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Yon-Ka Paris’ Françoise Mühlethaler Has Died

She and her sister reinvented the French professional skin care brand, which entered the U.S. in the 1980s.

PARIS — Yon-Ka Paris’ Françoise Mühlethaler has died.

A biochemist by training, she and her sister, Catherine Mühlethaler, an aesthetician, reinvented and ran the professional skin care brand that was created in 1954 by brothers Ernest and Charles Mühlethaler, plus Ernest’s wife Cécile.

“A prolific, creative mind with endless imagination, Françoise Mühlethaler explored many horizons, including a love of nature, science and aesthetics,” Yon-Ka said in a statement. “Her motto led her: ‘If you believe in something, do it.’”

She believed in international expansion, helping launch Yon-Ka abroad in 1970. The brand reached markets such as Belgium, Holland, Scandinavia, Asia and Canada by the mid-’70s and arrived in the U.S. in 1987.

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“Despite facing various challenges, Françoise propelled the brand internationally and made Yon-Ka Paris one of the first French beauty brands to operate in the U.S.,” Yon-Ka said, calling her a pioneer, who “was never held hostage to trends.”

The Mühlethaler sisters co-owned both the beauty brand and the Mühlethaler Laboratories that produce its clean products that are formulated with sustainable ingredients, such as plants and essential oils.

“Product innovation after product innovation, collection after collection, Françoise Mühlethaler left her mark on our family’s legend and the history of the Yon-Ka Paris brand, while cherishing the values of our family: authenticity, respect an also a taste for adventure,” said Catherine Mühlethaler, general manager of Yon-Ka Paris.

“She steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of Yon-Ka’s laboratories, and propelled Yon-Ka education excellence, allowing this exceptional know-how to shine worldwide,” Mühlethaler continued. “The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path she traced by — to quote Françoise — ‘turning big dreams into reality and continuing to embrace the present and invent the future.’”

“Thanks to her creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Françoise Mühlethaler was ahead of her time, which widely contributed to Yon-Ka Paris’ success worldwide,” said Alexis Wolowinski, general manager of Yon-Ka Paris U.K., who called Mühlethaler “a family member, friend, mentor and extraordinary leader, who reinvented the Yon-Ka brand.”