Sunday, June 15, 2014

Review: Helena Rubinstein: The Woman who Invented Beauty by Michèle Fitoussi

Title: Helena Rubinstein: The Woman who Invented Beauty
Author: Michèle Fitoussi
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Gallic Books
Publish Date: 2012
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "Long before SKII, La Prairie, or the coveted Crème de la Mer, there was Helena Rubinstein. Your mother or grandmother probably used Helena Rubinstein creams or cosmetics once upon a time. But not that many people know about Helena′s Australian connections. She was little known and has been virtually forgotten, but her extraordinary life spanned nearly a century (she died in 1965 at the age of ninety-three) and three continents. She was banished by her family to Australia at age 24 for refusing to accept an arranged marriage and as a result, became a pioneer who reinvented beauty for modern times. Napoleon Perdis says that he is inspired by Helena. She really was a Polish modern day Scarlett O′Hara! This is the extraordinary story of the woman who created a cosmetic empire and gave it her name, of an entrepreneur who started with nothing except a belief in the strength of women"

My Two Cents:

Before reading this book, I had never heard of Helena Rubinstein. After reading this book, it's kind of crazy  that she isn't more well known today. Rubinstein was one of the first women skincare and make-up entrepreneurs. In her heyday, she was so famous that she even made it into Dali's surrealist artworks. She was also the first person to really use science in all of her skincare products. Not only that but she was incredibly driven and wasn't afraid to travel all over the world in order to make and sell her products. By the time she was old, she had a pretty hefty empire. Whether you know of her now or not, this is a great story of a very driven woman. 

One of the things that I most appreciated about this book was just how driven Helena was. Being born in the late 1800s, entrepreneurship was still very much a man's game but she knew that if she put her mind to it, she could go far. Confidence is an amazing power as this book shows. Helena grew up in a poor, large family in Poland where she just wanted to get out of there. Her travels took her to various places like Australia and Europe where she tried to sell her wares.  She started out with barely anything and there were so many points along the way where she could have given up if she had wanted to but she kept going. She is a great lesson in tackling things head on. Her story was really inspiring from that standpoint. 

The book was well written. Even though this is non-fiction, it often read like fiction, especially when it was talking about Helena's travels. It was translated from French and I thought that the translation was very good and not choppy at all. Being a make-up and skincare junkie, I definitely think this book will appeal to all of my fellow make-up and skincare junkies too!

1 comment:

  1. I had heard of her but really don't know anything about her life and her work. This must be a fascinating read.


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