Helena Rubinstein was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1872, the eldest of eight children. He emigrated to Australia in 1902 without money, but locals so admired his complexion that they were eager to buy his face cream, hoping to emulate it.
Rubinstein had an abundant supply of lanolin in Australia, a key ingredient in its cold cream. To mask her smell, she used pine bark, lavender and water lilies. In Melbourne, he found financial backing for his product, Cr me Valaze. Due to its enormous popularity, it could hardly produce enough to meet demand.
He opened a salon in a trendy area of Melbourne, where he used science and glamour as outlets. His sister took over the Melbourne operation as Rubinstein's cosmetics company grew. Rubinstein opened another salon in Sydney, as well as in London, five years after that. He married in 1908 and moved to Paris, opening a salon in 1912. In 1915, while living in New York, he opened his first American salon.
Rubinstein sold his profitable company in 1928 for $7.3 million, but then, during the Depression, bought the shares for less than $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 at its base. The first, Heaven Scent, was released in 1941.