It's hard to describe what makes Rihanna so worship-worthy. Yes, there's her soulful, emotion-laden voice and unapologetic personal style, but there's also something we can't quite put our finger on—something mesmerizingly amorphous. Maybe it's how she's managed to come across as completely unmanufactured even after over a decade in the industry and public eye; maybe it's just the fact she's just so damn cool. Sure, there's the glossy, seductive, hip-swinging music video Rihanna (love her), but the real RiRi is raw, bad (at least her Instagram handle implies so), and slightly rough around the edges. She's relatable yet enigmatic.
With this quality, it's no surprise that everything Rihanna touches turns to gold (or rather, platinum—seven of her albums are certified so). Thus, when news came out that she would be launching her own makeup line last spring, everyone in the beauty world and beyond (myself included) subsequently had a full-on freakout. And now, after over a year of anticipation and rumors and waiting, it's finally, finally here.
I got invited to an exclusive first look at the collection with Rihanna herself tonight, and neither the collection nor RiRi herself in the flesh disappointed. Clad in a mustard-yellow ensemble that felt like a casual weekend lounging outfit on top (sans bra, of course) and Met Ball–worthy on the bottom, Rihanna slinked into the room with a serene smile and gold highlighter glistening from her lids to her temples (thanks to Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife, $34).
She smelled like sunshine with a tinge of something juicy and sweet. And if I had any doubts that the singer was truly involved in every step of creating the makeup line, I was quickly proven wrong. After asking her how she chose the shades for her Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick ($25), Rihanna stared seemingly straight into my soul, smiled and remarked, "Oh, you're wearing Confetti, right?" I was—I had applied the purple-tinged holographic shade on my cheekbones just minutes before. You know what they say: Get you a girl who can ID your highlighter in one glance, especially if it's one that she created.
From choosing to cast diverse models (she tapped girls like Paloma Elsesser and Leomie Anderson to star in the brand's first campaign) to demanding that the foundation come in 40 shades so that everyone, regardless of skin color, could appreciate the product, it's clear that Rihanna had a distinct vision for Fenty Beauty as a brand to represent the new generation of beauty (which just so happens to be one of the brand's taglines).
And if this first drop is any indication, she's well on her way there.
Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about Fenty Beauty.
Fast Facts About Fenty Beauty:
- It launches September 8, 2017, in 1600 stores across 17 countries in one day.
- Rihanna was inspired to create Fenty Beauty after trying to find products that worked across all skin types and tones. (Fun fact we learned: She was entered into a beauty pageant when she was 14 and foundation was the first makeup product she ever used. Thus, she wanted Fenty Beauty to be all about complexion.)
- The collection features 40—yes, 40—shades of Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation; one universal Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Primer; 30 magnetic Match StixSkinsticks, in both matte and shimmer finishes to contour, correct, conceal, highlight and blush; six cream-powder hybrid Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters for the face and eyes; Invisimatte Blotting Powder and Paper; one universally flattering rosy-nude lip gloss known as Gloss Bomb; and a variety of application tools, including a blending brush they kept calling the "shark's tooth" brush because of the shape of the tip of the brush.
- You can purchase the collection at Sephora stores, Sephora.com, and FentyBeauty.com.
Let's hear about some of the Fenty Beauty products from Rihanna's mouth…
On the Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £26:
"The foundation is such an extremely perfect formula in my eyes. It has just the right amount of texture and moisture to [blend], but it spreads to this perfect soft matte. You don't need a lot of powder after that; I don’t like to cake on too much powder."
The formula is silky-smooth and blends to a velvety finish. It has more of a matte finish that my go-to foundations but didn't veer into cakey.
On Fenty Beauty's inspiration and the Match StixSkinsticks, £21:
"There needs to be something for dark skin girls, there needs to be something for really pale girls. There are so many different shades. There are red undertones, green undertones, blue undertones, pink undertones, there's yellow. You just never know. You want people to appreciate the product and not feel like, 'Aww, that's cute but it only looks good on her.' I wanted to play, and as you can see, we really played. We made sure it was fun packaging enough for people to get involved and collect the product and feel like they can put them together and find them at any time."
On the shimmer shades in the Match StixSkinsticks, £21:
"I just wanted things that I love. I also wanted things that girls could fall in love with for all skin tones. I keep saying that because it's really important to me."
My first impressions:
To put it shortly: I'm obsessed. I love the fun colors, from the ethereal Confetti shade I wore that Rihanna instantly recognized to the super-flattering peach shimmer shade Trippin. I predict Starstruck is going to sell out almost instantly; it's a gorgeous, high-reflection silvery-taupe that makes your normal highlighter look like child's play. All of the shades will look amazing on the eyes and dabbed in the center of the lips, too. I want them all.
On the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters, £26:
"It's to die for. I keep putting it on over and over; it's one of those things you get lost in."
My first impression:
These are powders that think they're creams because they're just that pigmented. I love that one of the sides features a more subtle version of the shade and the other is the super amped-up, "extra" version with extra glitter. Honestly, I wanted to apply these on my eyes, cheeks, everywhere. Lightning Dust and Fire Crystal are gorgeous swept along the cheekbones, but I couldn't help but gravitate toward Ginger Mule and Moscow Mule, a reddish-brick duo that I'll definitely be wearing ASAP. Plus, all the shades can be used wet or dry and applied with your fingers or a brush; RiRi wants you to have options.
On the universally flattering Gloss Bomb, £16:
"I wanted a colour that would work well on all skin tones and it might have been a challenge, but I didn’t care, I was up for it. I like to just challenge myself and do things that are a little more difficult. It took awhile and we had to switch things up and get the right texture and smell. We came down to this perfect rosy nude that has a little bit of shimmer. It gives you something but it doesn't look like you're doing 'the most.'"
My first impression:
I am not a gloss girl and I'm especially not a metallic-tinged gloss girl, but this may have converted me. It feels way more like a balm when you apply (it's made with shea butter, so it definitely hydrates the lips), and the rosy-taupe shade somehow brings out your lip's nautral colour without altering it. The metallic sheen is barely noticeable, but even when I caught glimpses of it, I surprisingly didn't mind. I never thought I'd say this, but this gloss is the type of thing I'd want to wear everywhere, every day.
On the Invisimatte Blotting Powder, £24:
"In those little areas in T-zone where you need it, I just blot a little bit with my blotting papers. It's one of my favourites. It was really hard to make a product like that that actually works on all skin tones but is still invisible for real. You buy so many translucent powders and you end up looking white right here [gestures to under eyes]. It drives me nuts. Especially on red carpets—it's like, There it goes. Oh, too late."
My first impression:
I loved the blotting sheet; you roll it out and just rip off however much you need. So genius. As for the powder, I wasn't really able to test it at the event but look forward to giving it a go on video. Check Byrdie's newly revamped video section to see my try and test out all these products in the next few days!
On the future of Fenty Beauty:
"You’ll just have to wait and see. There are endless possibilities coming."
We caught up with Hector Espinal, Fenty Beauty's global makeup artist, to swatch the new collection.
Click here to shop and learn about all the new Fenty Beauty products.