54. Helena Rubinstein

100 Women of Influence

Helena Rubinstein was eldest of eight daughters born to Polish Jews on December 25, 1872. When young Helena emigrated to Australia from Poland in 1896, the stylish European found a ready market for the jars of beauty creams she had brought with her. Spotting an opportunity with the ‘reddish, rough’ complexions of local women, she started to manufacture her own products and eventually found an investor who funded the beginnings of her cosmetics company.

Helena’s first salon in Melbourne ‘diagnosed’ customer’s skin types and then ‘prescribed’ specific treatments from her range, a method that proved very popular with her clientele. She soon expanded to Sydney and within five years, was able to open in London as well.
Rubinstein thus formed one of the first cosmetics companies in the world and it went on to become a hugely successful empire.

Rubinstein parlayed her wealth and success in later life into support for many charitable causes, with donations to institutions of education, art and health. She was very concerned with the welfare of Israel and was extremely generous to the State. The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion of Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv houses her collection of miniature rooms, whilst The Helena Rubinstein Foundation provides funding to Israeli organisations for health, medical research and rehabilitation, and awards scholarships to deserving Israeli’s.

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