We’ve decided to write a different kind of blog this month! Right now, we’re in the midst of a critical human rights/civil rights movement: Black Lives Matter. It’s long overdue and we fully support #BLM. And while we’re not experts at understanding everything that racism entails, we are listening and learning in order to create awareness and to be better humans. 

This blog celebrates a very important woman of colour in our history. 

Madam C.J. Walker: the first self-made female millionaire in the US

In order to create awareness of important historical Black figures, we want to recognize a Black pioneer in our very own field. In the hair industry, Madam C.J. Walker is one of the best hair care product pioneers. She is most notably known for being one of the first self-made female millionaires in the US, whose net worth was estimated to have surpassed $1 million at the time of her death in 1919.

During the 1890s, Madam C.J. Walker suffered from hair loss, likely due to working as a laundress – as it exposed her to harsh lye soaps, dirt and hot steam. It was very common for Black women to experience hair loss during this period, due to harsh working conditions along with poor living situations (such as no indoor plumbing and inadequate nutrition).

So, Madam C.J. Walker began developing a solution for her own hair loss by experimenting with home remedies and store-bought treatments in order to increase her own hair growth. She claims the winning formula came to her in a dream. 

madame cj walker - stone fox hair salon mount pleasant vancouver

Giving Black women their confidence back

She created ‘Madam C. J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower’ which included these ingredients:

  • precipitated sulfur
  • copper sulfate
  • Beeswax
  • petrolatum (like petroleum jelly)
  • coconut oil 
  • and a violet extract perfume to cover the sulfurous smell

She began manufacturing and selling her products in 1904 and later employed a fleet of saleswomen to go door to door selling her products. She differentiated her company from other brands by using a more personal approach and focusing on women’s health.  

Integrity beyond her business

Not only was Madam C.J. Walker an incredible entrepreneur, but she was also an activist and philanthropist. She gave charitable donations to organizations whose work focused on improving the lives of Black Americans and providing basic needs such as food, healthcare, housing, daycare and community development.  

Learn more about this inspiring Black haircare pioneer 

Best hair salon vancouver encourage you to learn more about this badass lady boss, Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker’s story was also recently turned into a four-part Netflix show, Self Made featuring the wonderfully talented Octavia Spencer!


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