Fenty Beauty and the Importance of Representation in the Cosmetics Industry

After three long years of waiting, Fenty Beauty is finally here! Rihanna’s long awaited makeup line, filled with complexion products, highlighters, and a lipgloss with a universal shade, hit stores worldwide on September 8. Fenty Beauty is the first makeup line to ever debut all across the world, in Sephora stores worldwide and in Harvey Nichols in the United Kingdom.

Reviewers have lauded the brand for not only the color range, but also for the quality of the products. On Sephora.com, customers comment on the adaptability of the foundation for all skin types, the creaminess of the matchsticks, and the shininess of the highlighters. The salespeople at the Sephora on North Peters raved about the integrity of the products, and of the saleswoman herself. They commented on how people of all shades visited the store to browse the products and that they had already sold out of many of their darker shades. They were excited about the future of the cosmetics industry, despite there currently being many issues regarding black women in the business.

With 42 foundation shades, Fenty Beauty has one of the most expansive shade ranges in the cosmetic industry. Rihanna here said that the large shade range was a conscious choice; “diversity and inclusion are important to the brand”. Along with the foundation, there are highlighters, contour sticks, and concealer sticks that are flattering for every skin tone.

But why do people of darker complexions have to settle for such small options? Black women spend around $7.5 billion a year on hair and beauty products, so why are there so little brands that cater to our needs? Many brands, like YSL Beauty and Clé de Peau Beauté have come under fire for having very few shades for darker complexions. Not only are there very few options to chose from, but many products that are made for dark or deep people contain harsh chemicals that are not found in lighter complexion products, even though they are from the same brand. This is also true for hair products that are targeted towards black people. Why do black people have to settle for subpar products when black people account for 22 percent of all beauty purchases made in the United States, despite being only 12 percent of the population?

Rihanna is definitely worthy of praise for her new makeup line. Hopefully she will come out with even more shades and other makeup products to add to her already enormous collection.

Thank you to the Sephora associates at the North Peters location for all the great information they provided regarding Fenty Beauty and the makeup industry in general.

Photos courtesy of Stephen Chinn

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