Our History

A history of beauty and innovation: The Marinello Schools of Beauty story

This year marks an important moment in the history of Marinello Schools of Beauty: 2015 is our 110th anniversary. Over the past century, Marinello has been educating students to enter a professional career in the beauty and wellness industry. As we celebrate this major milestone, we’re excited to share some key moments from our years past…and to look ahead to what our future holds.

Humble Beginnings

Ruth Maurer

It all began when Ruth Maurer, the wife of a La Crosse, Wisconsin physician, cooked up a batch of face cream in a double boiler over a gas jet in the basement of her red brick home. This was in 1903, before the days of TV, the internet or social media. This was well before the days of “Revlon,” “Toni” or “Avon Calling,” and even before salons and spas provided ready access to the tint, trim and curl services today’s clients enjoy as a basic necessity. Mrs. Maurer was certain big money could be made by commercializing women’s timeless battle against the facial ravages of age.

At that time, shampoos were usually done at home with a bar of soap, usually tar, in a bathroom basin, or in less modern houses, the kitchen sink with its cistern pump. Curls, waves and touching up of tresses were accomplished by heating the iron in the chimney of a lighted kerosene lamp. The temperature was obviously not thermostatically controlled.

1907 ad for The Marinello System

The level of heat was determined by the hiss following a light touch of the curling iron tip with a moistened finger.

It was against this backdrop that Mrs. Maurer began innovating and creating new products that women wanted to have for their skin.

The success of her face cream created a demand for other cosmetic products, such as face powder and lotions, prompting a need for a better platform for selling them. This gave rise to the creation of Marinello shops, where her products could be sold and women could come to receive beauty treatments in person.

The first Marinello products included Creme Celeste (a type of cold cream), Whitening Cream, Antiseptic Lotion, Lettuce Cream (a cleanser), Acne Cream, Tissue Food, Zinc Ointment, Paste Soap, Finishing Cream, and Vegetable Powder. Cosmetics for hair, hands and nails were added soon afterwards. The recipes for some of these products were included in "The Skin: Its Care and Treatment," an early textbook that is widely attributed to Mrs. Maurer.

Through her vision, Marinello products were eventually distributed throughout all of the United States and around the world; Mexico, Canada, South America, England, all through continental Europe, Russia, South Africa, Australia, China and Japan.

Classic ad for Marinello Face Powder from 1918

Sample pages from Giovanni Marinello’s book

In 1905, her trifecta of innovations, beginning with products and the shops to sell them, became complete. Mrs. Maurer started a beauty school to develop trained and capable beauticians who were skilled in the art of skin and hair care. Soon "Marinello Beauty Parlors" using Marinello products sprang up in all parts of the country. The schools (and the products) were named as an homage to Giovanni Marinello, the founder of Modern Cosmetology.

Giovanni Marinello was a prominent Physician and Gynecologist in 16th century Venice, Italy. A Renaissance man, Marinello was a pioneer in medical research and known for his multiple interests, including developing diets and weight loss plans. In 1562, Marinello published a book entitled, "The Beautification of the Ladies," where he described what is now known as the "Introduction to Cosmetology."

The Early Years

The Marinello schools accepted both male and female students and covered both hairdressing and skin treatments. Students were expected to have a basic knowledge of anatomy and the structure of skin, recognize important skin diseases and conditions, and operate in an environment that followed accepted medical standards of disinfection and sterilization of equipment. These early trailblazing techniques and approaches are still in practice today across our campuses.

Marinello hairdressing class in 1907

The early Marinello schools used "The Skin: Its Care and Treatment" as a textbook, while The Marinello Text Book was introduced in 1914. It went through five editions (1914, 1915, 1920, 1921, and 1923) and remained the textbook for undergraduate classes in Marinello schools until 1927.

The arrival of the new textbook did not mean that "The Skin: Its Care and Treatment" was no longer used in Marinello schools. By 1907, the school was offering both undergraduate and postgraduate courses and postgraduate students used this more advanced text.

Marinello Powder ad from 1916

Growth and Expansion

Marinello’s Beauty School in Mission, CA in 1967

Mrs. Maurer’s vision has carried us through those early years, from Wisconsin, to the first headquarters move to New York City in 1925, to the big coast-to-coast move to Los Angeles in 1963. That same year, Marinello was purchased by Scope Industries, headquartered in Los Angeles. Since March 2004, Marinello has been under the ownership of B&H Education, Inc. located in Beverly Hills, California, with campus locations throughout California, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada and Utah.

To the Future…

Marinello has always been a forward-thinking institution. Our early focus on creating innovative beauty products evolved into a focus on training students in beauty techniques and methodology, leading to the eventual development of our Marinello Method.

Ten years into our second century as a beauty education organization, we continue to move forward in this new millennium. We remain passionate and committed to our students, leading them by example and equipping them with the tools they need to achieve their dreams in the beauty and wellness industry. Our focus, honed over 110 years of industry experience, will continue to provide our students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a career that they can grow in for the rest of their lives.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to James Bennett of www.cosmeticsandskin.com/ and Michael Hetherington of www.collectingvintagecompacts.blogspot.com for their help and permission to use Marinello archival images collected through their hard work and research.

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