I had to make my own living and my own opportunity.  But I made it!  Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come.  Get up and make them.
Madam C.J Walker

From hairstylists to natural hair innovators these women have turned their frustration to fruition with a variety of solutions and resources for natural hair. There are numerous women to thank for their contributions, but as a licensed cosmetologist and certified IAT trichologist these are women I feel blazed a trail for women to embrace their natural beauty.

Madam C.J Walker

Madam C.J Walker is one of the first pioneers in the beauty business. In 1905, she designed her own line of hair products that addressed issues such as dandruff and scalp infections. She invented a shampoo called The Vegetable Shampoo, that had natural ingredients and was not as drying as the common lye based soaps used to cleanse the hair during her time. Madam C.J Walker also created a product called The Wonderful Hair Grower. It was a petroleum based ointment that contained sulphur. Madam C.J Walker was an educator, philanthropist and activist. She was named one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire.

Anu Prestonia

Anu Prestonia is the founder of Khamit Kinks, a natural hair care salon founded in 1988, whose creative and precise hairstyles are admired worldwide. Anu has been instrumental in popularizing natural styling and hair care throughout the United States and other countries around the world. Decades ago, she created various braiding techniques and named many styles still worn proudly today, including, Single Braids, Swing Braids, Goddess Braids, Senegalese Twists, and Baby Curl Twists, just to name a few. She is an educator, author and visionary who has now launched a natural care line that includes perfume, body and hair care products, you can find more at Anu Essentials.

Gloria “GiGi” Ford

Gloria “GiGi” Ford is a hair replacement specialist. One of her talents is teaching cosmetologists everything they need to know about hair prosthetics. A hair prosthesis is not a wig. It is customized hair piece designed to add hair in areas where you are experiencing hair loss. A hair prosthesis should be undetectable and is attached using clips, adhesive, tape or sewn on to surrounding hair. Gloria Gigi Ford travels the world, teaching cosmetologists techniques to achieve natural looking results for their hair replacement clients. She also teaches them how to run their hair replacement business, and how to conduct a proper consultation.

Tomeka James

Tomeka James invents custom hair pieces so that there is no need to order the unit from a factory. She teaches cosmetologists how to make additional profit by creating the unit themselves. She teaches hairstylists wig making, or how to create customized hair pieces for women experiencing hair loss.  Tomeka James creates techniques that help stylists attach hair extensions in less time. She invented the Detachable Sewn Weave, which allows hair stylists to do their clients who have sewn extensions a lot more quickly.

Deshawn Bullard

Deshawn Bullard founded NouriTress Perfect Hair Products in 1998. She is a licensed cosmetologist, and created this line of products to address hair loss and thinning. What set Deshawn apart from her competitors when her hair care products came out was that she had a supplement called The Perfect Hair Vitamins. Deshawn Bullard understood that healthy hair starts within the body. Her products are such a success that they are sold globally and can be found in popular retail stores.

Jane Carter

Jane Carter Solution products differentiated themselves from other brands because they had products made with natural ingredients. In 1992, Jane Carter created Hair Nourishing Serum. Formulated with essential oils, and vitamins, the goal was to create a product that would not cause allergic reactions like the ingredients found in typical beauty products. Another staple product of Jane Carter Solution is the Nourish & Shine. It is a product that can be used on the hair, but is gentle enough to use on the skin. Nourish & Shine is infused with several butters, one of which is Shea butter which evaporates into the skin, moisturizes the hair, and adds plenty of shine.

Lisa Akbari

Lisa Akbari is a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician. She is also a board certified trichologist who has a passion for helping women achieve healthy hair and scalps on their own, or by educating hair stylists. Through her own research, she discovered two scalp disorders. One of the disorders is called Short Hair Syndrome. According to Mrs. Akbari, Short Hair Syndrome limits the hair from reaching full growth potential or fullness. This disorder presents itself by continuous hair growth, followed by hair breakage. It causes little elasticity, split ends, difference in texture, and sometimes, hair color change.

Hadiiya Barbel

Hadiiya Barbel is an Emmy Award winning celebrity stylist, and creative director. She is the founder of ARAYA NYC STYLE STUDIO, a place that offers women high quality, fashion forward wigs with a variety of textures and styles to choose from. Hadiiya Barbel has extraordinary hair cutting and styling skills, which sets her wigs apart from the average store bought wig. Hadiiya Barbel calls her wigs “crowns” because it takes away the negative feeling that there is something wrong with wearing a wig. ARAYA NYC STYLE STUDIO can revive new or existing wigs, and teach other cosmetologists the art and business of wig making.

These are just some of the icons who have influenced the beauty industry. Which women inspire you?