Working in the beauty and fashion department of a magazine, you get early access to beauty product launches that have people lined up around the block, so it’s easy to get a little jaded. But Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty launch last month had all of us practically tackling the messengers for a first look. And we weren’t alone in our excitement: Fans mobbed Sephoras and the brand’s famous 40-shade foundation line was quick to sell out. So when the brand’s holiday collection, which just hit Sephora today, arrived on our desks, it seemed only fair to get editors from around the building – including People, People en Espańol, Essence, InStyle, Health and Real Simple – into one room to try them all out before they vanished.
We were joined by Fenty Beauty’s global makeup artist Hector Espinal, who used the star’s holiday collection to make Rihanna look like this, so we knew we were in excellent hands. He helped us find our perfect Fenty Beauty foundation shade match (get his tips below) and, we like to think, applied a little of that Rihanna pixie dust to our skin in the process. And then he gave us guidance on how to achieve our ideal Fenty Beauty holiday look on a scale from 1 (just lipstick) to BadGalRiri (a full face of iridescent shimmer), then set us free with brushes and palettes to apply the makeup ourselves. How’d it go? Read on for 10 editors’ reviews.
Level 1: Lipstick and Gloss
Name and Title: Chelsea Burns, Beauty Editor at Health and Real Simple
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “Diamonds”
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: Shade #190 – It made my skin look filtered – not too flat yet not too shiny, just right. I also love the way it covered everything that needed to be covered without looking cake-y.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: I love that the Fenty holiday collection feels and looks festive without making you look like a Christmas tree. Even the shades that look a little crazy are much more subtle and flattering when you put them on.
Products Used: Foundation #190; Starlit Lipstick in “Sci-Fly” with Gloss Bomb in “Fenty Glow” on top.
Level 2: Liner
Name and Title: Lisa DeSantis, Assistant Beauty Editor at Health & Real Simple
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “Pon de Replay” because I made up a dance to it for my 8th grade talent show.
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: 160— it blended really easily and surprisingly covered my dark circles and any areas of redness (around my nose/chin) without appearing to heavy or cakey on the rest of my face.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: It’s super versatile, but really fun, too. I could definitely go all out and create a super glam look, but it’s also not so over the top that it would be restricting for beauty newbies or older women who might not want to experiment.
Products Used: Foundation #160; “Jupiter Sand” eyeshadow from the Galaxy palette as a liner and Killawatt highlighter in “Girl Next Door/Chic Freak” as blush.
Level 3: Wash of Shadow
Name and Title: Kim Duong, Digital Fashion Fashion Assistant Editor at InStyle
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: I’d love to say “Phresh Out the Runway,” but I’m probably more “SOS,” to be honest.
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: Shade 210. All I have is praise for this foundation because it made my skin look like actually good skin as opposed to that filmy foundation look I so often get with other foundation formulas.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: I need this entire collection ASAP, because finally, here is a makeup collection featuring actually wearable shimmery products that don’t make me look like I just threw party glitter on my face. The “Mars on Fire” shade from the eyeshadow palette is enough to convince me to just buy the entire palette.
Products Used: Foundation #210; “Mars on Fire” eyeshadow from the Galaxy palette on lids with Gloss Bomb in “Fenty Glow” on lips.
Bonus Hector Tip! Intimidated by the bright colors in the Galaxy palette? “Apply with the brush it comes with, because it gives it a more sheer application as opposed to something that is super loaded. The colors are so sheer, you can layer them to desired coverage and finish.”
Level 4: Using Gloss All Over
Name and Title: Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style and Beauty Director at People
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “Bitch Better Have My Money”
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: 210. I am the world’s laziest makeup fiend and I applied it with my fingers and was thrilled with the smooth, blendable consistency. A little bit went a long way and looked seamless along my jawline.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: It’s really hard to convince me to steer away from my typical “rose gold eye, red lip” holiday look, but I liked the packaging enough to be willing to take a risk on a bright pink lipstick for a party.
Products Used: Foundation #210; Starlit lipstick in “Gravity” topped with Cosmic Gloss in “Plutonic Relationship” on lips and cheeks.
Bonus Hector Tip! Rihanna likes to apply the gloss directly on top of the lipstick, then apply the lipstick to her mouth, to incorporate the gloss more fully and for a slightly different texture.
Level 5: Smudged Glitter Smoky Eye
Name & Title: Pia Velasco, Fashion & Beauty Writer at People En Español
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “Work”
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction To It: 290, and I loved it! It’s more matte than what I’m used to using, and I feel like it gave me a more sophisticated finish. Will absolutely use again.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: I tried the eyeliner and absolutely fell in love with its sparkly finish! As someone who isn’t an expert on creating smoky eyes, this blendable liquid eyeliner enabled me to create a cool-girl messy look that I’ll absolutely be rocking this holiday season.
Products Used: Foundation #290; Eclipse glitter liner in “Alien Bae” smudged up on lids and blended with Killawatt highlighter in “Mega Moon;” Cosmic Gloss in “Spacesuit” on lips and Killawatt highlighter in “Moscow Mule” on cheeks.
Level 6: Glowy Finish
Name and Title: Alexis Bennett, E-Commerce Editor at InStyle
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “Run This Town”
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: 390. I’m a huge fan of full-coverage foundation. So I was a little nervous at first since I heard this one has a skin-like finish. But it’s totally buildable, and I didn’t even have to use concealer with it. And the matte finish is exactly what my oily skin needs.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: I typically steer on the sparkle-free side of makeup. But you will definitely see rocking this shiny, glittery, magical gloss this fall. It has somewhat of a sheer finish that allows my natural lip color to subtly show through. So it could also work in the day time.
Products Used: Foundation #390; “Oh Zone” eyeshadow from the Galaxy palette in inner corner of eyes with Cosmic Gloss in “Astro-Naughty” and Killawatt highlighter in “Trophy Wife” on Cupid’s bow of lips.
Level 7: Allover Highlight
Name and Title: Yolaine Díaz, Fashion and Beauty Senior Writer at People en Español
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “What’s My Name?”
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: 310 + 350. I like the foundation but I normally prefer them with more coverage. Didn’t feel this covers a lot, but it does have a nice finish.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: I fell in love with the eyeshadow palette!
Products Used: Foundations #310 and #350; Starlit lipstick in “Gravity” topped with Cosmic Gloss in “Plutonic Relationship” on lips and cheeks.
Bonus Hector Tip! Confused about how to find your perfect foundation match without Rihanna’s makeup guru there to help? “The first thing is determining if you are light, medium, tan or dark-toned. Once you do that, it’s easy to navigate, because within each family you have a cool, warm and a neutral. To help pick a shade, look at your neck and décolleté because that’s truly your color. It’s the two areas where the sun doesn’t really hit as much.”
Level 8: Bright Eyes
Name and Title: Siraad Dirshe, Beauty Editor at Essence
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “Good Girl Gone Bad”
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: Shade 470 and I really liked it!
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: It’s bright, bold and inclusive. Like the first launch there’s something for everyone, and color that compliments nearly every skin tone.
Products Used: Foundation #470; “Sunburst” eyeshadow from the Galaxy palette; Killawatt highlighter in “Moscow Mule/Ginger Binge” on eyes and Cosmic Gloss in “Space Suit” on lips.
Level 9: Ombré Lids and Lips
Name and Title: Jackie Fields, Beauty Editor at People
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “Bitch Better Have My Money”
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: Number 400, and it’s officially my BFF (Best Foundation Forever) – but for my combination skin, applying the primer is a very necessary part of the equation.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: It’s been four years since Rihanna released the song “Diamonds,” encouraging us all to shine bright like one. And today, she’s finally giving us the tools, at least to manifest that feeling physically. The Galaxy collection is blingiest, glitziest, shimmeriest makeup launch since the Bad Gal herself dropped the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife a mere four weeks ago. So it only seemed fitting that I incorporate that game-changing metallic gold highlighter into my holiday look, dusting it down the bridge of my nose and along the high point of my cheek bones. On my eyes, I tried the Eclipse 2-in-1 Glitter Release Eyeliner in Alien Bae. The color is gorgeous and the formula is just fine, but I would have preferred the applicator to have a pointer tip (my look started out as a cat eye, but I ended up diffusing the color after I was unable to create a fine wing). Also, as with all glittery eye products, removing this liner was comical, to say the least. As for my lip look, I created an ombré effect by applying Starlit Hyper-Glitz Lipstick in Sci-Fly (a sparkly purple) to the perimeter of my lips, then filled the rest of the surface in with her cool new coral Supermoon. It took all of twenty seconds, but looked expensive as heck.
Bonus Hector Tip! When going for glitter, “choose a focus, whether its your eyes or lips and then slowly build on texture. So I would do a glitter eye and glossy lips or matte lips but I wouldn’t use glitter, glitter, glitter!”
Level 10: The Full Fenty
Name and Title: Kaitlyn Frey, Style & Beauty Assistant at People
Rihanna Song You Most Identify With: “Diamonds.”
Fenty Foundation Shade and Your Reaction to It: My Fenty foundation match was 220. I probably would have gone a little darker if I had chosen myself to be completely honest, so am happy a professional found me my perfect shade.
Your Two-Sentence Takeaway from Fenty Holiday: The shades are bold and glittery, but totally wearable. You can create any look from a soft wash of color to full-on Rihanna glitz and glow.
Products Used: Foundation #200; “Ultraviolet” and “Meteor Crush” eyeshadows from the Galaxy palette on the lids and Eclipse glitter eyeliner in “Nepturnt”; MatchStix in “Truffle” and Killawatt highligher in “Freestyle” on the skin; Starlit lipstick in “Supermoon” with Gloss Bomb in “Fenty Glow” on top.
Bonus Hector Tip! “If you wanna look like Rihanna, focus on skin. She loves medium-coverage skin that’s super matte in the center,” he explains. “I think that’s really something different because from the side profile she looks really nice and dewy but then from the center, it’s a super-polished look.”
What are you buying from the collection today?