4 Historic Women-Owned Beauty Brands That We Still Love Today

#1 Coco Chanel


26.8 million followers

Born Gabrielle Chanel in Samur, France, Coco Chanel was a peasant and an orphan before she invented haute couture, the little black dress, and thebouclé suit. Of course, Chanel No. 5 is still one of the top-selling perfumes of all time.

#2 Mary Kay Ash



In 1963, a Texas mother and wife launched a direct sales business for women to help women earn money and boost their confidence with the work flexibility moms needed to balance work and family life (as much as we can anyway). Five and a half decades later, Mary Kay Cosmetics is still one of the top-performing direct sales beauty companies in the world, topping $3.5 billion in sales in 2016.

Our choice for a favorite product is the Timewise Volufirm Eye Renewal Cream, which magically disappears lines and removes under-eye puffiness in real-time. You will actually see a difference after just a few minutes.

#3 Elizabeth Arden



Born Florence Nightingale Graham (not that one), the woman who eventually started doing business as Elizabeth Arden initially did go into nursing. She was naturally curious about skincare and was always educating herself on new techniques. In 1910, she opened her first salon, Red Door, a name most of us associate with the popular Elizabeth Arden perfume. At the height of her career, she had 150 high-end salons operating all over the world. Elizabeth Arden is single-handedly responsible for the complete rebrand of makeup as a necessary part of a true lady’s daily beauty rituals at a time when wearing makeup was previously seen as something only lower class women did.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Elizabeth Arden has partnered with Reese Witherspoon for a relaunch of its Red Door Red lipstick. The relaunch is part of the March on a campaign to support and empower women.

#4 Estée Lauder


2.4 million followers

The husband and wife team of Joseph and Estée Lauder launched the eponymous company that introduced the concept of “Gift with Purchase” to the beauty industry. Estée Lauder was a talented, relentless entrepreneur and a charming saleswoman. She believed in winning loyal customers by creating products that resonated with them. She learned from her uncle how to formulate skin care products and apply them to women’s faces. That skill set is precisely what enabled the company grows as quickly as it did.

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In addition to skincare products, Estée Lauder was also the first brand to market perfume for women to women at a time when husbands bought perfumes for their wives, and the marketing reflected as much. Our favorite product? The Double Wear nude foundations. After having a great skin care regimen, having a great foundation is crucial for creating the look you want.

There are dozens of amazing beauty products that both you and your grandmother used as young women. We just wanted to take moment to recognize 4 amazing women and the empires they built.