Forbes’ America's Richest Self-Made Women list includes Rihanna and Kylie, as well as Huda Kattan and Anastasia Soare
Women in beauty are cleaning up. This week, Forbes released their annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women (we’ll leave it to others to hash out the hotly contested phrase “self-made”). Of the 80 women on the list, which includes Oprah Winfrey, Gap co-founder Doris Fisher and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, 10 have made their money – or at least some it – from the make-up and skincare industries. Rihanna, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian all make the list, as do Anastasia Soare of Anastasia Beverly Hills and Huda Kattan.
Perhaps lesser known, are Kathy Fields and Katie Rodin, founders of Proactiv – a dermatologist-developed skincare line which has been a teen-staple for years and recently announced Kendall Jenner as their newest ambassador. There’s also Toni Ko of NYX Cosmetics and Jamie Kern Lima from IT Cosmetics, who both sold their respective brands to L’Oreal. Kern Lima stayed on as CEO of IT Cosmetics after the sale, making her the first female CEO in L’Oreal’s history. And rounding out the list, Karissa Bodnar of Thrive Causemetics, a clean, vegan brand founded by Bodnar after her friend died of cancer.
Of the nine brands represented on the list, it’s worth noting six were founded in the last decade with Proactiv (founded in 1995) being the longest-running company. However, women have long been making money through the business of beauty. Elizabeth Arden (Arden entered skincare in 1909) and Helena Rubinstein (who opened her first salon in 1915) made their fortunes through the beauty industry, as did Madame C.J. Walker and Annie Turnbo Malone who, by 1914, had become the first female self-made millionaires through their respective hair-care companies. Both the daughters of former slaves (Walker was the first of her siblings born into freedom, just a few years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed abolishing slavery), Walker and Malone’s success in a time of Jim Crow segregation and when women were still fighting for the vote was remarkable.