Black Beauty Pioneers You Need To Know

Black Beauty Pioneers You Need To Know

See Black women who advocated for all shades and textures.

Published February 7, 2020

Written by Vanessa Etienne

Thanks to a number of pioneers who saw a need in our community for representation in cosmetics and hair care, many worldwide are broadcasting the message that their Black is beautiful. For Black History Month, we're recognizing strong Black women who have shattered typical perceptions of beauty and made necessary strides toward creating more products for a variety of shades and textures.

  1. Madam C.J. Walker
    CIRCA 1914:  Madam C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) the first female self made millionaire in the world poses for a portrait circa 1914. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

    Madam C.J. Walker transformed hair care for Black women when she released "Madam Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower," a scalp conditioning and healing formula. As the first female self-made millionaire in America, she was known for her revolutionary hair and skin care products sold worldwide.

  2. Pat McGrath
    attends Barneys New York And Disney Electric Holiday Window Unveiling Hosted By Sarah Jessica Parker, Bob Iger, And Mark Lee on November 14, 2012 in New York City.
    (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Barneys New York)

    Pat McGrath, a British makeup artist, was proclaimed “the most influential makeup artist in the world” by Vogue. From 1990s dewy skin to today's no-retouching-necessary foundation, McGrath has been an innovator in makeup artistry. Her company valuation was reported at $1 Billion dollars, worth more than Kylie Cosmetics. 

  3. Supa Cent
    attends Beautycon Los Angeles 2019 Day 2 Pink Carpet at Los Angeles Convention Center on August 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

    Reynell Steward, better known as “Supa Cent”, is the founder of The Crayon Case, a makeup brand that went viral during her Cyber Monday sale that grossed $1 million in venue in under two hours. She continues to break her own record year after year. 

  4. Jackie Aina
    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jackie Aina attends the American Influencer Award at The Novo by Microsoft on November 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
    (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

    Jackie Aina is a YouTube makeup and beauty guru. As an influencer, she uses her platform to advocate for African Americans in the beauty industry, arguing that people of color are poorly represented and often ignored.

  5. Eunice Johnson

    Eunice Johnson created Fashion Fair cosmetics in 1973 for women of color to find makeup that matched their "unique hues." It grew to become the world’s largest black-owned beauty brand.

  6. Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid
    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19:  Iman attends Fashion 4 Development's 7th Annual First Ladies Luncheon at The Pierre Hotel on September 19, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
    (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)

    Iman is a model who became a pioneer in the cosmetics industry and has constantly challenged the definition of mainstream "beauty." She launched Iman Cosmetics in 1994 which remains one of the most successful beauty brands for dark skin worldwide. 



  7. Annie Malone

    Annie Malone, a chemist and entrepreneur, developed a hair product in the twentieth century to straighten Black women's hair without damaging it like most products at the time. This led her to create an entire line of hair care and beauty products specifically for Black women.


Latest in style