Black Women in Hair and Beauty: Celebrating the Accomplishments, Breaking Barriers, and Inspiring the Future.

Black Women in Hair and Beauty: Celebrating the Accomplishments, Breaking Barriers, and Inspiring the Future.

Black Women in Hair and Beauty: Celebrating the Accomplishments, Breaking Barriers, and Inspiring the Future.

International Women's Day is on Wednesday, Mar 8, 2023, and as we celebrate the accomplishments of women around the world, it is important to recognize the significant contributions of Black women in the business world. For many years, Black women have been at the forefront of entrepreneurship, creating successful businesses and paving the way for others to follow in their footsteps. In particular, the hair and beauty industry has been a platform for many Black women to showcase their creativity and business acumen. This industry has seen many Black women entrepreneurs break through barriers, create innovative products, and build successful brands that have become household names. In this blog post, we will highlight some of these business pioneers who have made significant contributions to the hair and beauty industry, and whose legacies continue to inspire and influence future generations.

Madam C. J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove in 1867, became the first Black woman millionaire in America through her line of hair care products for Black women. 

Madam C. J. Walker

She created the “Walker system” of hair care after experiencing hair loss, which involved scalp preparation, lotions, and iron combs. Walker sold her homemade products directly to Black women and employed “beauty culturalists” to sell them, which helped her build a successful business empire. 

She opened a beauty school and factory in Pittsburgh and moved her business headquarters to Indianapolis, employing some 40,000 people, largely Black women who sold her products. 

Walker was known for her philanthropy, funding scholarships for women at Tuskegee Institute and donating to the NAACP, the Black YMCA, and other organizations.

She died in 1919 at the age of 51, but her legacy as a pioneering Black female entrepreneur lives on.

Marjorie Stewart Joyner was an influential African American beauty industry pioneer born in Virginia in 1896. She moved to Chicago and became the first African American graduate of A.B. Molar Beauty School in 1916. Joyner met Madam C.J. Walker, a well-known and influential businesswoman in the beauty industry, and joined her company after her death in 1919. 

Marjorie Stewart Joyner

Joyner later invented the permanent wave machine, a groundbreaking device that revolutionized the hair care industry by using multiple rods to curl or straighten hair quickly and comfortably, which we recognize today as the modern hairdryer. 

Joyner patented her invention in 1928 and assigned her rights to Madam Walker's company. Despite not receiving substantial compensation, she continued to break ground in the beauty industry and co-founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association in 1945. 

She also founded the Alpha Chi Pi Omega Sorority and Fraternity to help raise professional standards for beauticians. She passed away in 1994 at the age of 98. 

Annie Malone was a pioneering businesswoman who developed a line of hair and beauty products specifically designed for African American women. Growing up in a society where appearance and grooming were used as indicators of class and social standing, Malone recognised the need for products that could improve hair health for African Americans. 

Annie Malone

She developed a line of hair products that were successful, leading her to establish Poro College Company in 1902, a cosmetics school that trained African American women in hair styling and provided employment opportunities for them. 

Poro products included scalp preparations, hair nourishing products, and cosmetics. The company was also a meeting place for African Americans and Black organizations during a time of segregation. 

Malone's success made her one of the wealthiest African American women in the 1920s, and she used her fortune to donate to philanthropic efforts. However, the Poro Company faced challenges in the form of lawsuits, a bitter divorce settlement, and the Great Depression, leading to its reduced size. 

Despite the setbacks, Malone's legacy as a trailblazing businesswoman and philanthropist remains an inspiration.

Lisa Price is the founder of Carol's Daughter, a beauty company known for its high-quality products made with love and a passion for scent alchemy. The company started in Price's Brooklyn kitchen more than 25 years ago, and it has continued to thrive even after being acquired by L'Oreal.

Lisa Price

Price is still involved in the company's product development, brand vision, and advertising, and she actively educates the sales force on Carol's Daughter. 

Price is also a member of the Executive Committee at L'Oreal USA, where she provides her perspective on diversity, equality, inclusion, and organizational topics. In addition to her work with Carol's Daughter, Price is a board member of First Watch Restaurants and a champion for women's economic issues.

She and Carol's Daughter recently launched Love Delivered, an initiative focused on raising awareness of the Black Maternal Health Crisis in the United States.

Nancy Twine is the founder of Briogeo Hair Care, a natural hair care brand that offers high-performance products with visible results. Nancy's interest in natural product formulation began at the age of five when she helped her grandmother make homemade hair care during visits to West Virginia. After moving to New York City in her early twenties, Nancy found that natural hair care products on the market did not meet their performance claims, which led her to start Briogeo.

Nancy Twine


The brand takes a back-to-basics approach, offering a collection of naturally based yet performance-driven hair care products. Briogeo's product line includes the Farewell Frizz Leave-In Conditioner and the Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, which cater to all hair types. The brand's success lies in its ability to provide high-quality, effective hair care products without the backing of big-name celebrity stylists or deep-pocketed corporations.

These remarkable women have broken barriers and paved the way for others to follow in their footsteps.

To add to the list of these trailblazers, Lulu Pierre, the CEO, and Founder of Boho Locs shared her story of how she came to establish the brand and also shed light on the new collection of Lit Bob Locs. Her story and insights have been featured in our latest blog post, and we encourage you to take a look at it. You never know, her words may just inspire you to pursue your own dreams and create a path of your own.


In conclusion, Black women business pioneers have left an indelible mark in the hair and beauty industry. Through their hard work, perseverance, and innovation, they have made significant contributions to the business world and inspired a new generation of entrepreneurs. These women have overcome systemic barriers and paved the way for future generations to succeed in business.

We must recognize their achievements and give them their flowers while they can still smell them. As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us remember the important contributions of these trailblazing women and continue to support Black-owned businesses.

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