Fenty Beauty: Is Rihanna’s New Line Shining Bright Like A Diamond…Or Should It Take A Bow?

Published on September 11, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

Ri RiFirst of all, can we just say that the folks over at Too Faced must be mad as hell right now!  They have been teasing the Peaches and Cream collection like mad for months – literally, months! – and it’s out for like a week and then Rihanna stops by and is like, “Take a bench, I got something for y’all” and drops her new beauty line, Fenty Beauty, available online and exclusively at Sephora stores.  Now people are like, “Too Faced what?  Too Faced who?!”  I have my own review of the Peaches and Cream collection that will be coming soon (I also got caught up in the Fenty madness!) but it’s sort of a karmic moment – Too Faced has been totally inconsistent in their product releases for the last couple of years, but even more so since they were acquired by the Lauder group last year, and I for one am sick of them pushing out collection after collection with shit products, no quality control, and the same tired shades over and over again.  The Peaches and Cream collection is getting some good reviews (and not just from people who received free PR samples!) and there seem to be some products worth talking about, but it sort of serves them right to have their latest launch (and possibly best in the last couple of years!) overshadowed by the launch of a new brand that has a real emphasis on quality.

So down to business.  Fenty Beauty is all anyone can talk about, and there were a ton of influencers on the YT who were flown to New York and given the whole collection for free who are gushing about it (big surprise there!), but I have to say that while there are a few oddities about the collection that I’ll discuss below, the hype here seems to be generally positive and well-deserved.  I went to a VIB Rouge event this past weekend that was supposed to be about previewing holiday beauty gift sets (spoiler alert: Christmas is going to suck this year!) but Fenty was all anyone there was talking about.  I haven’t gone ham with this collection (I have only purchased one product so far) but I did a lot of swatching and sampling and I figured why not just go all in and give you my thoughts on the collection as a whole.

First up is the primer: Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer, $32

This is going in my kit, in my go bag, in my bathroom medicine cabinet, an emergency bottle in my car, in my panty drawer.  I am in love with this primer!  I’ve watched a couple of reviews (including Patricia Bright’s who I will include at the bottom) who said that the primer felt tacky, and it does when you’re applying it.  If you’ve tried the Kat Von D Lock It Primer, it’s sort of sticky like that.  But unlike the KVD, which leaves a little bit of that sticky feeling on your skin, this one melts in and doesn’t leave any sort of barrier or sticky coating on your skin.  It feels like my skin, but better.  Obviously I want to play around with it a few more times (I have another use or two in the sample I grabbed from the store), but this might replace my favorite, ride or die primer (Too Faced Hangover Rx) as my first go-to, my beauty bff, my bottom bitch.  It’s in a glass component and at $32, it’s competitively priced with other primers from similar brands in Sephora.  This definitely feels like a moisturizing primer as well, so those of you with dry skin will like that aspect, but oily beasts like me don’t have to worry that it will feel heavy or greasy – I’ve been wearing it for over an hour and it feels lovely.

Fenty FoundationsFoundations: Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, $34

40 shades, at launch. You know a bitch ain’t playing.  To make another comparison back to the Too Faced launch, Too Faced has been dragged before for the lack of diversity in their shade range.  They launched the Born This Way foundations with almost no shades for deep skintones and barely anything even for medium skintones; they eventually added 6 new shades to the range (4 for dark skin, 2 for extreme pale), but now their Peached and Cream foundations are back to that pathetic 12 shade range where the darkest shade, Mahogany, is barely worthwhile for a medium-skinned girl with a tan.  Rihanna was like, “Hold my beer” and showed them the fuck up with no less than 40 shades of foundation at launch.

Now, 40 shades of a crap product isn’t exactly a win, so is it worth the hype?  Once again, I emphatically have to say, “Hell yes!”  The formula is a thinner liquid than most of the other brands I typically use, but it still paints on some gorgeous full coverage.  I found two shades that I think I’ll be adding to my aresenal: 170, which is a fair with cool undertones, is pretty similar in shade and tone to my Urban Decay All Nighter foundation (another ride or die!), and 160, a similar fair base with warmer, peachy tones for when I want to do a warmer eye look.  They dry down to a stunning matte finish, so lovely!  In the glass bottle, these are a stiff competition for other similar foundations like the Born This Way or the All Nighter (both of which it is priced lower than!).

Fenty Tweet

For Lips: Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, $18

One. Fucking. Lip Product.

You thought this review was going to be all sunshine and roses, din’cha?!  Not today.  This is the part of the release that has me the most perplexed.  You’re going to take the time to lovingly craft 40 different shades of foundation, and then put out one lip product in the entire line?  And it’s a gloss?!  What. The. Actual. Fuck.  Now, the gloss itself is pretty, it smells like a fruity slice of heaven, and I believe the claim that it will look flattering on pretty much every person of any skintone.  But one gloss?  That’s it?  Nothing for someone who doesn’t want a sheer lip?  Not a single thing?  The price is on point at $18, again undercutting a lot of other similar brands, but the next release better bring us a lot of lip options.  Naked 3 is old news, and making a single gloss that looks like it could have been a gift with purchase with that palette isn’t going to make anyone look twice.

Fenty StixHighlight and Contour: Match Stix Matte Skinstick, $25 and Match Stix Trios, $54

If we’re making a list of people who are probably mad as hell about this launch, right after Jerrod Blandino and the Too Faced crew we have to add the one and only Tyra Banks!  Her beauty line launched about 3 years ago with their signature products: highlight and contour sticks that are creamy and blendable, meant to be applied and blended with your fingers.  For the contour sticks, Tyra started with two shades (light and deep) and later added a deep, deep chocolate shade called Deeper Than Deep.  Banks referred to these 3 shades as “universally flattering” and claimed that any woman could get to the depth of color and shade she wanted based on level of application and how much she blended.  Then Rihanna comes along like, “Boom, bitch!  Twenty shades – what?!  You ain’t said nothin’.”  That’s right, the Match Stix come in a really impressive selection of shades allowing you to both highlight and contour, as well as conceal, with these products (Tyra’s highlighters, of which there are currently 2 shades, are specifically shimmery and don’t support the more traditional form of highlighting that is about bringing lightness to the face without glitter).  I love the Tyra the contour sticks, but these might just give them a run for their money!  They are a little stiffer and less immediately creamy than the Tyra sticks, but they blend out with the fingers beautifully and you just can’t bag on that shade range.  I don’t know that I’ll be purchasing these right away, but as I use up my Tyra contour sticks (I still have a lot in my collection left over from when I was a BeautyTainer) I plan on replacing with these instead.  I also think it’s great that they offer 4 coordinated collections that you can buy at a discount ($54, compared to $75 if purchased separately) that provide you with a highlight, contour, and shimmer highlight.  At $25, these are already competitively priced (Tyra’s contour sticks are also $25 each) and the trios are an insane value, giving you your 3rd stick for only $4!


As for the packaging, the plastic isn’t cheap or flimsy, and I like the beige-y pink color.  They are magnetized and will stick together to create a sort of honeycomb look; that is 100% gimmick – I can’t think of any reason why I would need my highlights and contours to attach to each other like that.  It’s a cute talking point, but it doesn’t make my life easier and so it seems like a waste of time.

Shimmer Highlight (and possibly other stuff?!): Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick, $25

This is the one that pulled me in and convinced me to make a purchase!  If you love a cream-based highlight or blush, then this will be your jam!  I don’t, but I still love this silky and shimmery formula.  I picked it up in Yacht Lyfe, a coral pink with gold shimmer that reminds me a lot of my all time favorite Urban Decay shade from back in the day: Burnout.  Their are a number of more neutral/rosy shades as well as some crazy shades with punches of color, and you can use them as highlights or shimmery blushes.  They are also being promoted as potential eye products (which I guess is good, since this launch does not contain a single eyeshadow or eye color product – not one!) or even suggested that they can be worn on the lips.  I don’t know that I would want to pimp these out as the Pert Plus of makeup items (I have a not-very-well-concealed loathing of makeup items that pretend to by multiple-in-one use products!), but the colors are interesting and there is some versatility to them if you want more or less neutral, more or less glitter.

Fenty 01

L to R: Starstruck, Sinamon, Rum, Blonde, Yacht Lyfe, Trippin, Ridiiic, Chili Mango, Confetti, and Unicorn

I swatched all 10 shades in the store (clearly not in the same order that they appear above.  Don’t judge me):

Fenty 02

L to R: Glossbomb, Starstruck, Sinamon, Rum, Blonde, Yacht Lyfe, Trippin, Unicorn, Confetti, Chili Mango, and Ridiiic. Far Right, Top to Bottom: Kilowatt Highlighter in Metal Moon, Trophy Wife, and Trophy Wife layered over Metal Moon.

I really, realy like these.  I’m not usually a fan of cream blush or highlight products, but these apply nicely with the finger tips and work well with the foundation formula.  The colors are an interesting assortment that I don’t think really provide the best versatility, but they definitely keep things from being boring.  They are also magnetized…and well, we already know how I feel about that.  At $25, I feel like this is a pretty solid product, even if some of the shades have my scratching my head a bit.

Fenty Beauty AdShine Bright Like A Diamond: Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters, $34

For a brand that only launched one lip product and no eye products, they went a little bit ham in the highlighter department – 2 single shades (Metal Moon and Trophy Wife) as well as 4 duos.  And if you’re going to go that hard for the highlighters, I just want them to be…better.  I’m going to totally swim against the current here and say that I was really not impressed.  Everyone is creaming their jeans about Trophy Wife, sort of a powder version of the Blonde shimmer skinstick, and I will agree that in all the videos I’ve watched it’s look pretty good on camera (though a bit too much), but in person, it looks like finely milled craft glitter.  The base that holds the glitter doesn’t have a lot of its own pigmentation, so it ends up just looking like a wash of glitter.  Metal Moon is even worse – it has a subtle white gold glow, but I had to swatch over 3 times to get the payoff that you see in the photo above, and when I layered them I got a muddy sort of gold look.  I didn’t really play with the duos very much, and some of them look like they could have potential, but I just thought these were a bust.  Another problem is the pricepoint.  Everything up to this point has been pretty much on point and generally even a few dollars cheaper than competitive brands…and then we have these highlighters, a single compact for $34?  You can get an entire 6 shade highlighter palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills for $40!  Once I have the opportunity to try some of the duos, I may end up adding one or two to my collection, but for highlighters I’m generally going to look elsewhere.  Sorry Rihanna, but these highlights are just rude, boy boy…

Fenty CollectionShine Control: Invisimatte Blotting Powder, $32

This is cute, but I always prefer loose setting powders so this isn’t at the top of any list for me.  It seems like a nice powder and I swatched it over the top of the foundation on my hand and the formulas play really well together, but it’s just not a must have for me.  The packaging is cute, but the only pressed powder like this that I ever use is the Lunatick Cosmetics Labs Ouija Setting Powder, and even that is fairly rare.  Blot if you must, but this product won’t be getting any of my coin.  There are also blotting papers that come in a little container that looks like a lipstick but…meh.  I don’t use blotting papers, and I would prefer a package that looks like a lipstick that has actual fucking lipstick in it rather than this throwaway product.

I also don’t have much to saw about the tools for the collection.  The foundation brush is getting pretty rave reviews, but when I handled it in the store it just seemed like a high quality synthetic foundation brush.  There was nothing unique or special to it.  As for the other brushes, the highlight brush with the cutaway reminds me somewhat of the brush that NYX released with their drop foundation (although maybe a bit more “chiseled”) and the two smaller brushes that come in Match Stix packaging are also passes for me.  The sponge is just a new take on the Beauty Blender; the small cut off end looks like it might be really adapted for undereye concealer blending, but other than that it doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy.  Save your money on the tools (you can find just as good for cheaper, I’m sure) and focus on the products that really shine.

So there you have it – while there are a couple of products that I think could Take a Bow, and the lack of lip and eye products has me Breakin Dishes, overall I think this collection Shines Bright Like A Diamond, with a lot of great products and pretty good pricing (except for those highlights – those could come down about $9 for what you’re getting), and frankly I think they deserve to steal the beauty spotlight away from the Too Faced Peaches and Cream Collection launch.  I’m not really sure how to feel about every single product in your collection, Rihanna, but I know one thing: I want it to Stay…

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

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