International Women’s Month

Women's History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. In this case we decided to honor the history of cosmetics and Great Women of Cosmetics who paved the way for future cosmetics entrepreneurs. 

History of cosmetics.

The history of cosmetics spans at least 7,000 years and is present in almost every society on Earth. Cosmetic body art is argued to have been the earliest form of ritual in human culture. The evidence for this comes in the form of red mineral pigments (red ochre) in crayons associated with the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa. Cosmetics are mentioned in the Old Testament.—2 Kings 9:30 where Jezebel painted her eyelids—approximately 840 BC—and the book of Esther describes various beauty treatments as well. Cosmetics were also used in ancient Rome, although much of Roman literature suggests that it was frowned upon. It is known that some women in ancient Rome invented make up including lead-based formulas, to whiten the skin, and kohl was used to line the eyes.

Cosmetics category.

Cosmetics are a category of health and beauty products that are used to care for the face and body, or used to accentuate or change a person's appearance. Though cosmetics are commonly thought of as only makeup used to alter a person's appearance, cosmetics can also refer to a number of products used to care for the skin and the body, as well as those used to add fragrance to it. There are a large number of cosmetics available under these various categories, each designed for different purposes and featuring different characteristics.

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove; December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. She is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records. Multiple sources mention that although other women might have been the first, their wealth is not as well-documented.  Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She became known also for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts. Villa Lewaro, Walker's lavish estate in Irvington, New York, served as a social gathering place for the African American community. At the time of her death, she was considered the wealthiest African American businesswoman and wealthiest self-made black woman in America. Her name was a version of "Mrs. Charles Joseph Walker", after her third husband.

Eunice W. Johnson

Eunice Walker Johnson (April 4, 1916 – January 3, 2010) was an American businesswoman. Johnson was the wife of publisher John H. Johnson and an executive at Johnson Publishing Company. Johnson was best known as the founder and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair, and which was started in 1958 as a hospital fundraiser and became an annual worldwide fashion tour that highlighted fashion for African-American women When Eunice Johnson noticed that the models at the Ebony Fashion Fair "were mixing foundations to create the right blend to match their hues", she initially approached existing cosmetics companies and asked them to develop make-up lines which would suit the specific needs of women of color. However, as she was met with resistance from the companies she approached, she and her husband, John H. Johnson, created the Capsule Collection: a small make-up compact in a mail-order package. Due to high demand, the product led to the creation of a full cosmetic line named Fashion Fair Cosmetics, after the fashion show in 1973. According to Fortune, Fashion Fair Cosmetics was once the largest black-owned cosmetics company in the world. In April 2019, a United Kingdom creditor petitioned a judge to force the company to sell its Fashion Fair Cosmetics UK assets. In November 2019, the brand was acquired by Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and Desirée Rogers.

Helena Rubinstein 

Helena Rubinstein (born Chaja Rubinstein; December 25, 1872 April 1, 1965) was a Polish American businesswoman, art collector, and philanthropist. A cosmetics entrepreneur, she was the founder and eponym of Helena Rubinstein Incorporated cosmetics company, which made her one of the world's richest women.

Elizabeth Arden

Florence Nightingale Graham (December 31, 1881 – October 18, 1966), who went by the business name Elizabeth Arden, was a Canadian-American businesswoman who founded what is now Elizabeth Arden, Inc., and built a cosmetics empire in the United States. By 1929, she owned 150 salons in Europe and the United States.  Her 1,000 products were being sold in 22 countries. She was the sole owner, and at the peak of her career, she was one of the wealthiest women in the world. As of September 7, 2016, the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Revlon, Inc.

Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash (May 12, 1918 – November 22, 2001) was an American businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. At her death, her personal fortune was $98 million. Her company had more than $1.2 billion in sales and an international sales force of more than eight hundred thousand in at least three dozen countries.

Flori Roberts

Flori Roberts, co-founder of Smart Cover Cosmetics, is a remarkable example of an ambitious and successful Prime Woman. She founded Flori Roberts, Inc. in 1965, specializing in products for women of color. Today, the brand sets the industry standard for ethnic cosmetics both in the U.S. and abroad. In 1985, Flori created Dermablend Corrective Cosmetics, an innovative product line designed to conceal skin flaws. Flori currently is on the board of directors and was past president of ICMAD (Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors), an industry trade organization with over 1000 members. She has appeared as a spokesperson for Smart Cover on The Today ShowFox News, and HSN.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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