I finally got my hands on some Fenty Beauty! Excuse me while I break into a little Badgyal Riri dance. Yeah, I know, 17 years later. But I was late because 1. We do not have a Sephora here in Kenya so I had to order online; and 2. ALL the dark shades from the 40 shade range were sold out for ages. That actually turned out to be a good thing, however, because I got time to watch a million YouTube videos in an attempt to “shade match” myself because there was no way for me to test from here. Thanks to my faves like Jackie Aina and Dimma Umeh among others, I could guesstimate where I fell on the foundation spectrum. I only got the primer, foundation and matchsticks trio because that’s all I was really interested in. I may add to my stash later, now that the Galaxy collection is out, but I’m satisfied with my current purchases.
Pro Filt’r Primer & Foundation
I decided to get the primer along with the foundation because I wanted to ensure I got the best out of the foundation. Most of the super reviews I watched and read recommended using the pair together, as did the Fenty team, so I obliged. I didn’t want to get it wrong. Plus I love when I get to use the same range of products whenever I can because they do work better with each other.
This “instant retouch primer“ has a soft invisipink colour and a very soft scent that I can’t quite identify, but I don’t dislike it. I’m one of those people who is very sensitive to certain smells and this could have gone badly for me. Praise God, all is well. When I saw how lotioney it looked, I was a little worried that it would feel oily/greasy, but thankfully it doesn’t. It’s actually oil-free and water-based which works well on my mostly dry/dehydrated skin -a pleasant surprise. I love how smoothly it applies, how well and clear it blends into my skin and the mild kind of radiance it leaves. No shine, just a soft sheen. I feel smoother and the foundation goes on well over it but I haven’t noticed any visible skin filter or blurring effect as they claim, like I do with a silicon primer. Because of the talc it contains, it kind of feels powdery when it dries but it isn’t at all uncomfortable or ashy. I love it so far and I’ve even used it sans foundation. It’s a wonder I’m still getting used to: dry but not drying. Radiant but not oily.
The “soft matte longwear“ foundation has been praised to the high heavens . . . and it deserves it! It is a dream! After all my YouTube research, I deduced that my perfect match would be in the shade 400 (for deep skin with warm undertones and subtle red tones) which is spot on the definition of my complexion. But it was still sold out and the 420 (for deep skin with neutral undertones) was available, so I got that instead. The two seem to be pretty close with slight differences due to the undertones but I figured it would work well still, and it did. Phew! It’s quite a lightweight formula that dries quickly so I have to blend it in swiftly otherwise it gets a little patchy/streaky on me. But when I get it right, it’s definitely a my skin but better (MSBB) type of foundation with it’s light/medium coverage that is buildable to full coverage. I however haven’t built it up as yet because that natural skin finish I get on initial application is perfect for me. Just a more even and smoother complexion without screaming “look at me! Fine ghel, no pimpos! I have beat my face!” hahaha. Much as it is a matte foundation, it doesn’t leave me feeling any drier or looking flaky or cracky, which honestly, was a risk I was willing to take just to have tried Fenty Beauty. With my skin, I don’t need to set it with a powder. I was anxious about the dreaded dry-down oxidization that everyone was talking about but I didn’t notice too much of that. It has been lovely on me and I’ve been accepting all the compliments. Yaas!
Match Stix Trio
With the match stix, I debated long and good as to whether to pick individual pieces or the trio. As I couldn’t swatch the other shades myself, I didn’t want to end up wasting money on stuff that I may not like. But I knew I did want the complexion basics, so decided to trust in Riri and her team’s pre-curated choice for my skin tone and got the trio. Obviously in Deep 400. The trio contains two matte skinsticks: one concealer shade and one contour shade; and one shimmer skinstick to highlight. Admittedly, it was also cheaper to get the trio vs 3 singles but I just learned, a little too late, that you can curate your own trio on the Fenty Beauty website.
The concealer matte skinstick comes in the shade Suede. It’s a warm toned tan colour that is ok on my complexion as a concealer but not as light as I like for an under-eye highlighter. I prefer something slightly lighter so that I look super fresh, awake and poppin’. The cream-to-powder formula makes it a little tough to use under the eye and feels like it’s pulling on the sensitive skin there instead of gently gliding on like a well raised concealer ought to. It’s been ok on the bridge of my nose and forehead and chin areas but I’m not convinced about this one. I would still reach for my creamier, lighter concealers.
Next is the contour matte skinstick which comes in the shade Esspresso. It’s a cool deep true brown. And it is fantastic! My God, so rich and beautiful . . . a colour that actually shows up against my complexion so much so that I have to be careful and use a light hand. It blends out well and as it’s also a cream-to-powder stick, it doesn’t need setting but I have added to it just to warm it up a little. It is my favourite of the match stix.
The shimmer skinstick that rounds up the trio comes in the shade Sinamon. It’s a gorgeous pinky, coppery shade that looks a tad cool to and on me. Again, a cream-to-powder formulation that has me looking like a damn fool when trying to use it to highlight the high points of my cheeks because a brush doesn’t work and my fingers just end up doing the bare minimum. It’s just shimmer scattered and me wondering if I’ve screwed up or barely made it. I need to master how to apply it well. But even through my awful skills, it still looks pretty although for deep skin like mine, I would have loved a more golden/bronze highlighter shade to set this melanin glow! Can I get an amen?
What I liked:
- She actually used the same manufacturer responsible for brands like Marc Jacobs Beauty so the quality is right up there but that also means the pricing will be on the other side of a pretty penny. But it’s worth it.
- The packaging is both funky (boxes) and sophisticated (containers) and speaks to the quality and pricing of the line. Especially the heavy frosted glass primer and foundation bottles. Class! The match stix are of course magnetic and they really are as fun to play with as they look in all the videos.
- They are definitely longwear products that last me for hours and do not feel too heavy on my skin, so that’s a win for me. I just need to learn how to better work with some of the match stix (Suede & Sinamon) and maybe get a golden highlighter like Blonde.
- Neither the primer nor the foundation were as drying on my skin as I had braced myself for them to be. I’ve come to fear anything mattifying for the promise of extra dryness but this seemed to work well with me.
What I didn’t like:
- Nothing fundamental about the quality of any of these products. It would have just been better if I’d been able to swatch/test out some of the match stix before getting them.
At the end of the day (not the post :-p not yet) I’m really pleased with most of the products I got and I’m so happy Rihanna kil’t it with her line. The diversity and inclusion is what makes her a winner. She came through for ALL of us. Bravo! And bravo also on the fact that her entire collection is cruelty-free and paraben-free and the match stix are sulfate-free as well which is good news for the our conscience and skin. She’s responsible and she cares. Is there no end to her shining qualities? Lol. At least now we get to try to emulate her glow.
Portraits by Melissa de Blok
So that’s finally the end of my looooong but not quite wild thoughts on Fenty Beauty. I’d definitely repurchase the primer and the foundation, and would love to try out some of the other products. I’m more aware of what to expect from them now so I would make informed choices if I wanted more. Have you tried any of the products? Let me know what your take is on them. Have a wonderful week ahead.