Fenty Beauty Will Never Dump You Via Voicemail
The universe has blessed us this month with not only Cardi B.’s new single, “Bodak Yellow” but also a line of Rihanna-designed makeup, proving that hot sluts are officially IN. Unless you’ve been living under a rock or don’t give a shit about highlighter, you’ve probably seen badgalriri’s Fenty Beauty campaign pictures of racially diverse babes rocking buzzcuts, hijabs, gap teeth, monolids, etc. Look at these babes!
Rihanna has been a personal hero of mine for a while now. When she was assaulted by Chris Brown in 2009, I was recently recovering from an abusive relationship of my own. I managed to leave but not before two years of constantly being told I was crazy and not good enough. I was dumped via a voicemail that informed me of the following: I had been replaced by a way hotter person while on a “life changing” acid trip and it’s a good thing that I never wanted kids because I was a terrible person and would be the sort of mother that would ruin their children with my craziness and my ugly face and garbage body. People on drugs do not leave succinct voice messages.
After a few weeks I was feeling partly human again. The voicemail dumper started calling me again and leaving voicemails insinuating that if I didn’t talk to them again they would probably commit suicide. After ignoring those, their MOTHER decided to get in on the game and call me too so I could perform some unnecessary emotional labor for her entitled, spoiled brat of a child. Then the voicemail dumper starting leaving me extremely unclear threats. What are you going to do? Send your mother after me?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT WON’T TRY AND PULL THAT MANIPULATIVE SHIT?! GODAMN HIGHLIGHTER.
Especially not highlighter named Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby. Many of the Fenty Beauty product names are pro-slut. Rihanna is not that bitch in a pink pussy hat who doesn’t tip the stripper. She understands the value of emotional and sexual labor. Rihanna pulls out a wad of twenties and tells the stripper to shake that ass for her. After all, her first makeup collab way back in 2013 was a limited edition MAC lipstick named Heaux. It was one of those magical fucked up berry colors that in certain light looks like an extremely blue-based red and then one minute later it looks aggressively fuschia. It makes you question your perception of the world just like a heaux would.
I finally got my butt to the Union Square Sephora to swatch some glittery whore paint and Our Lady of Perpetual T.H.O.T. did not disappoint. The Fenty Beauty display was crowded with girls, dudes, and gender whatevers who were way cooler looking than me so I had to dart my little hand in the display like a raccoon and blindly grab whatever I could. There were visible nipple piercings on display and more women of color and queer-looking folks than I’ve ever seen in a Sephora at once so already off to a great start.
I grabbed a KILLAWATT Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife in my grubby hand and was impressed by the sturdy design, lux weight, and secure closure of the compact for this price point (I’ll talk about that later).
All the items I tested had great packaging that would survive even the most carelessly tossed around purse (mine). Our Bajan Mother is looking out for sloppy bitches everywhere. All the packaging was a shade of Millennial Pink (not my fave), but thankfully Rihanna chose a shade that was more on the dusty rose end of spectrum and not the amoxicillin-you-drank-as-a-child side. It was glamorously dingy. Just like a heaux. The packaging is also mainly hexagon shaped which makes it look even cooler and sexier. Hexagons make you think of hexes. Like Witches. Hot witches. The cream highlighter sticks also resemble honeycombs when clustered together and we all know bees are the original bad bitches. They live in matriarchal female-run societies. Drones live only long enough to mate and die.
And the most magical part? THEY’RE MAGNETIC!
Listen to this satisfying CLICK:
Moving on, the Trophy Wife KILLAWATT highlighter shown above is the item getting all the social media attention and it’s basically the physical manifestation of Rihanna proclaiming “stunt on these hoes” (heaux? heaux’s?). It’s a bright gold with visible chunks of glitter. One of the makeup artists was wearing it and people actually stopped her and asked, “Lord, Jesus, is that Trophy Wife?!”.
It’s pretty good but IMO not as good as the more versatile Match Stix Shimmer Skinsticks. I love a creamy shimmery good-for-everything stick à la NARS The Multiple. No brushes required. It can be eyeshadow, highlighter, blush, even lip color. Just smoosh it on and look 20% hotter and up to 78% shinier. Match Stix, while being highly pigmented, are a bit less soft than NARS The Multiple and therefore build up beautifully. You can easily do a light wash of color or a blinding strobe. The colors range from natural glow to fucking weird. Below I swatched Blonde (a warm gold) Unicorn (frosty lavender) and Starstruck (pinkish champagne).
The formula is so so good and the range is bananas. You could do your whole face with just the Match Stix.
Here is Ridiiic (hot orange) for the lips topped with Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, Yacht Life (warm pink) for the cheeks, and Amber (cool contour) for some subtle contouring on the nose and below my cheekbones.
As amazing as the highlighter options are, what really got me excited prior to the launch was the announcement that there would be a whopping 40 shades of foundation. This is an enormous amount for a newbie makeup company and puts well-established luxury brands to shame, the kind of shame that pairs well with tiki torches. White supremacy is never a good look and brands like Lancome have no more excuses to have a foundation limited to a dozen shades of beige. I expected the Fenty Beauty shades to focus primarily on darker skin tones that are overlooked by other brands. And while darker shades are very well represented, Rihanna is a generous princess who tried her best to ensure everyone could be a bad bitch who looks like they got 8 hours of sleep and don’t live on Chinese takeout. Look at all these goddamn foundations. Rihanna did not come to play with you hoes. She came to slay, bitch.
Yves Saint Laurent what are you even doing? Ten shades, the darkest of which is “Warm Porcelain”? Get your life together.
Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation is a medium coverage foundation that dries down to what felt like a comfortable matte finish. This is no dusty ass death mask Estée Lauder Double Wear but it’s not my usual barely there BB Cream or dewy finish foundation either. I could see myself wearing it if I knew I was going to get sweaty but needed to look good. Like maybe on a stripper pole. Or maybe giving a TED talk. You do you. I think I’ll pass on this one for now. Below you can see how well it covered my tattoo in natural light and natural subway light. Fenty Beauty is in the middle. Armani Luminous Silk is providing the lighter coverage on the left and MUFE Ultra HD is on the right.
The price point is totally reasonable for the quality of the product and packaging. Everything is between $10 and $40. Plenty of high end beauty products charge way more for products with shoddy packaging (Urban Decay original Naked Palette) or piss poor formulas (those crummy YSL eyeshadow quads). These are products that wear really nicely and won’t disintegrate after a single ride on the F train. Luxury beauty is worthwhile because while I may never experience the joy of pressing my face up against the soft leather of a Balenciaga moto bag or the thrill of delivering my TED talk in a YSL “Le Smoking” jacket (for many reasons) I can save my pennies for the creamy visceral pleasure that is Bite Beauty lipstick. It’s an attainable luxury that makes an everyday experience that much more enjoyable.
I think Rihanna is very actively trying to reach out to a wide variety of POC, queers, weirdos, sluts and non-sluts alike and this brand conveys the message that those sluts (or not) deserve a well made purple highlighter of their wildest dreams.