16 Powered By Women Brands, Businesses, Products, and Projects to Rally Behind

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Written By Paklay Zablay

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This iconic beauty brand isn’t just feminine in name, but also vision. Ever since Mrs. Estée Lauder, the daughter of Hungarian and Czech immigrants, founded the company in 1946 with four skincare products, it has remained focused on advancing opportunities for women around the world. Example: In 2021, it launched an initiative called Opening Doors: Women’s Advancement and Gender Equality, committing to achieving gender pay equity, hiring women from underrepresented groups, and achieving gender parity on its board of directors by 2025 (among many other goals). Worldwide, the company has a workforce of more than 80 percent women, and 59 percent of its positions at the vice president level and above are filled by females.

Estée Lauder Nutritious Booster Drops Serum

The Honest Company

Bummed about the lack of chemical-conscious diaper options when she had her first child, actress Jessica Alba had an idea that (unbelievably) seemed novel at the time—create an infant-care brand based on trust and transparency, right down to its name. When Honest Co. launched in 2012, Alba capitalized on her celeb status to shine a light on the idea that what you put on your body matters just as much as what you put in it, and that ingredient lists should have nothing to hide. The idea caught on fast and the brand expanded beyond baby items into skincare and beauty, went public in 2021, and currently has a female CEO, Carla Vernón—who is also the first Afro-Latina CEO of a U.S. publicly traded company. A major player in mainstreaming safer products, the brand lists 3,500 chemicals it chooses not to use, including parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances.

Honest Co. Training Pants

We all know it as the bottle with the orange label that gets popped at fancy clubs. Yet this Champagne brand has a less-known and uniquely female backstory. One of the first woman entrepreneurs of modern times, “Madame Clicquot”—Barbe Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin—became head of the company her father-in-law had founded when she was widowed at age 27. She fully embraced the role, drove the brand to wild success, and is credited with creating the first blended-rosé Champagne, among other major industry innovations. Still centered around the concept of female innovation, the brand uses its Bold by Veuve Clicquot initiative (launched in 1972—way ahead of its time) to empower women entrepreneurs and give awards to stand-out female innovators around the world.

Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé

A mom questioning the need for disposable sandwich baggies has saved 5.5 billion single-use plastic bags from entering our waterways and oceans. Owned by SC Johnson since 2019, the now-ubiquitous reusable-bag brand Stasher (sold at Whole Foods and just about everywhere else near you) started as the pet project of Kat Nouri, a mom of three, who wanted to stop using so much plastic when packing her kids’ lunches. (She’d already been designing silicone baby bibs and placemats, so silicone slide-lock bags were a natural progression.) She took the idea onto Shark Tank and won a $400,000 investment from Mark Cuban, followed by $500,000 from an outside investor.

Stasher Reusable Silicone Storage Bag

You know it as the haircare brand beloved by various Kardashian-Jenners and other A-list celebrities—one that’s also refreshingly affordable and accessible. Yet Ouai is different from other trendy hair products in one notable way: It was designed by a woman, one who didn’t have a glam squad but was the glam squad—a hairstylist working on photoshoots and red-carpet events. Jen Atkin moved to L.A. when she was just 19 to become a hairstylist. (Well, first she was a receptionist in a hair salon.) After building an impressive roster of big-name celebrity clients over the years, she decided she could make hair products that better fit what her clients—and her generation—were looking for, plus supplements to make hair healthier from the inside out. She launched the brand in 2016 to instant success, in part thanks to her and her clients’ massive social-media reach, and sold it to P&G in 2022. These days, it’s known for giving real women what they want: cleaner ingredients, nourishing formulas, and products that actually work.

Ouai Fine Shampoo + Conditioner Set

One of the biggest Black haircare brands on the planet was born not in a corporate boardroom but a Brooklyn kitchen in 1993. Founder Lisa Price got her start selling homemade products at local flea markets and festivals and later opened a boutique. In 2000, Carol’s Daughter became one of the very first beauty brands to sell its products directly to customers via its own online store. Carol’s Daughter hit the big-time after launching on HSN and then getting picked up by Target in 2014. Now, it’s part of the L’Oréal family of brands and sold everywhere from drugstores to Ulta, and Price is considered one of the most influential Black beauty entrepreneurs of all time. Current hot seller to try: the Hair Milk Refresher Spray for Curls & Coils.

Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Curl Refresher Spray


Known for making ultra-affordable makeup, e.l.f. was founded by a man—but these days, its current CFO, a woman, is making headlines for her massive success in turning the brand around. Mandy Fields joined the brand in 2019 and has since clocked 20 consecutive quarters of growth—and net fourth-quarter sales for 2023 increased an insane 85 percent over the year before. Part of her strategy: keeping prices low in a world where just about everything seems to cost a fortune, and investing more in marketing. The brand is also focused on introducing hero products that are dupes for viral items from pricier brands. Its own viral product of the moment: Halo Glow Liquid Filter Complexion Booster.

e.l.f. Halo Glow Liquid Filter

In the world of luxury goods, Chanel has notable feminine power behind it. Its story and aesthetic are built around its female founder—Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who grew up as an orphan, made her name via a Parisian fashion boutique, and went on to become one the most influential fashion designers of all time. Her menswear-influenced clothing aesthetic really caught on among everyday women after World War I, freeing them from the buttoned-up and corseted feminine styles of the past. Today, it is one of the few legacy fashion houses headed up by a woman, with Global CEO Leena Nair at the helm since 2022. Further evidence that Chanel remains as woman-powered as it was in Coco’s day: More than 60 percent of management positions at the company are held by women, and Fondation Chanel, the company’s charitable initiative, is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world devoted to empowering women and girls.

Chanel Pantos Sunglasses

If you, like much of womankind, believe that the world is a better place because brilliant female-POV series like Gilmore Girls and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel exist, here’s some great news: The creator of these beloved-by-women franchises, Amy Sherman Palladino, is masterminding an upcoming ballet series, Etoile, that will air on Amazon Prime. The premise: two famous ballet companies in New York City and Paris have to swap their most talented stars. We can’t wait to see that tulle-laced drama starring Charlotte Gainsbourg play out next year, and in the meantime, we have a brand-new excuse to re-binge Gilmore and Maisel. Marvelous.


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