Rihanna is adding color and glitter to her smash-hit makeup line, Fenty Beauty, on Friday.
Worokya Duncan is the director of inclusion for a private school in Manhattan, so her embrace of diversity is a no-brainer. She’s also a big makeup person, frustrated over the years by cosmetics companies that don’t seem to get how important it is for women of color like her to be serviced, too.
“No line really had what I considered my shade of foundation,” she says. “There was always, like, an orange line somewhere. I would have to have my hair down so you couldn’t see where the foundation color and my actual skin color separated. Why is it so hard? Because people still find it novel that there’s beauty found in black and brown bodies in the first place.”
Enter one doozy of a beauty: Rihanna. The pop star/fashion designer launched her Fenty Beauty line last month to raves from industry media and consumers alike.
The foundation of the collection
The superstar spent two years developing her products, which include 40 shades of matte foundation, from the palest of pale to deep, deep brown with cool undertones.
“We’re all just, like, giddy over here,” says Julee Wilson, the fashion and beauty editor for Essence. “I knew that she was going to be thoughtful. You expect that from a woman of color coming out with a cosmetics line. But I was honestly shocked at how inclusive the line is.”
The cruelty-free collection has been selling out since Rihanna launched it online and in Sephora and Harvey Nichols stores Sept. 7. Darker shades of foundation went first, challenging the notion those colors don’t sell well.
In addition to foundations, the line includes several tools, contour sticks, highlighters, multi-use sticks, a primer, translucent powder and a universal lip gloss called Gloss Bomb.
New products launch Friday
Friday, Fenty Beauty’s holiday line — the Galaxy Collection — will be released, featuring shimmer and shine in the form of lipsticks, glosses, an eyeshadow palette and an innovative metallic-to-glitter eyeliner. When applied, the eyeliner has a metallic finish, but if it’s buffed after drying it creates a glitter effect.
“Glitter on glitter on glitter. That’s what The Galaxy Collection is all about, no exception,” Rihanna said in a statement.
Makeup as a social movement
Television host Hilari Younger, in Bethesda, Maryland, was first in line on launch day at a Sephora in her hometown. She spent $270 on Fenty Beauty.
“My skin tone is on the mocha, clove side. I’ve tried custom blends, very exclusive lines. The beauty industry is not here for the dark-skinned girls. Either they put too much red in the makeup or it’s too yellow or it’s too oily or it’s just not available,” she says. “This makeup is magical. I was completely skeptical but pleasantly surprised.”
Cat Quinn, the beauty director for the lifestyle site Refinery29, says that Rihanna’s move into beauty is more than just makeup.
“It’s become more like a social movement,” she says. “People are posting pictures and personal stories, like a woman on Instagram with albinism who grew up never having a foundation shade that was light with peach undertones, or a woman with really dark skin who could never find the right undertones. You’re seeing buzz that’s really moving.”