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Incredible black women inventors and pioneers in the field of cosmetology

Incredible black women inventors and pioneers in the field of cosmetology

1. Christina Jenkins –  1920- 2003

Many women wear weaves but know little about the woman who invented it.  Christina Jenkins, a scientist, and inventor, changed women’s lives forever when she invented the hair weave, also known as the sew-in; this was a massive advancement in hair styling. Her invention was a game-changer in terms of self-expression. Her hair technique gave women, especially black women, the freedom to choose from a multitude of hairstyles.

  • Christina Jenkins,is famous for inventing and patenting the sew in hair weaving technique, which we all love and still use.
  • In 1949, Jenkins worked at a wig manufacturer in Chicago, and while there began working on a technique to make a more secure fitting wig.
  • She then moved to Malvern, Ohio, and began studying how sewing in commercial hair with a person’s natural hair added length and body.
  • In 1951, she filed a patent for her “HairWeev” technique – adding synthetic extensions by sewing hair onto cornrows, a process some historians say date back to ancient Egypt.
  • Christina was granted the patent in 1952, though litigation saw it challenged and overturned in 1965.
  •  Christina owned and operated Christina’s HairWeeve Penthouse Salon in the Shaker Heights section of Cleveland until 1993.
  • She also taught her hair weaving techniques at hair shows across Europe.
  • Jenkins next appears in the records on May 4, 1951, filing patent number 2,621,663 for the ‘Permanently attaching commercial hair to live hair’ technique she called, according to the registration documents, the ‘Hair-Weeve’.
  • When Christina Jenkins died at the age of 82 in 2003, the late Ohio US Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones commended Jenkins for her invention, calling her “a pioneer in the field of cosmetology” and her invention of the hair weave a “revolutionary contribution” that has “helped to boost the self-esteem of men and women across the world”.

2. Madame C.J. Walker -1867- 1919

Madame C.J. Walker the queen of hair care developed a specialized line of beauty products specifically for black women. As well as tips for scalp treatment to promote hair growth

• Madame C.J. Walker’s marketing schemes, training opportunities, and distribution strategies were as innovative as those of any entrepreneur of her time.

• Madame C.J. Walker was an early advocate of women’s economic independence.  She provided rewarding income for thousands of black women who would have been working in jobs such as farm laborers, washerwomen, and maids.

•As a philanthropist, Madame C.J. Walker shaped the philosophy of charitable giving in the black community.

• Madame C.J. Walker was a political activist and used her economic clout to protest lynchings and racial injustice.

Madam C.J. Walker homemade recipes for hair and scalp care products became  a business empire making her the United States’ first self-made black female millionaire in the early 1900s

A century later, Walker’s legacy — which extends far beyond her unlikely business successes — is driving new generations of African-American female entrepreneurs vying for a piece of the multibillion-dollar black cosmetics industry.

3. Lyda Newman – 1885- death unknown

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Lyda Newman invented the superior synthetic bristles hairbrush. She was not the original inventor of the hairbrush. But her improvements made her a significant contributor to its evolution. She was granted a patent for her invention in 1898, Lyda’s brush was the first hairbrush with synthetic bristles (before that brushes were from animal hair, such as boar’s hair).

Newman’s brush also had several other unique innovations.

  • Lyda Newman’s hairbrush invention promoted ventilation and provided storage for excess hair or impurities.
  • impurities from the scalp or hair would pass through the openings or slots in the brush to a recess in the back. The impurities could then be emptied from the brush by disconnecting the holder and dumping or blowing them out. Easy access to the bristles also permitted the user to clean them out

4. Marjorie Joyner (1896-1994)

Marjorie Joyner invented the permanent waving machine, used to perm or straighten hair by wrapping it in rods. She also invented a scalp protector making the process less painful. Despite the popularity of her invention among black and white women, she never received any profit from the invention because of Madam C.J. Walker’s company owning the rights to her invention

  • Marjorie Joyner helped write the first cosmetology laws for Illinois
  • Marjorie Joyner Joyner was passionate about helping other African Americans and particularly black beauticians.  She founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association with Mary Bethune McLeod in 1945.
  • Marjorie Joyner was also active in the African American Community, raising money for black colleges and working with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to fight racial segregation and discrimination.

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