Elizabeth Arden

Cosmetics & Beauty Executive

Elizabeth Arden in 1947
Elizabeth Arden in 1947. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

About Elizabeth Arden

Known for: founder, owner, and operator of Elizabeth Arden, Inc., a cosmetics and beauty corporation

Elizabeth Arden used modern mass marketing techniques to bring her cosmetic products to the public. She also opened and operated a chain of beauty salons and beauty spas.

Occupation: business executive, cosmetics manufacturer, beauty salon and spa operator
Dates: December 31, 1884 - October 18, 1966
Also known as: Florence Nightingale Graham (birth name)

More About Elizabeth Arden

Her father was a Scottish grocer in Ontario when Elizabeth Arden was born, the fifth of five children. Her birth name was Florence Nightingale Graham -- named, as many of her age were, for Britain's famous nursing pioneer.

New York

She moved to New York and went to work first as a helper in a cosmetic shop and then in a beauty salon as a partner. In 1909, when her partnership broke up, she opened a beauty salon of her own on Fifth Avenue, changed her name to Elizabeth Arden. She began to formulate, manufacture, and sell her own cosmetic products. In 1914 she began expanding her business under the corporate name, "Elizabeth Arden." In 1922, she opened her first salon in France, thus moving into the European market.


In 1918, Elizabeth Arden married. Her husband, Thomas Lewis, was an American, and through him she gained American citizenship. Thomas Lewis served as her business manager until their divorce in 1935.

She never permitted her husband to own stock in her enterprise, and so after the divorce he went to work for the rival firm owned by Helena Rubinstein.


In 1934, Elizabeth Arden converted her summer home in Maine into the Maine Chance Beauty Spa, and then expanded her line of spas nationally and internationally.

World War II

In 1941, the FBI investigated allegations that Elizabeth Arden salons in Europe were being opened as cover for Nazi operations.

Later Life

In 1942, Elizabeth Arden married again, this time to Prince Michael Evlonoff, but this marriage lasted only until 1944.

Elizabeth Arden's business eventually included salons in the United States and Europe, with a presence in Australia and South America as well -- more than a hundred such Elizabeth Arden salons. Her company manufactured more than 300 cosmetic products. Elizabeth Arden products sold for a premium price as she maintained an image of exclusivity and quality.

Elizabeth Arden died in 1966 in New York.


In her salons and through her marketing campaigns, Elizabeth Arden stressed teaching women how to apply makeup, and pioneered such concepts as scientific formulation of cosmetics, beauty makeovers, and coordinating colors of eye, lip, and facial makeup.

Elizabeth Arden was largely responsible for establishing makeup as proper and appropriate -- even necessary -- for a ladylike image, when before makeup had often been associated with lower classes and such professions as prostitution. She targeted middle age and plain women for whom beauty products promised a youthful, beautiful image.

More Facts About Elizabeth Arden

In politics, Elizabeth Arden was a strong conservative who supported Republicans.

One of Elizabeth Arden's trademarks was to dress always in pink. She was also noted for her passion for owning race horses; a horse from one of her stables won the Kentucky Derby in 1947.