It’s no secret that the beauty industry has always promoted a singular standard of beauty, and those beauty ideals largely exclude women of color. But during the ’60s and ’70s, because of the proliferation of African-American and female-centric publications such as Ebony, Jet and ESSENCE, we saw more Black women and celebrities featured in TV and print ads promoting beauty products.
Though you won’t find many of us today letting our soul glow with the Jheri Curls and press-and-curl hairstyles that dominated the era, the diversity of Black women’s hair and skin is still to be lauded. And thanks to YouTube, you can now relive a crucial period in which Black women wore sophisticated makeup looks and rocked their natural afros.
Scroll down for 11 iconic beauty adverts honoring Black women from way back when.
Here, a Black woman sits on the throne with her perfectly teased afro, courtesy of Johnson’s Afro Sheen products.
Ashy is not classy! And the masterminds at Johnson Products Company knew this when showcasing a Black woman lotioning her flawless skin with cocoa butter, of course.
Always on beat and hair on fleek, Black women in this Afro Sheen commercial sported various natural hairstyles, including braids with beads and afros, while dancing.
This Ultra Sheen TV ad is from the 1970s, and this Black beauty’s hair is laid in every shot.
Back in the day, your blowout or braids wouldn’t be complete without this kit.
In the ’70s, Ultra Sheen branched out to include cosmetics to enhance our natural beauty, as shown by all these shades of flattering lipsticks and powders.
After capturing audiences with her beautiful voice, Natalie Cole appeared in early Posner commercials with her shiny black curls.
Who doesn’t recall these PCJ relaxer commercials when they were a kid.
If it wasn’t covered in plastic, this style left quite a mess on your mama’s sofa. But in the old days, Black women were drippin’ with finesse in their Leisure curls.
Legendary model Iman was the epitome of regal grace in this ad for Black Tie men’s cologne.
Decades ago, it took more effort to have straight hair, which explains why there were so many commercials touting relaxers.