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Liliane Bettencourt, the world’s richest woman

It’s safe to say that Liliane Bettencourt’s daughters are ‘hair’ to a massive wealth. This is because Bettencourt is largely known as the world’s richest woman, and around the tenth richest person in the world. Thanks to Bettencourt’s parents, who were founders of giant cosmetic company L’Oréal — Bettencourt herself inherited a wealth that few people could only ever imagine.

Such is her finances, Forbes list 93-years-old Bettencourt’s net worth in 2015 at $37.5 Billion.

Born in Paris, the Parisian was in the fortunate position of being an only child, meaning that when her time came to inherit such wealth, there were no siblings in sight to divide the pot with.

But she didn’t simply have everything handed to her. When she was just 15-years-old, Bettencourt joined the company working as an apprentice mixing up cosmetics and helping to label the many bottles of shampoo. She literally went from being an apprentice to one of the most powerful and richest women in the world.

Bettencourt and her daughters own 33% of L’Oréal, so that gives you some insight to the scale of the worlds cosmetics brand, which sit second between Procter and Gamble at top spot, followed in third place by Unilever.

The rich powerhouse of a lady also has a reputation as being a class A socialite — probably as anyone would be with her background. In 1950 is when she took her husband’s name, after marrying French politician Andre Bettencourt. He later worked as a cabinet minister in French governments in the 60s and 70s before taking the position as deputy chairman of L’Oréal.

Even Mr Bettencourt’s dodgy background did little to halt the meteoric rise of the French cosmetics company under his watch. He had once been a member of a violent French fascist group that Liliane’s father had also supported and even funded 30s. We’re talking about a group that collaborated with the Nazis as late as World War II.

Any PR is good PR perhaps; but we really thought it stopped with nazism.

Though there’s always good old reliable philanthropy to balance the books. As do most billionaires who have more money than time, Bettencourt and family indulge in a spot of philanthropy. The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, based in France, supports everything from medical development, to cultural and humanitarian issues.

The The Foundation, which holds in excess of 150 million Euros in assets and boasts an annual budget of 15 million Euros — does do some reportedly fine work. Sure you would to if you had multiple billions.

But regardless of wealth, or in this sad case because of it, Bettencourt has been the victim of high-level swindles as a result of her mental state. Photographer François-Marie Banier, was one such crook and ended up being sentenced to three years in prison and made to pay her damages of $172 million.

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