In honour of Black History Month, we’ve taken a look at five inspiring women who own some of the best beauty businesses currently nailing it in the UK.
Nowadays, black-owned beauty businesses are few and far between. But time was, they were practically unheard of.
Before we share our chosen five, let’s take a step back to where it all began during the late 1800s.
Madam C.J Walker exceeded expectations by growing a beauty empire that lead her to become one of America’s first self-made female millionaires.
Walker, neé Sarah Breedlove, was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist and civil rights activist.
A child of ex-slaves, she paved the way in the beauty industry so that others like her – black, female – could follow in her footsteps.
Founding a haircare line that stands to this day, Madam CJW’s legacy opened the door for women of colour to take control of their lives and thrive.
“I gave myself a start,” said Walker, “by giving myself a start.”
Thus, whether they know it or not, these five black female entrepreneurs are paying homage to Walker, simply by being slicker than.
Owner of the popular Hair Lounge 1999 salon on Portobello road, Charlotte Mensah has won a slew of awards, including the Stylist 2017 award in the ‘Best Conditioner for Thick Hair’ category.
Mensah’s products (which including the Manketi oil-based ’poo, conditioner and oil) are adored and used by people with varying hair textures.
Her lounge is frequented by local youth and influencers to politicians, actresses and writers including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
With a brand name that literally translates as ‘to cocoon oneself,’ it’s no wonder this skincare line (founded by Nigerian businesswoman Ozohu Adoh) was snapped up by Harrods within its first year of launching.
Afro Hair And Skin Co.
An advocate for holistic health and wellness in black women, founder Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka launched the brand to provide high functioning natural alternatives to more commercial brands.
MDMflow is the conception of 22-year-old London College of Fashion graduate and cosmetics scientist Florence Adepoju.
The cult favourite brand takes its inspiration from ’90s hip-hop culture and features lipsticks in delectable shades targeted to suit all skin tones.
Nails & Brows Mayfair
Founded by Sherrille Riley, Nails and Brows has quickly become the go-to boutique for gorgeous, full but natural-looking eyebrows. The manis, too, are particularly chic.
Expanding the business from brick and mortar to digital, Riley launched a line of brow solutions including brow brushes and pencils.
Riley’s moto is “defining what is naturally yours.”