“Did you guys try the products yet? What do you liiiiiiike?” Rihanna purred as she glided into a small room of beauty editors in Brooklyn, the long yellow train of her skirt flowing behind her. With sparkling gold highlighter gleaming off her cheeks and eyes, she beamed as she walked us through the products she’s spent the last two years developing. “This is the first time I’m getting to hear what people actually think of it,” she exclaimed, waving around a stack of colored highlighter-blush sticks. “I’m so excited.”
After hinting at her makeup line for more than two years, following the cryptic registry of her Fenty trademark, the cruelty-free range is finally launching in 1600 stores (in 17 countries) and online at Sephora, Harvey Nichols, and Fenty Beauty at midnight tonight.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filter Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, $34, available at Fenty Beauty
But if you expected another celebrity lip kit, think again. Rihanna is only launching one lip product: a single $18 gloss that she promises looks good on everyone. “For the gloss, I wanted a color that would work well on all skin tones,” she says. “And, you know, it might’ve been a challenge, but I was up for it. It took awhile, and we had to switch things up to get the right texture, the right smell even. We came to this perfect, rosy-nude that had a little bit of shimmer. It gives you something, but it doesn’t look like you’re doing the most. We’ll do that later.”
Rihanna spent most of her energy focusing on the 40 foundation shades — the thing that was closest to her heart out of the entire project. “I wanted things that I love. Then I also wanted things that girls of all skin tones could fall in love with,” Rihanna says. “That was really important for me. In every product I was like: ‘There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl; there needs to be something for a really pale girl; there needs to be something in-between.’ There’s red undertones, green undertones, blue undertones, pink undertones, yellow undertones — you never know, so you want people to appreciate the product and not feel like: ‘Oh that’s cute, but it only looks good on her.” The marketing for the campaign is equally inclusive, with “It” models like Duckie Thot, Paloma Elsesser, Halima Aden, Slick Woods, and more fronting the line.
Fenty Beauty Match Stix, $25, available at Fenty Beauty
From there, Rihanna built out the rest of her face products, including multiple contour and highlighter sticks as well as colorful multi-use sticks for cheeks and face in a variety of hues that range from bronze to purple. We especially loved Sinnamon, a rich bronze, and Star Struck, a pretty champagne. There are also six powder highlighters, including an intensely sparkly gold (Trophy Wife) that Rihanna wore to the event, as well as pale pinks, holographic purples, and more muted golds. We loved Ginger Binge/Moscow Mule, a rusty red combo that looks gorgeous on eyes, too. (Editors’ Note: We were only able to briefly swatch the products on one editor at the event, but we’ll update this story to show them on a variety of skin tones soon.)
Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter, $34, available at Fenty Beauty
Rihanna finished with a primer, five makeup brushes (including a highlighter brush that a Fenty rep says was modeled after a shark tooth), a blending sponge, and two variations on mattifying products: a mini blotting paper roll and a translucent powder. And yes, the “translucent” powder was made with everyone in mind, too. “It was really hard to make a product like that. It actually works on all skin tones, but is still invisible for real,” says Rihanna. “There are so many translucent powders that make you look white right here (gestures to her under eyes) — it drives me nuts, especially on the red carpet.”
The coolest part of the whole collection? Most of the products are hexagon shaped and magnetic, so they snap together for easy travel and convenience. So, what did the editors in the room really think of it all? Well, if the fact that we were all wearing the makeup before we left was any indication, very, very highly. And you could feel the energy radiating from Rihanna as we made our way down the stairs to the celebration — all of us decked out in her highlighter and blush together.
“This is like a birthday party; this is like an album release,” Rihanna said, addressing the entire crowd. “This has been my passion project. So have fun, let loose, play with it — it’s makeup, it’s not serious, it won’t bite.”
Fenty Beauty launches September 8, at Fenty, Sephora, and Harvey Nichols.