In our modern beauty era, Joe and Eunice Dudley have become famous for their Dudley’s hair relaxer and education institute. They still own their company, but this is a rarity. Cosmetics conglomerates like L’Oreal Paris have acquired both Soft Sheen and Carson. Dudley’s and Iman Cosmetics are among the few black-owned beauty empires left to African-Americans seeking to support our own. But of note is the fact that Iman Cosmetics targets all women of color, not just black women, in an interesting new trend.
Shockingly, some black-run companies are taking this approach even further, seeking only to serve the multiracial customer. Carol’s Daughter, which came on the scene as a beacon of natural black beauty, has recently announced that it will no longer focus on African-Americans. Company executive Steve Stout told Women’s Wear Daily, “What we’re doing now is moving into a polyethnic space. When I say polyethnic, I mean women who are made up of several ethnicities.”
Stoute further explained: “If you ask them what they are, they’re going to use a lot of different words to describe themselves. That’s in line with the Census data coming out — people are checking much more than two boxes.”
Have times really changed so much that a black beauty company should leapfrog so far from serving African-American women after just a few years of success? If so, the need for separate African-American beauty companies might really be a thing of the past. While black skin and hair is different, perhaps the moment has come for companies to focus less on racial categories, and more on the literal beauty needs of women across a broader range.
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Susan Taylor launched the Rx for Brown Skin line specifically to address this trend. She was inspired to create the line based on her experiences with clients of color, because brown skin in general can be harmed by beauty products created for the Caucasian market.