She married French politician Andre Bettencourt in 1950. The couple’s only child, Francoise, was born three years later.
In 1957, she took over his stake and actively ran the cosmetics giant while serving on the company’s board until 2012.
Bettencourt stepped down at the age of 89 and was replaced by her grandson.
The heiress was named by Forbes and the Bloomberg Billionaire Index as the world’s richest woman with a net worth estimated at around $44 billion.
The Bettencourt family currently owns 33 percent of the L’Oreal Group, which is home to brands like Lancome, Garnier and La Roche-Posay.
Bettencourt had faced a scandal for years tagged the ‘Bettencourt Affair,’ which involved her relationship with a celebrity photographer Francois-Marie Banier, 25 years younger than her.
Francoise, her daughter, filed a complaint against the photographer which led to her son taking over the company. Francoise had argued that her elderly mother was not mentally competent to handle her own affairs.
The judge found Banier guilty of exploiting Bettencourt and he ended up receiving a suspended prison sentence.