Elizabeth Arden History & Products

To be beautiful is the birthright of every woman. - Elizabeth Arden

When you think of Elizabeth Arden, you probably think of iconic fragrances such as Red Door and White Tea, right? Elizabeth Arden was a driven business woman and created many products that would go on to be cult classics. But do you know how this North American company got started? Here’s the story of Elizabeth Arden - the brand behind iconic fragrances and skincare. 

The Early Days

Elizabeth Arden retro ad image of woman lying on beach

image credit: instagram/eardenspain

Did you know that ‘Elizabeth Arden’ wasn’t her birth name? Arden was born Florence Nightingale Graham in 1881, after the famous British nurse. She was born in Canada and eventually moved to New York in 1908 - this is where the Elizabeth Arden brand would be born. New York was where she took her first foray into the beauty industry; she worked as a beautician’s assistant before eventually establishing her own salon. 

With her business partner at the time, Elizabeth Hubbard, Arden opened a spa called “Elizabeth Arden” on New York’s famous Fifth Avenue - fun fact, it’s still there! However, the partnership dissolved after a few years - but Arden wasn’t ready to give up on her business. It was around this time that she started going by the name ‘Elizabeth Arden’, after the salon. 

Arden knew that she needed to give her spa an edge over the others, and especially against Estée Lauder and Helena Rubinstein. Her rivalry with Helena was well-documented, even though the two women never met.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum on white background
Elizabeth Arden Anti-Aging Daily Serum | $205
A powerful serum that contains potent antioxidants and skincare ferments to fight off the signs of ageing. 

To get the upper hand on the competition, Arden travelled to France where she learned new massage techniques as well as the trends that European women loved so she could take them to the American market.

Taking her newfound knowledge, she went back to the United States and started formulating products she was sure would be a hit; one of them includes the 8 Hour Miracle Balm, a cult classic beauty product today.

Another idea she brought with her was the idea of an in-salon makeover - the idea of a beauty counter makeover was a completely novel idea at the time, and no one else was doing it yet. 

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Serum image in sunlight

Image Credit: Instagram/eardenspain

While in Europe at the time, makeup was seen as a high-class status symbol, it wasn’t the same case in the US. Elizabeth Arden is single-handedly credited with changing the idea from a low class only product to making it essential for being seen as ladylike and professional in the US. 

Another common thing we see today that we can credit to Arden is the idea of travel-sized beauty products! She thought of every possible way she could improve on what other companies had and create what they didn’t have - and in this case, that was portable cosmetics.

Arden even thought about how to make skincare products even smaller - and the capsule serum was born. First created in 1990, Elizabeth Arden's iconic capsule serums were an innovation at the time - there was nothing else like it on the market!

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide capsules 90 pieces product photo on white background

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules | $190
Iconic serum capsules that contain the perfect nightly dose of retinol and ceramide to boost the skin's anti-ageing ability.

The Elizabeth Arden Legacy

Suffragettes in black and white

image credit: instagram/elizabetharden

Arden wasn’t just a driven businesswoman - she revolutionised how society viewed cosmetics, and was also a passionate suffragette. She marched with over 15,000 suffragettes wearing red lipstick created by Arden’s brand, showing not only their support for the brand but also showed her support for the cause. 

Arden’s pioneering and revolutionary spirit is visible in all of the radical trends she set and how she completely reshaped American society’s view on makeup. She introduced new trends that we completely take for granted today, like beauty counter makeovers.

Her brand grew to huge success quickly thanks to her cutting edge thinking, with over 150 salons established in the US by 1929 and her products sold in 22 countries. Now, Elizabeth Arden is a brand you can find even in the farthest corners of the world - much more than the original 22 countries she sold her products in! 

Wondering how to fit Elizabeth Arden products into your routine? Check with our skincare quiz!

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Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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