For International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the women who revolutionised the beauty industry. From Madam C J Walker, America’s first self-made millionaire who created hair products for Black women, to billionaire makeup mogul Pat McGrath – this is our timeline of beauty bosses you need to know about.
Stick them to your vision board, read their stories and feel inspired! #BeautystackBoss
Martha Matilda Harper (b. 1857)
Martha Matilda Harper worked as a servant girl, before becoming one of the most highly respected businesswomen of her time. She sparked huge innovations in both beauty and business with her hair salon, The Harper Hair Parlour, incorporated in 1891. She invented the first reclining salon chair for women to wash their hair, and was the first to create a franchising business, training women to open salons under the Harper Hair Parlour name.
Madam C J Walker (b. 1867)
The first female self-made millionaire in America, Madam C. J. Walker created a line of beauty products for black women during the 1900s. She made her fortune and continued to support thousands of other women by training them and having many women in key management roles.
Estee Lauder (b.1906)
Estée Lauder was one of the most influential businesswomen of the 20th Century. Starting off with a skincare collection of just four products, Lauder changed the face of the cosmetics industry and her legacy thrives today as a multinational corporation of 28 different beauty companies.
Dame Anita Roddick (b.1942)
Anita Roddick was a British businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner who founded the Body Shop in 1976. The Body Shop were one of the first beauty companies to promote fair trade and cruelty-free products, shaping ethical consumerism today.
Sandy Lerner (b.1955)
A rare pioneer across beauty and tech, Sandy Lerner co-founded both Urban Decay and Cisco Systems, two hugely influential companies in their respective industries. Lerner invests her money in women’s writing and animal welfare.
Jane Wurwand (b.1958)
Founded global skincare brand Dermalogica in 1986. Through its FITE initiative, Dermalogica has created training programs and provided loans for more than 75,000 women in over 68 countries, empowering them to start or grow a business.
Pat McGrath (b.1965)
World-renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath has inspired global beauty trends for decades. She launched her billion-dollar makeup in 2015 and in 2017, she became the first Black woman and makeup artist to receive a Founder’s Award from the CFDA. One of the most influential and respected makeup artists of our time, her work has inspired global beauty trends for decades.
Rihanna (b. 1988)
In 2017, Rihanna revolutionised the beauty industry with the launch of Fenty Beauty. The makeup line changed the game with a foundation range of 40 shades, designed to suit women of any skin tone. Fenty Beauty generated more than $72 million in media value alone — all within the first month of business. The revolutionary release sparked change within the industry, as makeup brands looked to expand their product lines to be more inclusive.
Sharmadean Reid (b.1984)
In 2009, Sharmadean Reid founded WAH Nails, the iconic nail salon that changed beauty and nail art culture globally. Reid co-founded Beautystack in 2018, a visual booking platform that will revolutionise the way we book beauty treatments.