Happy-Go-Lucky Book Review. “Helena Rubinstein. The Woman who Invented Beauty.” by Michele Fitoussi.

by Cashmere Wrap & Macadamia Nuts


Helena Rubinstein grow up in the family of polish Jews settled in Krakow as eldest of eight daughters. Her path from poor polish neighborhood to being one of the richest and most influential women, the “empress of beauty” as Jean Cocteau nicknamed her, is a captivating story of never ending endurance, strong will and hard work.

It all started when headstrong and stubborn young woman decided to emigrate to Australia, in pursuit of happiness and with a hope of changing her life. Helena wanted to escape her traditional world, where a woman was expected to get married, be obedient to her husband and have many children. This life was never an option for this courageous and independent woman, as she wanted so much more. Few jars of a miraculous face cream received from her mother as parting gift became her gold ticket, but many years had to pass before Helena built an empire, starting from nothing but her hard work and bold ideas.

We follow Helena Rubinstein through continents, new establishments, faces and places that filled her long and amazing life. There is a lot of heartache and happiness, drama and success. Despite being rich and famous, she always craved for more and never stopped to seek for improvements, trying to excel in all undertakings. In her lifetime, Helena Rubinstein met many artists, designers, architects and socialites, naming Christian Dior, Gabrielle Chanel, Misia Sert, Pablo Picasso or Paul Poiret among others.

This biography is more than just a record of a fascinating life story, it is also a portrait of a century, describing its ups and downs, conflicts and inventions, fashions and art, lifestyles and societies, but most of all, it is a written history of beauty industry, presenting many facts, that most readers were not familiar with. Who would tell that first face lifting was performed in 1901 in Berlin, that slimming body creams were introduced in 1923 or that first tanning cream was available as early as in 1936? Helena Rubinstein had an amazing intuition and could read her customers requests, believing that beauty industry is founded on more than  just a simple sale, convinced that it works with dreams and fantasies, selling a promise of a better life, making women feel special, if only for a moment.

(Photo: www.tanum.no)