Esthetics pioneer Christine Valmy passed away on 18 January at the age of 88 in Bucharest. The Romania-born Valmy’s contributions to the development of skin care aesthetics earned her the nickname ‘Cosmetics Queen’, but this versatile achiever also had a law degree from the University of Bucharest in addition to her cosmetology degree from the city’s Medical School.
In 1966, Ms Valmy opened a professional school on 57th Street in New York, where she began teaching the latest techniques in skin care and how skin functioned. She taught the ‘Valmy Method’ with a goal to ‘reveal, not to conceal’ the natural beauty of skin.
She is widely credited with coining the word aesthetician. She also founded a trade group, the American Association of Estheticians and by 1968 she had set up an American Chapter of an international association of beauty therapists called Cidesco, from Comité International d’Esthétique et de Cosmétologie.
In the late 1970s, Ms Valmy and others successfully lobbied for the licensing of aestheticians as a distinct profession. Before then, only a hairdressing license was legally required to treat skin. She was nominated as the ‘Business Person Of The Year’ in the year 1976 by President Gerald Ford for the State of New Jersey, where her second school and laboratories are located.
Perhaps the truest indication of Valmy’s impact on the beauty world is reflected in the deep respect she evoked from her skin care colleagues and fellow leaders. “My first impression of Christine Valmy was at the CIDESCO show in 1982 in New York at the Sheraton Hotel,” shares Lydia Sarfati, founder and CEO of Repêchage. “She truly exemplified what the beauty professional should be: glamorous, elegant and sophisticated.”
Josephine Wackett, Vice President, CIDESCO International, credited Ms Valmy with distinguishing the ‘scientific skin care treatments’ offered by aestheticians from cosmetology, which in the United States mostly meant hairdressing and manicures. “She was a true pioneer,” Wackett said.
More than 85,000 estheticians have graduated from her schools in 18 countries, including Japan and India. In addition to training, Ms Valmy found time to write three books on skin care and aesthetics titled Esthetics: The Keystone Guide to Skin Care, Christine Valmy’s Skin Care and Make Up Book and Christine Valmy Method of Scientific Facials.
Says Nalini Kalra, General Manager, Christine Valmy India, “Christine Valmy’s legacy lives on in the industry she pioneered and the empire she created. She truly gave a different meaning to the beauty industry. The industry has lost an icon.”
Valmy is survived by her husband, Peter de Haydu, daughter, Marina Valmy de Haydu and her two grandsons.
Caption: Christine Valmy October 25, 1926 – January 18, 2015