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The Black Beauty Industry


The black community is a community that has been excluded and treated horribly throughout history. Especially in the beauty industry which is evident even on the lack of darker foundation shades in international brands like Maybelline or L’oreal Paris. As a result, people like Madame C.J. Walker, Eunice Johnson, Annie T. Malone or Anthony Overton started their own beauty line. These people and many more aimed to come up with products that would meet the demands and the needs of the black people whether in haircare or makeup.

One of the best-known examples is Madame C.J. Walker who developed her own hair products and in 1908 opened a hair salon for black women who weren’t welcome to go to a salon because of the extreme racism during that time. Another known example is Annie T. Malone. She developed her own hair straighteners, oils and other products for African American women. Madame C.J. Walker actually worked as a saleswoman for Malone before starting her own business. Annie Malone also established a cosmology school named the Poro College in 1918. Or Iman, a supermodel who used to bring her own makeup to set, established Iman Cosmetics to provide a high-end makeup collection for the women of color in the 1970. It wasn’t just women that worked for the black beauty industry. For example, Anthony Overton got into the beauty industry with the founding of Overton Hygienic Company in 1898. While running his business, he realized the lack of products for black women and focused on the product called High Brown Face Powder.

Looking at the recent past, in 2012 Melissa Butler founded Lip Bar aiming to create lipstick that performed well on all skin tones. In 2017 Rihanna, a famous singer and songwriter, launched Fenty Beauty with 40 different shades of foundation. Also in 2017, Amanda Johnson and K.J. Miller created Mented Cosmetics known for creating the perfect nude lipstick for all skin tones. In 2020, Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and Desiree Rogers bought Fashion Fair Cosmetics and Black Opal Beauty, aiming to continue creating products for colored women.

To conclude, even if colored women aren’t seen as substantial as they should be seen by the beauty brands, the black beauty industry has come a significant way since the 1900s and is still developing and growing each day.

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