The Beauty Report

Helena Rubinstein and celebrity marketing

At the turn of the 20th century, Helena Rubinstein was quick to grasp the potential of brand publicity via celebrities. Nellie Stewart, one of the most famous Australian stars at the time, agreed to represent the very first product sold by Helena Rubinstein. In her words, “[Valaze] is the most marvellous blend I have ever used”.

From 1920, Helena Rubinstein was famous all across America. Her products were purchased by thousands, and women went crazy for the oriental kohl eye crayon that Madame had made popular again. To expand her makeup collection, the pioneer took inspiration from theater actresses, but she quickly realized that they weren’t the only stars the public admired.

By that time, Americans were obsessed by the stars of silent movies. Fashion writers would interview the actresses, not just about their style, but also their beauty routines. The famous actresses Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson and Lilian Gish helped increase the popularity of makeup among the middle classes, which had previously been reserved for the elite. The actresses’ influence was so great that Helena Rubinstein approached them one by one to promote her brand. But celebrity influence didn’t stop there…

The American sex symbol Theda Bara was one of the stars who would greatly influence Madame’s creations. She believed that her eyes weren’t shown off to their best, so she approached Madame to outline them. Madame went even further: she created the Vamp line in honor of the vampire role Bara played in “The Fool was there”. Madame’s innovation would lead the term “vamp” to be used in everyday speech. The goal was achieved: all the newspapers wrote about it, and clients fell over themselves to imitate Theda Bara’s makeup.

From the end of the 1930s, Madame put her brand on center stage, multiplying the sales of her products. From Nellie Stewart to Demi Moore, each woman successfully embodied the brand. Women from around the world were captivated…

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