It's official - the beauty business is having a serious moment, with global cosmetics and skincare sales booming.
Forbes magazine puts the global beauty industry at an eye-watering $532 billion valuation. Just a decade ago, I doubt many of us would have known our contours from our cut creases, our serums from our strobing. The whole beauty landscape - its terminology, brands, platforms, products, stars and techniques - has evolved dramatically in the blink of a well-lashed eye.
Part of this industry overhaul has been the increase in women beauty bosses - YouTube make-up vloggers, beauty bloggers and female cosmetics brand founders, some of whom have become billionaires in the process. In fact, the world's youngest ever female self-made billionaire is Kylie Jenner, who gained that status through her mega-successful cosmetics range, Kylie Cosmetics.
What's really refreshing to see is that these women are creating make-up and skincare that women actually want, rather than being told what to buy by marketeers. For example, the founder of online direct-to-customer Glossier Beauty (valued at $1.2 billion after only four years!), Emily Weiss, offers only 34 products, but all of them are bestsellers beloved by millennials. Rihanna literally changed the face of the mainstream beauty industry when she launched her Fenty Beauty line in 2017, simply by being inclusive and acknowledging diversity in women. She offered 40 foundation shades - something other beauty brands weren't doing but, since the 'Fenty Effect', they have all been scrambling to copy.
Another great example of women taking the beauty reins into their own hands is stay-at-home mum Tiffany Masterson, founder of Drunk Elephant skincare. She was sick of not being able to find 'clean' skincare products and so created her own line in 2012, which she recently sold for the handsome sum of $845 million.
So, in celebration of International Women's Day, let's take our hats off to some amazing female beauty bosses who are busy disrupting the beauty world - and making billions in the process!
This is the jewel in the Glossier beauty crown - one of these brow boosters is sold every 30 seconds! With a formulation based on an old-school pomade but with added modern tech, this tinted wax gives brows a beefed-up, fluffy, fuller shape in seconds - without any of the crunchiness, stickiness or flakiness that can occur with some brow fixers. Sparse brows will love this. It comes in four colours - blond, brown, black and clear. Plus, it's ophthalmologist-tested (a bonus if you have sensitive eyes), alcohol-free and fragrance-free.
DETAILS: Glossier Boy Brow, €15, from glossier.com
Huda is well-known for its liquid foundation. This gem is full-coverage - honestly, one pump is enough for your whole face - and packed with ultra-refined pigments. It comes in 30 shades with a broad colour spectrum, so no matter what your skin's undertone (i.e. neutral, warm or cool), this foundation has you covered.
DETAILS: Huda #FauxFilter Foundation, €36, from Arnotts, Brown Thomas, selfridges.com, hudabeauty.com and Boots nationwide
With a hefty 50 shades to choose from, it's nigh on impossible not to find a perfect-match concealer for your skin from this range. This is a creamy, soft matte formulation that is medium to full coverage and seriously longwear - a little goes a long way! Best to start off with a teeny amount and add more as needed.
DETAILS: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Concealer, €25, from Boots, Harvey Nichols and fentybeauty.com
Who? Kim Kardashian West (39), founder of KKW and KKW Fragrance.
What? We couldn't have an article on beauty moguls without featuring Kim Kardashian West - arguably she and her family have redefined make-up and grooming more than anyone or anything else in the last decade. Promoting a super-groomed, heavily made up and glamorous aesthetic, she uses her massive social media following (161 million followers on Instagram alone) to promote and sell her make-up and fragrance lines. A brilliant example of a beauty industry disrupter, with her app and Skims solutionwear also beefing up that healthy bank account.
Worth? $370 million
Where? kkwfragrance.com and kkwbeauty.com. Instagram @kimkardashian
Who? Tiffany Masterson (50), founder of Drunk Elephant.
What? Tiffany was a stay-at-home mother to her four kids in Houston, Texas, when she founded 'clean' skincare brand Drunk Elephant in 2012. With the help of a chemist, she developed skincare items specifically formulated without what she deemed the "Suspicious Six" ingredients: essential oils, alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances and sodium lauryl sulphate. At time-warp speed, Drunk Elephant has become one of the fastest-growing skincare companies in history. Luxury Japanese brand Shiseido recently bought Tiffany's start-up for an eye-watering sum - all the more impressive when you consider that Drunk Elephant doesn't spend money on advertising.
Worth? $845 million
Where? Available at drunkelephant.com, cultbeauty.co.uk and Space NK.
Blogger to billionaire
Who? Huda Kattan (36), Huda Beauty.
What? Iraqi-American Huda Kattan packed in her job in finance back in 2010 to focus on her passion - beauty blogging and YouTube tutorials. Huda Beauty is currently the No. 1 Instagram beauty account in the world and her namesake cosmetic line was launched in 2013. A family-owned business (Huda's sisters and husband all work on the brand), Huda Beauty has since grown into a global empire. Its founder was named one of the 10 most powerful influencers in the world of beauty by Forbes magazine and featured in Time's list of the 25 most influential people on the internet.
Worth? $1.2 billion
Where? Available at hudabeauty.com and Selfridges, Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Harvey Nichols and Boots. Instagram @hudabeauty
Who? Emily Weiss (34), founder of Glossier.
What? Glossier is the social media-led beauty empire that has rocked the traditionalist gatekeepers to the industry. Founded by Emily when she was only 29, it has grown from a website offering just four products to an online mega-brand. Proving her work ethic early on, Emily was working at Vogue as her day job but indulging her passion for all things beauty by getting up at 4am to work on her own beauty blog, Into the Gloss. In 2015, she decided to go it alone and launch her online beauty start-up, which has become a cult brand known for its minimal look. Glossier has disrupted the traditional cosmetics industry and set a new blueprint for success by asking women what they want, rather than telling them what they need.
Worth? $1.2 billion
Where? Available at glossier.com
Who? Rihanna Fenty (32), creator of Fenty Beauty.
What? Rihanna, the most wealthy female musician in the world, has successfully built an empire outside of music with her Fenty fashion and lingerie range. She then turned the beauty industry on its head when she launched her Fenty Beauty line with LVMH in 2017, by offering 40 shades of foundation and concealer to include as many women of colour as possible (she has upped that range now to 50 shades). It was named Invention of the Year by Time magazine.
Worth? $600 million
Where? Available at fentybeauty.com, Harvey Nichols and Boots nationwide.
Natural beauty queen
Who? Jessica Alba (37), The Honest Company.
What? Inspired by her own experience searching for eco-conscious products while pregnant, actress Jessica Alba founded eco-friendly, all-natural lifestyle brand The Honest Company in 2011, as a way for new parents to get their hands on baby and cleaning products that were completely non-toxic. Alba's brand has expanded to include make-up and beauty items with her Honest Beauty range. This 'clean' empire landed Jessica on Forbes's Richest Self-Made Women list and America's Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 list in 2016.
Worth? $1 billion
Where? Available from honest.com, Boots nationwide and beautyshop.ie. Instagram @jessicaalba
Queen of green
Who? Gwyneth Paltrow (47), founder of Goop.
What? The Oscar-winning actress launched her lifestyle company Goop from her kitchen table in 2008, in the form of a humble newsletter offering travel advice, recipes and wellness tips to her fans. It quickly morphed into a mega-successful lifestyle website and business. Goop now sells everything from clothes to household goods - with a well-known, bizarrely named candle being one of the most recent, controversial offerings! In a move to break into the beauty business, Goop debuted a non-toxic skin-care line with Juice Beauty in 2016. Worth? $250 million
Where? goop.com and cultbeauty.com. Instagram @gwynethpaltrow
Who? Kylie Jenner (22) founder of Kylie Cosmetics.
What? The youngest member of the Kardashian Klan, Kylie launched her (fully privately owned) Kylie Cosmetics line in 2015, with her lip kits being such a smash hit that they sold out in minutes. She has since developed the line to include all cosmetics and skincare to such success that she was named the world's youngest-ever self-made billionaire - pipping even Mark Zuckerberg to the billionaire post (he was 23 when he hit that mark). She recently announced her decision to sell the majority (51pc) of her cosmetics company for the tidy sum of $600 million to beauty giant Coty.
Worth? Forbes estimates her fortune at $1 billion.
Where? kyliecosmetics.com and see Instagram @kyliejenner