Helena Rubinstein Cosmetics was found in 1903 by the renowned businesswoman and philanthropist Helena Rubinstein. Owing to her unparalleled determination, the brand is recognized in more than 105 countries worldwide and produces a full range of cosmetics and makeup products.
The company is currently owned by the French personal care company L’Oreal. It was founded in Melbourne, Australia, and started as a small salon featuring homemade beauty products. The brand also manages the Helena Rubinstein Foundation that funds multiple philanthropic causes, including medical research, healthcare, and the American-Israel Cultural Foundation.
Helena Rubinstein, the founder of the eponymous brand, was born as Chaja Rubinstein in a modest family in Krakow, Poland. Nothing in her earlier life indicated that she would be the successful entrepreneur that she turned out to be. Throughout her professional life, she strived to make the best use of cosmetics and treated beauty as a reflection of intelligence, self-discipline, and power.
In 1872, she was born into a family of eight daughters, of whom she was the eldest. Her parents had planned to marry her to a wealthy 35-year-old widower but failed to do so, given Helena’s objections. Her mother used to prepare her own beauty creams and taught her daughters to do the same. Thus, from an early age, Helena had bee motivated to take a unique and broad-minded towards makeup.
Business in Australia
In 1896, the spirited young Helena Rubinstein shipped off to Australia after reportedly having an argument with her parents regarding her marriage. Living with her uncle, she knew very little English and had almost no money. Luckily, before her departure, her mother had packed twelve bottles of homemade beauty creams prepared from a combination of herbs, Carpathian fir tree extract, and almonds.
The creams soon became a hit among the locals and saw an increase in demand. So, at Helena’s request, her mother sent her more. Helena soon realized her potential in marketing and decided to opt for a career in makeup.
Her beautiful complexion and feisty character soon led to her becoming a trusted advisor who was commonly sought out by people in need of beauty tips and advice. As she started creating her own formulas, she had to go through months of trial and error until she finally captured the perfect composition.
By 1902, she was also working as a waitress in Melbourne. During her job, she gained an admirer and a funder for her first shop in the Australian city: the Valaze House of Beauty. The salon sold the signature line Valaze, “a cream to improve the worst skin in one month.” With the start of her business, she had also adapted the business name “Helena,” which is how most of the world remembers her today.
Founding Helena Rubinstein & Co.
By the next year, Helena had enough experience and contacts, and borrowing a considerable amount of money, she launched Helena Rubinstein & Co in Melbourne, Australia. In 1906, Helena opened another salon in Sydney. By this time, her business had grown enough that Helena Rubinstein products were available in places as far away as New Zealand.
Taking her next big step, Helena introduced her brand in London in 1908 and, by doing so, became one of the earliest luxury cosmetics brands in history. The business expanded exponentially, with new stores being launched almost every year. The brand had now included more than 30 skincare products in its range.
As the brand moved to New York in 1916, it saw a serious competition as well as a great business opportunity. Perhaps Helena’s biggest opponent was the famous beauty entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden. Both the women were incredibly successful and influential personalities in the first half of the 20th century.
Arden and Helena had vast experiences in aesthetics and makeup and were the leading pioneers of cosmetics in their time. Helena once famously stated that with Arden’s packaging skills and her products, the duo could have ruled the world.
In 1928, Helena sold her famous company to the global financial firm Lehman Brothers for a sum that would amount to approximately $90 million today, making her some of the richest women of her time. She would later purchase the brand back in the 1930s and turn it into a multimillion-dollar project. As the decades went by, Helena Rubinstein introduced dozens of new lines and innovative products.
The brand was focused in the US initially and, in the ’60s, had invested millions of dollars in TV advertising. By the time of Helena’s death in 1968, however, it had earned a global fanbase, which led to the French beauty company L’Oreal purchasing it in 1988.
Helena Rubinstein partners with some of the leading dermatologists and scientists, such as the founder of LaClinicMontreux Dr. Pfulg, Dr. Takako from Mastaskura Clinic, and Dr. Jean Marc from the famous French research institute INSERM. The team works together to improve skincare with innovative products that are designed to combine sensory pleasure and effectiveness.
Helena Rubinstein is also working on one of the latest skincare technologies in modern science called cell reprogramming. The research, as well as the brand’s symbolic cellular skin science that makes use of the incredible regenerative power of vegetal cells, biotech ingredients, and aesthetic interventions, holds a revolutionary potential in skincare science.
What It Sells
Below are some Helena Rubinstein product recommendations.
Experience the next level of skin reinforcement with Helena Rubinstein’s PowercellSkinmunity Serum. Its vegetal stem cell technology reinvigorates the skin, and its Defense Complex provides an optimized and balanced outer skin defense. For sallow skins, the formula boosts tonicity and fixes dull complexion.
The milky, pleasant texture refreshes the skin and leaves it softened as it is rapidly absorbed. The serum effectively gets rid of wrinkles and is safe and suitable for all skin types. For use, apply it daily in the morning and evening on your face and neck. Apply double layers for the best effect.
Powercell Night Rescue by Helena Rubinstein revitalizes the skin over a series of peaceful nights. During the night, the formula comes into action to activate skin-rejuvenating mechanisms that restore any damage caused throughout the day and profusely rebuilds the skin’s hydrolipidic film. With the skin’s microcirculation at its best, the formula opens the way for cosmetic ingredients to be easily absorbed.
The formula substantially limits the rate of cutaneous aging, reinforces skin barriers, and stimulates the skin’s natural revitalization process. By the morning, your skin will feel refreshed, replenished, and toned. Prepared for the tension of the upcoming day, it will have become younger, smoother, and stronger.
Get volumized eyelashes with Helena Rubinstein’s Lash Queen Feline Mascara. The mascara adds a new dimension to the eyes and gives them the sophisticated looks so craved by beauty enthusiasts. The formula intensifies the eyes and gives them depth and texture. The brush offers remarkable precision to tame your lashes with ease.
Its meticulously spaced bristles ensure that each lash is separated and that the mascara is evenly distributed to define your lashes powerfully. A single brushstroke proves enough to volumize your lashes adequately. Start applying from the root of your lashes and smoothly slide to the tips.
Enjoy fresh skin with Nudit Anti-Perspirant Roll-On Deodorant by Helena Rubinstein. Besides skillfully concealing every trace of unpleasant bodily odors, the deodorant is infused with a delicate and sensual fragrance of woody notes and citrus floral accord. The formula delivers a gentle, wet feeling upon impact.
The product features a solution of an antiperspirant agent mixed in an alcohol-free formula to prevent sweating and provide relaxation for even the most sensitive skin. The top notes consist of orange and bergamot, followed by floral, tea-based notes, and the scent concludes with sandalwood and musk base notes. The deodorant stays active for 48 hours.
Cleanse your skin of all impurities with Pure Ritual Intense Comfort Cleanser by Helena Rubinstein. The formula is uniquely equipped to deal with all the stubborn makeup layers and gets its task done in just one minute. Cleaning the skin of dead cells, dirt, oil, and pollutants, it takes care of dull complexion and uneven tones.
The subtly scented formula promotes a milky, fresh skin texture and ensures moisturization and healthy skin. It is meant for all skin types. Apply on the face and eyes using steady, circular movements and use a pad to remove. Use regularly to get a youthful look.
Targeting the collagen degradation, Collagenist Re-Plump Cream by Helena Rubinstein reinforces the skin’s natural fullness and bounce. Get rid of loose skin and get back that springy effect with a daily morning application. The formula protects your collagen fibers to perfect the skin’s density and resilience.
The texture is delightfully comforting, feels soft to the skin, and provides instant moisturization. The product is available for both dry skin and normal to combination skin types.
Get a sculpted, illuminated complexion with Helena Rubinstein’s Wanted Blush. The product comes in three magnificent colors; Glowing Peach, Sculpting Woodrose, and Glowing Sand. The blush provides a graceful silky finish and gives your face a healthy glow and natural complexion.
The formula lasts for an extended amount of time with a velvety soft texture that grants an even skin tone. Apply using light pressure and allow the contours of your natural smile to guide your movements.
Helena Rubinstein is one of the earliest luxury cosmetics brands. Making its way from a small salon to a multi-national successful business, its history speaks of the power of audacity and aesthetics combined with a brilliant, avant-grade vision.