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Update: this was only announced yesterday so my review (which was pre-scheduled) doesn't take it into account, but Fenty Skin is coming to Boots and Harvey Nichols on Boxing Day (26/12/2020).
Today I'm sharing my thoughts on Fenty Skin. We all know Rihanna changed the game when she launched Fenty Beauty with an unprecedented range of foundation shades that made every competing brand up their game. From Day 1, there was no question that this wasn't going to be what we've come to expect from celebrity beauty brands; Rihanna is involved in product development, she's clearly passionate about the products and has a vision for her brand. Over the past year I've drifted from primarily existing within the makeup space to being more skincare-focussed, and beauty brands have cottoned on to the shifting tide over the past couple of years. I think this has only increased during 2020, as people wear less makeup and spend more time looking after themselves at home. However, has Fenty continued its innovation and tendency to do things a little different in their skincare line?
The packaging is pretty cool and innovative, in my humble opinion; it takes a bit of 'construction' but if you've purchased the day or night creams once, they're refillable which obviously means less waste and you save a bit of money on the repurchase (making it a win-win, really). Additionally, the packaging can be recycled. The cleanser and toner have this twist mechanism rather than a removable lid, which is pretty cool, though I do sometimes wonder how hygenic the cleanser is when it's sat on my shelf and then the product is coming out of the centre of the component that makes contact with it. The other thing to note is that this line contains fragrance. I personally don't think fragrance in skincare is The Devil, as it is often made out to be on the internet; if my skin is irritated or compromised then I avoid it, just like I avoid strong acids, Vitamin C and retinol in those situations. It's personal choice and I'm sure you know better than me how your skin reacts to fragrance, but it's fine for the majority of people and its inclusion in a formula certainly isn't a reason to dismiss an entire line for me personally. There's a very specific scent to these products which some people will love and others will hate, though personally I think it's pretty nice with notes of cherry, coconut, fig and melon, all of which can be found as ingredients within the line. Specifically the Barbados Cherry is included in all of the products, obviously as a nod to Rihanna's heritage, but also because it's rich in Vitamin C. Obviously in this unprocessed form of a fruit extract, it's not going to be some really intense treatment, but there can be some antioxidant benefits in there and it's certainly doing your skin no harm.
Diving in with Step 1 of either the AM or PM routine: we have the Total Cleans'r Remove It All Cleanser* | $25. This cleanser comes out like a sort of thick cream-gel and is pink in colour. You will need to apply this to already-damp skin or - if you prefer - lather it in your wet hands. I'm not a massive lover of foaming cleansers and this is definitely a foaming formula, so for me; this is a bit harsh as a morning cleanse but works as a one-step evening option for me most of the time. I know many people aren't fond of one-step cleansers but, personally, if I'm not wearing makeup (which is 90% of the time at the moment), this is enough to remove sunscreen and clean my skin underneath. I don't feel this is really enough to get rid of heavy eye makeup (without a lot of tugging), but if you're wearing light complexion makeup or use a separate eye makeup remover anyway; this could be fine, I just personally prefer using something oil-based to melt down makeup. Additionally; I don't know if it's the fragrance or something else, but this burns my eyes, so I can't use it in that area. For very dry skin types, I do also think this could be a bit stripping and, even for my skin; it's not my favourite. I get that most people like foaming and are of the opinion that my sorts of preferred cream cleansers 'clean the skin' enough, but we all have our personal preferences and that's mine. It's formulated with lots of antioxidant extracts like the Barbados cherry, green tea, and fig, alongside coconut-based surfactants.
The next product (Step 2 of the AM and PM lineup) is actually the one I was most interested in prior to the brand launch, before everyone was buzzing about the sunscreen: the Fat Water Pore Refining Toner Serum* | $28. Sticking with the simplicity idea; this could be a one-step skin prep product to use before your moisturiser, but if you need something more active in your routine; use it like I do, which is as a toner. I actually really like this product and would repurchase it even shipping it from the US. I love that this is a thicker toner and you can just squeeze it out and pat it into your skin using your hands. It gives my skin a gorgeous, fresh glow.
I do have to say that nothing is going to actually reduce the size of your pores! I think this claim comes from the fact that Witch hazel is the second ingredient on the INCI list. Contrary to the current popular belief; it's not The Devil and there aren't drying alcohols in this formula so I'm personally pretty comfortable with it. Witch hazel has a slightly astringent quality which can remove surface oils from the skin. It can absolutely be drying and stripping on the skin, but its presence doesn't automatically mean that the finished product will be; this is a really hydrating toner in my personal opinion. There's also niacinamide, reasonably high up on the INCI list, making this the most 'active' product in the line. This ingredient is a fantastic multi-tasker that I can genuinely recommend for any skin type. It can help regulate oil production in the skin but also calms inflammation and strengthens the skin barrier. There are lots of plant and fruit extracts in here, none of which I consider to be irritating or problematic, which can hydrate the skin and also provide some antioxidant benefits. I love the hydration, I love the glow; I'm a big fan of this product!
The AM moisturiser in this range is (of course!) the Hydra Visor Invisible Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen* | $35. This is the product everyone was talking about. It's a sunscreen that doesn't leave a white cast, but it is a chemical formula so I do kind of expect that; I'd be really interested in seeing if they release a universal mineral formula, but I digress! It's branded as 'reef safe' because it doesn't contain the ingredients we know contribute towards coral bleaching, but the filters that are in here are a bit of a grey area, so they may or may not be a problem. Sunscreen is nowhere near one of the top causes of coral bleaching, so for me; if you can find a mineral formula that works for you then go for it, but if you can't, I personally think the priority is finding a sunscreen you can wear every day and reapply regularly. What I don't want to see are people not wearing sunscreen, not wearing enough sunscreen or not reapplying it, because the texture or application are messy; to me, that's the most pressing issue. Just find a product that works for you every single day. I love that Fenty released this front and centre, and didn't launch the brand but skip the sunscreen for now because it's hard to formulate and regulate for the global market. It's the most important step of your skincare routine and definitely shouldn't be treated as an afterthought. Particularly coming from Rihanna, as a Woman of Colour, it dispels the myth that if you have more melanin, you don't need sunscreen and I love that she promotes the importance of wearing it all year round. I had no doubts that this would be an inclusive formula because it's Fenty, and I do appreciate that it's marketed as a sunscreen with moisturising ingredients rather than a moisturiser with sunscreen. It's a subtle distinction but one that I think makes all the difference in terms of getting people to apply the right amount and remember to reapply it.
As I've said; it's a chemical formula, so I would expect there to be no white cast and there isn't. With this product I've seen many darker-skinned people than myself use it with no white cast either so I can say as safely as I can that this is as universal as it really gets. What's more remarkable to me is the texture; how it melts in, softens and smooths my skin and gives it a healthy glow. You can apply the correct amount of sunscreen and reapply it without things getting messy. In terms of ingredients; chemical sunscreens can be irritating for some skin types, but I'm sure if you experience that problem you're going to know about it and don't need me to reiterate! There are some really nice ingredients in here; there's watermelon extract to hydrate the skin and provide some antioxidant benefits, a couple of forms of hyaluronic acid to pull water into the skin, another decent dose of niacinamide and hydrating aloe leaf juice. It's an oil-free formula, though I personally often welcome some oils in my moisturiser to lock in the hydration. However, this seems to be well-formulated because it keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day and I don't think it's going to overwhelm oilier skin types either. I would repurchase this if it becomes more accessible here in the UK before I run out, but I do think it's easier and cheaper for me to get Korean sunscreens currently so I will likely stick to that until this is hopefully stocked in Boots and Harvey Nichols in the future.
Last, but not least, we have the Instant Reset Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream* | $40. This product really piqued my interest in the brand again, as it has such an interesting texture. As the name suggests; on the skin it feels like a gel-cream that melts into the skin. Sounds like it wouldn't be enough for a lover-of-nourishment like myself, right? Wrong! Somehow this gives my such soft, smooth, moisturised skin by morning. I don't understand this witchcraft but it works! The ingredients are really great in this product. You've got hyaluronic acid to pull in water, soothing aloe extract, antioxidant-rich Kalahari melon oil (which helps to lock moisture in the skin) and niacinamide, which is my wonder-ingredient. The panthenol will also help keep water in the skin. There are lots of fruit and plant extracts which can also be sources of antioxidants, like cactus extract and green tea. I think this is as universal as a night cream gets; it isn't at all heavy on the skin so allows more spot-prone skin to breathe and it's somehow enough for my dry winter skin at the moment!
I have the All Four One 4-Piece AM + PM Skincare Set* which is $112 as opposed to $128 if you were to buy all the products here individually.
To summarise, Fenty Skin is really aimed at young skin or skin that doesn't have major concerns. It's not a treatment-focused line, and - whilst I am still far from having mature skin - I'm 27 and getting towards the time when retinoids and Vitamin C are essentials within my routine. Currently, this line doesn't give you that and I honestly don't see them going down the route of offering dozens of serum options; it's just not the vibe of this brand. It's not a terrible thing; after all, how many of us exclusively use one brand for our entire skincare routine? I'm just saying that you will have to supplement this range if you have hyperpigmentation, acne or mature skin that you want to improve the appearance of. It also kind of means that none of the products in the range make me say 'oh my god: this is a game-changer!' or 'I can't believe the results!' They're nice everyday maintenance products but if Fenty becomes a bit more accessible here in the UK (it's free shipping over $75 and last time I checked it was about $15 under that threshold, with customs and duties prepaid) I'd definitely buy the sunscreen again. The Fat Water is my favourite product from the range and I love that dewy skin glow it gives, so I will likely order a couple of bottles from the US when I'm done with it.
Have you tried Fenty Skin? What are your thoughts on the range?