Helena Rubinstein was born in Krak—w, Poland, in 1872, the oldest of eight children. She emigrated to Australia in 1902 with no money, yet locals admired her complexion so much that they were anxious to purchase her face cream, hoping to emulate her.
Rubinstein had a plentiful supply of lanolin in Australia, a key ingredient in her cold cream. In order to mask its odor, she used pine bark, lavender and water lilies. In Melbourne, she found financial backing for her product, Crme Valaze. Due to its wildly popular, she could barely produce enough to keep up with demand.
She opened a salon in a fashionable area of Melbourne, where she used science and glamour as selling points. Her sister took charge of the Melbourne operation as Rubinstein's cosmetics company grew. Rubinstein opened another salon in Sydney, as well as in London five years after that. She married in 1908 and moved to Paris, opening a salon in 1912. In 1915, while living in New York, she opened her first American salon.
Rubinstein sold her profitable company in 1928 for $7.3 million, but then, during the Depression, she bought the stock back for less that $1 million. She continued to grow her business, opening salons in 12 cities. She was noted for her philanthropic work.
As of 2014, the Helena Rubinstein brand has seven fragrances made in collaboration with perfumers Carlos Benaim and Dominique Ropion in its base. The first, Heaven Scent, was released in 1941.