At the turn of the 20th century, Madam CJ Walker forever changed the game for Black women and their hair and now Sundial Brands, the same company behind Shea Moisture and Nubian Heritage, is reviving the iconic product line.
“We want to tell the broader story; we don’t want this to just be a ‘Hey, she had a company and she was successful.’ It was what she did, how she did it, how she impacted a world that didn’t pay any attention to women that looked like her,” Sundial CEO Richelieu Dennis told Refinery 29.”We want to make sure that the world also knows how she impacted the culture of beauty, how she helped women of color not just around beauty but around confidence, around economic empowerment.”
The line, which will be called Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture will build on the foundation Walker laid when she first launched her hair care business in 1905, but will update the signature products with new, modern ingredients like coconut and Jamaican Black castor oils and eliminate others like petrolatum and sulfur which were a part of “The Walker System.” Available in four distinct sets, the collection is designed to serve specific hair texture needs across straight, wavy, curly and kinky hair, from a scalp exfoliator to a curl define milk, a blowout creme, and everything in between. Dennis revealed it took nearly a decade to rebuild the brand, which was done with the help of Walker’s great–great granddaughter and official historian and biographer A’Lelia Bundles to make sure the recreation stayed true to the initial aesthetic.
“I was so excited because [Dennis and his team] have been so successful, and I could see that they had the capacity to really reimagine Madam Walker’s brand — to keep the philosophy of empowering women, of helping women discover their own beauty, and also the idea of community commerce,” Bundles said.
The Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture will officially launch in Sephora March 4 and Dennis has high hopes for it’s reception in the 21st century.
“There’s no reason why people shouldn’t think of Madam C.J. Walker the same way they think of Coco Chanel. It’s been all too easy to marginalize us over the decades, and it’s time for us to stand up and say ‘Hey, no, I won’t be marginalized,’ and this is what we did and we’re going to make sure everybody knows that — through all lenses.”