Rude, Boy! Fenty Beauty’s Complexion Sizzles, Color Fizzles

Published on October 25, 2017 by   ·   1 Comment

Be careful what you wish for, beauty mavens!

Fenty 04When I reviewed Fenty Beauty’s initial launch, I thought it was mostly pretty good if a little inconsistent.  The foundation seemed lovely, and now that I’ve had some time to play with it, I’m even more impressed.   It’s a nice medium coverage that drys down nicely and though it will probably not replace my All Nighter or Born This Way foundations as an absolute must have, I like having it in my rotation for when I’m trying less intense, stage-ready looks.  Since my initial review I’ve also had more chances to play with the Match Stix highlight and contour sticks (in Amber and Linen, from the Light collection available at Sephora) and I like them – similar to the Tyra Beauty contour sticks, except maybe a little dryer, with good coverage and blendability.

My main critique of the line, outside of the not at all impressive highlighters, was the lack of “color cosmetics”: no eyeshadows, and only one lip product.  The vibrant, colorful shades of the Match Stix were trying to fill in some of these blanks, but they just weren’t what I was looking for.  With the launch of their holiday Galaxy collection, they fill in some additional options but the line is still sadly lacking.

The collection consists of 3 liquid liners, 4 lipsticks, 4 lip glosses, and a 14-shade eyeshadow compact (more on that product in a minute!) and everything is absolutely drenched in glitter.  While I’m never opposed to glitter (more is always better!), for a line lacking in color cosmetic offerings, it would make sense to have shades that are a little bit more versatile and wearable.  And given the buzz over their initial launch, I also just wanted the collection to be better.

The Eclipse 2-in-1 Glitter Release eyeliners come in three shades: Alien Bae (black with blue glitter), Nepturnt (black with green glitter), and Later Crater (metallic nude gold).  I mean….huh?  First of all, I’m not sure I’m here for a nude liquid liner anyway, even if you try to sweet talk me with some peachy-gold glitter.  And the other two are both basically black with subtly different glitters (green vs. blue) which, from far away, look pretty much indistinguishable unless you smoke it out and cover more area.  You could easily buy one and just enhance it with another shade of glitter to get both looks….then of course, you could also just buy cheap black eyeliner and add glitter, so why are we still talking about spending $20 a pop in these?!  It’s a definite pass for me…

Next up are the Starlit Hyper-Glitz Lipsticks, which come in 4 shades: $upanova (pink orchid), Gravity (hot pink-fuchsia), Supermoon (sparkling peach), and Sci-Fly (a berry purple with lots of glitter).  As you can see in Jackie Aina’s video (which I’ll include below), all of these come out pretty sheer which, when you consider that you’re also releasing 4 glosses in very similar colors, seems like a strange choice.  I mean, obviously you can layer them to deepen the effect, but why not have a fuller cover lipstick so that you can get a range of looks from a lipstick and lip gloss pairing, from sheer to super-saturated?  A couple of these colors are cute, and I would think about them, but I need to swatch them first – I only want them if I can get them to come out with more pigmentation!  $19 for a lipstick is competitive, but unless you’re going for a sheer sort of look (which I pretty much NEVER am), it may not be worth the investment.

Even with the amount of corporate D she’s been sucking lately, she only gives this collection a lukewarm review which should tell you a thing or two about the overall quality. *sigh*  But let’s continue, shall we?

The second lip product, the Cosmic Gloss Lip Glitter, also comes in 4 shades that seem to be designed to complement the lipsticks: Gal on the Moon (holographic pink orchid, complements $upanova), Plutonic Relationship (holographic hot pink, complements Gravity), Spacesuit (holographic peach, complements Later, Crater), and Astro-Naughty (berry purple with glittery reflects, complements Sci-Fly).  I love the idea they were going for: coordinated glosses with a holographic vibe to amp up a lip look, but the lipsticks are just too sheer for it to really come through on that promise.  I’m still kind of interested in these, however, because I think they could look amazing layered over a matte liquid lipstick (assuming it doesn’t reactivate the formula, which is a big assumption!).  These are also competitive at $19 a pop, and 1 or 2 might make it into my collection if my interest can last until my “makeup budget” is replenished, but I won’t be heartbroken if I miss out.

(There is also a double-sided brush in the collection, but I’m not going to review it.  Brush reviews are hard!  Honestly, from my experience of playing with makeup for the last two decades, while expensive brushes are nice to have and they can make some applications easier, it’s usually about 25% the brush itself – and choosing the right shape/kind for the job – and about 75% how the person uses it.  Check it out and buy it if you like, but products won’t perform better just because you have a fancy schmancy brush!)

Now, on to the last product, the one item in the collection that I did pick up (so far): the Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette. And spoiler alert: I’m sort of wishing I hadn’t.

I really, really, really wanted to love this palette.  It is so beautiful in so many ways!  The faceted jewel look of the packaging itself, the 14 glittering shades, the beautiful range of available colors…it should have been right up my alley.  But the first thing that threw me off was the price: $59.  Granted, there are 14 large pans here, and as Stephanie Nicole notes in her review which I’ve included below, the price per gram is actually really good.  But if I’m going to pay about $60 for an eyeshadow palette, it better be ready to do something special!

So why did I pick it up?  Shout out to Ali S. for hooking me up with a Sephora Friends and Family 20% off coupon!  The discount brought it down to only $47.20, so at that price I decided to give it a go.

Swatching the shades, I found them to be very similar to the Urban Decay Moon Dust palette or the Too Faced Glitter Bomb, and I figured that it would probably be equally as fussy as those two palettes.  But when going out to a friend’s party, I was beating a hasty face and wanted to include some of the Fenty shadows on my eye.  I started with a finger application of Cosmic Ocean across my lids, and it looked amazing – glittery, pastel wonderfulness.  However, as I started blending shades around it, the glitter started to flake off.  When I tried to re-up the color using a brush, nothing stuck and the color started to look muddy.  I tried grabbing some on a brush and spraying with Fix plus – nothing.  I tried wetting the brush before putting it in the pan – nothing.  I could not get more color to stick to my eye.  I had to go over that section with an entirely different color to get everything to blend.


(color grid above snagged from HERE)

According to Stephanie Nicole’s video, Cosmic Ocean is one of the shades that is designated as an “eye topper.”  Can we just be completely honest and admit that when a pressed shadow is called an “eye topper” it’s code for totally bullshit eyeshadow?!  An eye topper should be able to work with other powder shadows – that’s what it supposedly is on top of! – but this got flaky and muddled every time it came in contact with any other shadow.  I haven’t had a chance to really play with any of the other shadows, but I’m going to imagine that I will at least have some level of the same problems with those shadows as I did with this one – perhaps less for those that aren’t “eye toppers” (honestly, I can’t even write “eye topper” without putting it in quotes – it’s such bullshit!) but still fussy and needing work.

Now some of these shades are absolutely my jam: Xtra Terrestrial and Sublime are no-brainers, since I love anything green, and Meteor Crush is a gorgeous pink.  They are all really lovely, but I just don’t know if I have the time and patience to make this a staple.  Here are the swatches I did with a finger:

Because of the layout, I decided to do them in two zig-zag rows, feel free to compare to the color grid above if you need help understanding the method to my madness!  I laid down a layer of Kat Von D’s High Voltage Eye Primer before finger swatching the shadows.  1st Row, Left to Right: Oh-Zone, Xtra Terrestrial, Ultraviolit, Light Year, Sublime, Planet Ex, and Milky Way.  2nd Row, Left to Right: Mars on Fire, Cosmic Ocean, Midnight Bolt, Meteor Crush, Space Owt, Jupiter Sand, and Sunburst.

I’m not doubting that you can get these shadows to work effectively; with enough talent, you can use pretty much anything to achieve a decent look, hence the number of YouTube Videos of people using all dollar store and bargain products and making masterpieces.  But for the way I do my makeup, it’s just not practical to have to fingerbang the shadows onto my eyelids, to not let any of the colors touch, or to not be able to blend with a brush.  Fenty 07I’m still going to give the other shades a try (maybe I just picked the dud in the bunch for my first time out), but for $59, I just expected better.  And though I love that metallic, oilslick-hued case, it’s impossible to keep from getting fingerprinted and looking cheap which, again, it isn’t.

Fenty snatched everyone bald-headed with their foundation range, not only with the formula (even if you don’t like it, you have to admit that it’s different than most of the other formulations out there) but with their huge selection of shades available from day one.  But if they want to keep this momentum going, they are going to need to put just as much care and attention into their color cosmetics as they do into their complexion products.  After all, you need a great base to put your makeup onto, but all of those base products should ideally melt away and let the color cosmetics really shine!  Vibrant lips, gorgeously sculptured eyes, even well-applied blush and highlight – these are the things that catch people’s eyes, and these are the things, at the end of the day, that keep a line relevant and move products from stores into the hot little hands of consumers.

And so far, in terms of color cosmetics, those hot little hands have been grasping at far more fizzle than sizzle.

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

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Readers Comments (1)
  1. […] what was up with that holiday collection?  That eyeshadow palette was straight up trash, and the lip and eye products were only interesting in the fact that they helped push us toward the […]

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