Makeup fanatics around the world have been glowing (literally) since the release of Rihanna’s new makeup line, Fenty Beauty. The line, named after Rihanna’s surname, was teased for two years, before finally being released on Sept. 8. It features nine beauty products, ranging from Gloss Bomb Lip Gloss ($16) to Match Stix Trio Face Sticks ($54), and eight beauty tools, such as Invisimatte Blotting Paper ($16) and the Full Bodied Foundation Brush ($34). The line is limited compared to most, including only foundation, primer, highlighter and lip gloss. However, the products are designed for versatility and portability; the Match Stix Trio consists of a conceal, contour and highlight shade all in magnetic packaging that snap together. Prices are similar to other high-end makeup products, and the quality is nothing less than expected from Rihanna. More important than its quality is the collection’s statement; it opens the door to the beauty world for women of every color, race, religion and culture.
Unlike most beauty lines, Fenty beauty offers 40 shades of its Pro Filt’r Foundation ($34), accommodating nearly every skin tone. The foundation shades are numbered from 100 to 490, with Rihanna wearing shade 340. This range is rare in the whitewashed beauty community — most lines offer a wide variety of shades for light skin tones, but only a few for dark ones. Foundations seldom reach shades dark enough for many black women and often neglect their unique and varied undertones. According to the Fenty Beauty website, Rihanna launched a makeup 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.
For comparison, take Too Faced’s Born This Way Foundation. This foundation is a best-seller at Sephora, but only offers 23 shades, the majority catered toward lighter skin colors. Its darkest shade is nowhere near dark enough to accommodate deeper skin tones and is noticeably lighter than Fenty’s darkest shade. Fenty Beauty is changing the game for women on the opposite end of the spectrum too. Albino users rave about Fenty’s color match.
Fenty Beauty model Halima Aden.
Additionally, Rihanna brings diversity to the brand with her expansive selection of models. Fenty Beauty’s models are underrepresented in the beauty industry, including Asian women with hooded eyelids and Middle Eastern women wearing hijabs. The models also deviate from “standard” beauty norms, rocking red hair, gapped teeth and shaved heads. Fenty Beauty provides a breath of fresh air from the “usual” makeup model: a white woman with long, flowing hair, big eyes, a small nose and plump lips.
Although Rihanna is being praised for her inclusivity, she is also being criticized for leaving people out of her line: men, transgender individuals and many others in the LGBTQ community. Rihanna still limits her line to women, photographing solely female models and stating, “I wanted all women to feel included” in a behind-the-scenes video. While male presence has been scarce in the beauty world, CoverGirl introduced their first CoverBoy this year, 17-year-old Instagram star James Charles. Like Charles, male makeup artists have some of the largest followings on social media, such as Manny Gutierrez (Manny MUA) and Patrick Simondac (Patrick Starrr) both with millions of subscribers. Although male makeup artists have been around for decades, these social media celebrities demonstrate tutorials on themselves instead of women and wear makeup regularly.
Meanwhile, Jeffree Star (who identifies as androgynous), creator of Jeffree Star Cosmetics and YouTube star, crushes gender stereotypes through glam beauty tutorials that blur the edges between male and female. Additionally, transgender beauty bloggers Nikita Dragun and Gigi Gorgeous (Giselle Loren Lazzarato) have accumulated huge followings with makeup tutorials and videos discussing their transitions. The beauty world has expanded to include more than just cisgender women in the past few years. While Fenty Beauty has made a huge step forward in the beauty industry for women of all colors, races, religions and cultures, there is still progress to be made for a truly all-inclusive line.