Fifty—I mean forty shades never looked so damn good
Recently Robyn Rihanna Fenty, aka the beloved singer Rihanna released her cruelty-free Fenty Beauty makeup line in partnership with LVMH’s Kendo Brands on September 8th, 2017 and let me tell you, the beauty world has been raving. Until only a few days prior there was very little released showing what the actual products were or what they looked like, but one phrase overtook social media before the first pictures were even released, “Forty Shades.” Not only is this an extremely large range, particularly for a just starting brand, but the fact that it is coming from a black owned company left hope that Fenty Beauty wouldn’t be another case of “50(well, 40) Shades of Beige.” Rihanna promised to make a line that included all women, particularly fellow ladies of darker color, who she is quoted saying “been left out too many times in the makeup world!” And girl did she deliver. Since Fenty Beauty’s release women of hard to shop for skin tones, be it due to Albinism or being on the darker end of the spectrum, have been posting photos proudly displaying their first ever matching foundation.
Fenty Beauty’s release might from the outside seem of very little consequence, just another celebrity starting a just another makeup brand, but the social implications of Fenty Beauty are huge. Women (and Men) of Color have long been ignored by the makeup and beauty world, particularly in the case of more mainstream brands. While there are many great black owned companies that cater specifically towards women of color, such as black Up, because of their “limited” appeal in the eyes of retailers such as Sephora they are almost never carried, and if they are usually only online. This make these products rather inaccessible to the average shopper. Where fairer skinned women could usually just swing by Sephora and swatch a bunch of shades in store to find a match, darker skinned women would be stuck in the lengthy, full of hassle process of ordering a shade, seeing if it matched, before returning it and ordering a new one and repeat until finding the correct one. Even WOC who could still find shades in store were usually stuck with “close enough” or forced to buy two shades and/or color correcting drops to mix, as even the more inclusive companies tend to have wide gaps and lacking undertones when it comes to their darker shade collections.
This might seem like a minor problem to many, that with all the other racism in the world, makeup is a frivolous place to take a stand, but it is not. Many jobs require women wear makeup, and those become inaccessible to a woman when the makeup in question is inaccessible to her. Even for the jobs that don’t require makeup, studies have found that women who do earn more on average than those who do not, to the tune of $4,000-$6,000 more a year. Although this pressure for women to wear makeup is a huge sexist issue as well that needs to be fixed, in the current system it still means that women who were not able to easily find makeup to suit their needs have a huge finical disadvantage, and to make up for it must go through far more time, effort, and money than their white woman counterparts. In addition to effecting job prospects, the lack of visible inclusive makeup send a very clear, and very wrong message. When brands do not have foundations that match women of color, they are quite literally sending the message that these colors of skin do not exist, and that is not ok.
Fenty Beauty changes that. Not specifically a black beauty brand, it integrates makeup for black women and men into the rest of the beauty world in a way so few companies bother to do, sending a message that this should be the expected norm, and that makeup for dark skinned women should be easily accessible and not treated as a hidden away specialty niche market. In addition, Rihanna’s fame ensures that her products will get plenty of attention from retailers and other brands. Within days of release onto physically selves, the dark shades were out of stock. Fenty Beauty’s success has put pressure on other brands to step up their game as well, as many have started announcing releases of more inclusive shades. Whether they’ll be able to keep up is another question, as rumor has it that Rihanna is looking to release 40 more shades in addition to the ones already out.
Now you may be saying, “Hey, this is awesome and all, but are the products actually any good?” Lucky for you, I’m here to give a run down on that front too.
Fenty Beauty currently has single and duo pressed powder highlighters, cream stick highlighters, contour concealer sticks, a universal gloss, and, of course, foundation. They are also set to release some awesome looking space themed holiday products soon. I only tested out the makeup products.
The single highlighters ($34) are extremely glittery, which I am a fan of but those looking for a more natural sheen might not be fond of. The duo powders ($34) are drop dead gorgeous and include a glittery shade as well as a more satin one. The crème sticks ($25) combined the best of both worlds in a glittery satin.
The contour and concealer sticks ($25) have colors for just about every skin tone. The contour for pale skins lean grey, which I’ve always found best for a more believable look. Once these are down they are hard to move, so blending can be difficult, but once achieved your contour won’t be going anywhere.
The gloss ($18) is, to be frank, poppin’. It’s super think and glossy, a bit goopy but not overly sticky, and looks amazing. It also smells like a strawberry candy from my childhood that I can’t quite place (if anyone figures it out hmu, it’s driving me nuts), and brings pleasant nostalgic feeligns.
TBH, while the primer ($32) felt nice I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but it’s made for oily skin and diffusing noticeable pores, neither of which are a problem for me.
Last and most importantly, the foundation ($34). First of as someone on the extremely pale end, this is the closest fit I’ve ever found, using the cooler of the two lightest shades, 110 (for reference on just how great this range is, this is the same shade I’ve seen many albino girls posting about being the first shade that they ever found that matches). Now it is geared towards oily skin, while mine is dry, so I was expecting some difficulty. It claims to be medium to full coverage, but I found it to be lighter to medium coverage. At first it went on a bit streaky and cakey, with a bit of clinging to texture (should work much better if you have oily or combo skin). However, after a few bops with a blending sponge and as I applied more makeup I found it melted beautifully into my skin, and somehow matched my face even better than before. Safe to say this stuff uses magic. Fair warning, I did use UD setting pray, but after a 12 hour day sweating in 80+ heat, and bit of vigorous exercise it still looked amazing. Despite my initial misgivings, I can firmly say I’ll be a loyal purchaser of this foundation.
Overall her collection was impressive quality. Makeup lovers and dabblers alike, get yourselves some Fenty Beauty!