Meet the 10 richest beauty billionaires of 2023 – Entrepreneurs Kim Kardashian and Rihanna are jostling at the bottom whereas LVMH boss Bernard Arnault single-handedly dominates the list.

Beauty brand billionaires Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Bernard Arnault. Photos: Getty Images; @fentyxriri, @kimkardashian/Instagram; Bloomberg

Among the richest men in the world, Bernard Arnault took the throne from Elon Musk earlier this year – before the Tesla and SpaceX CEO snatched back the title a few days ago, per Forbes. When it comes to ladies, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers has topped the charts for years.

N°1 de Chanel products. Photo: Handout

But Arnault and Bettencourt Meyers have one thing in common: they’re both bosses of a beauty empire – LVMH and L’Oréal, respectively. The beauty sector, defined as skincare, fragrance, make-up and hair care, generated around US$430 billion in revenue last year, according to McKinsey & Company. The company also predicted that the sector will continue to grow rapidly by six per cent per year.

The beauty business not only generates hundreds of billions in profit each year, but also turns out some of the biggest billionaires in the world. So just who are these beauty billionaires?

Suh Kyung-bae, chairman and chief executive of Amorepacific, is consistently among South Korea’s top 10 richest. Photo: Amorepacific

10. Suh Kyung-bae (Amorepacific) – US$1.6 billion
As the chairman of Amorepacific, the largest cosmetic and skincare company in South Korea, Suh Kyung-bae, 60, became not only a billionaire but the second richest man in the country in 2015. Since then, he has always been among the top 10 wealthiest people in South Korea.

Suh Kyung-bae took over his father’s business in 1997. Photo: Amorepacific

When he succeeded his father’s cosmetic business as its CEO in 1997, Suh rehauled Amorepacific with dozens of brands like Amore Pacific, Innisfree, Etude and Laneige. Today Amorepacific is worth US$4.7 billion and its boss has a fortune of US$1.6 billion, Forbes estimated.

Reality star Kim Kardashian arrives on the red carpet for the 2023 Met Gala, the annual benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, in New York, New York, US, on May 1. Photo: EPA-EFE

9. Kim Kardashian (KKW Beauty) – US$1.7 billion
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, 42, is also a super successful entrepreneur. She dominates the beauty scene and the fashion world alike with her KKW Beauty and Skims shapewear lines.

Kim Kardashian’s new campaign photos from the SKNN by Kim collection. Photo: @skkn/Instagram

Kardashian launched KKW Beauty in 2017, which brought her over US$100 million in gross revenue, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2020, she sold a 20 per cent stake of the line for US$200 million, estimating its whole value at US$1 billion. But she closed it in 2021 and launched SKKN By Kim, a nine-step high-end skincare collection last year, per Forbes. She currently sits on US$1.7 billion, according to the same source.

Rihanna is the richest female singer in the world. Photo: @badgalriri/Instagram

8. Rihanna (Fenty Beauty) – US$1.7 billion
Superstar Rihanna, 35, became a billionaire in 2021, thanks to her Fenty Beauty empire in which she has a 50 per cent take, according to Forbes. That also makes her the richest female singer in the world with a net worth of US$1.7 billion, per Celebrity Net Worth.

Rihanna posing for her make-up brand Fenty Beauty’s campaign. Photo: @fentybeauty/Instagram

Launched in 2017 in a partnership with luxury brand LVMH, Fenty Beauty aimed to appeal to women of all skin tones. It made US$100 million in its first two months, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Today, it is worth US$1.4 billion. Rihanna also owns 30 per cent of the Savage x Fenty lingerie brand, which is worth US$1 billion.

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Hou Juncheng’s Proya is one of China’s top cosmetics groups. Photo: Baidu

7. Hou Juncheng (Proya) – US$2.2 billion
Hou Juncheng, 60, founded Proya in 2006 and turned the company into one of the top cosmetics groups in China. Proya focuses on skincare, make-up and beauty products for women aged 18 to 24 in small and medium cities. The company is known for its local and international signature brands such as Timage, Zwyer Caviar and Artemis.

In 2020, he entered Forbes’ list of Chinese billionaires with a fortune valued at US$1.2 billion. Just over two years later, he has almost doubled it to US$2.2 billion.

Antonio Luiz Seabra was inspired by Avon’s business model and ultimately acquired the brand. Photo: Facebook

6. Antonio Luiz Seabra (Natura) – US$3 billion
Antonio Luiz Seabra, 81, founded Natura in 1969. He made it the largest beauty brand in Brazil – and made himself a billionaire.

Natura, the current owner of The Body Shop, was first inspired by Avon’s door-to-door sales model, expanding from Brazil to other Latin American countries and then France. Later it bought Avon, making an annual combined gross revenue of over US$10 billion, according to Premier Beauty News.

Seabra also owns Bresco, a property rental firm focused on warehouses, offices and hotels. His businesses bring US$3 billion into his money bag, Celebrity Net Worth reports.

Brothers Michael and Wolfgang Herz own the company behind Nivea and Eucerin. Photos: Handout

5. Michael and Wolfgang Herz (Beiersdorf) – US$13 billion
Brothers Michael and Wolfgang Herz, 79 and 73, owe nearly half of Beiersdorf, the company behind popular brands like Nivea, Eucerin and Labello. They have a current net worth of US$6.5 billion each, according to Forbes.

Their cash doesn’t only flow in from beauty care products, but also in a large part from Tchibo Holding, one of Germany’s largest retail groups.

The Lauder family: Jane, William P., Leonard A., Ronald S. and Aerin Lauder. Photo: Estée Lauder Companies

4. The Lauder family (Estée Lauder) – US$40 billion
Estée Lauder and her husband Joseph founded the company in 1946, which has grown to become one of the leading names is the cosmetics business today with familiar lines like Clinique, Mac, La Mer and more. Their offspring have grown the brand even more to a combined fortune of US$40 billion, making them one of the five richest families in the US, per Celebrity Net Worth.

Estée Lauder, American beautician and businesswoman. Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images

Among them, Estée’s oldest son, 90-year-old Leonard, the chairman emeritus, joined the company in 1958 and became the richest member of the family. He is worth US$21 billion, a bit more than half of the family’s fortune, according to Celebrity Net Worth. His brother Ronald joined the company much later and shares a similar net worth as the next generation – Leonard’s son William and Ronald’s daughters, Aerin and Jane, who are key leaders of Estée Lauder. Each of them is worth US$2.5 billion to US$4.5 billion.

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Alain and his brother Gerard Wertheimer attend the Prix de Diane Longines at Hippodrome de Chantilly in Chantilly, France, in 2011. Photo: WireImage

3. Alain and Gerard Wertheimer (Chanel) – US$90 billion
Brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, 74 and 72, the co-owners of Chanel, are each worth US$45 billion, coming to US$90 billion together, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

French businessman and racehorse owner Pierre Wertheimer (1888-1965) co-founded Chanel. Photo: Getty Images

As the grandsons and heirs of Pierre Wertheimer, who bought out his early partner Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, the company’s namesake, most of the brothers’ wealth obviously come from the favourite lines of the brands, including Chanel Beauty and Chanel Perfume. Other money streams of theirs also include three vineyards in France and California’s Napa Valley, and racehorse breeding.

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is the world’s richest woman. Photo: @QUIZCLUBUAF/Twitter

2. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers (L’Oréal) – US$90 billion
Queen of the beauty biz, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers herself, is the granddaughter of Eugène Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal. Her net worth of US$90 billion, per Celebrity Net Worth, has more than doubled since 2018, when she topped Forbes’ list of the richest newcomers on the billionaires list with US$42.2 billion.

Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oréal fortune, and her daughter Françoise Bettencourt Meyers arrive for the L’Oréal-Unesco prize for women in Paris, in September 2017. Photo: Reuters

The heiress to Liliane Bettencourt, who was the world’s richest woman before her death in 2017, the 70-year-old now serves as the chairwoman of L’Oréal’s holding company. Her wealth is derived from her and her family’s 33 per cent stake in the company.

Bernard Arnault, billionaire and chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, during a company news conference in Paris, France, on July 24. Photo: Bloomberg

1. Bernard Arnault (LVMH) – US$219 billion
Elon Musk’s formidable opponent who has beat him to the top of the list more than once in recent years, is none other than Bernard Arnault, the French big boss of giant luxury house LVMH, owner of over 70 fashion and beauty brands including top-tier ones like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Tiffany, Bulgari and Givenchy.

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, speaks during a news conference to present the 2022 annual results of LVMH in Paris, France, on January 26. Photo: Reuters

Co-founder of LVMH, Arnault is lord of the fashion and beauty world. LVMH’s profit soared from US$4 billion in 1989 to US$86 billion last year and its stock increased 35 per cent over the past year, according to Forbes. Arnault’s fortune is around US$219 billion, per the same source.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

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