Why Rihanna’s new cosmetics symbolises so much more than just a make-up line

Written by Laura H.

Rihanna’s launch of her new cosmetics line: Fenty Beauty, represents so much more than just another beautiful celebrity with clout, money and a strong brand who is here to sell us one more foundation that we don't need. Her strut into the beauty sector; a place where women of colour are often a mere afterthought and rarely the forerunners of the industry symbolizes for so many women: someone is finally thinking about our place in beauty culture.

Celebrity endorsment

There have been a huge influx of celebrity women honing in on the other facets of their brand power to profit off of what they know women (and indeed some men too) will buy because they think they need it. It’s happened for decades with perfumes being the preferred alternate capital venture of the stars.

Nowadays,people like The Kardashians have tapped into what has been happening online: make-up mania. Kylie Jenner has her Kylie Lip Kits, there’s Kim’s KKW Beauty and an array of other brands from the likes of everyone from former Supermodel Iman to Jessica Alba. What stands out among women all over social media at the moment however; inclusivity, validation and relatability. From her ad campaign alone – which features a girl in a hijaab to one with freckles, black women of all skin tones, white women with ginger hair, an East Asian woman etc. Everyday girls who we rarely see being put anywhere on our screens let alone in a make up range advertisement. That’s why her line is translating so well to people as something more than just a name-brand that you need to be seen to have – much like the frenzy that came along with the Kylie Lip Kits it seemed.

No, Fenty Beauty is also a huge stride for the everyday/average girl, for women of colour and more specifically black women and even more critically dark-skinned black women who can now access products that contain nuance in undertones, shades and cater to them without leaving them as an afterthought with the usual one or two ‘dark’ labelled shades of foundation to play with in commercial beauty shops such as Superdrug. Many of my Sri Lankan and other darker skinned South Asians are also at odds to find a place where they fit in the beauty market-place.There is so much politics that go on privately in racial groups and and as a result of the deep roots of inadequacy and self-loathing colonialism has placed in people of colour, anyone that belongs to a non-european ethnic background knows the vile rhetoric that can be spewed when it comes to light skin/dark skin lambasting and separation.

Something for al of us

Make up which looks at you as if you matter and you are beautiful is such an overlooked but important imprint to be felt by women of colour. And for the 40+ varied line Rihanna has created for all of us; white, black or brown, it feels good to indulge in a brand that was made not to uphold one type of woman but to uplift all.

*Fenty Beauty is now available online and in the UK at Selfridge’s.*