Charles of the Ritz (post-1936)


Continued from: Charles of the Ritz

In 1936, Charles of the Ritz was sold to Benjamin E. Levy and Richard B. Salomon. Levy remained involved with Charles of the Ritz until his death in 1952, by which time he was listed as chairman of the board. However, the day-to-day running of Charles of the Ritz was placed in the hands of Levy’s nephew Richard B. Salomon.

Benjamin E. Levy

Levy had been Coty’s sole agent in the United States from 1910 and was actively involved with, and had shares in Coty, Inc. Although he retired from Coty in 1940, he maintained an office in New York at room 2E in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and his industry contacts and experience in developing new products must have been invaluable.

See also: Coty

Richard B. Salomon

Richard Salomon was born in Manhattan in 1912. Salomon’s father was Belgian and the family spoke French at home. In 1932, Richard graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Philosophy, majoring in French. As part of his undergraduate studies he spent time in France at the University of Nancy and the Sorbonne. On graduating, the depressed economic situation caused him to rethink a career in academia and he went into business instead starting as an American agent for Gomina Argentina which manufactured a type of brilliantine.

Gomina Argentina

Above: Gomina, Argentina.

In 1933, Salomon switched employers becoming a salesman for Charles of the Ritz (Rhodes, 1974, p. 10). In 1936, he became president of the company and in 1961, when Charles of the Ritz went public, Salomon was listed as the sole owner.

New management

Between 1936 and December, 1941, when America entered into the Second World War, Salomon initiated a number of changes at Charles of the Ritz.

In 1938, a new trademark was adopted. Initially, it was used in conjunction with the previous design developed by Gustav Boerge Jensen [1898-1954] but over time the older trademark disappeared. The use of Ritz in product names also declined although it did not disappear altogether.

New Charles of the Ritz trademark

Above: New Charles of the Ritz trademark introduced in 1938.

A second development concerned advertising. In 1928, Charles of the Ritz had introduced its extended cosmetics line with a large advertising campaign. After that, the company reduced its cosmetic advertising and relied more on cooperative advertising with the department and drug stores that sold its products. Direct advertising placed by Charles of the Ritz concentrated on promoting its hairdressing services rather than its cosmetics.

After 1936 there was a gradual increase in the amount of advertising the company devoted to cosmetics and the beauty treatments offered at Charles of the Ritz salons. The quality of the advertisements also improved, becoming more sophisticated and glamorous, with Charles of the Ritz Individually Blended Face Powders and Revenescence cosmetics commonly featured.

Revenescence

In 1938, Charles of the Ritz was issued with a cease and desist order from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding claims made by Charles of the Ritz for some of its products. Other American cosmetic companies were targeted with similar notices due to the provisions of the new U.S. Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act (FD&CA) that passed into law in 1938.

Said representations and claims are untrue in that said “Eye Lotion Ritz” does not strengthen the nerves, relieve eye strain, but is merely an eye wash which can in no way influence the delicate nerves of the eye; said “Scalp Food Ritz” does not promote the growth of hair, and cannot act as a scalp food when applied externally; said “Eye Cream Ritz” does not nourish the tissues, banish lines and prevent crow’s feet, in that it consists chiefly of petrolatum or vaseline which has no nourishing or wrinkle preventive quality; said “Rejuvenescence Cream Ritz” does not supply the skin with any youth giving element, nor does it penetrate the skin or revivify the tissues or give to the skin new life and vitality; and said “Eye lash Grower Ritz” contains no ingredient that makes it an eye lash grower, or which promotes the growth of the eyelashes, except some yellow mercuric oxide, which has a stimulating effect only when the follicles of the hair have not died or been destroyed.

(Federal Trade Commission decisions, 1936, p. 755)

The FTC also considered that the name Rejuvenescence was misleading and Charles of the Ritz was forced to rebrand its Rejuvenescence Cream and Masque as Revenescence to avoid ongoing legal action.

Revenescence Cream: “If you want your skin to have that wonderfully fresh, dewy look, use this cream under your make-up in the daytime! Use it again at night, when you are relaxed. It is active in helping your skin to a clear radiance.”

Growth

Richard Salomon also expanded the Charles of the Ritz business. In 1939, he bought the Doraldina Company. There were many overlaps between the two companies including the fact that both offered an individual face powder blending service.

See also: Charles of the Ritz Powder Bars

Also in 1939, Charles of the Ritz also formed a new company, Charles of the Ritz Distributors Ltd., (London) situated at 33 Bruton Street, London to expand the business in Britain. The new British company may have taken over from a designated agent and, as far as I can tell, it only operated within Britain.

A Charles of the Ritz salon was also opened in London at 33 Bruton Street. Beauty treatments conducted in the salon including Facial Massage, Stimulation Masques (with or without massage) and Rejuvenescence Masques (with or without massage). In the long run this salon would not survive as by 1960 the only overseas salon owned by Charles of the Ritz was situated in Paris, France.

1961 A list of the Charles of the Ritz salons world-wide

Above: 1961 A list of the Charles of the Ritz salons world-wide. Although the French salon is listed here, there is no mention of one in Britain.

Also see the 1939 company booklet: Beauty in the Modern Mode

Products

Between 1937 and 1942 Charles of the Ritz introduced a number of new products including, Velvet Glove Hand Lotion and Cooling Masque (1938), the Moss Ross line of beauty and bath preparations and Smoothtan oil and cream (1940); and Complexion Veil (1941).

Velvet Glove Hand Lotion: “A rich, penetrating, elegant-smelling cream that should be smoothed into the hands as often as needed, working from the tips of the fingers toward the wrists.”
Cooling Masque: “Refreshing as a sea breeze—effective as sunshine and sea air—swiftly, simply brings new quality to your skin. When swimming or shopping melt make-up from your face its texture will be revealed smooth . . . clear.”

1940 Charles of the Ritz Smoothtan

Above: 1940 Charles of the Ritz Smoothtan in oil for sun-tanners and creamy liquid for fair skins.

Smoothtan: “The sunburn preventive comes in both cream and oil form, in a generous size, easy-to-pour bottle. For white and sensitive-skinned bodies, use the cream generously to prevent of the burning (by the way, it’s a grand powder base for daytime summer use). You who want to tan without burning, use the oil.”
Complexion Veil: ”A new cream powder base to be used on all types of skin to give a smooth, velvety finish and minimize the appearance of freckles, blemishes and unattractive enlarged pores.”

Skin-care

The pre-war Charles of the Ritz skin-care range showed some variation from that used in the early 1930s but there were also similarities. All the routines toned with Skin Freshener – the replacement for Skin Tonic Ritz – except for oily skin where Mild Astringent was recommended. Different skin types still had their own individual cleansers and skin creams but most were renamed with clearer more meaningful titles. As with Revenescence Cream some renaming appears to have been done to avoid problems with the FTC; for example, Skin and Tissue Builder Ritz was renamed simply as Skin Cream.

Normal Skin
Cleanser: Normal Skin Cleanser
Day Cream: Skin Bloom
Night Cream: Skin Cream
Sensitive Skin
Cleanser: Sensitive Skin Cleanser
Day Cream: Skin Cream
Night Cream: Skin Cream
Dry Skin
Cleanser: Dry Skin Cleanser
Day Cream: Revenescence Cream
Night Cream: Velvet Texture Cream or Super Rich Cream
Oily Skin
Cleanser: Oily Skin Cleanser
Day Cream: Make-up Lotion
Night Cream: Requisite Cream

For problem skins with blackheads, enlarged pores, skin blemishes and superficial acne, the company suggested cleansing with a soap recommended by a physician followed by a Charles of the Ritz cleanser.

Problem Skin with blackheads and enlarged pores
Cleanser: Physician recommended soap followed by cleanser appropriate for the skin type
Day Cream: Special Lotion
Night Cream: Special Lotion
Extra treatment: Facial Glow Masque over cleansing cream
Problem Skin with blemishes and superficial acne
Cleanser: Physician recommended soap or Oily Skin Cleanser when removing make-up
Day Cream: Medicated Lotion
Night Cream: Medicated Cream or Medicated Lotion

Also see the 1941 company booklet: Personalized Beauty Care

Make-up

Little changed in the Charles of the Ritz make-up range in the period between 1936 and the Second World War. The most important new make-up line was Complexion Veil (1941), an opaque cream that acted as a concealer. It was used under powder to minimise the appearance of skin blemishes such as freckles and enlarged pores. When introduced it came in three shades: French Buff, Rose Beige and Suntan.

Charles of the Ritz personalized make-up

Above: Charles of the Ritz personalized make-up.

A number of new matched shades of lipstick and rouge were also developed in this period including: Grapewine (1938); Flare Red, Hibiscus, So Red Rose and Bonfire (1939); Parisienne, Moss Rose and Pink Geranium (1940); and Raspberry Ice (1941). Surprisingly, very few of these shades appear to have produced in matching Charles of the Ritz nail polishes.

Wartime

Between 1942 and 1946 Salomon served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, starting as an enlisted man rising to the rank of First Lieutenant, earning a bronze star.

Despite the restrictions imposed on cosmetics during the hostilities, some new products were introduced by Charles of the Ritz during the war including Revenescence Lotion (1942), a liquid version of Revenescence Cream.

Revenescence Lotion: “For women whose skin becomes irritated by the massage of applying a cream and also for hot weather. Can also be used in the daytime as a powder base or overnight for those who prefer a non-greasy product.”

1942 Red Pencil lipstick

Above: 1942 Red Pencil lipsticks typical of the red shades of lipstick that became popular during the Second World War.

Charles of the Ritz also developed a stocking substitute simply called Leg Make-up and created new shades of lipstick and rouge including Talisman, Camellia and Red Pencil (1942). The Camellia shade was also became an additional shade for Complexion Veil.

1943-leg-make-up

Above: 1943 Charles of the Ritz Leg Make-up in Mirage and Gossamer shades.

See also: Cosmetic Stockings

Post-war

Between 1945 and 1960 Charles of the Ritz made a number of acquisitions that helped diversify the company. Starting with Cosmos Chemicals in 1947, the company went on to purchase Alexandra de Markoff in 1949, and Anatole Robbins (Countess Isserlyn cosmetics) and the Venus Pen & Pencil Corporation in 1959. The Countess Isserlyn line was subsequently folded into Alexandra de Markoff.

In 1957, Charles of the Ritz opened the Ritz School of Advance Hair Fashions, Ltd. in New York and followed this with a new salon in the Ritz Tower, New York in 1958. The salon was elaborately decorated. Louis XVI style chairs were used in the hairdressing salons while marble-looking vinyl floor tiles mimicked the floors of French and Italian palaces.

1958-salon

Above: The closed-circuit message centre in the redeveloped salon in the Ritz Tower.

Charles of the Ritz also increased the number of salons it operated across the United States and by 1959 the company had double the number that had existed in 1955. In 1955, Charles of the Ritz also expanded into France, opening a salon and shop at 51 Avenue Montaigne, Paris in 1956.

1958 Charles of the Ritz Paris.

Above: 1958 A treatment room in the Charles of the Ritz salon in Paris.

Charles of the Ritz products were made available through a number of Parisian parfumeries, salons and department stores. In 1962, a separate French company was formed – Charles of the Ritz S.A. – based at 100 Rue Chaptal Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris.

1955 Outlets for Charles of the Ritz products in Paris

Above: 1955 Outlets for Charles of the Ritz products in Paris.

Skin-care

Revenescence Cream, Lotion and Mask continued to be a major selling point for Charles of the Ritz.

1950 Charles of the Ritz Revenescence Cream and Lotion

Above: 1950 Charles of the Ritz Revenescence Cream and Lotion advertised in Britain.

Charles of the Ritz introduced a number of new skin-care lines after the war including Sun-Bronze (1947), a tanning lotion with a sunscreen; Velvet Foam Cleanser (1953), advertised as giving a soap-and-water washing without soap; Special Formula Emollient (1955), made from vegetable, mineral and organic oils designed to supplement the natural oils of older skin; and Disaster Cream (1958) to heal, dry and soothe skin blemishes.

Youth market

The introduction of Velvet Foam Cleanser and Disaster Cream were combined with existing products to provide Charles of the Ritz with a skin-care routine for teenage skin, a market that became increasingly important through the 1950s and 1960s.

1958 Round the Clock Ritz-Aid for Problem Skin

Above: 1958 Charles of the Ritz Round the Clock Ritz-Aid for Problem Skin (Velvet Foam, Disaster Cream and Medicated Lotion).

The face was to be washed with Velvet Foam Cleanser each morning and night. Disaster Cream could be applied on pimples and other skin blemishes overnight while blackheads were to be treated with Special Lotion and Special Cream to help soften and remove them. During the day Medicated Lotion could be applied to cover any visible blemishes.

In 1962, Miss Ritz Mask was added to this skin-care routine. Made as a gel with herbal and balsamic ingredients, it acted as an astringent to help clarify the skin.

1963 Charles of the Ritz skin-care routine

Above: 1963 Charles of the Ritz routine for younger, blemished skin.

To help promote its products to younger clients, Charles of the Ritz also conducted Young Beauty Workshops for teenagers in some of its salons.

Make-up

By the late 1940s, Charles of the Ritz had a number of lipstick and rouge shades on the market including Talisman, Hibiscus, Bonfire, Red Pencil, Pink Geranium, Camellia, So Red Rose, Parisienne, Moss Rose, Redwing, Flare Red, Tiger Lily and Claret. In 1952, the company introduced Bright Pink and Titian, its first new shades in five years. Lipsticks in these shades were available in a plain case or in a new luxury container. It was introduced in 1947 and came with a built in lipstick brush.

Luxury lipstick case with sable brush

Above: A later 14 ct. gold version of the luxury lipstick case with sable brush.

The company was not a major player in the American lipstick wars that started with the release of Hazel Bishop’s Long Lasting Lipstick in 1950. However, it did produce a shade called Perfect Red (1955) which was described as a smooth, staying lipstick so it may have been fashioned as an indelible. As the fashion in indelibles waned Charles of the Ritz developed another creamy formulation released as Treatment Lipstick (1957), a moisturising lipstick in Coral, True Red, Rose and Pastel shades.

See also: Lipstick Wars

In 1959, Charles of the Ritz developed Luster-Sticks, a transparent, pearlised lipstick without a strong colour pigmentation in Pink Lustre, Coral Lustre, Moon Lustre shades. It could be worn as a base coat under lipstick, to soften and illuminate the colour or as a top coat to add shimmering translucent highlights.

Charles of the Ritz hand blended face powder remained a company staple but began to be affected by the new make-up formulations that became popular in the 1950s. In 1951, the company released Liquid Veil, a liquid formulation in six shades, increased to seven by 1953. It formed a similar function to the creamy Complexion Veil that Charles of the Ritz had introduced in 1941. It was advertised as providing complete coverage with a flattering silken finish and was recommended for sensitive or dry skin.

Powder presses were introduced into the Charles of the Ritz powder bars in 1956 enabling individually-blended powder to be pressed into a compact. Women had three compacts to choose from: a plastic simulated tortoiseshell case, a swirled gold metal case, or a square gold and silver case with a basket weave pattern.

compacts

Above: Charles of the Ritz Compacts for pressed powder in simulated tortoiseshell, basket weave and swirled patterns. Although the simulated tortoiseshell would remain the other patterns would change.

As highly coloured face powders gave way to more transparent forms and foundations and pressed cream powders became more popular, the relevance of individually pressed powder began to decline. Charles of the Ritz would eventually concede defeat and introduce Feather-Touch Pressed Powder (1967) acknowledging that this new transparent powder had to be pressed at the Charles of the Ritz laboratory rather than blended in the store. It came in 12 shades ranging from Ivory to Suntan as well as Translucent for those who preferred no colour at all.

Other make-up developments included Creme Lashique (1954), a waterproof cream mascara in three shades in a slate gray and pink tube with accompanying brush. Charles of the Ritz did not develop its wand/automatic Auto-Lashique mascara until 1965, almost a decade after Helena Rubinstein’s Mascaramatic (1957).

See also: Liquid and Cream Mascara

On a more positive note, Charles of the Ritz did show a degree of innovation with the development of Fresh Paint Nail Lacquer (1959), a nail polish that needed no base or top coat. It came in plain and lustre shades that were colour-coordinated with Charles of the Ritz lipsticks.

fresh-paint

Above: Charles of the Ritz Fresh Paint.

In conjunction with Fresh Paint, the company developed a new nail polish remover in gel form that did not evapourate, spill or smear.

Going public

During the 1950s, Richard Salomon was approached by a number of companies suggesting that Charles of the Ritz should be made into a public company. The company’s net sales and net income had been growing steadily during the 1950s with net income rising from US$309,079 in 1951 to US$931,156 in 1959 (Drug and Cosmetic Industry, 1961, p.567) but Charles of the Ritz was still a relatively small company. The reasons offered for going public seemed attractive and Salomon went ahead with the float. Unfortunately, he later came to regret the decision.

In retrospect, it seems to me that for the last ten years of my career the joy of business had vanished. From the day I went public in 1961 to the day in 1972 when I retired on my sixtieth birthday, it seemed to me that I was under constant pressure for performance and not free to act totally in the interest of the business itself. The interests of the short-term share owner too often were not parallel to those of the management.

(Salomon, 1977)

Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz

A number of changes took place at Charles of the Ritz after the company went public. Salomon’s good French connections had already enabled Charles of the Ritz to get the distribution rights to Dior perfumes in the USA, including Miss Dior and Diorama. In 1962, the company secured the world-wide rights to Yves Saint Laurent perfumes and cosmetics. Richard Salomon was an important reason why Yves Saint Laurent [1936-2008] and his business partner Pierre Bergé [b.1930] agreed to the deal.

In 1964, Charles of the Ritz merged with Lanvin to form Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz. The following year the newly formed company bought a controlling interest in the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent through purchasing the shares of the Georgia businessman J. (Jesse) Mack Robinson [1923-2014]. He had financed the establishment of Yves Saint Laurent after Yves left Dior.

After acquiring the Dureen Soap Corporation – a leading maker of luxury soap – in 1967, Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz underwent a rationalisation selling of sixteen of its Charles of the Ritz beauty salons to Glemby Co. in 1970. Not included in the deal was the Ritz Tower and Palm Beach salons and the Charles of the Ritz salon in Paris, France. The following year Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz was bought by Squibb-Beechnut.

In 1986 Squibb sold Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz, Inc. to Yves Saint Laurent who then resold it to Revlon minus Yves Saint Laurent Beauté and Charles of the Ritz perfumes.

Charles of the Ritz Liqui-Creme Foundation, Lipstick and Nail Polish

Above: Charles of the Ritz Liqui-Creme Foundation, Lipstick and Nail Polish released in the late 1960s. If he had been alive, Charles Revson [1906-1975] would have been happy that Revlon finally had a cosmetics that displayed his initials.

Revlon tried to revive Charles of the Ritz, even resurrecting the powder bars for a time, but abandoned the line in 2002.

Timeline

1938Ritz-Carlton salon in New York refurbished; Charles of the Ritz logo updated.
New Products: Velvet Glove hand lotion; and Cooling Masque, summer facial.
1939Doraldina, Inc. bought; Charles of the Ritz Distributors Ltd., London created.
1940New Products: Moss Ross line of beauty and bath preparations.
1941New Products: Complexion Veil; and Raspberry Ice Cologne, Dusting Powder and Foam Bath.
1942New Products: Revenescence Lotion.
1947Cosmos Chemical acquired.
1949Alexandra de Markoff purchased.
1953New Products: Velvet Foam Cleanser.
1954New Products: Creme Lashique, a cream mascara.
1955Charles of the Ritz established in France.
New Products: Powder presses introduced into Charles of the Ritz powder bars.
1956Charles of the Ritz salon opens at 51 Avenue Montaigne, Paris.
New Products: Special Formula Emollient.
1957 Ritz School of Advance Hair Fashions, Ltd. opens in New York.
New Products: Treatment Lipstick.
1958Ritz Tower Hotel salon in New York refurbished.
New Products: Disaster Cream.
1959Anatole Robbins (Countess Isserlyn cosmetics) acquired; Venus Pen & Pencil Corporation purchased.
New Products: Astringent Foundation; Astringent Cream; and Fresh Paint Nail Polish and gel polish remover.
1960New Products: APD Ritz Antiperspirant.
1961Charles of the Ritz becomes a public company.
1962Charles of the Ritz S.A established in France; and Charles of the Ritz acquires the world-wide rights to the name Yves Saint Laurent for perfumes and cosmetics.
1964Parfums Yves Saint Laurent established in Sarl, Paris; and Charles of the Ritz merges with Lanvin to form Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz, Inc.
New Products: Throat Cream Concentrate.
1965Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz acquires Yves Saint Laurent from J. Mack Robinson.
New Products: Auto-Lashique mascara wand; and False eyelashes.
1966Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz acquires a factory in Homdel, New Jersey from Mattel, Inc. to consolidate its U.S. operations.
New Products: Ritual Night Cream; and Spotlights liquid make-up.
1967Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz acquires the Dureen Soap Corporation.
New Products: Liqui-Cream Foundation, Lipstick and Nail Polish; and Novessence skin cream.
1969New Products: Firmessence face cream.
1970Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz sells sixteen of its beauty salons to Glemby Co.
1971Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz sold to Squibb-Beechnut.
1986Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz, Inc. acquired by Yves Saint Laurent.
1987Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz, Inc. (including Alexandra de Markoff and Bain de Soleil tanning products but excluding Yves Saint Laurent Beauté and Charles of the Ritz perfumes) sold to Revlon.
2002Revlon discontinues Charles of the Ritz.

Updated: 11th April 2017

Sources

Charles of the Ritz. (n.d.). Beauty in the modern mode [Booklet]. London: Author.

Charles of the Ritz. (n.d.). Personalized beauty care.[Pamplets]. New York: Author.

Drug and Cosmetic Industry (1961). May, 88(5).

FBI Silvermaster file. (1946). Retrieved September 6, 2016 from https://archive.org/details/FBISilvermasterFile

Federal Trade Commission decisions: Findings,orders and stipulations, (Vol 23). (1936). Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Rhodes, R. M. (1974). Brown alumni monthly, 75(2), October, 16-17.

Salomon, R. B. (1977). Second thoughts on going public. Harvard Business Review, 55(5), 126-131. Retrieved March 13, 2017 from https://hbr.org/1977/09/second-thoughts-on-going-public