Happy Black History Month! In celebration, we want to pay homage to the Black women who have set records, innovated and broken down barriers in beauty and fashion since the 1900’s. Check out this timeline of industry trailblazers, from Madam C.J. Walker to Rihanna!




Madam C.J. Walker develops first haircare line for African-American women and by 1910 she is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first female self-made millionaire!


Harlem Jazz singer, Esther Jones aka “Baby Esther”, boop-oop-a-doop’s her way to inspire the infamous Betty Boop cartoon character.


Jamaican born model, actress and singer, Grace Jones, smashes the scene with her striking, androgynous look! Going on to cement herself as a pop culture icon through the next decades, and making way for today’s avante-garde pop figures like Lady Gaga and FKA Twigs.


Beverly Johnson becomes first Black cover girl of Vogue!

In the same year, Eunice Johnson founds makeup brand, Fashion Fair, after realizing there weren’t enough shades in the market for women of colour.


Tracey “Africa” Norman, first Black transgender model, appears on box of Clairol hair dye.


20-year-old beauty queen, Vanessa Williams, becomes first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America!


Household names like Brandy and Janet Jackson popularize their signature “box braid” hair styles.


Serena Williams signs largest ever endorsement deal by a female athlete, with Nike!


For the first time in history, the top pageant titles of Miss USA, Miss America, Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe and Miss World are all held by Black women!


After applying her inclusive philosophy to beauty and fashion with the launch of Fenty Beauty’s 40 foundation shade makeup line in 2017, Rihanna goes on to launch additional ventures, Fenty Skin and lingerie line Savage x Fenty and sets a new standard for diversity in the industry! The collection of under garments and loungewear, ranging from size XS to 3X, continues to push the boundaries of beauty by featuring models of all complexions, genders and body types, and is now valued at 1 billion dollars.