The story behind the skin care brand Erno Laszlo is straight out of the golden era of Hollywood. Beauty icons Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Greta Garbo all credit Erno Laszlo products as their secret behind their flawless skin.
We were delighted to be invited by Holt Renfrew to their media afternoon with Hylton Lea, the rep for the skin care brand Erno Laszlo. After hearing the dynamic Hylton speak about the products, we couldn’t wait to try them for ourselves. We sat down with Hylton to learn more about this incredible skincare brand and it’s founder, Erno Laszlo.
Style Calling: Who was Erno Laszlo?
Hylton Lea: Erno Laszlo was the progenitor of modern skincare: most contemporary skincare products and philosophies owe something to the Hungarian visionary and his brand. Erno Laszlo products have been the secret of beauty icons from the Golden Age of Hollywood up through today. Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo and Brooke Shields have made Erno Laszlo part of their daily “ritual”.
He was a Dermatologist by trade and developed his first products in 1927. Ahead of his time, he was first to add a sunscreen to a product, formulated skincare programs for teens and men, and the first to develop PH balanced products. Dr. Laszlo’s philosophy of creating tailor made products specifically formulated to confront the signs of premature aging, environmental hazards and the stress of a modern lifestyle has earned Erno Laszlo its reputation for 87 years of being the Authority of Skincare.
How did the Erno Laszlo line begin?
The first Institute was opened in Budapest in 1927. Dr. Laszlo gained notoriety working with the ‘Who’s Who’ of royalty and society in Europe. He healed Hungary’s Princess Stephanie’s acute affliction with acne, restoring her self-esteem and developing the pre-cursor to today’s Phormula 3-9. He also successfully treated Frida Gombaszögi, one of Hungary’s most celebrated actresses, after she was shot in the face at point-blank range by an enraged lover.
Where was the first store located?
The first Institute was located in Budapest and opened in 1927. In 1937 Dr. Laszlo was asked to supervise the makeup department at Warner Brothers Studios and moved to Los Angeles. He begins to build a Hollywood A- list clientele but is not charmed with Hollywood so he moves to New York where where he opens his Institute on 5th Avenue in 1939 where the Fendi Building stands today.
Erno Laszlo sounds like quite a character! Can you share a story about him with our readers?
My favorite story is of the first Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. She wrote to Dr. Enro Laszlo asking him to visit the White House to examine a rash on President John Kennedy’s back. Dr. Laszlo wrote back congratulating Jacqueline Kennedy on her husband being elected the President of the United States, but told her that he does not make “house calls” he has to visit the Institute in New York.
Erno Laszlo was infamous for his honesty and directness, refusing treatment if clients stopped following advice. He famously told Ava Gardner that she was lying in claiming to follow his instructions: “Your skin tells me the truth”. And who could argue with the great Laszlo? What he lacked in social grace was more than made up for with astounding – and much talked about – results.
How did you become involved with the brand?
I have been an avid devotee of the ritual for almost 12 years. I have never wavered from using the “dynamic duo”: Pre- cleansing Phelityl Oil and Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar AND splashing, lots of splashing with the treatment broth! I joined the company in my role as Sales Director of Dr Erno Laszlo a year ago.
What are your favorite items in the collection?
I have so many favorite products in Laszlo! When I first joined the company it felt like I was discovering a new favorite product every day! The “dynamic duo”of the Pre-phelytil Cleansing Oil and the Sea Mud Soap are my two favorite products. But, If there was one product that would have to accompany me to a desert island (if I was ever stranded on one) would have to be the Protocol (Rapid Renewal Cell Protocol). It makes my entire regimen so simple. I use the one “serum” day and night after my cleansing and toning routine and it addresses every skincare concern I have ever had or will have in the future. My skin is hydrated and healthy looking!
The crows feet around my eyes have softened. The sun damage caused my growing up in South Africa and my passion for running around the planet has definitely improved. I have an even skin tone, finally, and I could not be more thrilled with the results and benefits of using this serum.I have sensitive skin and I tend to break out. I have almost no breakouts anymore. Using the RRCP the overall condition of my skin has improved. It is feels like my skin is optimized and is functioning on different level entirely. I LOVE this product. It feels amazing from the minute you apply it to your skin!
Why is routine important to the success of the product? What is your best anti aging tip?
The cleansing and splashing ritual is the DNA of the brand. I visibly see a change in my skin every time I go through the cleansing process. The splashing ritual with the oil and soap is a workout for skin. The tone and general appearance of my skin has vastly improved. My pores are almost invisible. The Pre-Phelityl Cleansing Oil also happens to be the best pre-shave oil I have ever used. I have a tough beard and suffer through occasional breakouts and ingrown hairs. The 12 oil essential soften my beard and give me an extraordinary close shave resulting in even fewer ingrown hairs and breakouts.
WAY TO RELAX & UNWIND
I am an avid traveler. I literally cannot get enough of exploring this planet. I think my favorite city is Rio De Janeiro. It so gorgeous with such such a sexy, dynamic energy. It’s a pretty extraordinary place. I love exploring the beaches, throwing myself off a mountain and para-gliding down to earth or just relaxing at the awesome Fasano roof deck.
PLACE FOR VACATION
My favorite place to chill out is Bora Bora (boring boring) nothing quite like it! I totally forget that I even own an iPhone, iPad or computer. I just fully disconnect when I’m there.
My favorite coffee is a tall blonde roast from Starbucks.
It completes my morning ritual!
My favorite modern day Beauty Icon is Scarlett Johansson. She is breathtaking and to me embodies what the modern day Laszlo Icon represents. I sat next to her on a flight to New York and I was literally speechless and I can converse with a tree!