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Obituary: Robert Goldemberg, Cosmetic Chemist

Posted: October 15, 2008

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Mr. Goldemberg, president of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists in the early 1970s, gave much thought to how people can glow without the use of chemicals.

"My mother took the brunt of my father's experiments," said David Goldemberg, who especially remembers his mother's multi-colored hair from his father's natural hair dyes.

Years later, Mr. Goldemberg and his second wife, Rose, whose pen name was Beatrice Traven, teamed up on "The Complete Book of Natural Cosmetics: An Authoritative Guide to Natural Beauty Aids That Can Be Prepared in the Buyer's Own Kitchen."

Husband and wife detailed a recipe for a basic cold cream calling for beeswax, olive oil, heavy mineral oil, water and borax. For a luxurious facial mask, Mr. Goldemberg recommended one tablespoon mashed avocado, two tablespoons raw honey and two egg whites (or one whole egg). And apple juice found its way, along with isopropyl alcohol and witch hazel, into a refreshing toning lotion.

After Simon and Schuster published the book in 1974, The Record visited Rose and Robert Goldemberg at their home in Teaneck. Mr. Goldemberg explained that despite the beneficial properties of vegetable-based ingredients, the cosmetics industry cannot use them because of their brief shelf life.

The advantage of making cosmetics at home, he noted, is that you can tailor the product to your needs.