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Author Topic: Ugly Beauty:Helena Rubinstein,L'Oréal,and the Blemished History of Looking Good  (Read 1506 times)


  • Gold Member
  • Posts: 158
I haven't read this yet but thought it sounded interesting and that others here might be interested, too.

Ugly Beauty: Helena Rubinstein, L'Oréal, and the Blemished History of Looking Good
by Ruth Brandon

    The gripping story of Helena Rubinstein, EugÈne Schueller, and the dark side of the beauty business they helped to create

Helena Rubinstein and L'Oréal's Eugéne Schueller both started out in the beauty business during the first years of the twentieth century, and, by the time World War II broke out, had come to dominate it. However, their motivations could not have bemore different. Rubinstein, a Polish Jew, claimed the world of paid work for women, and working women's enthusiasm for her products made her the first self-made female millionaire. Schueller, a French conservative in the Henry Ford mold, thought women belonged in the home, and during the Nazi Occupation he used his company as a source of cash to buy economic and political influence.

Schueller eventually won the long fight for supremacy: in 1988 his company swallowed Rubinstein's. But the victory cost him his reputation when, in the wake of the takeover, he was exposed as a Nazi collaborator. Deepening the scandal, his wartime activities were shown to have been abetted and condoned by a cadre of young men who, by the time the news broke, had scaled the peaks of wealth and power in postwar France.

By then Schueller and Rubinstein were both long dead. But cultural historian and biographer Ruth Brandon argues that the battle they began continues to this day. She examines their conflict to ask important contemporary questions about beauty standards and the often murky intersection of individual political aims and the role of business. Filled with remarkable twists, turns, and larger-than-life characters, Ugly Beauty is a riveting true story about what lies beneath the flawless exterior of the cosmetics industry.


  • Guest
It sounds fascinating, right up my alley, but dare I say that it almost sounds like it has too many plots? It would be interesting to see how the author weaves them all together.


  • Ageless Beauty
  • Posts: 2079
  • letting myself go ..... forward
I had no idea there were Nazi's hiding behind makeup!   :lol:

Catchy title, it could be a very interesting read.
  • Complexion: Fair, neutral
  • Eyes: dark blue
  • Hair: med. ash blond, gray highlights
There is nothing wrong with you. Not one single thing. Any fault lies with the fashion/cosmetic/marketing industry that has trained you with false proof to believe that you’re not perfect.


  • Guest
Oh, yes. Well, Coco Chanel, too, had a bit of a murky side, and could not operate her shops in Paris due to her romantic involvement with a German Officer during the war. The French did not take kindly to it at all. She eventually returned to Paris, but not without several years' absence, which the French did not forget about, and to which some French citizens never acclimated themselves to.