The beauty profession has paid tribute to Joan Thornycroft MBE, who passed away on March 21, aged 101. Described by many as a “mentor” and
“inspiring”, Thornycroft is best known for her role in setting and implementing international beauty standards as a board member of Cidesco and co-founder of Babtac.
Thornycroft’s close friend and long-time industry colleague Josephine Wackett said, “Joan was always very dignified but most importanly she was a pioneer because she took quality beauty therapy across the globe, first with Cibtac then with Cidesco. She used to travel on her own in the days when women simply didn’t, creating and teaching the safety and standards that have shaped today’s industry.”
Babtac chairman Jason Phillips commented, “We are deeply respectful and proud to continue the organisation [Thornycroft] helped develop.”
Thornycroft began her beauty career in 1934 as a student of cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubenstein. She’s best remembered by many as the principal of Bretlands Beauty Centre, which Thornycroft opened in Kent in 1972. Former student Lisa Whitehead Sears said, “I trained as a beauty therapist [with] Mrs Thornycroft more than 20 years ago. She was so inspiring.”
Wackett fondly remembers how Thornycroft always had a tale to tell. “In World War II, her father owned a metal factory and commissioned her to drive lorries carrying live bombs. She led a fascinating life,” she said.
Thornycroft was awarded an MBE in 2013 in recognition of her work improving the standards of beauty therapy worldwide.