10 Women Behind Beauty Empires

You pick up your favorite beauty products from foundations to creams, and full palettes everyday, but do you ever think about the name behind those products? You may hear Bobbi Brown and think about luxury beauty products and that sleek black packaging, but what about the woman herself? And what about all of the other beauty brands you use?

From skincare to makeup, some of the most thriving beauty brands have been run by women for decades. Others are newcomers to the pack, but they all have one thing in common. These lady bosses have helped women to experiment, feel their best, and exude confidence with their beauty products. Makeup and cosmetics are not just a random part of an everyday routine, but they make us feel inspired and unwavering.

So who are the amazing women behind these beauty empires?

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1. Wende Zomnir, Urban Decay

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Up first we have the chief creative officer and founding partner of the much-loved Urban Decay. In the 90’s Wende Zomnir and partners wanted to branch away from the makeup norms, and release products that had more of an edge. As a former pageant child, Zomnir was a beauty lover herself, and took that passion into all of her designs. She also tests every product Urban Decay launches by rocking full makeup whilst snowboarding, surfing, and even doing hot yoga. Now that is commitment. Zomnir has been vocal about her belief that makeup is for you to express yourself not conceal imperfections. Since its inception, Zomnir has focused her passion and unique ideas to help lead Urban Decay to their impressive status as a worldwide bestseller.

2. Cashmere Nicole, Beauty Bakery

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Beauty Bakerie was founded by Cashmere Nicole in 2011. She began with the desire to make anyone who wore her sweet bakery-inspired products feel empowered and beautiful. And she has more than accomplished that goal. In fact Nicole’s courageous battle with breast cancer led her to focus her energy on the health, and research aspects of everything she used. She took that focus, and developed a fun, inclusive, and cruelty-free cosmetics line that reflects her immovable dedication and purpose to bringing a little sweetness into everyday life. Since the brand took off, Nicole has taken the company to unwavering success around the world.

3. Emily Weiss, Glossier

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Emily Weiss is the CEO of Glossier. You may have read previous articles where we raved about the unique naturalness of Glossier products. Or perhaps you have seen their intriguing product launches soar through social media. Since Weiss launched Glossier in 2014 she has taken the company leaps and bounds into beauty lovers' vanities. Starting with her successful beauty blog, Into The Gloss in 2010, Weiss took that concept and transformed it into a full on brand that women everywhere would fall in love with. In a 2015 interview with The New York Times Weiss said, “In beauty there’s this idea of this perfect picture, and I think, how about being present in the now, and a little messy?” This is an idea a lot of women have come to treasure and portray through their personal style. Weiss also uses her reach on social media to interact with customers, and truly respond to feedback. She knows that the women who use a brand make that brand, and is proud of that fact.  

4.Huda Kattan, Huda Beauty

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When Huda Kattan was starting out in her professional life she worked in finance in Dubai, but she soon realized her passion for beauty was what she was meant to pursue. She followed her dream by flying across the world to study makeup with some of the best in the industry. From there, she decided to share her knowledge with the world on her blog. Kattan is now running her widely successful beauty brand, Huda Beauty. Her determination and attention to detail has grown her brand so quickly that her products are even being sold at Sephora.

5. Kat Von D, Kat Von D

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Most people know that Kat Von D is the face both behind and infront of the cameras of Kat Von D Beauty. As both a vegan and animal-activist, Kat has developed a beauty empire that meets the morals of many women that find it difficult to complete their makeup without breaking from their principles. This was not an easy venture for Kat, but she never gave up on her commitment to keep all of her products free from animal-derived ingredients. In fact, Kat is still massively involved in every aspect of the creation of all the products the brand produces. She is both daring and direct, but those qualities are what make her stand out, and what make so many women look up to her for inspiration.  

6. Iman Abdulmajid, Iman Cosmetics

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Iman has been a pillar in the beauty industry since her early modelling days starting in the 70’s. But since she launched Iman Cosmetics in 1994, she has taken the beauty market to another level. With her passion that cosmetics should represent all women of color, she became a revolutionary in the world of makeup. More and more brands have followed her lead, and are finally becoming more diverse when it comes to their shade ranges. Iman is more than the face of her inspirational company, she is also a mother of two, a philanthropist, and an activist.

7. Molly Fay, Pura Organics

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Molly Fay, the founder of Pura Organics started her skincare journey when finding natural products to help her allergy-prone skin seemed impossible. Rather than give up on her mission, in her early twenties, Fay tried her hand at creating her own skincare line. She wanted to develop an effective and organic line that would prevent aging rather than fight it once it already began. Fay is a true boss babe as she launched the first and only preventative aging line aimed towards millennials wanting to get a jumpstart on the maintaining youthful glowy skin. And the reviews are in. Her products truly make a difference from crow’s feet to neck wrinkles, and even the radiance of your skin.

8. Latoya Thompson, Heritage 1933

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Latoya Thompson had spent years studying social stigmas and self image related to poverty as she herself grew up dealing with homelessness. After working immensely hard to accomplish personal success, she decided she wanted to make a real difference in the lives of those who were in a similar circumstance as she was as a child. In 2015, Thompson took that goal and created Heritage 1933, a natural and non-toxic beauty brand focused on widening what beauty means to all women. In fact, with every item that is purchased, Thompson donates hair care to women and children living in shelters. Along with her generous nature, the company also puts the environment at the forefront of their success. When customers send back the glass containers their products come in, they receive a discount for future purchases.

9. Jamie Kern Lima, IT Cosmetics

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Jamie Kern Lima is the co-founder & CEO of IT Cosmetics, which launched in 2008. As a woman who struggled with severe skin issues, Lima wanted to create a brand that offered natural looking coverage as well as skincare. She has shaken up the beauty world to introduce women to the idea that beauty is individual, and does not have to match photoshopped images, but rather is what you want it to be. Lima aims to empower the women that use IT Cosmetics to feel confident in their own skin. To accomplish this, she works with dermatologists and plastic surgeons to develop her clinically proven line.

10. Melissa Butler, The Lip Bar

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Then we have Melissa Butler who took her unique makeup brand, The Lip Bar to Shark Tank, and walked away with a rejection and a more persistent determination than ever before. Butler grew up like many, doubting her own beauty, and now uses her company’s success to challenge society’s narrow view of what beauty should be to tell women you are enough. The Lip Bar is both vegan and cruelty-free, as well as representative of the diversity of beauty. Butler also made affordability a focus of her company as she believes cosmetics should be for everyone, not just those who are privileged.

It is uplifting and motivational to see so many lady bosses taking the beauty industry by storm. And there are many more powerful women running empires in all industries. From magazines to technology, to Fatima Bocoum, the founder here at OPENLETR. These amazing women are working tirelessly to bring awareness to female empowerment, entrepreneurship, and the importance of girl power. It is so important to appreciate the women who have paved the way and continue to influence the world in such a positive way.



Photo Credit: cover via shinemycrown.com, first photo via baike.baidu.com, second photo via popsugar.com, third photo via ebony.com, fourth photo via nytimes.com, fifth photo via coveteur.com, sixth photo via collectibledry.com, seventh photo via belijose.wordpress.com, eight photo via loveamylauren.com, ninth photo via theangleshow.com, tenth photo via elle.my, and eleventh photo thegrio.com