How Fenty Beauty Changed the Beauty Game

Rhianna may have achieved the "pregnancy glow" of our dreams, but her   line ensures us that same radiant look straight from her Fenty Beauty bottles.

Addressing a Need

In its fifth year on the market, Fenty Beauty is the first of its kind with Black Beauty and its audience on its mind. Fenty Beauty came on the scene, cornered the market, maintained its dominance, and now is the leading example of a beauty brand done right. Its ethos is one of inclusivity and range.  With over fifty makeup shades available in a number of categories, the company truly embodies its slogan, "Beauty for All." Between its "it girl" founder and LVMH backing, Fenty Beauty's 2017 drop shook the beauty industry to its core. Many established brands would attempt to follow suit, quickly adding new shades to their previously lacking lineups, however, it was clear that they were jumping on the bandwagon of inclusion rather than genuinely believing in its message. When speaking at an artistry and beauty talk hosted by Fenty, Rhianna had this to say about her brand's identity, "The first woman I saw put on makeup was my mom, and she’s darker than I am. To think I would create a line of makeup that wouldn’t include even her...I couldn’t do it. She was the first image of beauty that I’ve known so it was a no-brainer for me. It's a shame that it's taken this long." Pre Fenty, there was an unfortunate understanding that Black models, actresses, and celebrities would often need to bring their own makeup or even complete their own base at home before coming to a set. In 2021, model Leomie Anderson shared a tweet and a Tik-Tok detailing her experiences backstage at NYFW which included ill-equipped hairdressers and makeup artists. The tweet read, "Being a black model is doing other people’s jobs and not being paid for the extra work looool.” After Fenty's launch, a very clear message was sent to the entire industry, that anything other than full representation was a failure.

Quality and Quantity

Fenty Beauty might have gained recognition because of its impressive scope of products, but what has kept the attention of its now loyal customer base is the brand's high quality. So often celebrities attach their names to something without a true understanding of what it is that they are making. It was clear from day one that Rhianna not only played a large role in the creation process but tailored the products to fit her everyday life. Like Rhianna herself, the Fenty fans love an even base with a shimmery finish, pops of color, and most importantly long-lasting wear. As a performer, she notes that she wanted a durable look that still resembled skin, but that wouldn't require constant reapplication. The innovative chemistry behind many of her products allows for them to be used all over the face, and the shape of the tools such as brushes and sponges are designed to perfectly target one specific area. The brand has even pioneered new products, like “Body Lava” a shimmery body makeup that Rhianna stated: “she used to make with Vaseline and crushed up eyeshadow”. Many business owners are reluctant to create a high-quality product that doesn’t charge a high price. Fenty saw the importance of appealing to its consumer and delivering on its word, and the proof is in the payoff. Within the first forty days following the launch the company had made a 100 million dollar profit and would reach 500 billion by the middle of its first year. The brand now has a $1 billion valuation with Rhianna at a 30% ownership stake.

Between a baby on the way and revolutionizing the beauty industry, it seems like Rihanna’s fans may have to wait a bit longer for that album.

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Morgan Paige is an Atlanta native and student at Howard University, currently studying English and Afro-American Studies. She is passionate about film, study, creative writing and pop culture.