Born Chaja Rubinstein, Rubinstein emigrated from Poland to Australia in 1902 and founded her Helena Rubinstein empire in Melbourne, opening her first salon in Collins Street, selling glamour as a science to clients whose skin was "diagnosed"and a suitable treatment "prescribed".
Helena Rubinstein (December 25, 1872 - April 1, 1965) was a cosmetics entrepreneur and the founder of Helena Rubinstein Incorporated cosmetics company, which made her one of the world's richest women.
In 1908, her sister Ceska assumed the Melbourne shop's operation, when Rubinstein moved to London to become an international enterprise.
At the outbreak of World War I, she moved to New York where she opened the first of many cosmetics salons in the USA.
Called "Madame"by her employees, she eschewed idle chatter, continued to be active in the corporation throughout her life, even from her sick bed, and staffed the company with her relatives.
In 1973, the company Helena Rubinstein, Inc. was sold to Colgate Palmolive, and is now owned by L'Oréal.
The brand's history
Helena Rubinstein always strived to make the most of women's beauty. She considered beauty a means to power and seduction, reflecting intelligence and education, and it was to direct all she did. She devoted her life to it, building a veritable empire around beauty. Let's take a closer look at this exceptional woman.
Helena was born in Krakow's Jewish Ghetto in 1872 and nothing in her early life suggested she was destined to become such a powerful woman. As the eldest in a family with eight daughters, she would have been married off to a rich old widower if her parents had had their way. But Helena had other plans, and at 22 her free-spirited nature drew her away from the family home and over to Australia.
Her mother worried she wouldn't have enough face cream, so she slipped a dozen little pots of it into her departing daughter's luggage. In Australia, Helena's alabaster complexion and feisty personality instantly appealed to the women and they began asking her for beauty tips. She was a salesgirl in her uncle's grocery shop when she realised her secret knowledge could be a ticket to greater things - maybe even a whole different life.
Her plan was to recreate the formula of her face cream and teach these women the rules of beauty.
Helena doggedly pursued her goal through trial and error, eventually finding the right formula, and began to dispense her first beauty tips: protecting skin from sun and wind, moisturising skin and getting enough restorative sleep.
Word spread about her skincare treatments and in 1902 she was able to open her first salon, the Valaze House of Beauty.
Interestingly in 2018, the company disregards her roots by including Australia as "Other Country".
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