Fenty Beauty has absolutely revolutionized the make-up industry. This brand has turned the industry on its head by leading with sustainability and inclusivity in every decision. The company’s development, packaging and branding is all about breaking down barriers. It’s make-up, finally, for everyone. With more than 50 foundation shades available and a diverse array of models, the company has taken off across the globe. As Fenty explains, “all shades, personalities, attitudes and cultures” are welcome.
The world has taken note, responding with massive sales and off-the-charts social engagement. When the company launched in 2017, TIME Magazine took notice, listing Fenty as one of the year’s 25 best inventions. Popstar founder Rihanna (nee Rihanna Fenty, thus the company name) told the magazine she was 100 percent involved in the creative process, stating it was “important every woman felt included” in the line. Within months, products were selling out at giant beauty retailer Sephora.
The brand is now massive on social media, with nearly 11 million followers on Instagram alone. Its brilliant marketing slogan, “Beauty for All” championed a new voice in the industry, and translated to a reported $100 million in first month sales. Yes, you read that correctly, first month sales. Now worth an estimated $600 million, the company speaks to the customer regardless of skin tone, religion, gender or sexuality in a decidedly non-prescriptive way. It’s led by the power of a celebrity known for a different way of looking at beauty, and an empowered approach toward celebrating life. Rihanna is unique, forward-thinking and fun. She wanted that in make-up, and discovered it simply didn’t exist.
It all began with Rihanna’s frustration with available beauty products. She had experimented for years with the best of the best in the world, but still felt the products simply did not perform across all skin types and skin tones. Inspired, she created Fenty Beauty (followed up quickly by a skin-care specific division, Fenty Skin). It began with three simple products: a face primer, a foundation and a lip wand called “Gloss Bomb” (which has become a very big seller). These each focused on a wide range of traditionally hard-to-match skin tones. The results were successful: customers discovered all of these items truly worked on many skin types and shades. The company then followed with Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Foundation and Hydrating Foundation, which absolutely changed the game with 50 different shades. Concealers, setting powders and cream blushes followed. Each item was designed to inspire. And, because of the higher number of shades, customers are 95 percent more likely to get a great match to their skin tone.
Staying true to its founder’s original intent, Fenty is a make-up line designed to be both practical and magical. It’s designed by professionals who are used to working with models and performers, so the colors and wow-factor are all high end. However, the line clearly balances practicality (ease to blend, easy to match, and long-lasting) with the high-shimmering spectacle of photo shoots and runways.
“Makeup is there for you to have fun with,” Rihanna explained on the Fenty website. “It should never feel like pressure. It should never feel like a uniform.”
The entire line is globally sourced, inspired by the singer/actor/entertainer’s global lifestyle. She’s lived in New York City, Los Angeles, and London and traveled and toured most of the world. All of the ingredients are carefully sourced. Her home country of Barbados is represented by the frequent use of the vitamin C-rich Barbados cherry.
If you pick up a skincare product from other companies, you are likely to see a list of ingredients with unpronounceable names such as phthalates, thiazolidinones, sodium lauryl sulfates and formaldehydes – and lots of acronyms like MEA, TEA and DEA. With Fenty, however, you’ll only get vegan, safe ingredients. This means not only a better product for the skin, but a better product for the world’s environment, in particular coral reefs, which have been decimated by dangerous chemicals. In fact, toxic sunscreen ingredients have caused reefs to bleach internationally. Fenty doesn’t use any of those dangerous ingredients in its popular sunscreen line.
Clearly, the company isn’t just about inclusivity and the wide use of the global market. It’s also about minimizing the global impact of its products, including clear, ethical sourcing of ingredients and cruelty-free products. Reduce, reuse and recycle is a company mantra. As their website indicates, Fenty thinks “from the ground up to reduce excess packaging, from reducing new plastic generation per unit by incorporating post-consumer recycled material, to streamlining boxes and exterior product packaging”. It’s often in very simple ways, such as smart refillable products and easy ways to recycle packaging once you’ve used it all. The company believes refillable systems are the future. You buy something once, and when you need more, you simply buy a refill, saving money and manufacturing components. The company’s ideas are constantly evolving via trial and error, with a goal of discovering the most sustainable, positive processes.
Rihanna has a long history of positivity in her work. In 2012, she founded the Clara Lionel Foundation. Named in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, the charity supports and funds groundbreaking and effective education, health and emergency response programs around the world. Its global advocacy goal is to improve the quality of life in young people everywhere. The organization tackles such topics as climate change, the right to education, and social progress. It’s known for taking risks and investing in new products for positive change. One hundred percent of the proceeds from certain Fenty products go to the Clara Lionel Foundation.
There’s no doubt Fenty is connecting with consumers in an astronomical way. One tube of Gloss Bomb lipgloss sells every 12 seconds. With the recent addition of a mini version and new colors, as well as the Stunna Lip Paint, the company is set on innovation and positive change. The message and vibe resonate without limit. UK Vogue recently predicted the brand will fully dominate the beauty industry by resting its laurels on “gender-neutral, vegan, clean, cruelty free products driven by a message that celebrates diversity, authenticity and heritage.” The company has clearly filled a void in the make-up world, and, by doing so, has set a new wonderfully-positive standard for the industry.