5 Black Women That Have Changed Recent Beauty History 

Jennifer Ford Feb, 09, 2018

Throughout history, Black women have made significant strides in diversifying the beauty industry. Fueled by a mission to bring Black women to the forefront, radicals like Jackie Aina, Rihanna, Maria Borges and Pat McGrath helped to revolutionize the way we are seen across the beauty landscape and affirm our role as trendsetters, champions of diversity, and game-changers. Their impact is a testament to the undeniable power of Black Girl Magic and in honor of Black History Month, we celebrate them. Check it out below!

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In 2017, music and fashion icon, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, turned the beauty industry upside down with the launch of Fenty Beauty. Dubbed as the new generation of beauty, the makeup company was the first brand to offer a foundation range that compliments women across 40 different shade variations. With inclusive campaigns geared toward Black women, Fenty Beauty generated more than $72 million in earned media value alone—all within the first month of business. This pioneering beauty moment sparked makeup brands like Make Up For Ever and L’Oréal to extend their offerings to accommodate more women of color.

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Early this year, Jackie Aina became the first Beauty Influencer to receive an NAACP Image Award for her advocacy of diversity in the beauty industry.  Aina uses her YouTube channel to coach Black women through applying their makeup and for bringing light to issues surrounding Black beauty consumers such as inclusion and equality. Known for her candid beauty reviews, the beauty activist has spoken out about the insufficiencies for women of color and used her channel to challenge cosmetic companies to "do better" with their offerings for Black consumers. Her call to action was heard by mega-brand Too Faced Cosmetics, who later recruited the social media star to assist them with creating makeup that's more inclusive for women of color.

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In 2017, world-renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath, made history as the first Black woman and makeup artist to receive a Founder's Awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for her influential work within the Industry. For decades, McGrath’s makeup mastery has inspired global beauty trends that women around the world draw inspiration from season after season. The CFDA accredited her for raising the bar of artistry, to a level of luxury and quality that the industry had never seen before. McGrath has developed four luxury brands, including McGrath Labs, a concept brand that defines future trends and introduces groundbreaking discoveries, at the forefront of a multi-billion dollar global industry. She is a true innovator who continues to take beauty and Black girl magic to new heights.

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In 2011 entrepreneur Myleik Teele founded curlBox, the first subscription service curated for women with naturally curly hair, in response to their need for quality hair products that work. The monthly subscription service provides women with an affordable and convenient, way to discover the best products to make their curls flourish. The wildly successful company has helped revolutionize the way women address their hair care needs and inspire a community of fierce and fearless naturals.

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Getty Images

In 2015, model Maria Borges, made history as the first Black woman to rock her natural hair in the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. Her TWA (“teeny weeny afro”), inspired the company to change its rigid standards of beauty that required models to wear wigs and extensions to fit the brand's aesthetic. Her bold move prompted fellow models to define beauty and sexiness on their own terms and since then, fellow models have followed suit when working with Victoria's Secret and other brands, paving the way for more diversity within the beauty industry.