Not many people can say their first venture into the beauty industry made near to $500 million in its first year of trading. But, Rihanna is not most people, and her pioneering beauty line, Fenty (launched in 2017), is not most brands. In fact, it's on track to cement itself as the bestselling beauty brand in the world, outstripping the likes of beauty behemoth Kylie Cosmetics, to hit the top spot.
First trademarked in 2014, Fenty (which is named after Rihanna's surname), was a long time coming. Even before launching, the brand was breaking barriers, and it's rumoured LVMH (the beauty conglomerate who own Dior, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs), paid as much as $10 million to secure Rihanna's brand.
Straight off the bat, Fenty disrupted the industry, launching with an unprecedented 40 foundation shades to cater to as many skin tones as possible."One of the things that I felt was really important to start with was foundation," Rihanna said at the time. "Foundation is one of those areas in the beauty industry that has a big void for women at extreme ends of the shade spectrum. There’s this middle ground that's covered really, really well. But then if you're very pale or if you're very dark, there aren’t a lot of options. And so, I wanted to make sure that women of all skin tones were covered so they could be included in."
From the start, Rihanna and her revolutionary brand, made clear that inclusivity was at the very core of Fenty and for many, it provided – for the first time – a shade that truly suited their skin tone. Since then, diversity in the beauty industry has taken off, becoming a major concern from brands, who for too long failed to provide foundation shades for all. And with Rihanna's shining example that darker shades do of course sell (and oft-cited reason for brands' limited shade range), her success has given rise to The Fenty Effect, with other scrabbling to match up to the new standards she set.
Now, almost two years on, RiRi is still as involved as ever, filming her own Tuesday Tutorials on YouTube and hand-picking people the brand didn't have a shade for yet (after hearing customer feedback) and flying them over to Fenty HQ to ensure as many gaps in the line were filled. It's why the brand extended it's foundation range by a further 10 shades, to a grand total of 50 earlier this year, releasing 50 shades of concealer at the same time.
“I have 100 percent involvement in this process, which made this so special and very fun. I had so much freedom in creating whatever products I wanted to make, and whatever colors or shades I wanted to make them, down to the fonts on the packaging. I had so much creative freedom when it came to packaging, when it came to the product especially,” Rihanna said.
Rather than step away, Rihanna has continued to innovate and formulate, adding a shimmering Body Lava, #Sunstalkr Bronzer, the recent Getting Hotter summer collection and countless other products to the original line up of Skinsticks and cult Killawatt Highlighters.
And, the reception to each shows no sign of cooling. Each time a new product is added to the Fenty family, (which is released globally to all countries at the same time), the products sell out.
So what's next for the brand? After stepping into skincare last July for the first time with the launch of her Pro Filt'r Primer (£24), could an extended skincare line be next for RiRi?
Sadly, it doesn't look likely. When asked about Rihanna's skincare routine, Fenty's Global Makeup Artist, Hector Espinal, told GLAMOUR: "Rihanna takes amazing care of her skin." However, when pressed if RiRi would turn her love for skincare into her own products, Hector shut it down. "I don't think she'll do skincare, it's too complicated."
"There’s so much more that goes into it and I think you’ve got to choose either skincare or makeup and clearly, she chose makeup."
Of course, he could just be trying to throw us off the scent, so we'll be keeping a close eye on Badgal's Instagram account, as Rihanna often first sneakily teases her products by wearing them herself.
Either way, we look forward to Rihanna expanding her fierce and accessible empire.
Yas queen! Rihanna has totally changed up her hair colour and it looks incredible