Rihanna’s makeup line, Fenty Beauty, has been one of the best celebrity beauty brands I can remember — in a sea of often sub-par brands, might I add. That said, it’s easy to see why. I mean, it’s mostly the appeal of of ‘Rude Boy’ singer @badgalriri yes, but along the way, she’s masterfully managed to stay relevant, because of these three qualities. One, being a genuine, believable advocate for her own brand; two, mind-reading, or, capturing exactly what the market wants and needs (see: 40 shades of foundation); and, most of all, quality products that work.
So when Fenty Skin, the new skincare line by Rihanna, made its debut — on Instagram, no less — in July this year, our only comment was this: how and when can we get our hands on them?! Unfortunately, at the time, Fenty Skin was only available on the international website. Sephora’s turning that around though — as of 26 December 2020, Fenty Skin is now available at all Sephora stores islandwide and on sephora.com, where all four products, along with a Fenty Skin Start’r Set, are sold. Read on for a full review on the range.
the goal: a simplified skincare routine
For Fenty Skin, Rihanna’s goal was to create a skincare line that was simple yet effective, one that wouldn’t have been available when she was growing up. “Fenty Skin is everything I wish I had back then,” she says. “I wanted it to feel approachable, easy, and to take the pressure off choosing a routine, so I created one for everyone.”
To that, I deem the line a success. Every product here is multi-tasking — a cleanser that doubles up as a makeup remover, a hydrating toner that’s as nourishing as a serum, or a sunscreen-skincare hybrid moisturiser for you to start your day fresh and glowing. When the brand started with just these three essential products, it was simple, almost refreshing in its simplicity.
the packaging: friendly, sustainable
Then, there’s also the packaging, which deserves its rave reviews. The main colour of the series is a lovely lavender-slate, one that’s chosen for its gender-neutrality in order to appeal to everyone — she even got her famous friends A$AP Rocky and Lil Nas X to star in the Fenty Skin campaign, for this very reason. The bottles and jars here are minimalist-looking, sleek and streamlined, while the cleanser and toner-serum do not come in boxes or shrink wrap and can be recycled. The moisturisers, on the other hand, are refillable — you can hold on to the outer packaging, and replace just the inner containers. Quite genius.
Another point about the packaging is its ease of use. There’s definitely thought that goes into the products here — Fenty Skin employs the use of twist caps, which does away with the fuss of separate parts so you won’t, say, accidentally drop the cap while using the product. The cleanser, toner, and day moisturiser all twist to the right to be dispense, and then twists back to close, which keeps things neat and tidy. The Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream has a flip-top lid that hides an applicator that you can use to hygienically apply the cream, while the lid itself makes it easy to twist open and close the jar.
the scent: pretty distinct
Lastly, I have to mention this — there have been few criticisms of Fenty Skin, so one of its more glaring ones include how there’s a distinct scent in the line. Specifically, it’s mostly Barbados Cherry, that may be a bit too sweet for some, though you might recognise it as a tribute to Rihanna’s home. That became a concern because dermatologists often recommend fragrance-free products for those with sensitive skin.
That may be less inclusive than we like, but for people with non-sensitive skin (even if it’s slightly sensitised), I’d say it’s fine and not much different from luxury skincare lines which smell of roses or jasmine flowers. I understand the criticism, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me. Important to note: it’s also a natural scent, not an artificial one, so your skin won’t be as irritated. While at first pretty strong, I got used to the scent after a while too and it became an enjoyable treat.
Total Cleans’r Remove-It-All Cleanser ($38)
WHAT IT IS:
A 2-in-1 makeup remover and cleanser with a creamy lather to remove dirt, oil, and longwear makeup that will cleanser deeply without drying out the skin. It purifies pores and helps fight shine, and is made with Barbados cherry and coconut-derived cleansers to treat your skin right; there’s also a Gingko Biloba, a tree commonly used in ancient Chinese remedies, to help control oil, and Green Tea, famous for its antioxidant properties which keeps signs of envionmental stressors at bay.
Use day and night. Wet skin, lather, rinse, pat dry. To open, twist the cap to the right, turn over, and squeeze. Twist again to close.
As a double-cleanser advocate, I strive to remove my makeup (often with micellar water), followed by a gentle cleanser to wash away impurities I might have missed. That said, I have lazy days with just cleansing oil too. This all-in-one cleanser appeals to those who like the ease of convenience. The texture of the gel-cream was at first a little sticky than expected, kinda like slime, but when mixed with water, produced a respectable lather that was rich and dense but also soft to the touch.
Just a little is enough too! After washing it away, my skin was clean, plush, and not stripped, as should be the case with all good cleansers. I did like that I could use my Foreo cleansing device with it. Although, it performed well in general, but I wouldn’t say it’s a must-have in my routine — it’s good but not that outstanding.
Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum ($42)
WHAT IT IS:
A toner-serum hybrid that targets pores, improves the look of dark spots, evens skin tone, and fights shine without stripping the skin. It gets its name from its unique thick texture, more viscous than regular toner, yet still absorbs easily. Key ingredients here include: Niacinamide for an even skin tone, Barbados Cherry that’s loaded with more Vitamin C than an orange for a brighter complexion, Australian lemon myrtle and witch hazel water to refine pores, the Japanese raisin tree to detoxify skin, and Cactus Flower for hydration. “This is my favorite step in my routine — I’ve never used anything like it before,” says Rihanna.
No cotton pad needed. Apply to palms, then pat and press over your face, letting it absorb before applying moisturiser. To open, gently twist the cap to the right, turn over, and squeeze. Twist again to close.
My instant favourite product of the range! Mostly because of the texture — this one’s truly as thicc as advertised. Basically, what that means it that it’s thicker than the consistency of your regular watery toner, even slightly thicker than an essence I’d say, but more lightweight than a serum. What’s great is that this absorbs into the skin like a dream. I also like the fact that this is a hybrid product, which means I get to be lazy and just slather this on for it to work its stuff. After all, you can apply it with your hands, which makes it a lot easier.
But here’s where, after a month of use, that I felt like it might’ve fallen a little in my skincare ranking. While I can grade it top marks for that instantly hydrating effect and how it left my skin utterly glowing, I don’t know if I can do the same for its more long-term pore-reducing, dark spot-correcting claims. There didn’t seem to be much difference, but my skin had definitely reaped the benefits of constant, regular skincare, simply because of how fuss-free it was to slap on some Fat Water. Which might be the point the more I think about it!
Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($54, refill $46)
WHAT IT IS:
A refillable moisturiser with SPF. This one’s a moisturiser and sunscreen hybrid that’s lightweight, oil-free, and invisible on all skin tones due to its subtle pink hue. At the same time, it hydrates the skin while keeping away dehydration, discolouration, and dark spots, and is also makeup-friendly with no pilling or flashback. Here, Kalahari Melon, rich in antioxidants and vitamins, helps hydrate the skin, while Niacinamide, Hyraluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, and Baobab help to support the moisturiser’s healthy-skin goal.
Apply every day on clean, dry skin after Fat Water. To open, twist the base of the bottle to the right, which brings up the top portion of the dispenser, which you can then use to pump out the moisturiser.
This one really grew on me. I liked it very much at first because it was refillable and way easy to use it and stash away immediately. It’s also great for those with combination to oily skin — mine’s more on the dry-combination side, but I appreciate how truly lightweight this day moisturiser is, and yet still doesn’t leave parts of my skin awkwardly parched by the end of the day. For oily skin types, this is a saviour because it’s not at all heavy, and keeps greasiness in check for the entire day.
The product does have a pink tint but becomes invisible when spread out onto my skin; it’s said to be undetectable across all skin tones too but I’m pretty fair-toned so I can’t attest to its reliability for those with darker skin tones. What I liked most about this was the SPF. Again, lazy girls like me would rejoice because this means an added layer of sun protection! I apply sunscreen on top of it if I head out, but honestly, if I’m on WFH, I go with just this to protect against the filtered light streaming in from my windows.
Another thing I slowly grew to love is its finish — which is pretty underrated in this product. The moisturiser gives a look of hydrated, healthy glow, but dries down to a comfortable matte that doesn’t look like a slick film on the skin. When used on its own, my skin looks glowy not oily, and even better, under makeup, it doesn’t cause my powders or foundation to pile. You’re getting the intense hydration without the mess, and this effect lasts practically all day too, which is impressive for an SPF hybrid. This one exceeds my expectations for a “simple” moisturiser, and is the standout item for me!
Instant Reset Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream ($60; refill $54)
WHAT IT IS:
A rich gel-cream moisturiser that instantly hydrates for 8 hours, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles for a fresher, brighter complexion in the morning. In just one week, pores and dark spots look better, too. Plus, it’s refillable. The hydration boost is thanks to the ingredients of Kalahari Melon Oil and Baobab being high on the list, which help deeply hydrate and lock in moisture and nourishment.
Use on dry, cleansed skin every evening after applying Fat Water. Open the flip-top lid for the applicator. Just press down on the right side of the scoop and it will pop out for use. To open, use the lid to twist the cap of the jar.
The latest product in Fenty Skin is a no-brainer — after a day moisturiser containing SPF, a night-time one was highly requested so we can all wake up to better skin. Here, they deliver with a deeply hydrating and nourishing gel-cream formula that goes on a little thicker than its day companion, but still lightweight enough for it to sink into my skin. It also has a nice bouncy texture that gives plump, bouncy skin. The cream holds up throughout the night too so you don’t wake up to parched skin.
When I first got the product, and unlike the others in the range, I found it quite un-intuitive to insert the refill into the tub and peel off the seal — I love that this has an applicator included, and top marks for the top lid too, though I didn’t quite enjoy how the product looked when opened up. The cream looks less polished somehow, but okay, small gripe.
Since this one’s called an “instant reset”, I’ll also have to judge it by that criteria. And it does deliver! There was some redness / sensitivity on my face, and I was annoyed at how my skin felt more oily than usual along the t-zone, which usually means it needs more hydration… or else, the inevitable breakouts. The Fenty night cream healed my skin from its unbalanced, on-the-brink-of-problematic state, soothing it and hydrating it enough that it really did look quite amazing in the morning. I also noticed that this “juicy skin” lasted well into mid-day when I applied just a light layer of moisturiser after.
Still, given the ingredients list, I’d say this is still a rather “basic” night moisturiser. There aren’t fancy trendy ingredients such as retinol, glycolic acid, or ferments that care for the skin’s microbiome, which might be more desired for those looking for effective, anti-ageing formulas. Then again, this is probably what allows it to keep to its mid-range price point, and the product delivers as promised.
Here’s my overall summary of Fenty Skin: I love that it makes me excited and less lazy to do skincare, so my skin is inherently reaping the benefits of regular use, but in general, it’s still a basic skincare line with less life-changing results — if that’s something you expect. Consistency with skincare is still key though, and there’s enough ingredients and benefits packed into the range for its mid-range price point, which in itself is impressive. If you’ve always felt you need to start on a skincare regime, or feel a bit guilty that you haven’t been taking great care of your skin, this is a good range to start with.
What really deserves praise is the fuss-free packaging, hybrid products that make skincare less of a hassle, and the brilliant textures of each formula — you can tell that Rihanna and her team put a lot of thought into this, and it shows.
Fenty Skin, $38 – $60, along with the Fenty Skin Start’r Set at $61. Available now at Sephora and online at sephora.sg.