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Black Beauty Brands Disrupting the Industry

by Racquel Parker

From Fashion Fair to Fenty Beauty, Black women have been killing it and disrupting the beauty industry. We remember getting caught red-handed as little girls who just wanted to play in our mothers’ makeup! How about you? 

Fashion Fair 

Founded in 1973 by Eunice Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Publishing Company, who brought us Ebony Magazine as well as the traveling fashion exhibit, Ebony Fashion Fair. It was the first cosmetics brand for Black women sold globally in stores such as Neiman Marcus. Fashion Fair was acquired by two former executives of Johnson Publishing Company and revamped and reformulated to ensure all products are vegan and cruelty-free. In 2021, the company was relaunched and is now sold on their website and in Sephora.  

IMAN Cosmetics, Skincare, & Fragrance 

Founded in 1994, by supermodel Iman, who began mixing foundations to fit her complexion in the 1970s while modeling because makeup artists didn’t have shades to “fit” her. Throughout the years her friends wanted to know her secret. After retiring from modeling in 1989, she shifted her focus to creating a cosmetics company. She’s worn many hats in the company such as businesswoman, brand ambassador, and of course BOSS! The products are for all women of color with them being sold in the United States, Canada, UK, France, Africa, and the Caribbean. The brand is sold on the website, in Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens just to name a few. 

The Lip Bar 

Founded in 2012, by Melisa Butler in her very own kitchen. Frustrated with the beauty industry and the chemicals found in many beauty products, Melissa Butler created vegan and cruelty-free products that not only look good but are good for you. She also wanted women to feel beautiful and shake up the superficial standard in the industry that affects so many women. In 2014, Melissa Butler drove “The Lip Bar Truck” from city to city across the United States sharing products with the world. Called makeup for colorful cockroaches by Kevin Leary on “Shark Tank”, Melissa Butler, and Creative Director, Rosco Spears have built the Lip Bar into a million-dollar company. Lipstick was the first product and now there’s a full line of makeup products for the entire face. The Lip Bar is now sold on their website and in Target stores as well as Wal-Mart 

Pat McGrath Labs 

Pat McGrath is affectionately called the “mother of makeup” and has received a stamp of approval from Queen Elizabeth II herself. The legendary makeup artist and creative director has done makeup for almost 200,000 models, contributed to over 500 magazine covers, and has stood backstage at over 3,000 fashion shows. She’s the Global Beauty Creative Design Director for Proctor & Gamble and oversees Covergirl. After working with so many other brands such as Alexander McQueen, Gucci, and Prada just to name a few, she started creating her own products in the lab. In 2015, she launched her first product, Gold 001, which was a limited-edition pigment. It sold out instantly and today Pat McGrath Labs is valued at over $1 Billion and sold on their website and in Sephora 

Fenty Beauty & Fenty Skin 

Rihanna founded Fenty Beauty in 2017, with over 40 foundations shades, putting inclusivity at the forefront. After experimenting with makeup throughout her career as an entertainer, she still wasn’t impressed and had yet to find products that catered to all skin types. Rihanna says “Makeup is there for you to play with. It’s there for you to have fun with. It should never feel like pressure, and it should never feel like a uniform.” A secret to having flawless makeup is caring for your skin underneath. In 2021, Rihanna launched Fenty Skin as amazing skin doesn’t always come easy and there’s even something for men. The skin products pair perfectly with the makeup products. Fenty Beauty & Fenty Skin is sold in Sephora, Ulta, Harvey Nichols, and their website.  



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