February is the month when black history is celebrated. African American hair care products wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for the legendary Sarah Breedlove, born in 1867 to parents who had been enslaved. She is better known as Madam CJ Walker. In 1905, Walker released her own specialized products after suffering from scalp alignment that later resulted into hair loss. The company became so successful that it soon made her one of the first American women to become a self made millionaire. She owned and operated her own successful business, the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company.
Before the Madam CJ Walker Beauty Culture products, there was an original product called Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, specifically made to condition and heal scalp issues after she started losing her own hair. Though loss of hair was very common due to infrequent hair washes at the time and not many hair products for black women were available then.
Walker explained how her products came to be: “God answered my prayer, for one night I had a dream, and in that dream a big black man appeared to me and told me what to mix up for my hair. Some of the remedy was grown in Africa, but I sent for it, mixed it, put it on my scalp, and in a few weeks my hair was coming in faster than it had ever fallen out. I tried it on my friends; it helped them. I made up my mind I would begin to sell it.”
In 2016, Sundial Brands launched the hair care line Madam C.J Walker Beauty Culture which is available at Sephora.
To keep her legacy alive, Sundial, (acquitted by Unilever as of Nov 2017) the company that now owns Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture products, has taken their part in donating financially to continue the mission to create educational platforms and opportunities for women. Sundial announced a fund of $100 million dedicated to support women of color entrepreneurs.
“I want the great masses of my people to take a greater pride in their personal appearance and to give their hair proper attention.” ~Madam CJ Walker