Celebrating Women and the inspiring achievements of female trailblazers in the beauty industry

As far back as 4000 BC, the ancient Egyptians laid the foundation for what would become the beauty industry. But the industry as we know it started with the emergence of cosmetology schools in the early 20th century. For women then and now, the beauty industry provides a powerful path to a successful career, thriving community and practically limitless opportunities for entrepreneurship.

This Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the pioneering women who fearlessly shaped, revolutionized, and expanded the dynamic landscape of the modern beauty industry.

The History of the Beauty Industry

Cosmetology schools first appeared in the early 20th century, providing women with education and training to pursue careers in the beauty industry. These schools played a vital role in empowering women, offering them the chance to learn a trade and – more importantly – earn an independent income. Prior to this, the beauty industry had been dominated by men like Maksymilian Faktorowicz, better known as Max Factor, and T.L. Williams, the founder of Maybelline. 

One of the earliest pioneers in the beauty industry was Sarah Breedlove Walker. In 1910, her Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company began producing hair care and cosmetic products for Black women. Madam Walker is remembered for her philanthropy, entrepreneurial genius and her position as the first woman in the U.S. to become a self-made millionaire. 

Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden were also important early trailblazers, paving the way for future generations of women entrepreneurs. Their innovative products, mixed with their business savvy, proved that women in the industry could not only excel but also create lasting legacies.

Women Transforming the Beauty Industry

From those earliest days, women have continued to challenge societal expectations by forging their own paths as beauty professionals, salon owners, and even influencers. Along the way, they’ve revolutionized beauty trends and standards, creating new opportunities for women from diverse backgrounds and interests.

In recent years, women have pushed the industry to cater to the needs of all consumers. Thanks to their efforts, beauty is becoming more inclusive, diverse and accessible. Innovations in textured hair care and the expansion of makeup products catering to a wider range of skin tones can be attributed to beauty pioneers like Rihanna. (Yes, that Rihanna.) Her Fenty foundation line debuted with an unheard-of 40 shades. The line and its marketing were so revolutionary that celebrating and designing for diverse consumers is now known as “the Fenty effect.” 

The Modern Beauty Industry and Women’s Continued Impact

The rise of social media allowed beauty influencers and entrepreneurs to share their expertise and creativity with a global audience. Women-led beauty brands like Pat McGrath Labs, Glossier, and Huda Beauty are tremendously successful, showcasing the power and potential of female entrepreneurship in the industry.

Women have also been at the forefront of promoting sustainability and ethical practices in the beauty industry, leading the charge for cruelty-free products and environmentally friendly packaging.

The Future of Beauty Education and Opportunities for Women

As the beauty industry evolves, so do the educational opportunities available for aspiring professionals. Beauty schools like Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, offer diverse curricula encompassing the latest trends and techniques , as well as career-relevant business skills. Students can finish their programs prepared for successful careers in this dynamic and growing field.

With constant innovation in both trends and technology, the beauty industry is never boring. It’s ideal for women who want to continue learning and innovating, and opportunities for growth and success are plenty. 

The beauty industry has always been, and continues to be, a powerful catalyst for women’s success and entrepreneurship. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we recognize and honor the incredible achievements of the female trailblazers who have shaped and transformed this dynamic industry. Feeling inspired by their stories? Enrolling  in a beauty education program at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture could be your first step towards thriving in this empowering field! 


Lib Aubuchon is the go-to writer for Tricoci University’s marketing team. She creates engaging blogs, compelling website copy, emails, text messages, video scripts — basically whatever the team needs to tell the story. Lib is based in Atlanta, Georgia.