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Fashion Fair Cosmetics

products black johnson skin

Fashion Fair Cosmetics is one of the leading companies that focuses on cosmetics for women of color. Its products are sold in stores in the United States, the Carribean, Africa, and Europe. The company offers over 350 products specially formulated for black skin.

Fashion Fair Cosmetics is a division of Johnson Publishing Company, the largest black-owned publishing company in the world. John H. Johnson started the publishing company in 1942 with a $500 loan against his mother’s furniture. The success of the company’s first publication, Negro Digest , encouraged Johnson to produce Ebony and Jet , which are two of the most widely read black publications today.

In 1958 Johnson’s wife, Eunice, began Fashion Fair, the world’s largest traveling fashion show. The show, an outgrowth of Ebony magazine, has raised millions of dollars for charity. The models featured in the fashion show found it difficult to find shades of makeup that matched their skin tones. Unlike whites, who have only ten complexion colors, blacks have as many as thirty-six variations of skin tone. At that time, few cosmetics companies offered products for blacks. Eunice Johnson and her husband decided to solve this problem by launching their own cosmetics line, Fashion Fair Cosmetics.

The Johnsons started cautiously by offering makeup kits through Ebony and Jet magazines. The mail-order kits were immensely popular, and readers purchased 100,000 of them in six months. John H. Johnson persuaded Marshall Field’s to carry the line in its cosmetics department, and within a year, the product was offered in 125 finer stores. In 1992 the company launched the Ebone line, which is sold in drugstores and discount chains. Currently, Fashion Fair products are sold in more than 2,000 stores. The products are marketed through images of sophisticated, elegant models and workshops which are available at the Fashion Fair counters.

Fashion Fair created products specifically for the special needs of women of color. The formulations of the products are effective on skin that is oily, sensitive, and scars easily. Since 1984 many of the products are offered in regular and fragrance-free formulations. The products include skin treatment, foundation, fragrances, and eye, blush, lip, and nail colors. Because of the variety of tones in the products, Asian, Hispanic, and Caucasian women can also use them. Supreme Beauty Products is Johnson Publishing Company’s hair-care division, which was launched in 1960. It sells women’s products under the brand name Raveen, and its men’s products are sold under the name Duke.

At a time when black women were ignored by traditional cosmetic companies, Fashion Fair Cosmetics responded by producing high-quality products which embraced the beauty of black skin. It helped redefine and validate black complexions as elegant and beautiful.


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