Where would beauty be without the amazing minds of women? For Women’s History Month, we’re shedding a spotlight on a few of the women who have made our beauty lives easier and inspired us with their success in the process.
Lyda D. Newman
A hairdresser by trade, inventor and suffragist Lyda D. Newman
patented a new and improved hairbrush in 1898. Newman designed a brush that was durable, easy to clean, easy to make and provided ventilation during brushing.
wasn’t working in her hair salon, she was busy being a pillar of the Suffrage movement of the early 1900s. We have this beauty enthusiast and activist to thank for the synthetic bristle brushes we still use today.
Lydia O' Leary
was an inventor who wanted acceptance and opportunity. She was born with a large, raspberry-colored port wine stain that covered a considerable portion of face and often received looks from strangers. After graduating from college in 1921, it was suggested that she look for work as a sales associate in New York City, but despite her qualifications, stores rejected her from front-counter jobs because of her birthmark.
O’Leary later took a job painting cards. It was a simple painting mistake at work that gave her the idea for her invention. After some trial, error and a little help from a local chemist, she created a makeup foundation that could effectively cover her birthmark. In 1932, Lydia O’Leary became the first and only person to ever receive a patent for a makeup foundation product.
Madame C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker
was a developer of hair products and the first female African-American millionaire. She was born to former slaves on a cotton plantation in Louisiana, and by the time she was 20, she had lost both parents and a husband. When she began to lose her hair from the straightening methods of the time, she invented a conditioning formula made of shampoo and pomade to straighten her hair. With that, Walker had invented a new method for hair straightening.
She began manufacturing and selling Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower as well as 16 other products. She went door-to-door giving beauty treatments as her sales pitch and trained others to sell her product as she did. Before her death in 1919, she had more than 2,000 “Walker Agents” selling her line of products. Walker
also opened a chain of beauty salons and a beauty school called Leila College.
In 1875, teacher, women’s rights activist and abolitionist Lydia Estes Pinkham
, turned her humble herbal home remedies into a lucrative business. She was deemed a crusader for women's health at a time when women's issues were not readily discussed in the medical community. As a result, she was both revered and persecuted for her frank discussions about women’s health. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound became one of the best-known patent medicines of the 19th
century and one of the most successful products ever marketed for women. There are still remedies stamped with Pinkham's name available at drugstores today.
Janice Tripp Eldredge was born in 1919. After college, she took a job in Publicity (the PR of the day), where she met her future husband, Frank Day. Soon after getting married, Jan and Frank realized they did not want to have the kind of jobs where someone else determined how much they earned.
After some success in door-to-door sales, they set out to establish, “a company with a heart” and JAFRA (Ja
n + Fra
nk) was born. They started from scratch, creating a high-quality product (Royal Jelly) and investing in hard working people who loved what they were doing. Today, hundreds of thousands of JAFRA Consultants and millions of skincare customers around the world have benefitted from Jan and Frank’s mission.