, where she moved to expand her business and set up Sally Hansen, Inc.

2. She was extremely progressive for her era, as choosing entrepreneurship over family was practically unheard of for a woman.

As Coty Inc. states, "In a time when most women ran households, not companies, Sally dared to embark on a dream and create an empire using her frank voice and vivid vision."
Coty Inc.

As Coty Inc. states, "In a time when most women ran households, not companies, Sally dared to embark on a dream and create an empire using her frank voice and vivid vision."

3. In addition to her beauty business, Hansen served as the very first female chair of the California Cosmetics Association, as well as a beauty columnist, penning over 90 articles entitled “Your Candid Mirror” in the Los Angeles Times.

Her columns were about beauty and personal care, including topics from manicures and pedicures, to lipstick and hair care and even posture.
Los Angeles Times / Via Coty Inc.

Her columns were about beauty and personal care, including topics from manicures and pedicures, to lipstick and hair care and even posture.

Here's an actual piece of her writing from 1934!

Los Angeles Times / Via Coty Inc.

4. In 1957, Hansen trademarked the game-changing “Hard As Nails” — the original strengthening treatment that is still one of the brand's best-selling products today.

This was the first product to bear Sally’s name, for which iconic logo was designed by her third husband, Jack Newton, a graphic designer.
Coty Inc.

This was the first product to bear Sally’s name, for which iconic logo was designed by her third husband, Jack Newton, a graphic designer.

5. Sally was married three times but never had any children of her own, making finding information about her only that much more difficult.

Coty Inc.

"If you Google 'Who is Sally Hansen?' no information comes up," Lowenstein said. "In terms of trying to find her, it was truly difficult because she had no children. Scraps of information led us to some of her step-children in California to help. Truthfully, they didn't even realize that they were related to Sally Hansen. They knew Sally Hansen, obviously, from growing up. But they didn't actually make the connection that Sally Hansen, the woman that they knew, was Sally Hansen the brand that they see everyday."

6. She was quite the social butterfly.

Coty Inc.

A fixture in the Hollywood social scene, Hansen and her trend-setting second-husband, Adolf Hansen, were known to host parties with Hollywood's elite at their glamorous Spanish–style villa.

7. And was both witty and playful, finding the beauty industry to be entertaining AF.

"I have just been reading advertisements," she once told an interviewer. "Beauty advertisements about powders, creams, reducing apparatus, eyebrow tweezers, and nail polishes. What a wealth of American wit, brains, and entertainment they provide. I would love to write one and head it Can You Nail Your Man? or Polish Tips on the Marriage Market."
Coty Inc.

"I have just been reading advertisements," she once told an interviewer. "Beauty advertisements about powders, creams, reducing apparatus, eyebrow tweezers, and nail polishes. What a wealth of American wit, brains, and entertainment they provide. I would love to write one and head it Can You Nail Your Man? or Polish Tips on the Marriage Market."

8. And while Hansen may have been one of the first women to create one of the largest beauty empires over eight decades ago...

Coty Inc.

...her legacy had nearly been forgotten. When journalists finally located her burial place, they both literally and figuratively dug her out of history.

"The journey was extremely emotional and very passion-filled, and I didn't know what we were going to find when we went through this," Lowenstein added. "For me, being able to find her was truly remarkable and being able to bring her story to life was just a constant inspiration for how I look at the brand."
Coty Inc.

"The journey was extremely emotional and very passion-filled, and I didn't know what we were going to find when we went through this," Lowenstein added. "For me, being able to find her was truly remarkable and being able to bring her story to life was just a constant inspiration for how I look at the brand."

BRB, GONNA GO TO START AN EMPIRE.

Beyoncé / YouTube / Via youtube.com
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