4 Influential Women in Beauty

4 Influential Women in Beauty: Bobbi Brown, Iman, Sonia Kashuk, Eunice Johnson

Thanks to all this girl power floating around these days there are tons of influential women in beauty but today we’re gonna focus on 4 badass women who really know what independence is all about: Bobbi Brown, Iman, Sonia Kashuk and Eunice Johnson.

Bobbi Brown is a professional makeup artist who took the beauty industry by storm when she launched the iconic Bobbi Brown Cosmetics line back in 1991 with just ten lipsticks she helped to create. Her mission was to make women around the world look and feel beautiful without losing their natural features in a sea of makeup. Bobbi Brown’s makeup aspirations started when she was just a little girl playing in her mother’s makeup before heading off for school. She didn’t want people to notice the makeup though. Just how pretty she was. And that’s what sparked her to become a world renown professional makeup artist with over 30 years of experience and a successful cosmetics line in which she is currently the Chief Creative Officer.

Iman is a beauty powerhouse as she’s one of the world’s most famous supermodels–gracing countless covers, serving as the muse to fashion’s biggest designers and pioneering black beauty as we know it today. During her modeling career, Iman had a knack for whipping up her own formulations for makeup artists to use on her since shades for darker women were hard to find. So after almost 2 decades of modeling, Iman took her years of mixing experience and set out to start her own cosmetics line geared to women of color in 1994. Of course, being a fabulous supermodel, she acts as the face of the brand but she also has a personal hand in the final products we see today. Which are rather extensive including 14 shades of foundation (in 4 formulations), concealer, lipstick and more.

Sonia Kashuk may be known today for her colorful brush sets but this award winning makeup artist has been making her mark in the beauty industry years before her Target exclusives. Sonia Kashuk kicked off her career working with famous photographer Arthur Elgort in the early 80s and later went on to create editorials for big name prints like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and more. After spending some time working in high profile fashion shows (Marc Jacobs, anyone?) Sonia Kashuk decided to branch out and create her own cosmetics line. Her focus? To deliver department store quality at a price all women could afford. In 1998, she inked a deal with Target and over 15 years later she’s still cranking out some of the best budget beauty buys today.

Eunice Johnson is a pillar of black beauty as the founder of the largest black owned cosmetics company in the world. Her husband was John H. Johnson, publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, so she was no stranger to exclusive events and the hectic backstage life of fashion shows. After noticing the models in the Ebony Fashion Fair Show mixing their own foundations to match their deep complexions she set out to create a solution. Initially, she approached existing brands urging them to create lines for women of color but no one budged. So Eunice Johnson teamed up with her husband, went to a private lab and developed their own formulations for their models. After a successful application, the couple whipped up the Capsule Collection in 1969 which created tons of buzz and helped Eunice Johnson realize there was a market for a black cosmetics line. In 1973, she founded Fashion Fair Cosmetics dedicated to helping black women look and feel as phenomenal as they are. It’s been over 40 years since the first Fashion Fair counter opened but the brand continues to pursue its vision to become the preeminent global beauty brand for women of color.

As we celebrate our independence today, I urge you to celebrate your independence as a woman and celebrate all of the contributions you make to the world–no matter how big or small. As these inspiring women have demonstrated, you have the power to become absolutely anything your heart desires when you work hard and believe in the unique perspective you have to offer the world. Regardless of where you are in life, how old you are, or how many people have tried to discourage you, I am here to remind you that you are great. So dream big and never let your light dim! Happy Independence Day!