Everything Rihanna does is big, so of course her debut beauty collection arrived with a ton of fanfare! The line focuses on the face and includes foundation, contour and highlighting products, plus the price-point is pretty reasonable; somewhere around that 'kind-of high-end' bracket where MAC sits. At the same time, I'm sure we're also all aware that celebrity makeup brands sometimes trade on famous names as opposed to the quality of the products. But is Fenty Beauty any different...? I picked up the Pro Flit'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation | £26 | (Tan 330) and the Match Stix Trio in Tan 300 | £46 | to find out!
The Brand & Packaging
Spoiler alert: where so many celebrity brands feel like a soulless money-grab; I truly believe that time and effort was put into Fenty Beauty. The vast selection of foundation shades (from light to deep with a range of undertones), the interesting and beautiful range of highlighters and the overall look and feel of the brand really appeals to me. The packaging feels very premium and it's kind of classic and modern at the same time - I like how it mixes the soft Millenial pink vibes with some Rihanna-esque graffiti. The foundation has a pump and comes in this frosted glass bottle, whereas the Stix are magnetised so you can hold them together. The packaging and the way this brand is presented is also lovely and makes Fenty Beauty stand out against the other brands in Harvey Nichols. The amount of research and testing that I feel went into the development of the foundation shades and the range of skin tones that seem to have a match within this collection have convinced me that this isn't just some cynical celebrity product range; I genuinely believe a lot of work went into this launch, so I'm not rolling my eyes at the way in which people are going mad for it.
I obviously had to pick up the foundation! The primer didn't seem like a must-have for me, though when I tried it on the back of my hand it was more fluid and less drying than I'd expected from its name. The brushes were pretty but I have plenty of those so skipped over them. The powder, blotting papers and lipgloss didn't really appeal to me personally. I had a look at the powder highlighters, however the texture just wasn't particularly soft and had quite a bit of glitter when I swatched them so I decided against it - I already have so many that I'd just end up comparing these unfavourably to my favourites from brands like Becca! That meant I eventually opted for the trio of contour and highlighting sticks.
I kind of have mixed emotions about this foundation but I want you to hear me out! Essentially, this formula sets down a different colour to what it originally appears to be. It will dry at least a shade darker than it looks, which is really off-putting. I purchased this when I was barely back from my holiday in Spain and it still looked kind of orange! I matched to the shade 330, which is a warm-toned one, however this is next-level. It is work-able, especially for a night out I'm still comfortable enough to wear it, however as we head into the winter months I know I'll need to pick up a lighter shade or mix this in (with something like Nars Sheer Glow in Stromboli). It comes in a whopping 40 shades however I'd honestly just ask in-store for a sample to take home and try for yourself in your own lighting and the environment you're familiar with. I originally got these products when the brand first launched and I know that they literally have the counter roped off with a queuing system in Harvey Nichols now, so it can feel like you're under pressure to get as much as you can there and then, however I personally think it's worth waiting and not letting yourself be talked into buying a shade that might not be right for you.
Now that grumble is out of the way, I have to say the formula is INSANE! My goodness! I have to admit, I was surprised by it because I always think of Rihanna as having very fresh, glowing skin and this is very full and matte. On application it does dry down quite quickly, so you have to work fast to blend it out, however the finish is incredible. Firstly, it doesn't settle into fine lines and really masked my pores. I usually use a pore-filling primer before applying my foundation, however I tried this without and it still looked so flawless. It has a matte finish but it isn't flat or drying, it just gives an incredible, airbrushed appearance to the skin. It's definitely full-coverage (and not build-able as such) so I won't be wearing this to work (where I pretty much always opt for a tinted moisturiser) but it isn't heavy and doesn't mask or smother the skin. I honestly can't emphasise how flawless this looks; when I wear it I honestly find myself looking in the mirror thinking how amazing it looks (much to the amusement of whoever I'm with, I'm sure...) It works nicely either with a beauty sponge or a dense buffing brush (for me, the Iconic London Pro-Evo Buffer Brush* is perfect).
In terms of longevity, I'm impressed with how well this holds up! If I don't powder during the day, there's definitely a bit of shine around my t-zone, however with a lot of foundations, I have worse by lunchtime! It didn't settle into fine lines as the day went on either and actually still looked fairly good by the end of the day. It had definitely rubbed off the end of my nose a little bit, which always happens to me, but didn't transfer onto my glasses too much at all. I kind of like how it lets a bit of my natural glow through during the day, as it prevents things from looking dry.
Overall, I'm incredibly impressed with this, especially as it comes neatly beneath other favourites of mine from Nars and Estee Lauder in price. It's pretty much the perfect evening or nighttime foundation and I can't recommend it enough. Just be really, really careful when choosing a shade!
The Match Stix
There were one or two of these that I was eyeing up, so common sense told me that I might as well get the trio for £46 over the individuals for £21 each. The concept is that you get a nude-toned matte concealer/highlighter, a matte contour and a shimmery highlighter to compliment your skin tone. In the Tan 300 trio I got Caramel as a matte highlighting concealer, Truffle as a contour and Rum as a shimmer highlight.
Caramel isn't really light enough on me to be a highlight but it's ok as a concealer, if a little neutral-toned for my skin. It doesn't have amazing coverage but the finish is nice enough; it doesn't crease and has a soft, semi-matte texture that's quite easy to blend out. Personally, I tend to swirl my finger on the surface of the product and apply it with my hands, as I always find swiping on a concealer to be a bit awkward (especially as the product isn't warmed up properly when applied directly). I don't see myself reaching for this much, however in my head it was pretty much free as I was more interested in the shimmery highlighter and the contour sticks anyway!
Truffle is quite a bit darker than I'd usually go for, however my makeup collection has definitely been lacking in a more cool-toned contouring product to create that really natural shadow. I knew this could go one of two ways and I was pleasantly surprised that I really loved this! You just swipe it on and blend it out for a sharp contour in seconds. I personally like using a dense buffing brush with this (like the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush or Sephora Pro Flawless Airbrush #56) - I did try it with a blending sponge but it just didn't blend out as smoothly for whatever reason and kind of seemed to lift the product off my skin. This has pretty much the perfect texture for me; it blends nicely but doesn't have a greasy formula and it's colour is very opaque (but not too intimidating). It also doesn't pull my foundation off when I swipe it straight onto my cheekbones. By the end of a 10-12 hour day it will have gone slightly patchy, but the longevity is pretty good, I find.
Rum is a gorgeous golden-bronze shimmer that's perfect for a warm makeup look. I dab this straight onto my cheekbones and then blend out with my fingers (the formula blends smoothly and evenly with very little effort). It does have some very fine glitter however that doesn't really transfer onto the skin, it just gives a sort of dewy, wet-look shimmer. This is the perfect balance between being noticeable but not being so pigmented that you end up with a stripy highlight!
So, is it worth the hype?
Overall, I have to say: yes! Which is a good job, because I spent quite a bit of money on this untested brand... The foundation is a must-have for me. In terms of the contour and highlight sticks, I'd probably just recommend picking up one or two that you really like in hindsight (though the trio has the obvious appeal of making the selection for you if you find the choice overwhelming). I didn't particularly like the concealer but love the contour stick and really like the highlighter.
Have you tried anything from Fenty Beauty? If not, what do you have your eye on?