On 7th September 2017, I watched 29-year-old Rihanna glide into the room in a sweeping yellow ball gown skirt and matching top to ring in Fenty Beauty’s very first sale at the brand’s official launch in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The makeup line’s neutral, magnetised packaging, rainbow of colours, and range of textures (adamantine glitters, subtle shimmers, and flat matte finishes), were unlike anything we, an assemblage of beauty editors from every top editorial destination in the country, had ever seen. Fast forward to today – some four years, five months, and five days later – and the Fenty empire has blossomed, now encompassing Fenty Eau de Parfum, Fenty Skin, and Fenty Beauty.
Fittingly, Fenty’s founder, now 33, has blossomed, too. On 11th February in Los Angeles, Rihanna stepped out in front of another assemblage of press and celebrities while dripping in pink and white diamonds with a glittering green halter top that showed off her newly announced baby bump. To mark the occasion, Rihanna shared her thoughts with Allure on her must-haves from the trio of Fenty brands, the beauty technique she wishes she had known sooner, and how pregnancy has changed her outlook on her regimen — and life.
The party was planned to celebrate Fenty Beauty, Fenty Parfum, and Fenty Skin coming together under one roof for the first time. I asked Rihanna which two Fenty products, and only two, she would choose to gift to each of her fans if she could. “I would want them to have the Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturiser because it has SPF,” Rihanna says. (Specifically, it has SPF 30, which is the sun-protection sweet spot, according to dermatologists.) “Spring and summer are about to come around the corner like that, and you’re going to need it.”
She pauses, flipping through her mental catalog of what, by now, has become hundreds of SKUs to settle on her second and final recommendation: “I would also gift the Icon Refillable Lipstick because I feel so proud of this product, from the packaging all the way to the bullet — which was designed to match the shape of my Cupid’s bow — to the texture and performance of the lipstick itself,” she says. The lipstick is, in fact, incredible. It’s creamy, has the softly glowing finish of taffeta, and has uniquely sharp angles perfect for sharply shaping a Cupid’s bow, like Rihanna demonstrates at the event with the lipstick in The MVP, a vivid crimson. It’s also ideal for colouring in your lips precisely without lip liner, the way I like to when I’m too lazy to apply more than one product.
In the four-plus years since the launch of her brand, Rihanna has grown from a musician slash beauty enthusiast to the CEO of a global beauty brand in partnership with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy and the richest female musician on the planet (according to Forbes). I have to ask, with all the beauty knowledge she’s amassed, if there are any application techniques she wishes she had known earlier in her career. “Earlier in my career — wow,” she says, her eyes widening as if she’s seeing the apparition of regrettable makeup looks past. “The way I powder underneath my eyes; I wish I had better products back then or better techniques.” Now, she says she uses Fenty’s Invisi-Matte Blotting Powder exclusively. “Making that product was huge for me. That’s how I tested it: flash flash flash from the side, flash from the front. I’ve been a victim to the good old flash and the white reflection from under your eyes. I cannot with that,” she emphasises.