Fenty will launch in eight African countries on May 27.
This May, Rihanna is launching Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin across Africa, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
When Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in 2017 in 17 countries with a vision of inclusivity and global reach at its core, she sought to help “everyone feel beautiful and recognized, no matter their race, ethnicity, culture or personal style.” It is this brand ethos of “Beauty for All” that makes Rihanna’s decision to expand her Fenty brands to Africa a momentous milestone and natural next step.
“Every launch is exciting— we’ re all about being reachable to everyone, everywhere. But launching across Africa in eight countries not only feels really significant to me on a personal level , but is also a big step towards our goal of bringing Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin to the whole world,” said Rihanna.
Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin will be available for purchase across Africa starting May 27, including cult-favorite complexion essentials, best-selling lip products, and skincare starters. Additionally, customers in Africa will be able to immediately pick up the newest launches from the brands.
As we emerge back into the world after a rather bare-faced year, it’s a worthy time to track down an old friend: foundation. The reintroduction to makeup might be an adjustment, but the wisely chosen formula should do its work by stealth, evening out the complexion while letting your natural radiance shine through.
There’s an art to finding the right foundation. First, consider the amount of coverage you usually prefer. Then, factor in the conditions. “If you’re going through a spell of extremely dry skin due to weather or other circumstances, opt for lighter coverage,” says makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran. “Or, if you live somewhere with changing seasons, like summer and winter, that can also help you make the decision.” Warmer months typically call for featherweight, sweatproof tints, whereas creamy foundations with more coverage are best left for winter.
The correct shade can also fluctuate throughout the year. Instead of testing a formula in a single spot, “I recommend trying the color on multiple parts of your face, including your jawline, as most people have varying tones in the center and perimeter of the face,” says Jaikaran. “Additionally, be sure to test it in natural light, as different lighting can alter the look of the foundation dramatically.”
Once you have your formula of choice, it’s time to apply. “Start by prepping with moisturizer, then primer,” advises makeup artist Daniel Martin, who is the global director of artistry and education for Tatcha. Together, the two can extend the wear of your foundation and ensure that it blends seamlessly onto skin. More traditional formulas, be they light- or full-coverage, are best blended with brushes or sponges. For tinted moisturizers, Martin recommends applying simply with your fingers. This imparts a “light amount of pigment coverage while still giving you the moisturization and [breathability] you want,” he says. With that in mind, here are some of the best versatile options to best suit your skin needs.
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop blurring skin tint
Rihanna’s beauty brand broke the mold with its huge range of inclusive foundation shades. This new launch does the same for those who prefer tinted moisturizer. It offers 25 shades—an unusually thorough offering for a lightweight skin tint—and unlike others, it’s resistant to both sweat and humidity.
For a clean formula that does it all, consider this sheer tint. It delivers a nourishing combination of hyaluronic acid and argan oil, along with just enough coverage to see you through the day. Plus, the mineral-based SPF 35 ensures your skin is adequately protected.
One of Jaikaran’s go-tos, this product touts itself as a moisturizer first, with humectants alongside vitamin C for added defense against damaging free radicals. “Water-based formulas and tinted moisturizers keep the skin hydrated as the day goes on,” she says.
If you’re a devotee of the brand’s cult classic Luminous Silk foundation, meet its sheer, nourishing sister. Infused with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, two gold-standard moisturizing agents, it leaves skin soft and smooth, even for those prone to dryness.
Merit The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion foundation and concealer stick
Merit, the new makeup line from WhoWhatWear founder Katherine Power, is all about convenience, and this complexion stick is no exception. It serves as a medium-coverage foundation or concealer, depending on how you apply it, and the solid format makes it portable enough for travel or on-the-go touch-ups.
NYX Professional Makeup Total Control PRO Drop foundation
Designed to offer customizable coverage, this buildable foundation makes it easy to do just that: Try two drops for a tint, three drops for light coverage, and so on. It’s also vegan and feels practically invisible on skin.
Clinique Even Better Clinical serum foundation SPF 25
This serum foundation reads like a greatest hits of skin-care ingredients, complete with hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, vitamin C, and the brand’s proprietary dark-spot corrector. The formula can also withstand up to 24 hours of wear without caking, settling into lines, or losing luster.
Powder foundation can have a throwback feel, but leave it to YouTube phenom Patrick Starrr to create one that redefines a classic. This formula evens out skin texture as much as it does tone, and it imparts a matte, oil-absorbing finish designed to last all day.
The holidays are practically synonymous with soft glam, and no look is complete without a shimmery palette. (Not to mention they make great gifts.) London-based makeup artist Ammy Drammeh, whose work has been seen on faces like Michaela Coel, Harry Styles, and Adut Akech, favors the Dior Backstage Eye palette. “It’s become a staple in my kit. They are high pigment, have matte and shimmery finish and their shades are neutral. Perfect for a laidback or glamorous look.”
Other palettes worth adding to your rotation? Milani’s Gilded Nude Palette and the Curated 5-Pan Palette from Hourglass in shade Desert Earth.
For Supercharged Color
Michael Anthony (who’s worked with stars like Ariana Grande and Paris Hilton), says he loves the NikkiTutorials x Beauty Bay palette because “the colors are super charged with pigment and the unique duo chrome shades have a lot going for them: they twinkle like a refined glitter and go on like a silky cream to powder formula!” Anthony notes the multifunctional appeal of this palette as well: “I’ve used these to highlight the cheekbones and brow bones and I love that they are semi-transparent which makes them really fun for layering,” he says. “I love that they are not exclusively for the eye.”
If you believe in going bold or staying home, then it wouldn’t hurt to add ABH’s Norvina Pro Pigment Palette and Juvia’s Place The Zulu Eyeshadow Palette to your collection as well.
For the Minimalist at Heart
Remi Odunsi, who has done makeup for Raveena and Ziwe, is a self-described minimalist. Accordingly, she explains, “my criteria for a good palette is anything with both matte and shimmery shades that also bring some pops of color.” The Amrezzy palette is her favorite thanks to its warm-toned variety, wet or dry. “Best to put this one on before makeup or to use a kleenex on your face to avoid fallout,” she advises.
Ultra minimal and sleek, Glossier’s new Monochromes Trio will cover your matte and shimmer needs in a case that’s perfect for on-the-go touchups, while the Mineralist Sunlit Palette from BareMinerals comes with the only shadows you’ll need to create natural-looking depth to your eye.
For Earth Tones That Pop
Sheriff appreciates the Juvia’s Place palette’s range of vibrant and rich earth tones. Plus, she notes, “it won’t break the bank, as they’re each under $20 bucks!” Other palettes worth considering in this category are Ilia’s The Necessary Palette and Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eyeshadow in Blurry Green.
For a Touch of Luxury
“What I love is how easily the shadows glide on with a makeup brush. This can be seen in the pigmentation of the eyeshadow which allows for the eye to pop! This is also true when combining colors, whether a smoky eye or building on three or more vivid colors,” says Erika La Pearl, who can’t get enough of Mthrshp Mega: Celestial Divinity Palette. “Pat McGrath has a variety of palettes with amazing shades which complement and enhance. Also, the packaging and quality is what draws and catches your attention. You feel like doing your very best and also making the client look ‘glamorous.’”
Makeup artist Yolonda Frederick, who works with Ciara, seconds these sentiments. “I’m a huge fan of reflective shadows. And Pat McGrath Labs’ Mthrship Mega: Celestial Divinity palette is a stunning collection of shimmery shadows with two or three contrasting matte colors. These luminescent shadows are richly pigmented with a buttery texture for a silky smooth application. This is hands down one of my favorite, most versatile palettes.”
For the All-In-One
Bob Scott, who works with designer Aurora James and Padma Lakshmi, among others, loves the Viseart palettes because “they come in all sorts of color combinations, from neutral to bright to pastel colors, with 16 shades in each compact. The color payoff is great and the formula is easy to blend.”
The Nars Climax Extreme Palette is another recent favorite for Scott due to its versatility. “Its selection of shades can work on anyone for daytime, nighttime, natural or deep and smoky.” Other palettes that will cover every eye look you can imagine: Beauty Bay’s Bright 42 Colour Palette and Morphe’s 35M Boss Mood Artistry Palette.
For the Perfect Smoky Eye
Anthony says the Lorac Pro Palette Noir, along with the brand’s Pro Palette Soleil, are two of his favorites. “They are mesmerizing palettes that encompass a full spectrum of cool and warm neutral tones as well as matte and glittery foiled finishes, so they have been a sure bet for my kit. I really admire the amount of shades they have worked into such a compact and chic palette,” he says. “These are an excellent choice when you want some range—whether you’re daytime business Zooming with a neutral wash of color or making an appearance at a your favorite Zoom Party session in a clubbed out smoky eye, you have everything you need in the palm of your hand!” Also consider Fenty Beauty’s Snap Shadows Palette in Smoky and Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow in Modern Glamour.
For Precious Jewel Tones
“I’m in love with [Huda Beauty’s] Naughty Palette which came out for the holiday,” Sheriff says. “It is filled with a wonderful range of mattes, shimmers and glittery shadows in wonderful jewel and earth tones.” Too Faced’s That’s My Jam Palette and Milani’s Gilded Jewel Palette can also add a wonderfully decadent effect to any makeup look.
For the Avant-Garde
Makeup artist Marcelo Gutierrez, the go-to makeup artist for Christopher John Rogers’ shows, says the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership III is his most-used palette. “I love all of the Pat McGrath eye shadow palettes. They really are worth the investment! The colors are so unique, rich in pigment, easy to use and she has some of the most unique finishes that have now become so signature to the brand.”
For another palette that features a unique selection of vibrant hues, check out Byredo’s 5 Colours Palette in Syren.
For Day-to-Night Wear
Delina Medhin, who has worked with Issa Rae, says she loves the Stupid Love Eyeshadow by Haus Laboratories because “it has colors in there for both everyday and fun so you can have fun with it but also do everyday glam.” Other options for a bit of everyday sparkle are the Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette from Nars and Urban Decay’s Naked2 Basics.
For Those Who Favor a Cult Fave
Odunsi calls the Lorac Pro Palette an “oldie but goodie,” adding that the brand’s selection is “great because they go on smooth, have great pigment and don’t leave a lot of fall out. The Original Pro Palette (#1) is a nice cool-toned eye palette, especially if your vibe is chill and you like more muted colors. This one has shimmer, matte and muted color variety. Solid for a nice chill slay!” A couple of additional cult-faves you’ve likely seen in tutorials: the iconic Urban Decay Naked Palette (now Reloaded) and Charlotte Tilbury’s Starry Eyes To Hypnotise Palette.
If you’re a beauty junkie, you know that navigating the world of makeup can be a pretty overwhelming experience. Whether you’re in the market for a new concealer, translucent powder, or setting spray, there seems to be a million options for each—who has time to test them all and find the very best one? Luckily, that’s what beauty pros are for.
Vogue reached out to five noteworthy influencers and makeup artists who are all gaining large followings for their stellar makeup looks. This includes Neon MUA and Robert Welsh—both of whom create colorful eyeshadow looks like no other—and Wayne Goss, who has nearly 4 million followers on YouTube. If you’re a Lil Nas X fan, you may also recognize Anthony H. Nguyen’s work: He serves as the rapper’s makeup artist, and has created many of his memorable red carpet and video looks (like this graphic liner for the “Montero” video). Meanwhile, Shantanu Dhope—whose Instagram tagline is “Brown Boys wear makeup too”—also creates eye-catching beauty looks that incorporate his Desi culture.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #64 series on my blog.
Beyond simply creating enchanting looks, these pros are also proving makeup is truly for all—whether female, male, or nonbinary. Dhope, for instance, says he proudly wears makeup because, “I feel we do not have enough brown skin representation in the beauty industry, especially brown men wearing makeup. In India, a boy wearing makeup is still a very new concept, and a lot of people consider it to be a taboo.” Goss also specifically encourages men who are new to makeup to experiment and have fun with it. “When it comes to makeup, most men tend to want to enhance their looks without anyone knowing they’re wearing any,” says Goss. His tip to achieving the perfect beginner look? “Make sure you apply ‘little’ and avoid over-application. Less is more. And never be afraid of blush—healthy skin has some color to it.”
Below, read on for these five beauty artists’s top products for everyone to try.
Call me biased, but my collection of face palettes with Midas Cosmetics is something that everyone needs in their kit. These palettes are pigmented, buttery, and most importantly, they have the range. My focus with creating this collection was to make sure that everyone can have access to effective contours and bronzers, whether you are fair and need products that don’t run orange, or if you’re deeply rich and are tired of not having access to contours and bronzers that actually show up on your complexion.
This is a recent must-have for me. I love this powder because it is truly translucent. The All Nighter collection is known for being waterproof and locking in your makeup for hours, so being able to finally have a product that helps with sweat and shine that is also a true translucent powder is a gift from the makeup gods.
I will always love NARS foundations because they have such a wide range of shades and undertones, plus their formula is always top-tier. Out of all of the NARS foundations, this is the one that I always find myself reaching for, because it offers a nice amount of coverage without looking cakey, while also giving you the natural, healthy glow that everyone wants.
MannyMUA in my honest opinion has one of the most impressive influencer brands in beauty, because he’s not afraid to play with color and concepts. All of his palettes are truly impressive (especially his revamped Life’s A Drag Facelift palette), but if there’s one palette that I will also grab, it’s the Strawberry Dream palette. Reds and blues are some of the hardest colors to work with in terms of shadows, yet these shades are so pigmented and blend like a dream. Everyone needs this palette.
With the classic technique of soap brows becoming a more recent trend, and many brands releasing their version of brow grooming waxes, this is one of the only brow products I have found that draws smoothly and precisely over a waxy texture. After grooming brows into that fluffy look, this pen is also perfect to draw strokes of hair on the brows, without losing the overall look.
I find a lot of highlighters can look textured or obvious on the skin—either because they contain glitter, or because the shades are slightly off, with a metallic finish. This highlighter is the complete opposite. There are multiple different shades that complement skin tone, instead of the highlighter being just pink or gold for example. When applying this highlighter, you notice how it effortlessly blends, and almost becomes one with your skin. And because it’s buildable, you can start at a natural “glowing from within” to a more dramatic glow.
Beauty Bay has always been a go-to destination for me when looking to try new products and brands, as they offer everything from drugstore to high-end products. Their own brand’s eyeshadows, at drugstore prices, offer high-end quality. Every texture, matte, shimmer, and glitter are extremely pigmented and blend beautifully. They all have an almost creamy texture that is easy to build, and are a pleasure to use when creating a makeup look.
Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo
One thing I get asked a lot is “what’s the difference between bronzer and contour?” These compacts are the perfect representation of what a bronzer and contour should be. The bronzing powder provides just the right amount of “sun-kissed” without being orange, and the cream contour shades create the perfect ‘bone structure-mimicking’ contour colour, which blends naturally into the skin. If you’ve had trouble finding your perfect contour shade before, or perhaps are intimidated by the idea of contouring, this product is the perfect place to start, and stick with.
I cannot leave my house without grooming my eyebrows. I just run this product quickly through my brows to give me a clean and fresh looking brow. It gives me the right amount of color without looking over done.
If you want a healthy-looking glow without having to put on a full face of makeup, stocking up on one of the best tinted moisturizers available will go a long way to perfecting your routine. These multitasking products combine all of the hydrating benefits of a moisturizer with the sheer-to-medium coverage of an everyday foundation—making them the MVP to any beauty lover’s bag. They’re also an absolute summer beauty essential; tinted moisturizers have a lightweight texture, are easy to apply, and often include SPF to help protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Just try to name a more efficient beauty product—I’ll wait.
As you’d expect, there’s a whole slew of tinted moisturizers on the market right now—and across a range of finishes, skin concerns, and budgets. Which is why Glamour editors were asked about their all-time favorites. From Glossier’s Skin Tint to Fenty Beauty’s new Eaze Drops, scroll down to read their reviews and shop the best tinted moisturizers.
Best Overall: Tarte Cosmetics Maracuja Tinted Moisturizer
The perfect blend of moisturizer and medium coverage—I love the glow that Tarte’s tinted moisturizer gives my skin. It lasts all day and helps my makeup go on more smoothly and more evenly. Plus, it has good-for-your-skin ingredients like hydrating maracuja oil, hyaluronic acid, aloe, and turmeric. —Jessica Radloff, West Coast editor
Best for Evening Skin Tone: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
It would be impossible to talk about no-makeup makeup without mentioning Glossier. The quintessential millennial beauty brand (which is also a hit with Gen Z), basically cemented the less-is-more beauty mentality in the early aughts that’s all but mainstream now. When shopping for summer-friendly makeup essentials like a tinted moisturizer, the big G is an obvious brand to consider, thanks to its skin-care-first positioning that feels ideal for scorching summer days spent gallivanting and fully vaxxed. I love how Skin Tint evens out my tone and blurs pores without feeling cakey or like it’s adding to any skin congestion. I’ll definitely be keeping this in my makeup bag all season long. —Erin Parker, commerce writer
Best Drugstore: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Primer With SPF 50
Meet one of my all-time favorite drugstore finds. This pocket-size product is formulated with SPF 50, so I feel comfortable applying it without extra sunscreen. The tint also provides medium coverage, which is nice during the winter months when my face looks like a pale zombie’s. The formula is packed with hydrating vitamin E—and it’s gentle enough to not irritate my keratosis pilaris–prone skin. —Talia Abbas, commerce writer
Most Natural Finish: Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
I’m shocked at how much I love Fenty’s Skin Tint. I typically would never go for a satiny finish since I have supremely dry skin and fine lines, but this somehow does not accentuate either. The color match is absolutely perfect (which is saying something because it’s usually hard for me to find a flawless fit for my medium skin), and the coverage is just my type: It easily evens out my skin tone but is light enough to actually look natural. (It really, truly looks like skin.) The only thing I wish this product had was more moisturizing properties to make it appropriate year-round. —Shanna Shipin, commerce managing editor
Best Clean Formula: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
I thought the perfect tinted moisturizer didn’t exist…until I tried Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint. Packed with plant-based squalene, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, the formula is incredibly lightweight and hydrating—and the matte finish gives my skin this lit-from-within look that I’m obsessed with. The 30-shade range and addition of SPF 40 make it a full-package deal. —T.A.
Best for Moisturizing: Urban Decay Stay Naked Hydromaniac Tinted Glow Hydrator
I’m not usually a fan of tinted moisturizers, mostly because they rarely offer enough coverage and feel watered down. Urban Decay’s is different. Not only does it moisturize, but the tinted formula also provides such fantastic medium coverage that I don’t need foundation or powder. The tip is also super skinny, so I never have to worry about applying more than I need. It stays all day, doesn’t settle into my pores, and keeps my skin hydrated. Totally sold. —J.R.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint Clean SPF 30 Foundation
I’m a firm believer in full-coverage foundation thanks to my acne and hyperpigmentation, but the Sunshine Skin Tint is seriously making me reconsider my stance. Though it really only covers any slight redness, it makes my skin look so dewy and glowing, it’s worth a few pimples shining through (or some carefully placed concealer). Though I’m acne-prone, I’m also dry, so I appreciate the moisture from the oils in the formula, and it just makes my skin look so healthy and fresh. The roller applicator is really fun to use, and I appreciate the fact it has SPF 30. —Bella Cacciatore, beauty associate
More of a foundation than a tinted moisturizer, what makes Supergoop!’s CC screen so, well, super, is that it has SPF50 and offers fantastic protection, plus total coverage. It also comes in a ton of different shades, which I love since it’s typically hard to find something to match my super-pale skin. —J.R.
Best for Hyperpigmentation: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer With SPF 50+
Pregnancy caused some dark spots to appear on my cheeks and around my mouth, so I’ve been on the hunt for a fuller-coverage formula to cover them up without having to slather a ton of product on my face. I found my holy grail with It Cosmetics. A single pump is all it takes to conceal and make me feel instantly put together. And though the product has a medium-to-thick texture, it doesn’t irritate my eczema-prone skin. —S.S.
I’ve probably used this tinted oil more than anything else throughout the entirety of quarantine. All you need is a few drops to instantly brighten and even your skin tone while adding a sun-kissed, dewy glow. Just be sure not to go overboard with application, otherwise it can turn out shiny. Sometimes I’ll go for something more matte, like the Fenty Eaze Drops, but this is one of my favorite skin-care/makeup hybrids ever. —E.P.
Best for Covering Redness: Erborian CC Red Correct
On hot summer days when I don’t want to wear foundation, this CC cream with SPF is all I need. It evens out my red complexion and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin one bit. I’ve stocked up out of fear of not having it on hand. It’s that good. —Kat Thomas, assistant fashion editor
Best Luxury: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
No tinted moisturizer list would be complete without this classic. There’s a reason it’s so beloved: It really hits the perfect balance between foundation and skin tint. It covers what you want it to, while still letting skin shine through. I also like that it has a more natural finish for days when I don’t want to be super dewy. I’ve also noticed the staying power is pretty unmatched for a moisturizer—I can wear it all day without the coverage fading away. —B.C.
Best for a Matte Finish: Origins GinZing SPF 40 Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer
Origins’ tinted moisturizer is a great everyday workhorse thanks to the addition of SPF 40. It doesn’t come in a ton of shades, but it just kind of blurs into your natural color, giving you a smooth, matte finish without looking like you’re wearing makeup at all. —Emma Wartzman, producer
Best Budget: Garnier SkinActive Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream Anti-Aging
This was my go-to in high school, and I stand by it. It’s much thicker than other tinted moisturizers I’ve used, so it provides pretty decent coverage. It feels really nice and hydrating on my skin, and I definitely appreciate the anti-aging ingredients more now than I did 10 years ago. The only drawback is it has only one shade. —B.C.
Best for Soothing Irritated Skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
This is my peak-summer and dead-of-winter must-have when my skin decides to flare up with all the eczema and flakiness it can possibly muster. It’s made with soothing colloidal oatmeal, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E—three ingredients my dry skin soaks right up and that I feel comfortable using while pregnant. Bonus points for also including SPF 30 protection. —S.S.
Best for a Sun-Kissed Glow: Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
What I love most about Drunk Elephant’s tinted moisturizer is the luminous glow it delivers. It makes my face look like some bronzed goddess who spent the first half of the year vacationing in the French Riviera (a girl can dream). The texture is not greasy at all and blends seamlessly into my dry skin if you want to build for more coverage. I personally just use two squeezes so I can let my natural freckles shine through. —T.A.
In November 2015, Kylie Jenner launched three lip kits. The kits, consisting of a lip pencil and liquid lipstick available in a pinky nude, a beige neutral and a deep brown, sold out almost immediately.
Jenner’s wasn’t the first celebrity beauty brand to launch. In 2009, Australian model Miranda Kerr founded Kora Organics, while actor Drew Barrymore launched Flower Cosmetics in 2013. But Jenner’s was the first to leverage the reach, engagement and influence of its founder in the social media era. Nearly six years later, the lip kits have evolved into a full makeup and skincare brand and in 2019, she sold 51 percent of her business (at a valuation of $1.2 billion) to Coty for $600 million.
Cardi B has teased a forthcoming makeup range, as has YouTuber James Charles, while Hailey Bieber, Gwen Stefani and Ariana Grande all reportedly filed trademarks for beauty products. Welcome to the golden age of the celebrity beauty brand.
It used to be that celebrities were the faces of beauty brands, starring in campaigns, endorsing the products in interviews and wearing the makeup on red carpets. But being the face is no longer enough—celebrities want ownership, becoming major players in the industry in their own right. And with the growth of the global beauty market over the last few years—the industry was valued at $532 billion in 2019—it’s not surprising.
“Celebrities are increasingly aware of the quick financial gains to be made, with the opportunity to monetize a loyal online fanbase and use their social media page as a marketing platform,” says Gabriella Beckwith, beauty consultant at market research firm Euromonitor.
But for everyone chasing a Fenty success story, fame and following alone won’t ensure sales. As the market becomes increasingly crowded, brands will have to rely on that notoriously slippery concept of authenticity to gain the trust and business of their target audience.
The power of authenticity
Today, beauty consumers have never been more educated about what they are putting on their face or more demanding about the quality. It’s why it matters that Pharrell Williams collaborated with his longtime dermatologist, Dr Elena Jones, for his skincare brand Humanrace. It’s why Halsey prefaced the announcement of her makeup brand About-Face in January by establishing her credibility. “Many of you know I’ve done my own makeup for a long time,” she wrote on Twitter. It’s also why actress Millie Bobby Brown drew criticism after posting a skincare tutorial in which she seemingly didn’t actually apply any of the products to her face. Brown issued an apology a few days later, writing, “I’m still learning the best way to share my routines as I get to know this space better—I’m not an expert.”
Eyebrows were also raised when Jennifer Lopez recently said that her age-defying skin was the mainly the result of years of olive oil use—despite selling a new line of skincare products (her multitasking serum costs $118). Followers were skeptical of these claims, with some even suggesting the singer had had Botox, to which Lopez responded: “For the 500 millionth time. I have never done Botox or any injectables or surgery!”
At the other end of the spectrum, Victoria Beckham established her credentials as a serious player by partnering with industry favorite Dr Augustinus Bader for her first skincare launch. “We tend to think of celebrity brands as inauthentic partnerships—traditionally, that is often what they were,” says Sarah Creal, co-founder and CEO of Victoria Beckham Beauty. “Celebrities can no longer slap their name on something and not have their communities realize that’s what’s happening. Those who are in it for the short term or inauthentically won’t last—consumers are savvy.”
A long-time beauty executive, Creal met Beckham at Estée Lauder, with whom the designer launched a capsule cosmetics collection, and was drawn to her passion and vision. While she says there is “no doubt” the former Spice Girl is a celebrity, they don’t consider Victoria Beckham Beauty a celebrity brand, but rather a bona fide indie startup. “Having Victoria as a partner obviously shines a light on the brand that we wouldn’t have otherwise, but we still have to stand up to the scrutiny and credibility that any new beauty brand would need to.”
The importance of quality over influence
Celebrities undeniably wield great influence over their following, but if they want to convince consumers to buy their products, this credibility and, most importantly, gold-standard quality, is non-negotiable. “People aren’t just buying into the face—they equally expect the product to work as hard as any other brand they’d engage with,” says Victoria Buchanan, senior futures analyst at strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory.
The audience agrees. “[I think some] products by celebrities are bad quality because it is believed that people will buy them regardless,” says Marion, a 17-year-old gen-Z consumer from Toronto. “But the product itself should be more important than the celebrity or advertising.” It’s quality that she cites as the reason for buying the few products from celebrity brands that she’s purchased—a Rare Beauty highlighter with good reviews, a Fenty concealer because of its range of shades.
While a celebrity might make consumers aware of a brand (they’ll pay close attention if it’s someone they’re a fan of), it’s rare that they would buy a beauty product because of the name alone. On the whole, they remain wary of products, particularly when it comes to skincare, do their own research, and always listen to expert advice.
Like all trends, the celebrity beauty bubble will eventually burst. The sharp decline of celebrity fragrances following its 2011 peak shows what can happen when consumers move on from a category. Nothing lasts forever and we’ve already seen a gradual shift towards hair brands, such as Tracee Ellis Ross’s Pattern, Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s Anomaly, and sexual wellness products via Cara Delevingne and Dakota Johnson.
When that moment comes, those brands left standing will be the ones that have established their authenticity and credibility, played to the strengths of their creators’ personal ethos and identity, and, above all, proved their quality. As noisy and loud as your social media presence might be, in the end, nothing talks like results.
BeachPlease blush delivers buildable color in a luminous, second-skin finish. This silicone-free formula is made with skin-loving, plant-based ingredients like green tea extract and aloe vera extract to give skin support with every application.
This first-of-its-kind water-resistant blush combines pigments with a non-greasy blend of weightless oils and spherical powders for a natural flush you can’t mess up. The ultralightweight, liquid-like cream melts on contact and blends to a smooth, satin finish that won’t cake, crease, or clog pores.
This vibrant, yet natural-looking cheek color has a virtually powderless finish. The silky-smooth, stay-true formula is available in a range of shades for every skin tone. It makes creating that just-pinched look simply effortless.
LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush
Give your cheeks a kiss of color with this cream blush that delivers high payoff for all skin tones. Packed with clean, skin-loving ingredients like kaolin clay and avocado oil, this multipurpose cream leaves skin looking refreshed. Rich in pigment, this blush adds the finishing touch on any look.
Experience a perfectly diffused, soft-touch matte blush with a rush of color. Formulated with NARS’s blending and blurring Color Diffusion Complex, smoothing jojoba gel, and antioxidant-rich passion-fruit oil, this lightweight, creamy mousse transforms into a velvety powder for a skin-like finish.
One stick, all the versatility. This cream-to-powder stick works overtime as an eyeshadow, lipstick, and blush, delivering a gorgeous hint of color wherever you want it. The nourishing formula glides on and blends seamlessly, melting into your skin for a fresh and flattering finish.
This blush is easy to use and impossible to overdo in a lineup of shades designed to enhance every complexion with a youthful glow. Created by Rihanna, these shades are sheer, buildable, and melt into skin. The sweat- and water-resistant formula smooths over skin without feeling sticky or greasy.
Soft and flexible, this balm blush glides on beautifully. Micro-fine pigment powders deposit a touch of color without covering up the skin’s natural texture. Made with low-weight emollients that won’t clog pores, the formula has a light, balmy finish for a long-lasting glow that’s never cakey.
Achieve your best natural look with this sheer, easy-to-blend cream blush formula to bring out a dewy and healthy glow. Keep this in your makeup bag for an instant pop of color whenever you’re on the go and want to bring out that natural glow!
Everyone loves a good glow, but if your oil glands are already over-producing, which results in a not-so-cute shiny t-zone, you want to stay away from super dewy foundations. Instead look for a matte, oil-free, water-based formula to balance-out your skin’s oil production. From the drugstore hero to the most luxurious formulas in the game, ward off a shiny forehead with these H20-happy foundations.
Dior Forever 24h Wear Matte Foundation
Introducing: An Instagram filter in a bottle. This foundation offers buildable-slash-medium coverage with a texture that feels velvety and smooth on your skin. The formula is full of pansy extract, which is a a super hydrating ingredient that will give dry skin a healthy glow.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
A Rihanna-approved foundation that diffuses every pore on your face and doesn’t move all damn day? Yes, please. Not to mention that I use this foundation frequently, because my T-zone loves to get super shiny, and the bottle lasts me so long.
This is the newest foundation the brand added to its lineup that beauty lovers can’t stop talking about at the moment. Everyone’s loving the silky-soft veil it leaves behind on the skin, covering dark spots, redness, and other ailments in seconds. Its oil-free blend of ingredients— ceramides, peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid and squalane—are all magic words when it comes to boosting moisture.
The brand’s most natural-looking foundation, this sheer, easy-to-blend cream will give you medium to full coverage depending on how you layer it. Oil-free and formulated with coconut water and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin moisturized, just be wary that it’s not too too dewy or hydrating if you have suuuper oily skin.
The mixture of hydrating and light-reflective elements in this Bobbi Brown formula will make your skin look especially dewy, plump, and radiant in the morning. It’s a favorite of beauty fiends who want more of a lightweight, sheer finish.
Milk Makeup’s easy applicator uses a tip that minimizes any exposure to air (meaning your foundation will stay fresher than ever) and eliminates drips that waste your precious money. Making the K-beauty blurring trend easier than ever, the product uses light-diffusing technology to create a poreless, airbrushed effect.
This formula is expensive, but not for nothing as it really does deliver on its “post-facial glow” promise. Made with mineral from the deep waters of Bretagne (fancy!), it brightens the skin by reflecting light to eradicate facial shadows, resulting in a glowy soft focus finish.
Burberry’s illuminating pearlescent primer can be worn on its own or mixed with foundation to create a dewy glow that never reads too shiny or sparkly. If you’re looking to add radiance to a dull winterized complexion before summer, this is your stuff.
Finding that happy medium between providing soft, yet solid coverage without drying out the skin, this water-like, gel-serum foundation works on ALL skin types and provides SPF 30 protection. Plus, it comes in a cool dropper bottle.
In more than 20 shades, you’re bound to find your perfect match with this super-blendable, long-wearing formula. It’s also very concentrated, so a little bit of product goes a long way, ensuring you get all the bank for you buck.
Make Up For Ever Face & Body Liquid Makeup Foundation
A beauty editor favorite, if you’re in the market for au naturale day-to-day coverage, this is your stuff. It has that “your skin, but better” look down to a science with a water-based gel formula that blurs away imperfections while delivering sheer to medium matte coverage.
This drugstore steal is notorious for being *amazing* for normal to very oily skin. Its fluid, silk-like texture goes on smoothly and will let your natural complexion show through while still diffusing uneven skin tone, blemishes, and T-zone shine. It also comes complete with SPF 17.
Although some people are using these stay-at-home days to give their skin a break from foundation, others are using this time at home as an excuse to test new base makeup. If you’re wondering what people are loving in the matte foundation category, lucky for you, there’s quite a range of picks to share. These oil-free base products are often assumed to be drying or face-flattening, but that’s not always the case — especially if you pick the right matte foundation formula.
According to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, it’s the silica powder in the oil-free formulas in matte foundations that makes them dry down with zero shine or dew. “Silica powder helps to absorb oil and is often used in foundation ingredient lists to give a matte appearance,” she says. “Some brands also use clay as a way to keep skin looking matte.”
Knowing that, matte foundations may be the way to go because many of them are also transfer-proof, meaning the product won’t smudge onto your mask. Plenty of non-dewy base products deliver a flawless finish, stave off shine all day, and disguise blemishes.
New York City-based makeup artist Tommy loves to use a matte base on anyone with oily or acne-prone skin. “I always pull for a matte foundation when working on a client that wants to cover any blemishes,” he says. “I’ll apply small amounts at a time to the face to ensure nothing dries down before I blend it out with a large kabuki brush. If I need more — I add as I go.”
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
This liquid foundation is an anti-shine person’s dream. The Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation comes in 56 shades and creates an even skin tone if you’re trying to cover up blemishes. Keep in mind, it’s full coverage, so if that’s not your jam, you can use it as a spot cover-up because it’s also great for that.
The NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation is a great pick if you want a matte finish but sheerer coverage. “This hydrating formula has a way of just appearing like real skin, just better,” says Tommy. I believe that the hydrating hyaluronic acid in its formula explains why. Just one drop is enough to cover your entire face with whatever application tool your heart desires.
Yes, UOMA Beauty’s Say What?! Foundation is matte, but it’s spiked with hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated throughout the day. Its creamy texture is a medium-coverage finish in 51 shades — no wonder it has received a Best of Beauty Award.
The NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation is oil-free, so have no fear of it clogging your pores. Its hydrating, water-based formula is packed inside a squeezy tube, making it a mess-free dream and allowing you to get every last drop of it.
The L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation is a great pick because it’s affordable, and the coverage is incredible. Apply a pea-sized amount to your forehead, cheeks, and chin, and buff it out with your favorite sponge, brush, or even your fingers. You’ll have a smooth, even base in no time.
Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen
“The Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation is a great splurge because it gives you an even base with its luxurious texture,” says makeup artist Nam Vo. The luxe liquid is infused with SPF 20 and illuminates skin while keeping it shine-free in all the right places.
Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation
If you have oily skin, this one’s for you. The Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation provides a soft, velvety finish for an ultra-smooth base. It also has oil-absorbing powders in it to keep you completely matte for a full day of Zoom meetings.
CoverGirl Full Spectrum Matte Ambition All Day Foundation
The CoverGirl Full Spectrum Matte Ambition All Day Foundation is the perfect base to wear under your mask. It’s comfortable, soft on the skin, and it’s so full coverage you may want to even skip concealer. Plus, it won’t leave foundation marks on your mask.
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
When Rihanna dropped the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation it paved a way for beauty brands to become more shade inclusive. It also has an insanely good formula that’s never cakey and doesn’t let any shine come through. Tommy suggests applying this formula in dots around the face a blending it out with your favorite foundation brush.
HUDA Beauty #FauxFilter Full Coverage Matte Foundation
The HUDA Beauty #FauxFilter Full Coverage Matte Foundation is commerce writer Angela Trakoshis’s favorite foundation ever. “With just one pump, this thick foundation does exactly what its name reads: creates a filter for your face,” she says. It’s matte, it’s lightweight, and those dark spots you want to conceal? They disappear with just one layer of this stuff.
The Clinique Stay Matte Foundation is an oil-free formula that keeps your skin looking crease-free all day long. It’s also buildable, so layer it up with your favorite beauty sponge for a more full-coverage effect.
What’s left to say about the year 2020 that hasn’t already been said? These past 12 months may have tested humanity and the planet and every institution on it in ways most of us could never have fathomed — but even in the bad, weird, living nightmare times, the beauty industry did not quit.
Despite the odds, the economic downturns, the flailing retail structure, the unstable political climate, the sheer number of times the word “unprecedented” was uttered, beauty charged on. After all, there were game-changing formulas, groundbreaking technology and conversation-shifting campaigns to bring to market.
And so, as we look back at 2020 (and slowly but surely claw our way out of it), industry experts — ranging from dermatologists to Insta-famous makeup artists to beauty editors — identified some of the most noteworthy beauty launches of the year.
It was a big year for celebrity beauty, and a handful of star-backed brands had an impressive showing on this list, with multiple experts highlighting their superiority or buzz-worthiness amidst a sea of so many other celebrity lines. Skin care also reigned supreme, particularly as so many of us spent a record-breaking amount of time at home, staring at our own faces during Zoom calls. And perhaps most promisingly, brands that emphasized inclusivity — by serving marginalized and too-often underserved communities, by bringing all genders into the beauty conversation, by broadening the definition of what “good” skin can look like — were a welcome addition to 2020.
“Biden Beauty is an initiative that was near and dear to my heart because Very Good Light was behind it. It was a small idea that became a reality and was really amazing to see it thrive. We wanted to support the 2020 elections — arguably the most important of our lifetimes — and engage Gen Z and the beauty community to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. To do this, we [sold] a beauty sponge by the name of the Biden Beat from a beauty brand called Biden Beauty. We ended up selling one sponge every 60 seconds and it was probably the most meaningful initiative I’ve been a part of.” —David Yi, Founder and CEO, Very Good Light
“We don’t include men enough in conversations on skin care. Although Humanrace was created for all genders, [it’s] exciting to have a man at the forefront of the push to normalize skin care beyond just facial hair grooming. I love that the brand is guided by the expert input of his dermatologist with carefully selected science backed ingredients and prioritizes exfoliation and hydration as part of its simple three step routine.” —Dr. Adeline Kikam, Board-certified Dermatologist and Founder, @BrownSkinDerm
“[I] particularly [like] the Humidifying Cream. I wasn’t expecting to be floored by this product, but it’s honestly one of the best moisturizers I’ve ever used. I think we’re all a little burnt out when it comes to celebrity beauty launches — especially this year — but it seems like Pharrell actually put a lot of time and care into this one. He was thoughtful with his collection, from adding braille to the packaging to working with the brilliant Dr. Elena Jones to create simple and clean, but effective formulations, and I definitely appreciate it.” —Kayla Greaves, Senior Beauty Editor, InStyle
“Many men are not as passionate about skin care as they should be. And [Pharrell] is Benjamin Button! He’s pushing 50 and looks arguably 20-30 years younger. It’s about time he shares his secret to the fountain of youth.” —Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and Founder, BeautyStat
“Humanrace was a late entry this year, but made a lot of noise upon release. Although it’s a small launch it has the potential to attract a whole new audience to the skincare industry. It’s exciting to see.” — Saleam T. Singleton, men’s beauty advocate and contributing writer for Byrdie and AskMen
“I think Pharrell Williams’ Humanrace debut was incredibly successful and highly anticipated. The man is practically a vampire and for years we’ve been dying to know (beyond the fact he has melanin on his side) how he continues to look like he’s in his 20s. Not only is it a simple system of just three products, but it’s also eco-friendly. Wins all around!” —Julee Wilson, Beauty Director, Cosmopolitan
TATCHA THE SERUM STICK
“I’m already a loyal fan of the entire dewy skin collection, but the stick is like Chapstick for the face and perfect for the random seasonal dry spots. I also use it as a highlighter in makeup applications when I’m looking for a shine without any pearl. Being a hands-free application and a multitasking product, it feels like a true hero of the year.” — Shayna Goldberg, makeup artist and consultant at The Wall Group
KOSAS REVEALER CONCEALER
“This concealer-meets-eye-cream has enough coverage to work on the toughest spots, but is flexible enough that the 16 shades work for every one of my clients all wrapped up in a dreamy formula.” —Tony Tulve, freelance makeup artist
“Patrick Starrr’s One/Size truly brought some new, better and different to the market. Yes, it was makeup, but it was gender-neutral makeup and represented a new breed of founder at Sephora. Patrick is unabashedly himself and wants others to be as well, which is so needed in an industry that’s striving to be inclusive but not quite there.” —Priya Rao, Executive Editor, Glossy and host, “Glossy Beauty” and “Unfair” podcasts
“It seemed like the world stopped when Rihanna came out with her skin-care line. Everyone either had already tried it, wanted to try it or was watching YouTube videos of people trying and reviewing it. It’s so revolutionary for the simple fact that it’s Rihanna, a well-known Black woman, showing that you can [create a] business that feels true to you.” —Ali, beauty model, creator and makeup artist at @SweetMutuals
“I haven’t tried any of the products myself, but many of the reviews I’ve seen have been more lukewarm than I would have expected. Much of the trepidation from the online skin-care community came from the use of fragrance in the Fenty Skin products. This product launch ignited a wide-ranging debate about the function of fragrance in skin care and whether the fears surrounding it are warranted. While most consumers probably have no idea about the debate around fragrance, I think there are a few lessons to be learned here: First, skin-care hobbyists can be extremely discerning, and not even someone as universally adored as Rihanna may not be immune to their criticism. Second, for the many celebrity skin-care launches that followed it (we’ve already seen entries from Pharrell and Jennifer Lopez this year), we can expect even more criticism as these people are seen as outsiders with little experience by the industry.” — Dr. Angelo Landriscina, board-certified ermatologist in New York City, @DermAngelo
“Fenty Skin broke barriers when it came to promoting sun protection for darker skin tones. The brand messaging is very inclusive, showing that skin care is for everyone.” —Tiara Willis, esthetician and influencer, @MakeupforWomenofColor
“Fenty Skin was for sure the most talked-about, most debated, most anticipated launch of the year, mainly because of innovation (Fat Water and the idea of the toner essence), effectively speaking to young, Black consumers about the importance of SPF and because of ingredient discussions on witch hazel and fragrance.” —Dr. Ranella Hirsch, Board-certified dermatologist in Boston
“[Selena Gomez] entered the already crowded celebrity-with-a-beauty-brand space, but gave it purpose in 2020. It’s so refreshing to have a brand centered around giving back to the community Gomez herself is part of with the Rare Impact Fund. Everyone at Elle has been obsessed with the products to the point where we won’t shut up about them. To more inclusive and transparent brands with a mental health impact in 2021!” —Chloe Hall, Beauty Director, Elle.com
“Rare Beauty was the most exciting launch for me, mostly because it felt genuine. Celebrity brands will always make headlines, but not all launches are up to snuff. But the team managed to carve out a unique space for themselves while creating a great lineup of staple products. It was a cohesive launch with purpose. I respect the brand for creating the Rare Impact Fund, which promises to donate $100M over the course of 10 years, starting with 1% from Rare’s first year of sales. As someone who’s often pitched new brands and products on a daily basis, it’s important for me to see that this celebrity-faced brand has a long-term vision.” —Kirbie Johnson, content creator and Co-host, “Gloss Angeles” podcast
“When Selena launched Rare Beauty, it was clear that she really took her time to build this brand. The product formulations are innovative (that Lip Soufflé is so good!), the packaging is gorgeous and most impressive was Rare Beauty’s commitment to being a mission-driven brand. While I’m hoping fewer celebrities feel the need to launch their own beauty brands in the future, I do hope that those who do take note from Selena.” —Sara Tan, beauty editor and Co-host, “Gloss Angeles” podcast
SUPREME X PAT MCGRATH LIPSTICK
“This was Supreme’s first foray into makeup in its 26-year history, and the Pat McGrath Labs brand was the perfect co-conspirator. Streetwear is supposed to be about breaking the rules and foraging new paths; McGrath has done both her entire career. I think there are a lot of lessons the beauty world can learn from the streetwear space from both a marketing and storytelling perspective, and visa versa. So much so, I once wrote about it earlier this year. I’m interested to see how else these worlds may dance together.” —Darian Harvin, Beauty Reporter, Beauty IRL
TATCHA THE LIQUID SILK CANVAS PRIMER
“I’m always looking for products that can retain longevity and stretch makeup to new boundaries through intense color payoff or innovative formulas. Tatcha’s launch of Liquid Silk Canvas Primer in the spring of 2020 was the [brand’s] first bridge product integrating innovative skin-care ingredients into makeup. This product became the makeup magnet of the year locking down whatever you put on top of it.” —Daniel Martin, makeup artist and global director of artistry and education at Tatcha
MAKEUP BY MARIO
I had to personally add it to this list, how could I not? One of the most world-renowned and looked-up-to makeup artists came out with his own makeup brand exclusively at Sephora in 2020. The brand’s mission statement is:
“Created by Master Makeup Artist Mario Dedivanovic, MAKEUP BY MARIO features pro formulas and tools in the most universal shades and easy-to-use textures. Infused with Mario’s philosophies and techniques, each product is crafted to provide an effortless makeup experience and inspired artistry.”