Helena Rubinstein was a Polish-American businesswoman and she was the world’s first self-made female millionaire. She emigrated from Poland to Australia in 1986 and launched her business of face creams. And in 1915, she opened a beauty salon at 715 Fifth Avenue in New York City.
She incorporated many other entertaining facilities in her salon including, gym, movie theatre, restaurant and library. Women coming to Rubinstein’s beauty salon could book in for individual treatments or a complete ‘Day of Beauty’.
The client’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) was calculated and her blood pressure, height, weight and other vital statistics were also taken down for future reference.
Dressed in a playsuit provided by the salon, the client could then engage in a series of exercises in the gymnasium equipped with a sprung floor, bars, gym mat, fitness bicycles, rowing machines and other sports equipment.
The particular callisthenic shown above slims the hips, contracts the abdominal and thigh muscles.
Other options a selection of baths – ‘pasteurized milk’, mineral salts or herbal – paraffin wax treatments, needle showers and body scrubs.
A beautician attends to her client at Helena Rubinstein's beauty salon.
The treatment involved the client lying on a massage table covered with an electric blanket under a cabinet warmed with an infra-red heater. This was said to increase circulation, facilitate skin elimination (i.e. increase sweating), relieve pain and relax tense muscles and ligaments.
Sun ray lamps are placed like indirect lighting around the tops of the walls. The rays are reflected back from the aluminum surface so that they are distributed with evenness over the entire body. The infra-red lamps directly above the bodies of these sun bathers heat the sand and envelope the body in a warm, penetrating glow.
Clients would put their head under this hood, press a switch held in the hand, and, in this device, your defects are magnified. An expert examines your skin at the same time.
Electricity is used in the electro-tonic treatment which is recommended for blurry facial contours or aging skin. The client's head is wrapped up as shown and the ‘juice' turned on, carefully regulated, of course. There is nothing to stop the client from taking a nap while undergoing this session.
In the hairdressing salon the client’s scalp was massaged with a Balsam Oil Steamer and then her hair was cut and set in the latest Paris style while her hands and feet were manicured. She was then ushered into a make-up cubicle where she was made up while receiving advice about the best Rubinstein powder, rouge, lipstick and eye make-up to use for her particular colouring.
She advises the clients on their home beauty care. She shows them movements which will keep their eyes young and fresh and unlined into an advanced age and a chin slapping movement which will guard their facial silhouettes against dropping.
A red head, a blonde, a brunette, and medium type, as still life in competition with wax models, in the window of Helena Rubinstein's beauty shop.