How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity figures to produce makeup lines; Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner and Gigi Hadid X Maybelline are well-established collections of beauty products. However Rihanna’s brand has been making waves for reasons other than just the quality of its products. The makeup line prides itself on diversity and inclusivity to make “women everywhere to feel included”. The line features foundation shades for people of all skin tones, and the ad campaigns include models of numerous ethnicities. In just one year, Fenty Beauty has managed to change the face of an industry that has primarily produced exclusive products for so long.
Fenty Beauty has helped to reshape the make-up industry with its large foundation shade range that doesn’t leave any skin tone exempt. For many brands, exclusivity and limited diversity is the norm, particularly in the fashion and beauty world. An example is Tarte Cosmetics, a brand that is in a similar price range to Fenty Beauty. When Tarte released their Shape Tape foundation earlier this year, there were only 15 shades available, most of which were designed for white skin. Whilst Tarte then stated they intended to release more shades, this does not deduct from the fact that so many have been excluded from using the product. The controversy reminded everyone that dozens of other brands have a highly limited shade range available for non-white individuals.
Fenty Beauty released 40 foundation shades from the moment the brand launched, with the range spanning from the palest to the deepest of tones to ensure that everybody had their perfect match and no one was ignored. This is not to say that Fenty Beauty single-handedly altered the makeup industry, nor is it the first brand that has a wide shade range; long running cosmetic companies (such as MAC, which carried 43 shades before Fenty Beauty was launched) also carry a supply of foundations in a variety of tones. And yet Fenty Beauty has caused more of a stir than many other brands have.
One of the reasons why Fenty Beauty has made such an impact on the beauty industry’s approach to inclusivity is because it was produced by a high profile, powerful black woman who has a huge social media following, making the issue of beauty exclusivity a public discourse. This is also not to say that there are no other makeup brands owned by non-white people; Beauty Bakerie and Juvia’s Place are other examples of brands pioneering inclusivity. Rihanna’s large following and her honesty regarding the issues women of colour face in the beauty world has brought a greater amount of public attention to the often divisive nature of the makeup industry.
Since Fenty Beauty launched there has been a general trend of makeup lines releasing a greater number of foundation shades. From drugstore makeup lines such as Maybelline and Covergirl to high-end brands such as Dior, dozens of cosmetic companies have begun to expand their ranges, with many now stocking 40 foundation shades. There is still a long way to go in terms of making the beauty industry completely inclusive, but Fenty Beauty has made a significant step in the right direction by emphasising that it’s time to start celebrating diversity.
Photo Credit: GTI Industries