Thanks to the team over at Sundial (which owns brands like Nubian Heritage and SheaMoisture), the historical Madam CJ Walker products are coming back to the market. All new and improved.
Sundial CEO Richelieu Dennis wants Madam CJ Walker’s reputation to reach beyond her being “first female American self-made millionaire”. He wants people to know that she was a trailblazer who brought beauty to women of color — focusing on their needs at a time when no one thought of them as people, let alone beautiful.
“We want to tell the broader story; we don’t want this to just be a ‘Hey, she had a company and she was successful.’ It was what she did, how she did it, how she impacted a world that didn’t pay any attention to women that looked like her,” Dennis says. “We want to make sure that the world also knows how she impacted the culture of beauty, how she helped women of color not just around beauty but around confidence, around economic empowerment.”
“It took us so long to really wrap this together and figure out exactly what would be the most impactful way to bring her legacy back to the forefront,” he says. Along the way, the company connected with A’Lelia Bundles, Madam Walker’s great-great-granddaughter as well as her official historian and biographer, to make sure that the values and principles remained true to Walker’s aesthetic throughout the re-imagination.
The line — which goes by the name Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture and will be available March 4th — is taking what Walker originally envisioned and elevating it with new, modern ingredients for the 21st century (no more petrolatum or sulfur, which were present in Walker’s products more than 100 years ago). The four-piece prestige collection is meant to serve specific hair-texture needs — whether your tresses are straight, wavy, curly, or coily. There are popular natural ingredients, like coconut and Jamaican black-castor oils, alongside deep conditioners and blowout creams — all of which help users achieve another main goal of Walker’s: healthy hair.
And by partnering with Sephora for the launch, Dennis hopes to spread these hair benefits and Walker’s lasting impact on a wider scale. “There’s no reason why people shouldn’t think of Madam C.J. Walker the same way they think of Coco Chanel. It’s been all too easy to marginalize us over the decades, and it’s time for us to stand up and say ‘Hey, no, I won’t be marginalized,’ and this is what we did and we’re going to make sure everybody knows that — through all lenses.”