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Celebrating Black History: Black Women Innovators In Beauty

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It’s Black History Month, and love is in the air. It is the perfect time to highlight the correlation between Black women and their love of everything beautiful. In a quest to pay homage to our ancestral innovators, let’s look at four Black women who paved the way in the beauty industry. Their accomplishments will bring you joy and will remind you not to think twice about taking charge of your beauty with the plethora of tools at your fingertips.

  1. The Wig

Imagine not being able to rummage through your collection of wigs, which consists of different lengths, colors, and styles. A woman with a good wig is believed to make it far. Now whip your hair back and forth as an ode to Christina Jenkins. She is the reason for a Black woman’s confidence. Jenkins presented a solution, leading to a worry-free workday or last-minute dinner outing. In the late 1940s, Jenkins patented a technique that became the modern sew-in. The objective was to secure wigs tightly on the head of any woman. She later opened a cosmetology school to teach other women her convenient, money-making method.

Tip: Shop around for a wig that corresponds with your style. It is important to make sure the wig fits correctly. Don’t forget to schedule an installation with your go-to stylist for longer-lasting wigs. This is also a great way to support a Black-owned business. And after a long night of partying, be sure to take your wig off before passing out.

  1. The Hairbrush

Picture yourself in the mirror wondering why you went to bed without a bonnet or a scarf. Do you remember how wild and free your hair looked? After generations of trying to “tame” and “civilize” African Americans, Lyda Newman patented a tool to manage textured hair. When you look at your wig brush with its spaced-out bristles, understand that Newman put great thought into protecting “ethnic” hair. In the late 1800s, she patented the product that made hairstyling more efficient – from brushing to cleaning to drying numerous clients’ hair during a salon’s daily operation. And the brush was accessible to most women because of its low cost.

Tip: Be sure that your brush’s bristles aren’t too sharp, or you will run the risk of scratching your scalp too hard or tearing your hair, creating unnecessary, undesirable breakage.

  1. Hair Growth and Hair Nourishing Products

Do you ever unravel your hair from a protective style and hope to see some progress in your hair journey? Before Annie Malone, there were not many products to focus on hair growth for Black women. In the late 1800s, Malone devoted her life to beauty, particularly hair treatment, after deciding that traditional schooling wasn’t for her. Following years of hairdressing, she created shampoo and hair growth products that she marketed and promoted on her own. Then Malone made a significant business move – she moved to a predominantly Black city, St. Louis, to meet a large consumer base right where they were. Being the certified hustler, Malone may have taken the crown as the first Black female millionaire before Madame C.J. Walker.

Tip: Like any living thing, your hair needs to be watered and nurtured. Keep your hair and scalp moisturized with a cosmetologist’s recommended products, maintain a balanced diet in addition to drinking tons of water.

  1. The Makeup Palette

It’s date night, and you just finished getting dressed. You’re almost ready to head out the door, but your face is bare. In front of your mirror and under good lighting, you get to work. After applying foundation and filling in your eyebrows, you’re now ready to perfect your eyeshadow. There are so many colors to choose from on the palette, but it wasn’t always that way. In 2022, it is reasonably uncommon not to find the color that compliments your skin tone. Eunice Johnson was a trailblazer in the diversification of the makeup color palette.

In the early 1970s, Johnson sought to fill a void in commercial sales. Significant labels included Black models in the fashion shows and ads; no adequate shades existed for their makeup to be fully done. By opening Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Black women could purchase a palette with a greater range of colors. Johnson’s invention propelled other major beauty brands to tap into the manufacturing of color palettes for women of darker hues.

Tip: Test out colors that go well with your skin. It may shock you that it is better to choose colors from the opposite side of the color wheel that are opposite of your eye color.

After reading this article, consider looking in the mirror and thanking the women who helped you get snatched with ease.

 

 

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