Fenty Beauty is singer Rihanna’s beauty line, which launched in 2017 with an industry-changing range of inclusive foundation shades. There’s been a ton of hype around what skincare products Rihanna would launch on July 31st this year in the US – and now I’m finally allowed to talk about the Fenty Skin products I’ve been trying for the last few weeks.
There are three products in the first batch of Skin Start’rs from Fenty Skin: cleanser, toner and SPF 30 moisturiser.
Before we get onto the individual products, I need to gush a bit about the packaging: it’s beautiful, and functional. The colour scheme is muted pastel purple. The cleanser and toner have twist-top lids with a tiny hole in the middle where the product comes out, which saves you from having the juggle the tube and the lid.
The sunscreen consists of a refill cartridge that slots into a more robust housing, and I’m guessing later on you’ll be able to purchase the refill on its own. This is a great eco-conscious idea that I would’ve expected more companies to do by now – heavy packaging is less environmentally friendly both in terms of the amount of material used and the weight during transport, but it’s perceived to be more luxe, so it’s very difficult for a luxury brand to do truly environmentally friendly packaging (glass is considered to be environmentally friendly by a lot of people, but in many ways it can be worse than plastic even though it’s easier to market, particularly because of its weight and fragility).
Fenty Skin Total Cleans’r
Fenty Skin Total Cleans’r Remove-It-All Cleanser ($25 USD for 145 mL) is a creamy foaming cleanser. It produces a really nice thick lather, and didn’t leave my skin feeling tight afterwards. It works pretty well for removing foundation, although I’d still use a separate remover for eye makeup. There are a bunch of natural extracts in it, although I’m not sure they’d do much given the low concentration and short contact time – there’s vitamin C-rich Barbados cherry (Malpighia punicifolia (acerola) fruit), and antioxidant-rich ginkgo biloba, green tea and fig.
Related post: Antioxidants in Skincare: What Do They Do?
It has a sweet cherry-coconut scent which is inspired by Rihanna’s home island of Barbados – it’s sweet and sugary, and moderately strong. While I think it’s a bit on the strong side, which makes it a bit riskier in terms of offending people’s personal tastes, I think it matches the makeup brand since the foundations also include fragrance – if it’s targeted at the same users, then those users would have a lower chance of being fragrance-sensitive (fragrance isn’t a problem for everyone, which I’ll be discussing in a future science-heavy blog post and video on the myths around fragrance!).
Fenty Skin is supposed to be gender-neutral. I think some men might balk at the sweetness of the fragrance, but it’s high time men could like sweet things without feeling like their masculinity’s being threatened. Humans have evolved to love sugar, ASAP Rocky uses Fenty Skin, you’ll be fine.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Glycerin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glycol Distearate, Sucrose, Malpighia Punicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Chaenomeles Sinensis Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Coconut Acid, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Blue 1 (CI 42090), Red 40 (CI 16035), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Yellow 6 (CI 15985).
Fenty Skin Fat Water
Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore Refining Toner Serum ($28 USD for 150 mL) has the best name for a toner I’ve ever seen – it’s literally what it is, a gloopy T H I C C viscous essence. Hydrating essences and toners (honestly, they’re pretty much the same thing) are rare in Western skincare, even though they’re a fantastically versatile way of getting more moisture in your skin without weighing it down or getting too many layers on your face. The thickness also means that it’s very easy to apply on your face, so you can avoid using a cotton pad.
Niacinamide is up the top of the ingredients list. It’s an active that works for a wide variety of people, and helps with brightening, aging and sensitivity. There’s also a bunch of plant extracts (vitamin C-rich Barbados cherry, astringent witch hazel, sebum-reducing lemon myrtle, antioxidant green tea and fig) and hydrating humectants (butylene glycol, cactus flower extract).
Related post: What Is Niacinamide and What Does It Do in Skincare?
There aren’t any classic skincare enthusiast actives in the toner aside from niacinamide, which I was disappointed about at first, but then I remembered the target market and realised it made perfect sense. For something that works for the majority of makeup users, who probably don’t use sunscreen and might use a cleansing brush or microfibre makeup remover cloth daily, you want to avoid anything too exciting (read: potentially irritating, steep learning curve) like hydroxy acids or ascorbic acid or retinoids.
This has a faint sweet fruity scent (like a candy wrapper) that becomes unnoticeable on skin quickly, and leaves skin plump and soft without looking too shiny after application. The fact it’s so hydrating means I can forgive the lack of an SPF-free night moisturiser in this range – a lot of people won’t even need one (though I expect it’ll be in the next release).
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Polysorbate 20, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Backhousia Citriodora Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Flower Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Hovenia Dulcis Fruit Extract, Malpighia Punicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzoic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance, Red 33 (CI 17200).
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($35 USD for 50 mL) is a chemical sunscreen, with really lovely refillable pump packaging. It has a faint pink tint and a lotion-like texture.
This has one of the best textures I’ve ever tried in a sunscreen. It feels like a hydrating jar moisturiser going on, and sinks into skin with zero white cast. Unlike a lot of makeup-friendly moisturisers, it doesn’t have a primer-like finish due to the lack of silicones – I actually prefer this sort of texture. The finish is a bit dewy and tacky, although it isn’t too shiny – likely thanks to the starch in the formula, and the fact it’s winter in Australia. It works well under makeup, although you might need a separate primer (Fenty Beauty has three).
Unfortunately, as a US product, it doesn’t contain any of the newer sunscreens filters that I love in my holy grail sunscreens – but for a US sunscreen this is great. There are some extra actives in it as well, including niacinamide and some plant extracts (kalahari melon, which has antioxidants and baobab which hydrates). There are a lot of humectant ingredients in it too, including glycerin, glycols and hyaluronic acid.
The scent is a bit different from the other products and it’s one that I personally don’t like, but again, after application on skin it quickly becomes unnoticeable. I haven’t managed to try it out for long enough to say if it’ll clog my pores, but so far it’s been fine.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (9%), Octisalate (4.5%)
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Niacinamide, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Extract, Adansonia Digitata Pulp Extract, Barosma Betulina Leaf Extrat, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Gluconolactone, Sorbitan Oleate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dimethicone, Isohexadecane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycrylene, Polysorbate 80, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Red 33.
Overall I think this is a fantastic starter skincare range, especially for a brand that’s done so well in makeup – I don’t think I’ve tried better skincare products from any make-up focused brand before. The products might be a bit disappointing if you were expecting this release to completely revolutionise skincare like Fenty foundations did for makeup, or cater to hardcore skincare enthusiasts with completely unique products you can’t get elsewhere, but I don’t think this is who it’s for. It’s a straightforward range for people who aren’t already immersed in skincare geekery, suitable for a wide variety of skin types, and works well with make-up. It’s a perfect intro set – I’d buy these for someone who loves makeup and/or Rihanna, who I’m trying to get into skincare.
Fenty Skin will be available on fentyskin.com on July 31st 2020 (US time).
Fenty Skin products were provided for editorial consideration, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.