Fenty Beauty by Rihanna has been raking in sales ever since its first launch in September, and it’s one of the buzziest new makeup brands in memory. That could be because of creator Rihanna’s star power; it could be because of the stunning packaging; but research is showing that it’s because Fenty Beauty is focused on solving one of the biggest problems in the makeup and beauty industry: skin tone inclusivity.
Many major makeup brands have turned a blind eye to huge portions of their customer base, catering mainly to white women. And as they are beginning to learn, that was a huge mistake.
Fenty Beauty—named after founder Robyn Rihanna Fenty—is already set to beat other celebrity-founded beauty companies in sales, including blockbuster Kardashian-family brands Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty, according to WWD. In Fenty Beauty’s first month alone its sales were five times what Kylie Cosmetics did in its first month. And those sales then boosted 34 percent the subsequent month.
Fenty Beauty sales are colossal for a number of reasons: Rihanna is an iconic, award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress. The brand is cruelty-free and the products are encased in gorgeous honeycomb packaging. It’s available exclusively at Sephora, so you can try before you buy, or feel no buyer’s remorse with Sephora’s generous return policy. But the big, definitive draw is its spotlight on products for all skin tones, such as the boundary-breaking 40 shades of foundation.
Online research firm Slice Intelligence reports that Fenty Beauty has the most diverse consumer base of all the celebrity-founded makeup brands. The majority of the shoppers are African-American and Hispanic, followed by customers of Asian descent. The smallest consumer group for Fenty Beauty is white consumers.
And it’s clear that’s been Rihanna’s mission all along.
"Foundation is one of those areas in the beauty industry that has a big void for women at extreme ends of the shade spectrum,” Rihanna states on her Fenty Beauty website. “There’s this middle ground that's covered really, really well. But then if you're very pale or if you're very dark, there aren’t a lot of options. And so, I wanted to make sure that women of all skin tones were covered so they could be included in what I created”
Customers seem happy to spend their money to get this long-needed foundation shade range, too. Fenty Beauty shoppers spend an average of $471 per year on makeup, surpassing another diverse brand, Kat Von D at $371, KKW at $278, and Kylie at $181, reports Slice.
And while the numbers are impressive, it’s the personal stories of Fenty Beauty customers that are even more heartening. Review of the Pro Filt’r Longwear Foundation range from tear-jerking to hilarious, and they speak to a major desire for inclusivity in the makeup industry.
One review left by a man named Daryl for his wife Jaenelle, touched on how life-changing this product was for her overall morale.
Heartwarming Fenty Beauty review: pic.twitter.com/7XUZkt6qXq— Shaun Juan (@ShaunJuan2) January 13, 2018
“My wife has cutaneous lupus erythematosus and we have tried EVERY makeup brand to try to cover up her pigmentation variations and scarring of her skin. NOTHING has worked as well as this Fenty foundation. I would like to personally thank Rhianna [sic] with putting out a product that has helped my wife of 16 years regain some of her confidence and helped her with her reluctance to leave our home due to her skin imperfections. I have attached a picture of her without makeup and one of her with Fenty foundation on that she applied herself and was so pleased it was easy to apply. I hope this message reaches Rhianna [sic] so she knows how much she is helping the love of my life get through the struggle of her affliction” the post reads.
Another review by a woman named Eden was screen grabbed by twitter user @ShaunJuan2 and has since gone viral for it’s hilarious testimonial.
Hilarious Fenty Beauty review: pic.twitter.com/TdqKU5zHF4— Shaun Juan (@ShaunJuan2) January 13, 2018
"I mean.....I'm trying to be humble but I can't. I'm fly. I only need one application on my face and it looks like I've been blessed. Like....I drink my water, mind my bidness, and only get petty when it's well deserved. I walk around looking like a life-size Academy Award. If you don't stop and ask me what I am using for me then you're just a hater cause I'm stopping traffic. I'm getting invited to all the cookouts, your boyfriend, his brother AND his best friend want to holler at me but I'm faithful to my man. My man is trying to find a way to love me a little less but he can't cause I'm even more elevated. And I'm just steady blessing his life. What can I say? #440 was good to me. I already have great skin....but now....it's like it ain't safe for me to walk down these streets anymore. I'm too fly to walk with common folk now....Bless up. And I mean that in the most humblest way possible.”
From albinism to the darkest complections and every shade and undertone in between, Fenty Beauty is striving to cover them all and it’s delivering. Now the brand has been awarded one of the coveted spots in Time Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017 list.
Rihanna told Time, “I never could have anticipated the emotional connection that women are having with the products and the brand as a whole. Some are finding their shade of foundation for the first time, getting emotional at the counter. That’s something that I will never get over.”
Other well established brands like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder have finally extended their color ranges in response to Fenty Beauty’s success and its pressure on the beauty industry to stop ignoring a massive portion of the population.
Rihanna isn’t worried about a little competition, promising that the best is yet to come for Fenty Beauty saying, “Some of my favorite products aren’t even out yet.” We Fenty fans are waiting with bated breath.