Read ALL about my review process including how I take swatches, photos, and more here.
So I finally had a chance to peruse Fenty Beauty! But see, the way my budget is set up this month, I wasn’t able to buy anything aside from the Pro Filtr Foundation. And even that I wasn’t planning on buying but I happened to pass by another Sephora the same day I went to check the line out that and they only had ONE foundation left in stock that seemed like my shade. See what scarcity does? lol Luckily though I had a gift card that helped cover a majority of the foundation purchase.
Anyway, let’s get into this…
Here’s some information from the press release so you have some backstory on the line directly from the brand. Especially since I’ve seen a lot of misinformation about the brand being spread on social media.
Rihanna, in partnership with Kendo Brands, a LVMH-owned beauty developer, launches her global makeup brand, Fenty Beauty, in an unprecedented 1,600 stores across 17 countries on one day.
Based in San Francisco, CA, KENDO creates or acquires beauty brands and focuses on developing them into global power-houses. The portfolio consists of Kat Von D Beauty, Marc Jacobs Beauty, OLEHENRIKSEN, BITE Beauty and (coming soon) Fenty Beauty by Rihanna. The name KENDO is a play on the phrase “can do.” What characterizes KENDO is its dedication to product quality, innovation and authentic storytelling. Brands within the KENDO portfolio are distributed in 24 countries worldwide.
THE FENTY FACE
Rihanna spent years refining her go-to makeup technique, testing it backstage, on stage, and in real life. Now, with her own lineup of products masterfully developed to work together, she reveals her real-life method for killer radiance, making her iconic complexion accessible to all. “The Fenty Face was created for women of all skin tones, of all personalities,” she says. “These steps are key to starting your makeup, no matter the look you’re going for.” For Rihanna, the secret to radiance lies in the very first step of the Fenty Face, a soft matte filt’r—because no matter your skin type, adding glow on glow = unwanted shine. The second step? Layer your highlight for strategically-placed glow—it’s all about lighting up where you want. Lastly, get ahead of shine by blotting on the fly,
wherever and whenever; Rihanna believes that being photoready means being shine-free. Unlock all of make-up’s limitless possibilities with the Fenty Face: Rihanna’s “go-to method for years,” and the driving philosophy at the heart of Fenty Beauty.
Rihanna created Fenty Beauty “so that women everywhere would be included,” focusing
on a wide range of traditionally hard-to-match skin tones, developing formulas that work
for all skin types, and pinpointing universal shades. Her vision, above all, is to inspire: “Makeup is there for you to have fun with. It should never feel like pressure. It should never feel like a uniform. Feel free to take chances, and take risks, and dare to do something new or different.”
My First Impressions of the Line
So now remember, the way my budget is set up, I don’t have multiple products to show like I normally do in my TSABD Edit posts and reviews. And I don’t have the brand sending me items like I normally get.
I did get to browse through the collection at Sephora and had some first impressions in case that helps you if you’re still trying to narrow down your purchases.
I thought the highlighters were pretty especially Metal Moon because from swatching it I felt it was a luminous highlight without a lot of shimmer (BUT this was the tester so it’s also possible that people swatched it so much that the overspray of glitter and what not rubbed off…lol). I thought I would really like Trophy Wife but for one, who am I kidding—I do NOT need any more highlighters anyway and for two, it is a very bold yellow with a lot of glitter in it. You could use a makeup spray or a spritz of water to get more of the color pigment vs the glitter but that’s doing a lot and I personally don’t have the time. I’ve seen people use it as eyeshadow and found that to be very pretty. Even if I had budget, I personally would still skip the highlighters. If you’re a highlighter fiend, of course go in and let have.
The Match Stix Matte Skinsticks seemed really cool. Espresso looked like it would be a pretty decent contour shade for me (I wouldn’t need it though as I have contour shades already in my stash).
The Gloss Bomb looked really pretty and smelled good, but I ultimately passed on it because it would be more of a topper shade for me (meaning I would need to wear something underneath it) and I really don’t need anything else like that.
I love the graffiti art on the boxes and wish the FB imprint on the products used that font. The packaging looks very sleek but I already know how white packaging is going to look after being in my stash for like 10 minutes…lol. I’m thinking about curating my personal makeup stash which would also mean being more cognizant of packaging and the overall “styling” of my stash, so I would eventually be more strategic about buying new product with packaging being one of many factors as to whether I buy or not.
I didn’t try any of the brushes or tools though I may go back and check out the sponge. I may also go back and look at the Blotting Powder but again, since the packaging is white I may be a little reluctant to buy even if I like the product.
Overall, the collection is impressive and can we talk about how Rihanna has many in the makeup industry SHOOK? I looove it. Though I’ll get into more about the shade range and what not as I talk more about the foundation, but it’s super impressive that Fenty Beauty came out with 40 shades from the gate. I’ve busted out so many giggles looking at posts from brands with like 19 shades (and like 4 of those are “darker” shades) talking about how inclusive their complexion range is.
I do hope Fenty Beauty’s arrival results in some real action with brands: not only in adding more shades but also SHOWING people with deeper skin tones in their ads and on their social media. I cannot even begin to tell you how much rage I get when I damn near get carpal tunnel flipping through a brand’s IG account before I happen upon a single person with deeper skin—AND THIS IS EVEN FROM BRANDS WHO HAVE FOUNDATIONS FOR DARKER SKIN TONES. And while brands are at it, I hope they also hire more people of color on their development and executive teams, PR, marketing, social media, etc. I’ve started to consult with a few brands (something I’d love to do more of) and was on a pretty diverse panel and something one of us said was integral to something the brand was trying to create. If we weren’t in the room, the brand could have made a huge mistake that would have cost them tons of money and backlash. Diversity pays yo.
Anyway, let’s get into the foundation…
Fenty Beauty PRO FILT’R SOFT MATTE LONGWEAR FOUNDATION
THE ULTIMATE PHOTO FILT’R IN 40 BOUNDARY-BREAKING SHADES ($34)
Finally – the ultimate photo filter in foundation form. Born in 40 inclusive shades, Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation gives skin an instantly smooth, pore-diffused, shine-free finish that easily builds to medium to full coverage. The oil-free formula is made with climate-adaptive technology that’s resistant to sweat and humidity, and won’t clog pores. Best of all, this longwearing, light-as-air texture is undetectable on the skin – so you always look like you. Made for all women to love.
Artistry Pro Tip: Be sure to moisturize skin before application, especially if your skin is dry.
Apply 1 pump to the back of your hand. Using the Full-Bodied Foundation Brush 110, dot product onto the center of your face and blend outward. For fuller coverage, add another pump.
Now some things one should understand about a foundation range:
* There is no universal shade standard in the makeup industry. Not every brand will have the same exact shades. This is exactly why I wrote my Why MAC Isn’t a Foundation Guide post (which you totally should read). Some brands might lean more red in undertone, some more yellow, some might have a good mix of neutral, golden, and pink/red, and there is absolutely no standard in how warm or cool a shade is. Some brands consider yellow cool, some consider yellow to be warm. Some brands consider red to be cool, some consider red to be warm.
* Not everyone is going to find a shade match in Fenty Beauty. While I’ve watched a number of videos where Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation blended seamlessly into the person’s skin, there will still be people who don’t have a perfect match. And that’s not a slight on the brand at all.
* It is VERY important to understand that as women of color, we’re quite often not evenly toned. Many of us are lighter in the center of our faces and darker around the perimeter (hence why highlighting and contouring can be a great technique for us—read more about it in Why ONE Foundation Won’t Cut it for Women of Color). And then for many of us, our faces and our bodies may not match. It’s not always about getting a perfect shade because quite often that might be a bit difficult to find with unique coloring (i.e. face lighter than the body, etc) but finding overall harmony is a more attainable goal. Are the complexion shades used congruent with your overall coloring? Do you need to use a darker color near your jawline so that it is in harmony with your neck and then something lighter in the center of your face? I know this all sounds annoying, but they are things to consider if you don’t want to be outchea looking like Ghostface Killah.
* Foundation shades can look different in different formulas. For instance a cream foundation in say shade 123 can look lighter than a liquid foundation in shade 123 from the same brand. Also the lighter the formula, the more shades that could possibly wear it. This is why when a brand has a tinted moisturizer or a very light foundation formula, you might notice they have less shades than their medium to full coverage formulas.
Wearing 470 (no highlight & contour)
I don’t have a good shade match in Fenty Beauty although looking at these pictures it might seem so. In person I could tell the foundation was off. I have dark skin with neutral undertones so I typically choose a foundation that’s more neutral in undertone but I can *SOMETIMES* also work with a foundation that might be slightly more red in undertone. Depends on what the shade looks like and the formula (and also if I’ve been relaxing in the Caribbean for two weeks). I had a chance to play with the display shades and the closest match was shade 470 which is described as having neutral undertones. EDIT 9/26/17: The Sephora store I visited had a label on it that called 470 just “neutral.” The label looked like an office label so maybe someone at the store labeled the shades with the undertones. BUT on Sephora.com 470 is described as neutral with slight red undertones. Even though it was described as neutral, I still found that it had a little more red in it than I’m used to. It wasn’t a terrible match but it wasn’t my best match either. I would say that Cover FX Total Cover Cream Foundation in N110 is probably the foundation that is the closest to being my perfect match that gives me harmony with my face, neck, and chest. Even then I still highlight and contour to mimic the tones I have naturally in my face.
See Fenty shades 450 and 460 on me:
(In this video I discuss and demo how to properly match foundation for the unique coloring needs of women of color and include demos of Fenty foundation shades as well as other brands)
The feel of the foundation is like there’s nothing on which I love. I would say the foundation feels more like a buildable medium coverage than it is full coverage. I have a dark spot on my forehead that my Cover FX Total Cover Cream can cover without me needing concealer, but I would definitely still need concealer to cover the dark spot when wearing the Fenty foundation.
You should be moisturizing your skin no matter your skin type, but if you have dry skin you want to make sure you’re using a good hydrating moisturizer with this foundation. I almost want to say that if you have very dry skin or if you have dry skin and wearing this during colder temps, this might not be the formula for you (there are so many foundations out there for dry skin), but you might be able to tweak it with products you already own (i.e. proper moisturizer & hydrating primer, etc.) BUT IMO, that might be doing the most when there are foundations out there made for dry skin that might be your shade.
Performance-wise I think Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation is pretty amazing. It may be nearly the end of September, but it’s been annoyingly in the 80s here in NYC. I have oily skin and while of course I had some shine as the day wore on while I was testing it, I didn’t look like an oil slick. I could have even passed on touching-up because it really didn’t look bad at all. I’m not into obliterating my oil with product—I let a little of it come through. You want to be careful about not over-drying your skin as that can actually make the skin even more oily (Read more here).
P.S. The shades in Fenty Beauty don’t necessarily only get darker as they increase in number. In some cases they can be similar in depth but vary in undertone. Shade 460 (for deep skin with cool and very red undertones) and 450 (for deep skin with warm undertones) don’t seem like good contenders as shade matches for me and didn’t seem that way when I played with them in store, but stay tuned because I may demo them in a future post and/or video on my Youtube channel.
Fenty 470 vs Cover FX N110 (both after highlight and contour)
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation 470 Video Demo:
(there’s no sound on this video so feel free to watch it from almost anywhere)
NOTE ON THESE SWATCHES: With the exception of the 470 in Fenty, the rest of these are good matches for my skin tone. Cover FX N110 is the best match out of all of them. I have neutral undertones so I’m not very red nor very yellow. I can sometimes use a foundation that has slight red undertones and it still is in harmony with the rest of my coloring, but I can’t go too red. Also different foundation formulas can look darker or lighter—this is why many people found that Fenty Filt’r foundation seemed to look darker when it dried down to its matte finish.
See what shades I wear in other foundations here.
These swatches are showing you how a foundation in the same brand with the same shade name can look different in different formulas. Water content (among other things) in a foundation can alter the way a shade looks.
Watch Contouring Mistakes and Foundation 101
Although the shade match wasn’t a good match for me, a lot of women found amazing shades and it was good to see so many of the darker shades selling out first. I would love to see Fenty Beauty extend the shade range as there are even more shades that could be included speaking on the darker end of the spectrum (more neutral and golden shades on the deeper end especially). It would also be awesome to see if Rihanna will include different foundation formulas down the line (i.e. something more hydrating, a cream foundation, a foundation powder, etc). I’d be interested to see how the display would look fitting all of those formulas and foundation ranges. Cover FX has a wide shade range and multiple formulas in their foundation line-up but they also added new shades a year or two ago that they didn’t have the space for at Sephora so they had to sell the newer shades online. From what I understand shelf-space is not something brands can just be granted so it’ll be interesting to see how things may change after Fenty seems to have a lot of brands shook…lol.
The deeper Fenty shades are currently back in stock on Sephora.com. Get it here. ($34)
Be careful with the Pro Filt’r Foundation bottle!
BE VERY CAREFUL with where you store your Fenty foundation. A makeup artist at Sephora told me that one of the reasons why there aren’t a ton of testers out (at least at this particular store) is because the bottles have been breaking easily. And funny thing is before I left the store I actually witnessed a sample bottle break literally three minutes after the MUA told me. I would be SO broken hearted if my foundation broke in my bathroom. Not that I’ve never had a foundation bottle break before, but it seems as if this one might be more prone to breakage.
If you have a deeper skin tone and have trouble finding a foundation shade:
(I’ll be doing more work on this topic so stay tuned!)
1. Finding a good foundation is like buying jeans in many ways. The process can really suck and you have to go from store to store trying different ones out, but you either find a good shade for you or you use some tools to tweak it.
2. *Some* brands to check out that have a decent range of shades in the deeper end of the spectrum that ALSO include undertone variations: (some on this list are much better than others, but I wanted to have as many names as I could think of)
Giorgio Armani (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
Hourglass (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
Dermablend (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
Illamasqua (they’re not at Sephora in the U.S. anymore but you can get them online at their UK site or some products at net-a-porter.com)
Kevyn Aucoin (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
Kat Von D (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
Urban Decay (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
Laura Mercier (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
bareMinerals (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
L’Oreal (they’re not as inclusive as many on this list, but they have some deeper shades)
Maybelline (Fit Me Matte & Poreless)
Covergirl Queen (they can use some help with the shade offerings)
3. If you need to tweak a foundation so that it’s a better match either in undertone, tone, or finish, check out my How to Get Your Foundation to Do the Most post.
PHEW! I know this post was long, but I had time to think and read comments around social media regarding the Fenty launch and there’s SO MUCH to talk about.