Merle Norman Cosmetics: An American tradition going strong at HarMar Mall

Owner Kathleen Fuery assists employee Robyn Ries with a wig fitting in Merle Norman Cosmetics’ private studio.

Many first-timers become regulars after trying Merle Norman's high-quality products. Customers are welcome to call for a complimentary makeover 651-636-1866.

Tried-and-true products, from cleansers to wigs, give customers a healthy dose of confidence


Kathleen Fuery's search for the "holy grail" took her to a small beauty shop in the heart of HarMar Mall. After years of battling severe skin allergies, Fuery had tried just about every skincare product under the sun without results. 

She'd almost lost hope, when she happened to pass by Merle Norman Cosmetics. "I tried one product and in two weeks, I had the best skin of my life," she raves.

Fuery became an immediate convert.

She began working at the store as a second job, and now, 30 years later, continues to embody the spirit of the brand's founder, Merle Norman. 

In 1931, Norman was a young chemist in Los Angeles, who began crafting skincare products and cosmetics for friends and family. She helped loved ones find targeted solutions to their concerns and created the slogan, "try before you buy."

Today, customers can expect the same kind of personalized attention at the HarMar location. After performing a complementary skincare assessment, employees are able to find results-driven products that give each skin type the ingredients it needs to be healthy. 

Fuery prides herself on the fact that Merle Norman products are made in the U.S., saying it ensures the quality of the ingredients.

In addition to providing quality skin and hair care products, Merle Norman offers wigs and cosmetics, including complementary makeovers. During the record February snow, Fuery modeled some of the shop's new wigs for a "Transformation Tuesday" feature on the store's Facebook page. In one photo, she's a very professional-looking brunette with a short bob; in another she's got long, strawberry-blond waves. 

"Your imagination is the limit, basically!" she says. "You can do anything you want. Wigs get more and more natural every day. I guarantee that you walk by somebody every day wearing a wig."

Some people come in wanting to try a new look for a night out, but many others come in needing wigs for medical reasons. Robyn Ries, longtime customer-turned employee, found Merle Norman while searching for a wig to cover her alopecia. 

"I eventually was able to be blessed by being able to work here and share my story with other people," says Ries. "When they know that they're talking with someone who actually shares a similar experience, it's been very rewarding."

Fuery encourages customers to buy wigs in person, noting that manufacturers typically send their best products directly to shops and salons. Additionally, when a customer comes in to buy a wig in person, Fuery — she’s a licensed hair stylist — is able to customize it. 

"A little trim can make a big difference on some of these wigs when they're right out of the box," she says.

Fuery and her staff believe in the tried-and-true power of Merle Norman Cosmetics, an American classic that has survived by providing results and outstanding customer service. 

While employees have fun doing glamorous makeovers, they also take their job seriously. As Ries and Fuery can attest to, the right wig or skin care product can change someone's life. 

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