4 Female Pioneers Who Changed the Skincare Industry

4 female pioneers who changed the world of skincare and beauty

As skincare continues to grow in popularity, women have access to more options than ever before: washes, creams, serums, peels, at-home tools like microdermabrasion and light therapy, and so much more. But this wasn’t always the case.

Before the 1800-1900s, women had limited access to resources that would help with concerns like acne, aging, and sun damage. Luckily, there have been several brilliant female entrepreneurs throughout history who felt women deserved better options and created them.

Thanks to these women, the skincare industry has continued to expand into the major market it is today. Get to know four of these female pioneers below.

Madam CJ Walker and her hair care line for Black women

C.J. Walker


C.J. Walker has many notable accomplishments in skincare and hair-care history. She created one of the first skincare and hair-care lines for black women, which was incredibly successful. As a result, she became America’s first self-made female millionaire.

Her desire to create hair and skincare products came from a personal struggle with dandruff and hair loss. Not satisfied with what she found in the drugstore, she began looking for better alternatives. While working with another entrepreneur, she learned how to moisturize and nourish the scalp to promote growth.

With this knowledge, she created her own collection, which gave women of color a product made specifically for their natural hair. Her legacy in the skincare and hair-care industry lives on today and opened the door for other female entrepreneurs of color.

Helena Rubenstein stock photo

Helena Rubenstein


Originally born in Poland, Helena ended up moving to Australia to live with her uncle once she turned 18. She brought along several pots of her mother’s beauty cream, and received so many compliments on her skin that she ended up opening a shop to sell the cream.

She was assisted by Helen MacDonald, who had used the cream and been impressed by it. Helena not only found success in Australia, but also in Europe, where she opened salons in London and Paris. During WWI, she and her husband moved to New York City, where her products thrived and advertised scientific benefits.

As a result, Helena opened several locations in the U.S., helped Hollywood stars with makeup looks, and was even commended by President Roosevelt for keeping women’s morale up during the war.

Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden


While her given name was Florence Nightingale Graham, Florence went by the business name Elizabeth Arden. Her passion for skincare and beauty began when she worked as a bookkeeper for a pharmaceutical company and spent hours in their labs learning.

She also worked under Eleanor Adair, a beautician. In 1910, she opened her first salon in New York City with her partner Elizabeth Hubbard. While the partnership didn’t last, her career blossomed. Arden hired chemists to create her beauty line, which started with a face cream and lotion and later expanded to makeup.

Her marketing strategy helped change perceptions of makeup, turning it into a widely accepted and loved product by women across the world.

Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder


A name that’s easily recognizable today, Estee Lauder made a profound impact on women’s skincare. While she was always interested in beauty, Estee’s skincare journey began when she helped her uncle, a chemist, with his company. Thanks to him, she learned how to create the mixes as well as apply them.

She was then inspired to create her own skincare and hair products, which she pitched to women in beauty salons. She launched Estee Lauder with her husband in 1946. Within their first year of business, they received an $800 order from Saks Fifth Avenue.

This, along with Estee’s passion for demonstrating her products in person, desire to never settle for less than the best, and love of infusing fragrance into her lines, helped the company become the empire it is today.

These are just a few of the women who have made an impact on skincare. There are so many others who we have to thank for their amazing contributions. Who has changed the skincare game for you? Let us know on our socials!

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