Charles of the Ritz


Continued to: Charles of the Ritz (post-1936)

In December, 1910, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel opened on the corner of Madison Avenue and 46th Street, New York. Included in its facilities was a barber shop for men and a hairdressing parlour for women, both run by Charles H. Ritz. As well as barbering and hairdressing services, Ritz sold cosmetics and toiletries through his shops, some manufactured under his own label.

In 1919, Charles Ritz sold his business to his employee Charles Jundt. Jundt expanded the business by opening additional salons and increasing the company’s product range to include: Hair Frictions in L’Opera, D’Abre, Ishah or Mondeuse perfumes; Tar, Pine and Henna Shampoos; Tonics for Dry and Oily Hair; Dandruff Lotions No. 1 (mild) and 2 (strong); Special Oil; and Henna Leaves, Camomile, Blueing and Water Waving Lotions. These were sold through assorted retail outlets as well as the eleven Charles of the Ritz salons at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Plaza Hotel, Madison Hotel, Mayfair House, Park Chambers, Barclay Hotel and Ritz Tower in New York; the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey; the Ritz-Carlton Cloisters in Boca Raton, Florida; and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1928, Charles of the Ritz incorporated and filed an application for a trademark that was granted in 1930. In September 1928, the company launched a complete line of cosmetics, sold through retail outlets and Charles of the Ritz salons, backed by a US$250,000 advertising campaign. To handle the increased production, new manufacturing facilities were opened at 9-11 University Place, New York and John H. Hershman was hired as the company’s general manager (AP&EOR, 1928, p. 375). University Place would subsequently become the base for Charles of the Ritz Distribution, Inc., the sales arm of Charles of the Ritz.

All of this cost a good deal of money and much of it may have come from, or have been organised by Charles H. Goddard who is listed, along with Charles Jundt and his wife Anna, on the Charles of the Ritz trademark application filed in 1928.

Charles H. Goddard

Charles Harrison Goddard was a promotor and real estate developer. The bulk of his fortune came from selling land in Great Neck, Long Island, New York in the 1920s. Together with George W. Luft [c.1871-1939] – who later established Tangee cosmetics – he formed the American Druggist Syndicate (ADS), a druggist cooperative incorporated in 1905 and, in 1911, he combined with George W. Luft and Benjamin Karmen to establish the Vogue Perfumery Company, in Queens, New York. It is possible that this company provided the L’Opera, D’Abre, Ishah and Mondeuse perfumes used in the Charles of the Ritz Hair Frictions.

Exactly when Goddard became involved with Charles of the Ritz is unknown to me. It was certainly no later than 1928 but was likely to have been much earlier than this. There appears to have been a family connection as in 1925 Jundt’s daughter, Ethel Marguerite (Margaret) Jundt [1903-1978?], married Charles Harold Goddard [1895-1986].

Goddard may have been positioning Charles of the Ritz for immediate sale. In 1928, negotiations were started with Terminal Barber Shops, Inc. to sell them the Charles of the Ritz business for about one million U.S. dollars. An agreement between the two companies was reached in 1929 but the stock market crash of October 1929 postponed its execution. Negotiations continued but had been abandoned by 1933 (Owen, 1940, pp. 1182-1183). By then Goddard was dead, having perished on October 22nd, 1930 aboard a ship sailing to New York. He had been living abroad for the previous three years, chiefly in Mentone on the French Riviera.

After the negotiations with Terminal Barber Shops stalled and no other buyer was evident, Charles of the Ritz began to expand its operations. New salons were opened, starting in 1930 with the Warwick Hotel, Philadelphia and the Altman Building, New Jersey and more retail outlets for its products were secured.

1932 Charles of the Ritz salon

Above: 1932 Charles of the Ritz salon designed and built by William Grassgreen, Inc. in the Altman Building, New Jersey (Museum of the City of New York).

1932 Front desk of the Charles of the Ritz salon

Above: 1932 Front desk of the Charles of the Ritz salon, Altman Building, New Jersey (Museum of the City of New York).

1932 Treatment room in the Charles of the Ritz salon

Above: 1932 Treatment room in the Charles of the Ritz salon, Altman Building, New Jersey (Museum of the City of New York).

Between 1930 and 1936 – when the company was sold – some new products were developed – e.g., Pore Wash Ritz (1934), Rejuvenescence Masque (1934), Ritztone Sun Oil (1935) and Polar Cream Ritz (1936) – and the company opened in other countries, starting with Canada in 1933. The mainstay of the business during this period was probably hairdressing, particularly permanent waving which generated a lot of custom during the 1930s.

Products

The Charles of the Ritz range introduced in 1928 was extensive and included products for what the company described as the four vital essentials of ever-youthful beauty: the hair, the eyes, the complexion and the hands. Most of the items in the range had the word Ritz in their name, an idea which was extended to products that had existed before 1928; e.g., Dandruff Lotion No. 2 became Dandruff Lotion No. 2 Ritz.

Hair

Charles of the Ritz hair salons and barbershops continued to be an important source of business through the 1930s. The company kept abreast of new developments in permanent and finger waving and continued to sell an extensive range of its own shampoos, hair tonics, brilliantines and temporary hair colourants.

1932 Hairdressing salon in the Charles of the Ritz

Above: 1932 Hairdressing cubicle in the Charles of the Ritz salon in the Altman Building, New Jersey (Museum of the City of New York).

Eyes

The Charles of the Ritz eye treatment involved bathing the eyes every morning and night with Eye Lotion Ritz using an eye cup or medicine dropper and nourishing the area around the eye each night with Eye Cream Ritz.

Eye Lotion Ritz: “This soothing and refreshing lotion strengthens the eyes, relieves eye strain and keeps the eyes clear and radiant.”
Eye Cream Ritz: “Nourishes the delicate tissue about the eyes; banishes crows’-feet and lines about the eyes.”

Complexion

The Charles of the Ritz skin-care treatments made allowances for a range of complexions types. Morning and evening routines were developed for each type along with touch-up treatments. These followed the standard practice of cleansing and toning then finishing with a face cream. All the routines toned with Skin Tonic Ritz but the suggested cleansers and skin creams differed depending on the time of day and skin type.

Normal Skin
Cleanser: Cleansing Cream Ritz
Day Cream: Skin Bloom Ritz
Night Cream: Skin and Tissue Builder Ritz
Sensitive Dry Skin
Cleanser: Sensitive Skin Cleanser Ritz
Day Cream: Make-up Lotion Ritz
Night Cream: Requisite Cream Ritz for Dry Skin
Dry Skin
Cleanser: Massage Cream Ritz
Day Cream: Skin Bloom Ritz
Night Cream: Requisite Cream Ritz for Dry Skin
Dry Skin with Blackheads
Cleanser: Massage Cream Ritz
Day Cream: Skin Bloom Ritz
Night Cream: Requisite Cream Ritz for Dry Skin with Pore Paste Ritz on alternate nights
Oily Skin
Cleanser: Lemon Cleansing Cream
Day Cream: Astringent Ritz
Night Cream: Requisite Cream Ritz for Oily Skin with Pore Paste Ritz on alternate nights
Oily Skin with Blackheads
Cleanser: Lemon Cleansing Cream
Day Cream: Astringent Ritz
Night Cream: Requisite Cream Ritz for Oily Skin with Pore Paste Ritz on alternate nights
Oily Skin with Acne
Cleanser: Lemon Cleansing Cream
Day Cream: Acne Lotion Ritz
Night Cream: Acne Cream Ritz

To erase lines and wrinkles Charles of the Ritz recommended muscle oils and circulation creams, a not uncommon treatment idea. Muscle oils were believed to strengthen the underlying facial muscles to firm the skin and reduce facial lines while circulation creams where said to improve skin circulation, thereby rejuvenating it and smoothing out wrinkles. Charles of the Ritz also included an anti-wrinkle cream which I assume to be some sort of ‘skin food’.

To Erase Lines and Wrinkles
Cleanser: Cleansing Cream Ritz
Day Cream: Stimulation Cream Ritz which is removed and followed by Anti-Wrinkle Cream Ritz
Night Cream: Anti-Wrinkle Cream Ritz followed by Muscle Oil Ritz over the top of Anti-Wrinkle Cream Ritz.

See also: Muscle Oils, Circulation Creams and Skin Foods

Women could also call on the Charles of the Ritz Beach treatment to brighten dull sallow skin. After cleansing and toning the skin Bleach Cream Ritz was applied and left on the face for ten minutes or on the throat and neck for twenty-five minutes. The procedure was to be repeated daily until the required result was achieved.

Bleach Treatment
Cleanser: Lemon Cleansing Cream
Treatment Cream: Bleach Cream Ritz

Rejuvenescence Cream Ritz

Special mention should be made of Rejuvenescence Cream Ritz as this cosmetic would go on to become a flagship product for Charles of the Ritz but also bring the company into conflict with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) .

Charles of the Ritz suggested that Rejuvenescence Cream Ritz contained “an organic compound made of substances extracted from living tissues” but the identity of this substance is unknown to me. Ingredient lists for later products suggest that the organic compound may have simply been lanolin but the use of tissue extracts cannot be completely discounted.

Rejuvenescence Cream Ritz: “This is an organic compound made of substances extracted from living tissues. It supplies the skin with the precious youth giving element essential to young skins. It is absorbed by the skin immediately, leaving no greasy film on the surface. Its basic elements penetrate to the derma or true skin and revivify the tissues, giving the skin new life and vitality.”

The cream was considered suitable for all skin types and was to be used in both morning and evening routines.

Rejuvenescence Treatment
Cleanser: Correct cleanser for skin type
Day Cream: Rejuvenescence Cream Ritz
Night Cream: Rejuvenescence Cream Ritz

However, every other day Charles of the Ritz recommended a Plastique Vegetable Masque Treatment. This was applied warm under a rubber mask. Despite all other claims the main benefit for the treatment probably came from the perspiration that accumulated under the mask during the 15-20 minute treatment. This would plump up the surface skin cells and reduce the visible appearance of lines in a similar fashion to a paraffin wax treatment.

The MASQUE is applied to the skin while warm. It stimulates the circulation, increases the flow of blood to the skin, refines the pores and leaves the skin clear and glowing. By stimulating the circulation and increasing the activity of the cells it brings new life and vigor to the skin. PLASTIQUE VEGETABLE MASQUE RITZ is most pleasant to use. Its gentle heat soothes the nerves and aids in relaxation. There is no unpleasant pulling or drawing. The MASQUE does its work gently and delightfully. It strengthens the muscles, firms the skin, and banishes sagging contour . . . . a great aid in dealing with double chins.

(Charles of the Ritz, 1932, pp. 26)

See also: Paraffin Wax Treatments

The Plastique Vegetable Masque Ritz appears to have been less than successful as in 1934 it seems to have been replaced with Rejuvenescence Masque in the Rejuvenescence Treatment regime. This did away with the rubber mask making the Rejuvenescence Treatment a lot simpler.

Hands

Included in the Charles of the Ritz hand preparations were Cuticle Cream Ritz, Cuticle Oil Ritz, Cuticle Remover Ritz, Hand Cream Ritz, Rose Hand Lotion Ritz and various cosmetics for the nails.

1932-ritz-tower-manicure

Above: 1932 Manicure stations in the Charles of the Ritz salon in the Ritz Tower, New York (Museum of the City of New York).

Eclat Liquid Powder Ritz could be used to buff the nail plate before applying Nail Enamel Ritz in Blood Red, Evening Rose, Rose Bloom, Rose Tint, Scarlet Lake, Carmine, Ivory Glow or Plain shades. Nail Enamel Remover Ritz, Nail Whitener Ritz (in cream and powder forms) and Nicotine Remover Ritz completed the range.

Make-up

Charles of the Ritz sold a complete range of eye, lip and complexion make-up. The make-up routine recommended beginning with a liquid or cream foundation.

Make-up Lotion Ritz: “An excellent powder foundation for all skins; lovely for the neck and arms in the evening. It gives a soft natural finish.” Shades: Phantasy, Deep Phantasy, Naturelle, Rachel, Deep Rachel, Cream, Opal, Beachtan, Apricot, White and Green.
Skin Bloom Ritz: “A luxurious protective foundation for the normal or dry skin. gives a lovely matt finish.”

Although Make-up Lotion Ritz was suggested for the evening and Skin Bloom Ritz for the day it is possible that some women broke this rule and used Make-up Lotion Ritz during the day for extra coverage.

See also: Vanishing Creams and Liquid Face Powders

Charles of the Ritz recommended a cream rouge – Light, Medium, Raspberry, Ruby, Dark or Beachtan shades – be applied to complement the shape of the face.

For the oval face, place the rouge in a triangular form, high on the cheek bones. for the round face rouge should be applied on the cheek bones just beneath the eyes and close to the nose. do not shade too far out on the cheek, keeping the rouge close to the nose adds length to the face. For the long face, rouge should cover a larger surface. apply close to the eyes and in a very wide triangle, extending from close to the nose outward toward the ear, but do not come too far down on the cheek for best results.

(Charles of the Ritz, 1932, pp. 29)

However, the company also made a loose and compact rouge – Clair, Medium, Geranium, Raspberry or Beachtan shades – in individual compacts or in combination with compact powders, loose powders and lipsticks.

Charles of the Ritz face powders also came in loose and compact forms. Poudre Phantasy Ritz was formulated in the same shades as Make-up Lotion Ritz – Phantasy, Deep Phantasy, Naturelle, Rachel, Deep Rachel, Cream, Opal, Beachtan, Apricot, White or Green shades – while the Compact Powder shade range was more limited – Natural, French Rachel, Cream Rachel, Phantasy or Beachtan shades.

In addition to these set shade ranges Charles of the Ritz also provided clients with a service that offered individually blended rouge and powder. Initially, this was only available to clients through Charles of the Ritz salons but it was soon extended to department stores and other outlets. In later years it would become a major selling point for the company.

See also: Charles of the Ritz Powder Bars

Other items in the Charles of the Ritz make-up range included: Eyebrow Pencil Ritz in Blonde, Brown or Black shades; Lashique Ritz in Blonde, Blue, Brown or Black shades; Eye Shadow Ritz in Ashen Brown, Blue-Grey, Green, Violet or Light Blue shades; and lipsticks. Charles of the Ritz lipsticks were sold as in silver cases either as Lipstick Ritz – Light, Medium, Raspberry, Ruby Dark or Beachtan shades matched with Charles of the Ritz rouges – or as Lipstick Paris Ritz, an indelible in an automatic case – Clair, Foncé, Electric or Pour le Soir shades.

Also see the 1932 company booklet: Beauty in the Modern Mode

Sale

Charles of the Ritz eventually found a buyer in 1936. Following the sale, the new president of Charles of the Ritz, Richard B. Salomon [1912-1994], reorganised the company and John Hershman retired from the firm. In 1938, Hershman committed suicide in the Hotel Knickerbocker in New York. He had been suffering from depression and had recently returned from Europe where he had been undergoing treatments from Austrian nerve specialists.

Timeline

1910Charles H. Ritz opens a hairdressing business in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, New York.
1919Charles Jundt buys the hairdressing business of Charles H. Ritz.
1926Charles Jundt adopts the Charles of the Ritz brand name;begins selling toilet preparations and other cosmetics under the Ritz name.
1928Charles of the Ritz incorporates; laboratory moves from East 41st Street to 9-11 University Place, New York.
New Products: Charles of the Ritz cosmetics line.
1930Charles of the Ritz trademark registered; and new salons opened at the Warwick Hotel, Philadephia and the Altman Building, New Jersey.
1932New Products: Lipstick Paris Ritz, automatic lipstick.
1933Charles of the Ritz (Canada) Ltd. established.
1934New Products: Pore Wash Ritz, for correcting enlarged pores and blackheads; and Rejuvenescence Masque.
1935New Products: Ritztone Sun Oil
1936Charles of the Ritz sold.
New Products: Polar Cream Ritz, winter care for the skin; and Throat Firming Cream.

Continued to: Charles of the Ritz (post-1936)

Updated: 4th April 2017

Sources

Charles of the Ritz. (1932). Beauty in the modern mode [Booklet]. New York: Author.

Obituary. (1930). Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, 19(11), 1269.

Owen, M.M. (1940). Reports of the United States board of tax appeals (Vol. 40).