Madam CJ Walker

The beauty industry practically prints its own money and the revenue of the U.S. cosmetic industry was at $493 billion in 2018. It continued showing positive growth of 5.5% for the next two years.

It did take a dip in 2020, but the industry is expected to recover and now the market’s value is forecasted to reach $756 billion in 2026.

Sadly, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) creators are too often excluded from the lucrative beauty industry, despite the contributions that Black and Brown creatives have made. You don’t have to look far to see their influence, from the creation of the hairbrush to the invention of conditioner, African-American women are the energy behind many of beauty’s most important innovations.

Lisa Price (Courtesy photo)

In honor of Women’s History Month, here are a few African American women of beauty who revolutionized the beauty industry and cemented their place in history.

Madam C.J. Walker is the first self-made female millionaire in history and is considered a pioneering force in the hair health and beauty industries. This gifted, and determined entrepreneur developed a signature line of hair products, pomades, shampoos, and conditioners that were created for African American women, and she employed thousands of African-American women and taught her employees about financial independence.

Lisa Price is the innovative founder of curly-girl favorite, Carol’s Daughter, starting her empire from a selection of homemade products whipped up in a Brooklyn kitchen. So successful were the products that they skyrocketed into a nationally-recognized natural beauty brand. In 2016, Carol’s Daughter expanded into Target stores nationwide and is now more accessible than ever.

Nancy Twine (Courtesy photo)

Nancy Twine is the creative force behind the haircare brand, Briogeo, which is a groundbreaking brand that took beauty back to basics with a natural approach to haircare with popular products like the Farewell Frizz Leave-In Conditioner and the Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, Briogeo’s high-performance, high-quality hair products have something for every hair type.

Pat McGrath (Courtesy photo)

Pat McGrath is “that” beauty mogul who has been shaping the fashion industry for years. Her concept for makeup looks have appeared on every single runway show and magazine, which you can imagine, cemented her place in fashion history. Her work has been a part of many luxury brands – from Giorgio Armani to Dolce & Gabanna – in launching their cosmetics lines. Vogue‘s Anna Wintour considered her work genius and the  Queen of England awarded her the coveted title of MBE. McGrath opened her Pat McGrath Labs in 2015.