Fenty Beauty. The new make-up collection from Rihanna has been causing THE biggest stir in the beauty community, and regardless of the expected attention this best-selling artist was bound to command, the fact that she launched with a whopping 40 shades of foundation has got people freaking out, and justifiably so. I picked up a couple of products from the NYC, Times Square Sephora store just a few weeks after its launch there…
Whenever a celebrity launches a make-up range I’m often sceptical. It’s an easy way for brands to cash in on the established fame, and can sometimes mean that the products quality suffers. I’ve been seduced by beauty-guru and celebrity colabs in the past, and didn’t want to make that mistake again, but when Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty – called so after her own surname – I couldn’t help but notice how much it oozed in sophistication – plus it’s totally cruelty free (with many products vegan also). The packaging is delightfully simplistic but feels robust, and the range offers a genuine versatility and access to a multitude of skin tones, which is unfortunately still so rare to see.
Rihanna’s aim was to launch a make-up line “so that women everywhere would be included,” focusing on a wide range of traditionally hard-to-match skin tones, creating formulas that work for all skin types, and pinpointing universal shades. She wanted to ultimately “make skin look like skin.” But doesn’t take things too seriously, recognizing that: “Make-up is there for you to have fun with,” she says. “It should never feel like pressure. It should never feel like a uniform. Feel free to take chances, and take risks, and dare to do something new or different.” While the line launched with base products of foundation, concealer and contour products, along with highlighters, tools and a lip product, the new holiday collection is already on the horizon for this fall and teases some stunning eyeshadow colours to get more creative with.
So, does it really live up to the hype? I’m pretty pale, and have neutral to cool undertones (Kat Von D Light 44). I’ve struggled in the past to find foundations without warming, yellow undertones. I can’t wear Charlotte Tilbury, Too Faced or Estée Lauder foundations, for example as they just don’t cater for my tone. A recent work trip to New York was perfectly timed with the Fenty launch, and I made my way to Sephora as soon as I could. After elbowing my way to the counter, I tried a few swatches of the foundation, and was surprised to see I wasn’t at the very end of the pale scale, I actually had quite some choice. I opted for two neutral shades, 120 and 150. What’s interesting to observe, is that the lighter shade 120 is much more runny in consistency, which you can see from my swatch. Not sure if this is just my bottle, but both colours perform in the same way. I usually buy two shades, as my jawline is much lighter than my nose and cheeks, so I used both for a close colour match. For those in the UK, the whole range is available from Harvey Nichols. You can see how seamlessly and skin-like the finish is, particularly in the two closer images, the first with no other make-up, and the second just with brows, contour, blush and highlight.
I’d heard that the shades do oxidise slightly, and was slightly worried when I watched RawBeautyKristi’s no bullshit review on the product after I’d already purchased. I love her honest reviews and would hands-down purchase on her recommendation, but she didn’t get along with the formula. You can see in this photo 120 on the left fresh and dried down, and 150 on the right. The subtle-scented product dries fast, so don’t hang around in your application. I’ve been wearing this for a week before posting my review and have found that it definitely wears better with a primer, something Kristi never uses, and without I found a little cakey. While I didn’t purchase the dedicated Fenty Pro Filt’r Primer, I found my Laura Mercier Hydrating Foundation Primer to work beautifully. After trial and error I believe it applies better with a brush, and a final buff into place with a beauty blender sponge. This may sound slightly laborious, but I swear it’s worth it. When I applied just with the sponge, I found the coverage was too full, and threatened to cake around my nose, looking textured close up. Far away it looked great, but getting in any closer and my skin looked pasty. But I didn’t want stage make-up, and so applying with a brush was a totally refreshing experience, leaving a thin, but totally buildable veil of colour, which smoothed out discoloration and imperfections – finally, worth the hype! The beauty blender, patted over skin, just gave an air-brushed finish.
One thing you’ll hear the beauty community all agreeing on with this product is how it dries down with a soft, powdery finish. You can definitely apply powder products straight over the top with no shifting, but I found a little Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder really helped perfect and set the colour. I didn’t purchase any of the contour sticks, as I’m not a huge fan of cream products, but I’m sure Rihanna will soon launch powder contours. My Anastasia Beverly Hills contour powder glided over my base like a total dream, and my skin looked soft and out-of-focus. As a total highlighter junkie I came away with two of the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters. Metal Moon, and the Duo Lightning Dust & Fire Crystal. The former is a pretty, subtle and cool shimmer, which at first I was a little disappointed with, but in my work toilets today (glam) the light caught my cheeks and I suddenly fell back in love with this pretty pop of light. If you don’t want your highlighter to blind, but do want a healthy glow, this is your girl. The duo colours offer a slightly warmer hue, with Fire Crystal providing a more buildable strobe. I can see these becoming an every-day grab for me for sure, and I’m genuinely looking forwards to seeing what comes next to the collection.