Is Fenty Beauty Worth the Fuss?

It seems like Fenty Beauty can do no wrong. The makeup brand by Rihanna only recently hit the shelves earlier this month (September 8), but already some of the shades are out of stock on the brand’s website. It seems that everyone is in love with the brand because of how inclusive it is with 40 different shades of foundation, as well as a diverse group of models. Plus, almost every beauty gal on YouTube is raving about how much they love the foundation formula.

But of course, there are people out there still complaining. Although, most appear to be those who haven’t even tried the product, yet. Most of the complaints appear to be that Rihanna’s ad campaign wasn’t diverse enough. People are saying that her shade range has too many light shades. Her ad campaign featured women of all different races and skin tones, yet all the models did appear to be cis-gendered and slender. The shade range appears to have a nice gradient- from lightest to darkest.  The argument is, there are still probably darker skin tones out there. But- The brand even supports people with albinism. Most famously- Krystal Robertson, who posted a selfie on Instagram that quickly went viral. Her post shows herself happy to have finally found a perfect match to her skin tone, foundation #110.

Let’s give Rihanna some props for creating a full line of makeup made up of so many different shades that strives to be so inclusive. It is amazing that her product launch came out in 1,600 stores all at once. As soon as I saw a glimpse of “Trophy Wife,” the apparently blinding super-pigmented golden highlighter, that everyone has been talking about, I had to go to Sephora and see this brand for myself. Strangely, I almost couldn’t believe it was real when I walked in. It had its own little place in the store just like all the other brands. For some reason I imagined some ultra-limited release with everything sold out already- thanks to the trends of other celebrity makeup lines from the Kardashians/Jenners. But it was there. It’s actually real and in a store and I can go and touch it and feel it! I already feel more included.

Kim Kardashian West’s line of contour sticks were highly compared to Rihanna’s contour “Match Stix” because of how similar the product packaging was. Kim’s sticks are a pinky nude shade, very similar to Rihanna’s; however, Fenty “Match Stix” feature a hexagonal/honeycomb shape and magnetize to each other. Fenty “Match Stix” come in a trio of shades for $54 while KKW contour sets come with 2 double-sided sticks and a brush/sponge for $48. They seem tough to compare at first glance. From the looks of it KKW’s package has more variety and value- but customers that have used it have complained about a tiny amount of product. Her website also seems unclear. It reads exactly: “2 creme contour (net wt. 2 x 0.032 oz. / 2 x 0.09 g) 2 creme contour highlighters (net wt. 0.032 oz. / 0.9 g).” So which is it Kim? Are they 0.09 grams each tiny little stick end or 0.9? Sephora lists the Fenty sticks as 2 x 0.25 oz/ 7.10 g (Matte Skinstick), 0.25 oz/ 7.10g (Shimmer Skinstick).

Another major difference between the brands is that Kim’s line is not offered in any store- only online, and her products sell out within minutes! Many of her products (or knockoffs) end up being resold on eBay at even higher prices with others making a profit. The plus side of only online sales, though, is that no one can try her products before they buy. This makes for less start up costs as well as less customers finding out the product isn’t right for them before committing. The KKW Beauty website clearly states that all sales are final. They do not offer refunds or exchanges, nor do they allow cancellations/returns. They also state that they reserve the right to refuse any returns at any time. On the other hand; Fenty is sold at Sephora- a makeup store that has an excellent return policy that often allows you to return opened/used products that you are unsatisfied with.

Unlike Kim’s line, Fenty Beauty is here for the public to come try if they like! You can even get a free sample of the foundation to take home at your local Sephora- as long as they have enough stock. I swatched nearly every Fenty Beauty product in Sephora, but I was a little underwhelmed. “Trophy Wife,” as blinding as it is, is much more glittery than metallic- something I don’t personally care for. It’s super fine glitter, so it’s still very pretty -not nasty and chunky- but not my favorite look for a highlight. Her other full size highlighter is “Metal Moon,” an extremely underwhelming highlight that is about as subtle as it gets, yet claims to be a “mega-fine white gold pearl”. The product might work better for very light skin tones. The rest of the “Killawatt” bunch are duo highlighters that feature one blinding and one super subtle shade, but they are all very peachy/pinky toned and look like they might work better as blush. As for the foundation, it dries very quickly to a matte finish, and is definitely medium- not full coverage with one layer. You could almost pull off a color that’s a few shades off, because it seems to blend in with your skin instead of covering it up. I matched myself using my the back of my hand and would guess I am about a 240. I believe, though, that it slightly oxidizes. The brand also advises letting the formula dry completely to find your perfect match and if you can’t decide between two: get the lighter shade.

I wasn’t able to do a full day wear test since the Sephora I visited couldn’t give me a sample; But there are about 1,001 wear tests on YouTube. The product details claim to be resistant to sweat and humidity. I did try on the one-shade-fits-all lip gloss, “Fenty Glow,” and wore it around for the day. I was not very impressed. They advertise an “addictive peach-vanilla” scent that in reality smells like a drugstore gloss from your childhood: just a very generic fake fruit smell that my friend mistook for watermelon. It’s also a universal shade because it’s almost clear. It looks like a rose nude in the tube, but swiped on almost clear; my lips looked the exact same color that they are naturally. The best thing about the gloss were the tiny gold flecks in it. I wish it had a bit more of that and a bit more color to it. As I wore it, I got that funny annoying feeling that almost every gloss gives me- when you wear it for too long and it starts seeping onto the skin around your mouth, and makes you feel like you really need to wipe this off.

My favorite product by far was the “Match Stix, Shimmer- Skinstick” in Blonde. It was basically all I had hoped for with “Trophy Wife”: a true metallic gold highlight. Other than the products I have already mentioned, the entire line includes foundation, primer, highlighters, lip gloss, brushes, a makeup sponge, contour and shimmer sticks, blotting powder, and blotting paper. There’s a rumor that the blotting paper doubles as rolling paper. That would be the perfect RiRi finishing touch. Surprisingly though, these would not be the first blotting papers to double as rolling papers. Milk Makeup already has this and clearly advertises their “Roll + Blot” papers.