Black History Month is not just a time to reflect on the past, but also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and contributions of black individuals throughout history.
At 4.5.6 Skin we are aware that black people have historically been excluded from so many aspects of life, one of the many being healthcare and more specifically dermatology. With over 40% of the world population having darker skin, aka phototypes IV, V and VI, our founder, Noelly Michoux, and our whole brand have made it our mission to cater to those who have formally been disregarded by the skincare industry.
Here we want to celebrate the black women who have made groundbreaking strides, challenged stereotypes and redefined beauty standards, leaving their mark on not just the beauty industry, but on our society as a whole.
Madame C.J. Walker - Pioneering Entrepreneur
Madame C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was an African-American trailblazer in the beauty industry and became the first female self-made millionaire in the United States, in spite of the racial segregation and discrimination she faced in the early 20th century. After suffering from hair loss, she formulated her ‘Wonderful Hair Grower’, which was marketed towards black women as a nourishing scalp and hair ointment to encourage healthy hair. This product was sold throughout the US via so called ‘Walker Agents’, other African-American women, who worked as sales agents for Madame Walker and acted as advocates for economic independence and the empowerment for black women.
Lisa Price - Founder of Carol's Daughter
Lisa Price's journey in the beauty industry began with a simple idea: creating products that catered to the unique hair and skincare needs of black women. She founded Carol's Daughter in 1993, which was one of the first companies to offer a wide range of products specifically designed for people of colour, and it became a pioneering brand in the natural beauty and haircare industry. Named after Lisa’s mother, Carol, the brand has always promoted self-care and self-acceptance, especially for women of colour.
Pat McGrath - The Makeup Maestro
Pat McGrath, one of the most influential makeup artists in the world, has redefined the world of cosmetics with her iconic artistry, gained global influence through working as the creative design director for Procter & Gamble and earned numerous awards for her work. While her skills as an artist led to groundbreaking work in the makeup industry, she has shattered boundaries with her brand ‘Pat McGrath Labs’. Overall, her creations are celebrated for their diversity and she has worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and beauty.
Alek Wek - The Iconic Supermodel
The Sudanese supermodel, Alek Wek, started her career in London in the 1990s where she challenged traditional beauty standards with her unique look. Her striking features, advocacy for diversity and pioneering achievements, as the first African model on a cover of Elle magazine, have opened the doors for women of colour in the modelling industry. Through humanitarian efforts as an advocate for refugees, Alek’s influence extends far beyond the runway and she has been able to use her platform to raise awareness and provide support for displaced individuals.
Alicia Keys - Embracing Natural Beauty
Alicia Keys has repeatedly made headlines when deciding to go forego makeup, whether that be on the cover of Elle UK, a red carpet or on The Voice, she is challenging societal norms and encouraging women to embrace their natural beauty. Her "no makeup" movement empowers women to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin, which makes her an influential role model and has left a profound impact on women worldwide.
Rihanna - Fenty Beauty Revolution
Rihanna, a globally renowned artist, ventured into the beauty industry with Fenty Beauty, a game-changer in makeup inclusivity. After launching with an incredible 40 shades of foundation (and since adding another 10), Fenty Beauty has proven to be a trailblazer in the industry, with their products redefined beauty standards and setting a new benchmark for inclusivity in cosmetics. Rihanna highlights the importance of diversity and representation in the beauty world, but also managed to influence other brands to make beauty accessible to everyone by setting an example.
These remarkable women, from Madame C.J. Walker to Rihanna, have broken barriers, shattered stereotypes and paved the way for a more inclusive and diverse beauty industry. Their contributions and influence reach far beyond cosmetics and fashion, serving as a testament to the power of determination, self-acceptance and the celebration of black beauty. As we celebrate Black History Month, let us recognize and honour the legacies of these trailblazing women who have made a lasting impact on the world of beauty.
Through them, we have been able to start our brand, 4.5.6 Skin, where everything from the ingredients to the formulations is made specifically for darker skin – backed 100% by our Skin Tone Research Lab. Our bestsellers include:
Sevenly Delight Brightening Serum, which is proven to reduce up to 95% of hyperpigmentation in just 8 weeks
Green Bae, a deeply purifying gel cleanser packed with highly effective ingredients, including a natural Salicylic Acid and Palmarosa essential oil to balance sebum production and thoroughly cleanse the skin without dryness
Max Glow-Getter, a daily protecting serum for healthy, radiant, youthful skin that feels soft, supple and intensely hydrated
The journey toward inclusivity remains ongoing, and the beauty industry is still lagging in its efforts to create a space where everyone feels seen, served and celebrated. We must persist in our advocacy for true inclusivity, ensuring we do not become complacent, misled by surface-level representation through the inclusion of melanated models in ads or inclusive marketing tactics. Our advocacy must extend to championing for equitable skin health outcomes, pushing for comprehensive research and testing processes that cater to the diverse needs of all skin types and tones. This proactive stance is crucial in dismantling systemic disparities and nurturing a beauty industry that truly celebrates diversity.