Helena Rubinstein

cosmetics executive
Born: 12/25/1870
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland

Trained in medicine in Kraków, she immigrated to Australia in her 20s and opened a beauty salon in 1902 featuring her own face cream. The cream was an immediate success, and she returned to Europe to study with the leading dermatologists to further refine it. She opened salons in London (1908) and Paris (1912) before taking the business to the U.S. when World War I began. Her dual approach emphasized scientifically formulated products distributed to clients who were instructed in their proper use. The formula worked, leading to the introduction of medicated skin care products, spa treatments, and waterproof mascara, but by 1917 the focus of the business had turned to distribution. She devoted her personal fortune to philanthropy, favoring museums, colleges, and institutions for the poor, particularly women and children.

Died: 4/1/1965