Black History Month: Honoring Black Women Trailblazers in the Beauty Industry from 1900s-Present Day

There have been many black women trailblazers in our history. However, this month we would like to cover a few women that undoubtedly encompass everything it is to be a “YUMMY girl”.

This month we pay tribute to the many wonderful black women around the world; here are a few that we have chosen to highlight this year from 1900s to present day.



Annie Turnbo Malone

Born in 1869, Annie Turnbo Malone was one of the Women whose expertise revolutionized the beauty Industry for black Americans with her Wonderful Hair Grower and Scalp Preps- to name a few. In the 1900s, her business and brand took the beauty world by storm making her the wealthiest African American Women that would eventually pave the way for another pioneer in the beauty industry- Madam CJ Walker.


Madam CJ Walker

Walker and Malone both had similar upbringings and would go on to have similar futures. Due to her issues with her own hair, she enrolled at Malone’s Poro College where she was trained and eventually sought out to develop her own hair care and skin products for African American women. She became America’s first recognized, self-made female millionaire.

“Both Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C.J. Walker succeeded in developing specialized black hair care and beauty products for African Americans. More impressive, each was pioneering entrepreneurs, creating highly successful companies - extraordinary accomplishments given they were black women competing in a segregated and highly sexist society.” – National Museum of African American History and Culture.



Marjorie Joyner

Marjorie Joyner created the permanent wave machine in 1928, which we recognize today as the modern hair dryer. A year after Madam CJ Walker passed, Joyner became the National Supervisor for 200 of Walkers beauty schools. In efforts to improve the efficiency and overall comfortability of using one comb at a time when straightening hair, Joyner developed the permanent wave machine that would further revolutionize hair care for African American women.



Christina Jenkins

Christina Jenkins worked as a wig manufacturer who wanted to learn how to better secure wigs.  In 1951, she filed a patent for the “Hair Weev” technique in which added synthetic extensions to a person's hair by sewing hair onto cornrows. This was a process some historians say date back to ancient Egypt but was patented and then eventually granted in 1952 to Jenkins. This method would then later become known as the “sew-in”.Ever since, this technique remains used in several different ways and continues to develop itself in the beauty industry.


1980s & 1990s

Donnie Cannon

 Donnie Cannon and husband Chapman Cannon  co-founded American Beauty Products in the early 1980s and this brand became one of the largest black owned businesses for black skin and hair care products. This brand was also one of the top 100 black owned businesses nationwide of its’ time.



Zara Mohamed Abdulmajid "Iman"

Super-model Zara Mohamed Abdulmajid, best known as Iman, founded Iman Cosmetics in 1994. The drive behind starting Iman Cosmetics was that it was hard to find products to match for her skin complexion. According to, a makeup artist told Iman he didn’t have anything suitable for someone with her coloring. Once she began mixing her own color combinations however, the supermodel’s black peers took notice. After almost 30 years in the beauty industry, Iman Cosmetics has been a trend-setter for various make-up companies to follow.



Shelley Davis 

Shelley Davis created the all-natural Kinky Curly Brand in 2003 for natural hair. In an interview with TNJ, Shelley expressed her drive for developing a plant-based product to sustain heathy, natural hair. This initiative would soon turn into a movement to embrace natural curls.



Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty

 Rihanna fans were waiting on her next album but she ended dropping a different type of hit- Fenty Beauty in 2017.  

Rihanna created Fenty Beauty, “so that women everywhere would be included,” focusing on a wide range of traditionally hard-to-match skin tones, developing formulas that work for all skin types, and pinpointing universal shades.”- LVMH.COM

This brand would soon become the trendsetting company that would push other beauty companies of its’ day to include a further variety of shade for all skin tones.


Raynell "Supa Cent" Stewart

Created in 2017, the Crayon Case was launched by Raynell Stewart best known as Wuzzam Supa Cent after creating her online following steaming back from 2011. “While posting makeup tutorials, she realized her knack in make- up and decided to enter the beauty industry”. She earned 1 million dollars in 2018 during her Cyber Monday sale after just 90 minutes! This brand and her journey was an inspiration to many beauty entrepreneurs.


Tracee E. Ross

 Actress Tracee Ellis Ross founded Pattern Beauty in 2019 and her sole mission is “to bring mindfulness, compassion, honesty, and sacredness to the business of beauty,” and with the positive reviews in the short time being on the market, it looks like Ms. Ross is doing just that! Ross has been a beauty mogul for decades and an inspiration to many in the beauty industry.