The Legendary Helena Rubenstein

During the late 1800’s, women became “visually aware” and Cosmetic industries grew exponentially and many names would become known worldwide. It is therefore appropriate that the background of the famous Helena Rubenstein, born in 1870 on Christmas day will be the focus of this week’s article. Polish in origin, she took many tips from her mother who produced face creams that were sold to her colleagues.

Helena was one of eight children, but it was she who “caught the eye of her father”  for encouragement to study medical sciences at university.

Disagreeing with an arranged marriage, she immigrated to Australia.

With little money and poor English, the local ladies soon admired her for her stylish clothes and milky complexion.  She started selling jars of cream from her luggage, the main component being lanolin; an oily substance derived from sheep. Due to the unpleasant odour of fresh lanolin, she experimented with lavender and extracts of pine bark.

She progressed to Melbourne, and in no time from her salon was diagnosing women’s skins and selling products from her many prescriptions!

Sydney was next, and within 5 years she opened a salon in London and became known to ladies of society, her wealth increased enormously.  Her travels were not to subside ` as in 1915 her next venture was  New York. Here began her vicious rivalry with Elizabeth Arden, but her name and products survived through many years.

She died on the 1st of April 1965 of natural causes and eventually the business was sold to L’Oréal in 1988, but her products survived as in 2021 a new venture with her name was born in South Korea.

Helena Rubenstein had a well-known saying  “there are no ugly women, only lazy ones”.

In conclusion, the writer can proudly say that as a young woman in her twenties she was employed as a beauty consultant with Helena Rubenstein, and very bizarre that the counter beside her sold Elizabeth Arden!  However, a fine beginning to expand her knowledge in the beauty industry.