Fenty Beauty Review: What I Bought & What I Thought!

It’s Fenty Beauty Season, everyone! All other brands step aside!

(But seriously: all other brands step aside. We all see the five new darker shades you coincidentally released this week)

Anyway, like I said, happy Fenty Beauty season! Rihanna officially launched her line on September 8th midnight PST on her own site, FentyBeauty.com. Sephora got in on it too, of course.

We got some little hints at what the brand would be all about, thanks to @fentybeauty on Instgram. First we got a release date. Then we got a video.

So – let’s be honest here – Rihanna put more diversity in a 60-second intro video to her brand than the rest of the makeup brands put together did since 2017 started. Right off the bat, it’s obvious: this brand is for everyone. That, to me, is clear. We start off by seeing Duckie Thot, who’s known for her smooth complexion & very deep skin tone. We see Halima Aden in hijab – okay!!! We see Paloma Elsesser, one of the Pat McGrath muses (& also part of Glossier’s Body Hero campaign – & an advocate for plus-size beauty), we see Slick Woods, whose “don’t give a fuck” attitude has made her one of the most present models on the runway at the moment (she also walks for Fenty X Puma). We spot the redheaded girl from Rihanna’s Paper Magazine photoshoot! There’s fair skin, monolids, super dark skin, larger body types, medium skin, bald heads (!), deep skin.This campaign is definitely about diversity, that’s for sure. It’s also quite clear within the 60-second time frame that these products are multi-purpose, easy to use – even when on the go – & many of them can be worn on many different skin tones. Amazing. Amazing!!!

This video was followed up with a few sneak peeks – some some photographs, some videos. If the photo/video featured a product, it would be was captioned with the shade/product name, & the date it would drop (September 8). Some of the other videos featured the Fenty Girls (Slick Woods & Camila Costa for these particular ones) saying the product names, which I thought was really cute. We also got a release time!

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Okay, okay, enough – I am sure you watched the products slowly reveal themselves just as closely as I did. But…in case you didn’t, we got the actual details the night of the launch, when Fenty Beauty officially announced the launch with a photoset titled “FAMILY.” That was followed by a little Instagram-style slideshow, featuring each product.

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What were the products? What were the prices?

I was a bit surprised, to be honest. All the face stuff was great – & I love a highlight, so you know I was excited – but I had expected a bold lipstick or two, maybe a strong liner, a highlight, & most definitely a mascara…right?

Wrong! No lipstick, mascara, or liner to be seen – yet. I am sure Fenty Beauty has lots coming in the near future. For now, though, there’s no “actual” eye products – & there’s only one lip gloss.

That’s okay, though – in terms of reviews (on YouTube, on Instagram, & on bigger beauty sites like Temptalia), Fenty Beauty was five-star from the beginning.

Why? It’s because someone finally seemed to realize what a “universal” shade was – & that yes, we really do need 40 foundation shades to cover the broad range of what we call “beauty.”

This brand definitely had a lot more product options for darker-skinned women, which is great – we all know that the beauty industry is whitewashed. It is almost impossible for very dark-skinned women to find foundations that suit their skin type & skin tone! At this point, it’s become obvious: it’s not that difficult to create a few more shades to appeal to a larger demographic. Even more obvious? You make more money when you have a better shade range.

Fenty Beauty’s 40 shades have set a new standard, in my opinion. Now that one brand has shown that it is possible to create shades for deep-dark skin, others have one less excuse to make. I hope more brands start expanding their shade range. Oh – & Fenty Beauty isn’t done yet. They said they have even more foundation shades coming.

Looking at pricing – it’s surprisingly reasonble, for a brand with a celebrity’s name behind it. Kylie’s whole lip thing & Kim’s Contour Kits cost way more – no ifs or buts about it. Sure, a $34 foundation isn’t cheap – but let’s be honest, there are about a million foundations that are well into the $50 range. Again, coming from a celebrity, I was pleasantly surprised by the price tags.

Okay, so: what did I buy? Why did I choose it? & what made me choose not to buy some of the things?

First off, I wouldn’t be able to afford the full line – & I likely wouldn’t use all of it. I started taking notes as soon as the product names/descriptions went up. I knew I wouldn’t get foundation – I am not a foundation lover & do not wear enough of it to justify buying it – even if it was my perfect shade (& I am pretty sure Rih has my back with one of the three lightest shades). Same goes for contour. It’s just not my style. I’m more about lips, eyes (soft eyes) & definitely highlight. Definitely.

I decided I’d go for a Killawatt highlight, a Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick, the brush that went with the stick, & the gloss. & no, I didn’t get it all at once – it took me a few days to collect the funds to buy the product, so it all rolled in gradually.

Before I start reviewing what I got & why, let me say one last thing: the brand has been incredible (so far) in terms of keeping things in stock. The brand launched with HUGE success – but shades are still in stock, whether it’s on the Fenty site or on (or in!) Sephora. I read that Fenty Beauty worked hard to have a good stockpile before launch, & I don’t know if they particularly planned that – but it’s definitely been working. Like I said, it’s not like people aren’t buying it – people are flocking to buy it.

Like I said – “face stuff” aka: powder, foundation, or contour – isn’t part of my daily routine. I have dry skin, so powder is almost always a no for me (with the exception of Glossier’s Wowder). I never have & probably never will need blotting papers. Foundation is something I can’t justify buying, & I laugh even when I even imagine myself contouring. It looks beautiful on other people, but it has never been my personal thing. Again, like I said – I decided to stick to highlights, a brush, & a lip gloss. Those are all things I wear consistently, & I know I will get use out of the things I bought.

Okay, enough talk. Time for photos, & actual thoughts on the products I purchased! Let’s go!

I mentioned that the products rolled onto my door step gradually; the first two things that arrived were the Shimmer Skinstick & the Gloss Bomb.

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Babies in the sun
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Quick, easy product descriptions on the back outside packaging

Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in “Blonde”

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The Shimmer Skinstick is described as a “magnetized makeup stick in a long-wear, light-as-air shimmer formula to highlight, blush, enhance, and bronze in 10 colorful shades that let you play.” Although it’s primarily marketed as a highlight, they’re friendly on any area of your face – definitely can be used as eyeshadows; today, I saw a video of someone using one as a lip topper. There’s a clear emphasis on Fenty Beauty products being multi-purpose, which I like!

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It was super, super hard for me to pick just one. They were all unique & beautiful. I knew I wanted to play some risks so I tried to steer clear of the cooler, whiter shades. There’s some crazier ones: Ridiic (“golden papaya) & Unicorn (“platinum lilac”) are both good examples. I haven’t seen many looks or swatches of either of these products; I assume it’s because they’re such a bold color. I ended up with Blonde, “a glimmering gold.” I’d call it the cream sister of Trophy Wife – just less actual glitter. The actual stick of product is very thick; you can hold it in your hand, but the thickness of the stick means you’re still getting a lot of product. Not only that, but they’re very pigmented. I get a solid pigment with one swipe; that blends out to a natural highlight. They’re buildable, so more swipes means more glow.

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This is just one swipe of Blonde – super pigmented, but it blends out like a dream. You don’t have to tell me – I already know my arm is hairy. Trust me 

I was pleasantly surprised how good this looked on my fair skin, even in a casual way. I hadn’t really expected it to look good for everyday use, but I wore it during the daytime & it looked absolutely appropriate! I even got some compliments. I layered a small dab of Becca’s Liquid Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone; then applied Blonde to my cheekbones, chin, cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, & inner corners. I used my usual setting spray – NYX Dewy Setting Spray – & it lasted all day, & wore very well – I couldn’t spot any patchiness when it was time to take off my makeup.

This is easy to hold, easy to apply, & even easier to travel with – thanks to the magnets. A big yes on the magnet idea! All of the sticks/portable brushes are magnatized, so they all magnetically snap together.Great for travel, great for putting in your bag for touch-ups. Although I didn’t originally plan on getting the Portable Highlight Brush, I saw the sturdy, small, portable Skinstick & knew that the brush would be the perfect duo. I was right!

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The lettering has a holographic shift in the light!

Overall, I like how practical & easy it is to hold the stick; I like how the product blends out (works well with fingers; works even better with the little brush); I like how long they last & how well they wear. I will definitely be collecting a few more of these. Confetti – I have my eye on you!

Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

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There’s not much to say about this except that it’s a great gloss! It’s a universal shade; called Fenty Glow, described as a “shimmering rose nude.” All of the models (as well as Rihanna, of course) were wearing this in the advertisements & at the launch. They all look beautiful in it, in different ways. Universal is a good word to describe this shade!

It’s not clear; there’s definitely pigment in the tube, as you can see. The wand dispenses a generous amount; if you’re cautious with the amount of gloss you put on your lips, I’d warn you to apply it with a light hand. You can always add more!

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Gloss Bomb shares the beehive-shaped packaging with the portable brushes & skin sticks

The scent is really nice; the site calls it “vanilla peach” but I can’t detect any vanilla. It just smells like a very pleasant fruity gloss to me! It (the scent, not the gloss) doesn’t last too long, & the scent isn’t annoyingly fake, like a lot of scented lip products are. I’d say the gloss looks about the same for around two hours; maybe a little less. You’ll have to reapply more often than you would a lipstick – but again, this is a gloss, & it’s not marketed as long-wearing.

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If you want something from the Fenty collection but aren’t really into contouring or highlighing, I’d tell you to go for this. You won’t not like it – there isn’t anything to “not like.” It’s just a nice gloss! I do find it extra hydrating. I like it! I also think that it’ll go well with any eye makeup look I might do, so it’s probably a good thing to take on a vacation or a short trip. No matter what the rest of your face is doing, this is a nice, neutral shade that will ground your look.

In the little “What Else You Need To Know” box on Sephora’s site, it reads:

“Rihanna was obsessed with creating the perfect gloss that makes you want to put it on over and over again. ‘I made it because I wanted the girls to get kissed more.’—Rihanna, Brand Founder.”

I’m here for it!

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Blonde on the cheekbones, nose, chin, inner corners, & browbone – Fenty Gloss Bomb on the lips

My other two items arrived a few days later: the portable highlight brush & the Killawatt Highlight – Trophy Wife, the highlight of my dreams.

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife

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Trophy Wife – you know, the one that everyone & their mother has been talking about. I remember seeing this shade in the launch video – on eyelids, cheekbones, cupid’s bows…even on the shoulders, it seemed. I also remember feeling sad, because: every single gold highlight I have ever tried (ex: Becca Champagne Pop) looks muddy/too dark on my fair skin. It was one of the first products I saw & one of the first products I associated with Fenty Beauty – so, I sighed & lamented over it as I waited for the products to launch.

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Then, photos started coming in from the launch event. I saw a LOT of different women wearing Trophy Wife in MANY ways – all different skin tones, all different clothing & makeup styles, all hair colors/styles/textures. They all truly looked beautiful in it – I was shocked, because even girls with fairer skin looked amazing. Trophy Wife looked different on everyone, but it looked good on everyone – that’s what we call universal! I decided to take a risk & go for it.

Top two are @soniachew & @alissa.ashley; bottom is Fenty Girl Camila Costa. All are wearing Trophy Wife!

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The queen herself, at the Fenty Beauty launch – also wearing Trophy Wife

When I opened it, Trophy Wife was everything (& more) than I’d expected. It was definitely bold & glittery enough to be an eyeshadow; I could tell that straight off. I wasn’t sure how it’d look on me as a highlight, but I already had it in my hands – it was worth a try.

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Trophy Wife – in the flesh

I didn’t have the larger highlighting brush, & the portable one was more for cream products, so I used a fluffy highlighting brush – I don’t know which, but I’m 99% sure it’s from BH Cosmetics (the label wore off). The photo above is me with no other makeup on – no eyes, face, or lips…just Trophy Wife! This was after one swirl with my brush. I tapped off a little excess, but there wasn’t much fallout.

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Success

This blends very smoothly. I was expecting it to look rougher, since I didn’t even have a primer on – nope! It was glittery; there are actual particles of very visible glitter in the highlight, so if you’re not there for that, Trophy Wife definitely isn’t for you (at least, not for the cheeks). I only tried it out at home so far, but I kept it on for the whole day, & it faded pretty well, considering that I’d been wearing nothing else. I had some scattered glitter on my face by the end of the day, but it wasn’t excessive, & it washed away easily. I don’t think it’d be an issue if I were actually wearing other things on my face.

Let’s talk packaging for a minute – I love it! It’s an octagon, which mimics the design of the sticks – it’s like a one-dimensional version of the stick’s design. It looks like an eggshell white at first glance; it has this incredible holographic shift when it catches the light. Necessary? No. Welcome? Absolutely. It has an amazing mirror in the compact, too. Once again, easy to travel with, if necessary. Forgot to do your highlight? Forgot your mirror? No problem; now, you only need one compact.

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You thought…
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…& you thought wrong! A close-up at the holographic shimmer the packaging has when it catches some light
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Headshot of Trophy Wife 

I see great things coming for me & Trophy Wife! It’s bold enough that you notice I’m wearing gold on my cheekbones; it’s subtle enough that it doesn’t look dirty or clownish. Overall, I’m super happy with how it turned out for me – this is a very fun highlight that I’ll be able to wear when I’m feeling like I should amp it up a little. I could amp it up a lot, & I’d look like a disco ball! I think there’s a time & place for that, too. Again – shocked that a gold highlight looks good on me (did I mention…that gold…doesn’t…look…good..on me?) but this one does. I’d best describe it as a deeper version of NARS Albatross; a little more glitter, definitely more gold, but infinitely wearable. I’m in love.

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Quick candid: love in my eyes; I already adore it

(This is enhanced & just for fun – refer to above photos for actual color & finish! I just like to make everything sparkly)

Portable Highlighter Brush 140

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Is this an absolutely necessary thing to get? No, I don’t think so – but I really like it. A large highlighting brush by Morphe is around $15 – but its worse quality. Same goes for BH Cosmetics. This brush is smaller, yes…but it’s also sturdier, easier to carry around (thank you, retractable brush & brush cap!) & perfect for using with a Shimmer Skinstick.

Fenty Beauty says that the “slanted, soft synthetic brush hairs trace the angles of your face, expertly made to diffuse Match Stix Shimmer Skinsticks with speed and precision.” That’s a little dramatic, but essentially, it’s true. It’s a really nice brush, & since it was designed for using with the Shimmer Skinsticks, my Blonde Skinstick & the brush click together perfectly. They don’t separate unless you pull them apart – just like…you guess it….a magnet!

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I tried using it with a powder highlight – & it worked beautifully with the powder, too.

The bristles are a pale pink & are very soft. This isn’t exactly a “fluffy brush” but it’s not a stippling brush, either. It’s very much its own thing, & it does a good job at doing what it’s supposed to do: it highlights, & it travels easily. The packaging is the same as the Killawatt packaging: eggshell on first glance, holographic shift when you turn it towards the light.

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Gently push down on the silver part, & the brush retracts – just like that!
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“Angled precision” & all that good stuff!

Next project: applying first Blonde, then Trophy Wife, both with the Portable Highlighter Brush.

Thoughts after having these products for a few days?

I like them a lot. I even would say I love them. The highlight shades I chose were extremely fun to play with; I can’t wait to keep figuring out new things to do with them! I think the sky’s the limit.

Do I want anything else from Fenty Beauty?

Honestly, I’d probably buy all the Shimmer Skinsticks if I could – same goes for the Killawatt Highlighters. I especially have my eye on Confetti for the Skinstick – it’s a beautiful, holographic, opalescent lavender color that has a lot of duochrome to it. It’s something that you might think of when looking at the Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glow Kit – that alien-ish, outerspace-ish (neither of those are words) kind of highlight. As for the Killawatt, the Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal Duo look great for fair skin & I think they’d be beautiful as natural highlights for my fair skin, judging from the swatches. I also love Metal Moon – it’s the other single (along with Trophy Wife) in the Killawatt collection – the rest are duos. I also love Ginger Binge/Moscow Mule; I think they’d be a nice glowy blush on me – or a great eyeshadow. Usually, if it’s a highlighting product, I’ll buy it. Say “highlight” & I’m sold. True (& sad) story.

Okay, but seriously: Will I buy any of the other Fenty Beauty products? If so, why?

Well, I’m not going to go for the blotting papers, the mattifying powder, or the contouring sticks. I definitely wouldn’t buy the beauty sponge – but that’s because I just hate using beauty sponges. I already have a loyal foundation brush that works perfectly well for blending out whatever face makeup I choose to have, so I don’t think I’d buy that, either.

I could see myself buying the Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer – in her review of the line, Jackie Aina called it a “smoothing, blurring” primer, & said that if the Too Faced Hangover Primer & Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer(yes, the crazy-expensive one) had a baby, the Fenty primer would be the result. I got a sample of the Hourglass primer when it was a Sephora points reward & did not like it at all  I don’t consider it “dry skin-friendly,” but if it were to be combined with a hydrating primer like the Too Faced one, I could see it being an appealing primer. I tend to go for hydrating, illuminating primers, but I’m not adverse to a little blur. For myself – I’d try some of the Fenty primer out in store before I’d purchase it, simply because I already have a lot of primers that I’m already happy with. However, if it works like I hope it would, it would be like a real-life Snapchat face filter – a little blurring, but friendly for dry skin. That’s something I would buy into – so we’ll see! As for the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, I may get it at some point – just because I am curious to see how the lightest shade wears on me. One of the reasons I don’t wear a full face of foundation (ever) is because it doesn’t look that great on my skin. No matter what foundation I use, & what brush I use to blend, it’ll always end up looking a little off. I hate that, & I searched high & low for good foundations. I couldn’t ever find one; I ended up switching to CC Creams (& I’m not complaining). I’ve heard from some people that the foundation does cling to dry spots, & as someone with dry skin, that’s a flag right there.

Rihanna’s skin products make sense, though – Fenty Beauty said that the face products help one achieve “the perfect #FentyFace” which is 1) Mattify 2) Highlight 3) Blot. Now, since I have dry skin, mattifying & blotting just aren’t part of my makeup routine – ever. I’m always worried about going too matte – it ruins the way my face feels for the rest of the day.

Since the #FentyFace involves blotting & mattifying, I’m going to stay away from the foundation until I make a friend with dry skin buy it first (watch me, I’ll do it). Seriously, though – I just want a little more time to look over different skin types & reviews according to each skin type. The way my complexion looks is super important to me – both Rihanna & I seem to be in that club. It also seems that Rihanna’s skin type is very different from mine; her way to a perfect complexion isn’t necessarily mine.

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What #FentyFace looks like (on Rihanna, not the rest of the plebeins)

I’m curious about the Portable Touchup Brush 130 & the Match Stix Matte Skinstick in the shade Linen; I feel like it would be a nice way to touch up or spot conceal on the go. Linen is the lightest shade, but it doesn’t look as light as the lightest foundation shade – again, I would go to the store to swatch the product before buying it. The concept is nice; I like using Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint in Light on a daily basis. Then, I’ll put some kind of heavier coverage product in the center of my face – could be a concealer, a CC Cream, or a foundation (“essence”) cushion – & blend outwards to prevent a line on my jawbone. I could see the Skinstick being useful for that kind of thing, but it would have to be creamy to work – so, yet again, let me say that I’d have to go to the store to see it before deciding whether or not it’s worth it.

I have other highlighting brushes, but the Cheek-Hugging Highlight Brush 120 looks very cool & very effective. I like the chiseled shape & the long handle; it seems perfect for when you’re trying to achieve a truly blinding highlight – I love doing that in the fall & winter, especially around the holidays. I’m not going to hop out & buy it immediately, but I do have an eye on it.

What would I buy next? Honestly, probably another Shimmer Skinstick or a Killawatt Highlighter. I love my highlights – & Rihanna really delivered on both of the highlight-type products. Plus, like I mentioned – they’re all versatile. If one ends up looking odd on my cheekbones, it’ll still look amazing on the eyes.

Overall, I think this was the launch of the year, mainly because of the huge shade range that released right away – many brands wait a while before releasing darker shades (which is stupid & unfair) – & also the incredible amount of diversity in the campaign. Oh! Let’s not forget about how all the highlights work in one way or another on all skin tones! & how they can be used on the face, lips, or eyelids! Or all three at once. You decide.

I think that’s a great way to sum up what I’ve seen of Fenty Beauty so far: you decide. There are enough shade options, there are different styles of products (ex. sponge vs. brush) there are mini tips & tutorials, but at the end of the day, it’s freehand – go crazy! Makeup should be fun, & Fenty Beauty just made it a lot more fun, for a lot more people – because they’re very appealing to a very wide demographic. Brands like Fenty Beauty are, in my opinion, the brands of the future. Other companies need to step it up, because this is only the first launch, & we all know Rihanna likes to come back better than ever.

Let’s start placing bets on how long it’ll take me to place another order for another highlight I don’t really need – except that I do, because it’s Rihanna, & I have to.

Love,

Sof ❤

Have you tried any Fenty Beauty? If so, what have you got! What are your thoughts? Is there anything you’ve tried that you think I’d like? Let me know! & don’t forget – you can only play the ANTI album while applying Rihanna’s products. 

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