“FENTY BEAUTY WAS CREATED FOR EVERYONE: FOR WOMEN OF ALL SHADES, PERSONALITIES, ATTITUDES, CULTURES, AND RACES. I WANTED EVERYONE TO FEEL INCLUDED. THAT’S THE REAL REASON I MADE THIS LINE.” – RIHANNA
On September 8 1,600 Sephora stores across 17 countries debuted Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s latest creation, Fenty Beauty. The complete makeup collection, backed by Kendo Brands, a division of LVMH (Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy), was in development for 2 years before hitting store shelves. The reviews have been pouring in on Instagram, Youtube and countless blogs and it seems 2 years was worth the wait. Rihanna Navy, as her devout legion of fans call themselves, makeup addicts and even supermodel Naomi Campbell are praising the all inclusive beauty brand for finally offering what the cosmetics industry refused to do. It took a Barbados born, self proclaimed Island girl, turned pop star to turn the makeup industry on its side by offering 40 foundation shades to compliment all shades of melanin. And now it seems those same cosmetic giants who refused in the past will soon follow suit.
Inclusive of All Shades
Rihanna’s 40 shade foundation options took many by surprise. One reason being there are many celebrity makeup lines- celebs have been cashing in on beauty ventures for some time now, but no one could have expected Fenty Beauty to be rolled out so nicely. For the most part celebrity endorsed brands are simply name and picture only advertisement by said celebrity. Rihanna actually had a hand in the making of this brand and it shows in her enthusiasm and knowledge of what she is offering. The second reason being, Fenty Beauty will now be seen as a leader in the melanin makeup community. Granted there are brands like Black Opal, to name a few, who have catered specifically to women of color. However they’ve never had a spokesperson with super-stardom to back them. Celebrities hold clout among consumers and if someone of Rihanna’s caliber created a cosmetics line for her “left out brown sisters” then that means other big name brands will start offering more than just 6-8 color options.
The Lightest and Fairest of them all
The cosmetic’s industry’s exclusion of darker skin tones isn’t a secret. In the past the industry has made it blatantly obvious what the standard of beauty was in their advertisements and products. Just this year Nivea came under fire because of their “White is Purity” campaign. Historically, this widespread standard of beauty only accommodated a particular pigmentation. The discrimination of what is “beautiful or more beautiful” is what made skin bleaching popular and isolated a large majority of women, who opted to support brands that will cater to them. Tan colored foundation is a way for certain cosmetic companies to be inclusive to black and brown women. However, what these brands fail to realize is that different shades of melanin cannot be reduced to one color. Naomi Campbell has spoken out on the racial disparity that existed in cosmetics, going on to say that she has had to mix colors just to get the correct shade. The exclusion causes confusion and plagues the question, how can there be a shortage of color tinted foundation for brown and black women of various ethnicities, but always enough color for blackface?
Is Melanin the new Black?
The beauty and fashion industries haven’t been mascots for diversity and oftentimes shows no restraint toward cultural sensitivity. However, there seems to be a new wave of diverse appreciation sweeping across the fashion world and even Hollywood. Whether it’s within television and film, on the runway, in job promotions (Nina Garcia) and now in the cosmetic world. Although there are still restrictions and limits that still exist, we seem to be progressing to a point where companies are slowly getting a clue to what consumers want. The amazing part about Fenty Beauty isn’t just the 40 shades of foundation, and the gorgeous shimmer sticks. What’s amazing is Rihanna’s complete collection “is created for everyone” to celebrate all shades of all women. In a society where women are always being pitted against each other; fat vs skinny, dark vs light, long hair vs short hair, natural vs straightened. The promotion of female equality is what truly puts the beauty in Fenty Beauty.