Fenty Beauty is more than just makeup

For far too long, black women have been virtually non-existent when it comes to representation in the makeup and beauty industries. Many makeup and beauty brands fail to cater to darker skinned people and as a result, it’s perfectly ordinary in 2017 to walk into any store that sells makeup and be oblivious to the fact that a range of skin tones are missing from makeup collections. If you’re someone who can always find their foundation match, imagine this; you walk into Boots (or Sephora, etc) because you want to try out a new foundation, but your shade isn’t on the shelves… not because it’s sold out, because it doesn’t even exist.

We live in a world that promotes beauty, but it is a beauty defined through a very narrow lens, and black women (and other women of colour) are nearly always excluded from this definition. Imagine being size 8 and going clothes shopping, but every single shop you go into only sells size 14 and above. When you ask people where the size 8 clothing is, they look at you blankly, and maybe point you to a ‘specialist’ shop that caters to your minority. Those people buying the size 14 clothing are content, because they’re size 14 and they know it’s going to fit them and make them feel good. No-one bats an eyelid over the fact that there are millions of size 8 people walking around and yet mainstream stores don’t stock that size.

It’s time to start pointing out the elephants. Someone needs to tell the Emperor that he’s walking around naked.

Enter Rihanna, who earlier this month launched Fenty Beauty, a makeup collection with the tagline ‘Beauty for All’. Boasting 40 foundation shades, it proudly and unashamedly promotes not just black beauty, but beauty that extends beyond the narrow lens we’re encouraged to look through. It’s not just a makeup collection, it’s an empowering statement to anyone who has been rendered invisible by the skewed imagining of beauty that our society promotes. And it’s championed by one of the biggest and successful music artists of our generation.

It has been praised in reviews, with people impressed by the accuracy of the 40 available shades. On the Fenty Beauty website, and in promotional material, the collection talks the talk and walks the walk, with diverse models in the photography and videos. Products and ingredients are cruelty free and never tested on animals, and the foundation products are vegan-friendly, mentioned in a statement on the website;

While the majority of the products are free of animal byproducts, Fenty Beauty is not considered a vegan line: A handful of our products may contain ingredients of animal origin, such as beeswax and carmine. The following products are considered vegan-friendly: Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, Match Stix Matte Skinsticks, Invisimatte Blotting Powder, Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, and our Brushes & Tools. (fentybeauty.com, 2017)

If the reviews are anything to go by, Fenty Beauty is definitely worth a try. It’s available in Sephora in the US and Harvey Nichols in the UK.

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