It seems like just yesterday that I was in the bathroom playing in my mother’s makeup. Her favorite lipstick at the time was none other than Earth Red by Fashion Fair. I couldn’t wait to rub it across my lips and cheeks. While there weren’t many cosmetics lines that offered products for black women at the time, the sisters didn’t have to do without. When publisher and founder of Ebony magazine, John H. Johnson, noticed the models in the Ebony Fashion Show mixing foundations to get just the right shade, for their rich and varied skin tones, he realized that the beauty industry had ignored the cosmetic needs of black women.

After being turned down by several cosmetic companies, Mr. Johnson and his wife Eunice moved forward with creating a cosmetic line for black women. In 1973 Fashion Fair cosmetics was born. Fashion fair celebrated the beauty of black women, long before the beauty industry took notice. Those pink tubes and compacts held products that made us feel special. Fashion Fair not only made beauty possible, but also accessible–even for little girls playing dress up.

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