There are constant new releases in the beauty world. We’re all well aware of “fast fashion,” but “fast beauty” is quickly becoming a new discussion to be had. There are new trends, new palettes, new products, new innovations, new brands, and more—but we’d be lying if we didn’t say we were at least a little bit intrigued for some of them.
The first on that list last month was Fenty Skin, Rihanna’s highly sought-after take on skincare following her renowned makeup line, Fenty Beauty. Rihanna launched her line in August 2020 with three products: a cleanser, a toner/serum hybrid, and a moisturizer with SPF. Two of our editors decided to test the products and share their honest thoughts on the line.
But first, some need-to-know information: Fenty Skin offers free U.S. shipping and free returns up to 60 days after your package is shipped, so if you purchase something and don’t love it (as one of our editors did!), you can easily return with zero added stress. This is genius and makes it so easy to try a product without fear that you’re going to waste your money if you don’t love it. Fenty Skin is also clean, vegan, cruelty-free, and the products are made with sustainability in mind, as the Hydra Visor Moisturizer comes in refillable packaging. Fenty Skin also supports Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting education, health, and emergency response all over the world.
What We Tried
Let me start by saying: I am a GIANT Rihanna fan. I’ve been a card-carrying member of Rih Rih’s Navy since about 2007, and I have all the albums and concert ticket stubs to prove it. And since I am already obsessed with Rihanna’s makeup line, Fenty Beauty, it seemed only fitting to try out her new Fenty Skin line, too. Spoiler Alert: it was a great decision.
I was thrilled when the package arrived—partly because everything to do with Rihanna makes me happy, but also because I loved the packaging. It was such a beautiful design, and once I learned that everything was Earth-conscious, I was even more impressed. All the boxes my products were shipped in were fully recyclable and had no excess packaging.
The Fenty Skin crew used recycled material in most of the bottles, tubes, and jars. And they even incorporated a refillable system on some items. I can’t stress enough how happy all of this made me. I already loved Rihanna, but when I read her quote on the website— “Nobody is perfect, but I really believe we can try our best to do right and we’ll keep evolving as we go”—I felt fulfilled in a way that stretched beyond skincare.
OK, on to the products. Before I tried anything, I of course watched Rihanna’s skincare routine tutorials on YouTube. Mostly because I love watching Rihanna talk about stuff, but also because I wanted to be sure to use the products correctly. For someone who loves to play in makeup, I unfortunately have not developed a regular skincare routine, so some of this was new for me.
After watching Rihanna’s video, I felt confident and ready to go. I must say… nothing was as easy for me as it was for Rihanna! (Which makes sense.) Still, the products were all easy to use, mostly due to the design and packaging of each of the bottles. I loved the ability to easily twist open each tube and get to the product using only one hand. This really made things simple while washing my face in the shower.
As a person who is always on-the-go (mostly from Zoom to Zoom these days, but still), I really appreciated the thought that went into making these products multifunctional and efficient. Each of the products I tried out served two functions. First was the Total Cleans’r, which was not only a facial cleanser, but also a makeup remover. I used this cleanser right after a hard workout when I was super sweaty, dirty, grimy, etc. It cleaned my face very well, getting rid of all the dirt and grime. I didn’t even wipe my sweat off first! I especially enjoyed using this product in the mornings, because it would wake my face up, leaving it feeling refreshed, soft, and clear.
I will say, though, that when I tried this cleanser to remove a full face of makeup, I had to use it a couple times and work a bit harder to get everything removed. There were some areas that were tricky to get to without the ease/mobility of a makeup wipe, for example. Still, I felt this product did a good job of cleaning my face and turning it into a blank slate for whatever was coming next.
And what came next was probably my favorite product in the bunch: Fat Water. I loved the unique texture of this Pore-Refining Toner Serum, which was liquidy but also kind of soft—almost like a thinned-out gel. Looking at it, I thought it would be sticky, but it was not sticky at all. On to what’s really important: I loved the way my skin looked after using this product! I will say that I did not have the “instantly absorbed” experience that Rihanna described in her video, but the more I tried it, the closer I got to finding the exact amount to use and absorb relatively easily into my skin. And even after just a week of using the product, I noticed subtle changes in my usual dark spots. My face was bright and smooth after each use without feeling dried out. I’ve used several products that make my face feel tight, but this one was the opposite!
Finally, I tried the Hydra Vizor Moisturizer, which is also an SPF 30 Sunscreen. This was a very cool product and will likely work well for anyone who is looking to both moisturize their skin but also be prepared for the possibility of being exposed to sunlight throughout the day. This product did have more fragrance than the others, which I think was probably to mask the sunscreen smell. (Because who likes walking around smelling like sunscreen all day?). I absolutely did not get this feel when using this product. I was also very excited about the fact that this product was made intentionally to complement different skin types, complexions, etc. In her tutorial, Rihanna specifically talked about how she didn’t get any white “cast” when using this product… well, unfortunately, I did. But it went away after I rubbed it in well. After some time, the shine turned into “moisturized.” You could maybe even call it the Rihanna glow…
When using all three products, my face felt light, hydrated, and ridiculously soft. I had a Zoom date with a friend after my skincare routine one day, and she complimented my skin, describing it as “dewy.” I wasn’t quite sure what it meant, but I attributed it to the glow. I also liked using these products before bed, because it wasn’t too long of a process; plus, after using the products at night, my skin felt delightfully soft and smooth in the morning.
Overall, I loved these products! As a busy mom, wife, writer, PhD candidate, AND nonprofit director, I appreciated the functionality. And as someone who—unfortunately—does not have a standing skincare routine, these products were easy to use, and the routine was fast to figure out. For people with a standing skincare routine, this might even seem “too easy.” For me, that was a big plus. I used these products as a part of my morning routine and it only added an additional 10 minutes, if that. And my face was primed and ready to go if I decided to then put on makeup—which, by the way, my makeup looked awesome going on after using Fenty Skin! Since I don’t spend much time in the sun these days, I might do without the moisturizer, but otherwise, I definitely plan to continue using these products. They gave me a confidence and glow that made me feel ready to join Rihanna on the yacht for the afternoon.
Seriously, Rihanna… I’m ready to join you on the yacht. Have your people call my people.
Rihanna needs no introduction, but my absolute obsession with her might. I’ve loved her since I first heard “Don’t Stop the Music”—or was it “Shut Up and Drive?”—but her music is honestly secondary to my affinity for her. I am not being dramatic when I say this, but I would do just about anything for Rihanna. I have a print of Rihanna on my living room wall, I wrote my first-ever beauty story for The Everygirl about her (baby me!), and I place in the top category of women I aspire to be in life. She’s fun, hilarious, smart, strong, and kind to boot—and we haven’t even discussed her ever-popular beauty line yet. Fenty Beauty is at the helm of the beauty industry for me. From her iconic foundation launch to the Cheeks Out blush and bronzer collection that practically broke the Sephora website a few months ago to the mascara I refuse to ever live without, her beauty brand has become one of the biggest names in the industry.
A natural next step had to be skincare. With the “skin first” approach taking over from heavy, matte foundations in the last few years, it makes sense that Rihanna would want to promote healthy, hydrated, protected skin before applying your makeup. I was elated to try her brand the second I heard it was launching. I love her makeup, so of course, I’ll love her skincare. The response wasn’t exactly that simple.
The first thing I need to discuss is the scent. Rihanna says the product only contains 1 percent fragrance, but that 1 percent is as strong as all hell. If fragrance in beauty products upsets your skin, you will not like this. I noticed that the scent is actually ever-so-slightly different in each product. The cleanser and toner have the most, and the scent is very vanilla. Think Warm Vanilla Sugar by Bath and Body Works. The moisturizer/SPF is a little less vanilla-y and more “beauty product” to me, and the scent isn’t as strong; however, it stayed on my skin for HOURS. When I use that moisturizer, it’s like I’m wearing a really distinct perfume for hours. As I type this, I can smell that moisturizer on my skin. So, take this as a caution that if you hate scented products—these are a doozy.
First up, the cleanser. This is a really thick cream consistency that lathers up A LOT when you add water. If I’m being completely honest, it feels like you’re rubbing a Bath and Body Works Shower Gel all over your face. The cream is so thick that it feels good going on your face, and you’d think it’d be quite hydrating, but my face felt so dry once I rinsed it off. This is definitely my least favorite product in the line. If you’re looking for a great, cream cleanser that hydrates your skin and doesn’t leave it feeling tight, our editors (including me!) swear by CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser.
The Fat Water Toner/Serum Hybrid was the first product I picked up. The name intrigued me (I mean, come on, “Fat Water”? Genius), and I liked the idea that it was both a toner and a serum, eliminating one step from my skincare routine. Upon first impression, I loved the texture. It’s truly a hybrid; it has a water-y consistency that thickens up into a serum on your face. I squeeze a little bit into the palm of my hand and pat into my skin. I really enjoyed this product, but the scent is so overpowering that it infringed upon my joy of using it. I also didn’t notice it doing really anything that it said. This product is supposed to refine pores and reduce dark spots, and I noticed none of that. Did it make my skin look absolutely atrocious? No, but it didn’t really do much. I actually noticed my pores were quite clogged, as pictured here (shoutout to my iPhone camera quality for capturing my skin at this gorgeous level):
After a few uses though, I noticed the Fat Water was breaking me out. I started getting little bumps under my eyes that I’ve never gotten before, and little pustules (arguably the worst word in the English language) all over my forehead. Once I stopped using this product, they went away. I was a little bummed because I enjoyed the way it made my skin look when I used it in the morning. Unlike many reviews, the witch hazel in the product didn’t make my skin feel dry; it actually did quite the opposite.
I won’t lie and say this was the “worst” my skin has ever looked, but I had a lot more redness and little acne spots than normal.
The last product I tried was actually my favorite of the trio: the Hydra Visor Moisturizer. I’m always on the search for a nice moisturizer to use in the morning before SPF and makeup, and this fit the bill quite well! This has a lightweight consistency that blends into the skin easily. I don’t feel like I have to rub it into my skin with intense vigor to get it to soak in, which is a plus for a product with SPF in it. I also love the glow it gives to my skin; it lasts all day long under my makeup, almost enough to barely need highlighter (LOL, but of course I still add it).
I brought this to the lake last weekend, and my friend who has pretty fair skin tried it, and she had to apply something a little thicker by midday because it wasn’t protecting her against a sunburn. So, don’t go into this thinking it’ll be your savior against a hot summer day in the sun; the sun protection is just enough for sitting next to my window or going for a walk.
As for the trio, I think they work well together, but I wouldn’t repurchase unless Fenty Skin decided to remove the fragrance down the line. It really hinders the experience; instead of focusing on good the products are for my skin, I’m thinking about when I slathered my body in Warm Vanilla Sugar body butter before the Jonas Brothers concert in eighth grade thinking one of them would fall in love with me as I sat in the 300 section of a gigantic arena. When I use all three products, I do certainly feel like a glowy goddess, but it doesn’t make up for the fragrance and the way my skin has responded to them.
A completely makeup-free selfie after I used all three products back-to-back. If this glowy look is selling you anything, it should 100 percent the moisturizer because all the glow on my face is coming from that—if you can handle the scent, it’s a winner!