Garrett Augustus Morgan: A Revolutionary Pioneer in the Cosmetology Industry


The cosmetology industry has been shaped by countless innovators who have pushed the boundaries of beauty standards and treatments. Among these, Garrett Augustus Morgan, an African American inventor and entrepreneur, stands as a notable figure. His groundbreaking work in the early 20th century not only revolutionized hair care for African Americans but also had a profound impact on the beauty industry as a whole.

A Revolutionary Pioneer in the Cosmetology Industry

Garrett Augustus Morgan

An Unexpected Discovery: The Birth of the First Chemical Hair Relaxer

Garrett Augustus Morgan’s journey into the world of cosmetology began with an unexpected discovery. In 1909, Morgan observed a transformation in wool fabric after applying a chemical solution to it. Noticing that the wool became straighter, he had the innovative idea of testing the solution on his own hair. The result was the creation of the first chemical relaxer, a product that had the power to smooth and straighten curly and coily hair types.

The G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company: Pioneering Hair Care for African Americans

Recognizing the potential of his discovery, Morgan established the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company. His revolutionary hair relaxer was marketed primarily to African Americans, offering a new solution to manage and style their naturally textured hair. This marked a significant moment in the cosmetology industry, acknowledging and catering to the unique needs of African American hair for the first time on such a scale.

Expanding the Portfolio: Black Oil Hair Dye and the Curved-Tooth Pressing Comb

Morgan’s contributions to the field of hair care didn’t stop with the relaxer. He went on to create a black oil hair dye, providing another product tailored to the needs and preferences of his primary market. Additionally, he invented the curved-tooth pressing comb, a tool that allowed for safer and more effective straightening of curly and coily hair. These inventions further demonstrated his commitment to meeting the unique hair care needs of African Americans.


Garrett Augustus Morgan’s innovations represent pivotal moments in the history of the cosmetology industry. His work not only addressed a gap in the market but also empowered African Americans to have more freedom and choice in their hair care routines. His pioneering inventions — the chemical hair relaxer, the black oil hair dye, and the curved-tooth pressing comb — have left a lasting legacy in the world of beauty and continue to influence modern hair care practices.

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