Beauty Pioneers in Black History
Happy Black History Month! This month, join us in celebrating the movers, shakers and history makers who have pioneered the beauty industry.
Lisa Price, Founder of Carol’s Daughter
Lisa Price is a beauty entrepreneur from Brooklyn, New York. Born in 1962, she is the founder of Carol’s Daughter, one of the first African American-owned product lines with a flagship store.
Price first began making creams and lotions out of natural ingredients from her kitchen in 1990. Her products were so well received, she officially launched Carol's Daughter out of her home with the encouragement of her family and friends. The business grew quickly, and by 1999, Price added mail-order, website and walk-in customers and moved her business from her brownstone to a formal storefront in Brooklyn. In 2014 L’Oreal acquired Carol’s Daughter.
Over 20 years since it’s inception, the Carol’s Daughter line now boasts more than 300 aromatic products for the face, hair, body and home with clientele that includes celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Chaka Khan and Oprah Winfrey. Her Healthy Hair Butter is even on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in DC!
Madame Nobia A. Franklin, Beautician, Educator & Entrepreneur
Born in 1892, Nobia A. Franklin was a Texas beautician and beauty entrepreneur. From a young age, Franklin was fascinated with the world of beauty, styling the hair of her friends and neighbors, which eventually grew into a successful business.
By 1915, she was running a salon in her home, and sold everything from hair tonics, creams and oils, to straightening combs, shampoos, and other cosmetics. Her business was centered around beauty products for black women, with cosmetics that were meant to flatter, rather than lighten darker skin tones.
In 1917, she opened the Franklin School of Beauty Culture in Houston to train more black women in her trade in what she called "the Franklin way." The Franklin School of Beauty recently celebrated its’ centennial anniversary, and is recognized as a historical institute, garnering support and recognition from leaders like Oprah, Barack Obama.
Theodore K. Lawless, Dermatologist & Philanthropist
Dr. Theodore Lawless, born in 1892, was an African-American dermatologist, medical researcher, and philanthropist from Louisiana. After graduating from medical school in 1924, Lawless moved to Chicago to open up his own dermatology practice on Chicago's South Side. That same year he became an instructor and research fellow at Northwestern University Medical School and taught there as a professor of Dermatology and Syphiology until 1941.
He helped establish the university's first medical laboratories and established the first clinical laboratory for dermatology. In 1957, Lawless was the first Black member of Chicago's Board of Health. He was a skin specialist, and is known for work related to leprosy, syphilis, and other skin diseases as well as the use of Radium to treat cancer. Lawless was a businessman, investor, multi-millionaire and philanthropist.
Annie Turnbo Malone, Inventor & Philanthropist
Annie Turnbo Malone was born in 1877 in Massac County, Illinois to enslaved parents. She was an African-American businesswoman, inventor and philanthropist. Malone took an interest in chemistry in high school, but she unfortunately suffered frequent illness and had to withdraw from school.
During her time out of school, Malone grew so fascinated with hair and hair care that she often practiced doing different styles on her sister. With a love for chemistry and a newfound interest in hair care, she began to develop her own healthy hair care products.
From an early age, she understood that for black women, appearance and grooming was about more than just their personal style, but it could also indicate a woman’s class and social standing. With this in mind, she developed a line of products to help improve hair & scalp health and promote hair growth. However, she didn’t stop there.
Malone went on to build a successful beauty empire that included her product line as well as a beauty school, and became one of the first African-American women to become a millionaire. Generous with her success, Malone provided opportunities for black people (especially women) to pursue meaningful careers, and through her teachings she influenced many, including Madame C.J. Walker who went on to launch her own business.
For other helpful tips on products and skincare techniques, check Urban Skin Rx’s Glow-Up Guide often!