The beauty business is a multi-million dollar industry. For a long time, there has been a lack of representation within the industry, especially among black women. In 2017, singer-songwriter and actress Rihanna launched her now widely successful beauty line, Fenty Beauty.
Rihanna’s makeup line was sold exclusively at Sephora and on the Fenty Beauty website. The first product launch was complexion focused with a variety of foundations and multi-purpose match stix. Her marketing mission was “beauty for all.” The brand soon became popular for its inclusive shade range.
There have always been criticisms about the lack of shade ranges for darker skin women in complexion products. Fenty Beauty came out with 40 shades for its first foundation launch and has since expanded to 50 shades. A brand having 40 different shades of foundation at this time was rare.
As a brown skin woman who loves makeup, it was always hard to find my exact shades in many foundations. With Fenty Beauty I had an exact shade, and I didn’t have to mix multiple shades to get the right fit. As a customer, I felt valued and seen which is something a makeup brand never made me feel before.
Many brands soon followed Rihanna’s lead and expanded their shade range. The brand made over $100 million in the first month, and Time Magazine named it one of the 25 best inventions of the year.
Rihanna not only created diversity within her makeup but also on the marketing side. When creating campaigns for her brand, Rihanna used many diverse models of darker and lighter skin tones. Rihanna not only included women wearing her makeup, but men as well. Rihanna’s campaigns always show inclusivity and acceptance, and that’s what makes her brand stand above many.
Fenty Beauty tore down the idea that beauty was only for lighter-skinned people. Rihanna saw an issue in the beauty community and aimed to fix it. She made beauty both accessible and inclusive, and she challenged the rules of beauty and created a multi-billion dollar business.