In 1916, hairdresser Charles Jundt took over the Manhattan beauty salon of the New York City Ritz (later the Ritz-Carlton) hotel. He founded his own cosmetics company in 1919, and in 1926, began marketing beauty products under the name "Charles of the Ritz". Perfume was added to this line in 1927.
In 1932, at the age of 24, Richard B. Salomon was named president of Charles of the Ritz, Inc. Twenty years later, he was elected chairman and chief executive officer. Salomon became known internationally as a businessman, philanthropist and humanitarian. He also served as chancellor of Brown University from 1979-88.
In 1935, Charles of the Ritz launched the highly successful Jean Naté line of body splashes and fragrance. They later acquired the cosmetics company Alexandra de Markoff.
Charles of the Ritz expanded distribution from upscale salons into upper-end department store like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. In the early 1950s, he was said to have mocked Estée Lauder and her practice of free samples and gifts with purchase, saying "You will never go anywhere in this industry."
In 1963, Ritz acquired 80% of the house of Yves Saint Laurent. Ritz launched an entire line of skincare and makeup under the Yves Saint Laurent Beaute brand. In 1964 Charles of the Ritz merged with the Lanvin group. It was from then on known as Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz. In 1969 the prominent makeup artist Way Bandy joined Charles of the Ritz as the salon director of makeup.