It couldn’t have been a better time for Rihanna to unveil her new makeup line. L’Oréal is continuing to deal with the backlash over its firing of diversity campaign model Munroe Bergdorf for speaking out against white supremacy, thus sparking a debate about what corporate inclusivity actually means. And meanwhile, Rihanna just dropped Fenty Beauty, which right off the bat offers a vast range of makeup to suit a diversity of skin colors.
With models like Duckie Thot, Halima Aden, Paloma Elsesser, Slick Woods, and others, it has been clear that inclusivity is at the center of Fenty Beauty.
The line, which dropped yesterday, offers 40 different colors and each shade has a warm and cool undertone—and according to Vogue, the brand may even start offering custom mixed shades for individual consumers. The line isn’t perfect, but it’s a pretty incredible start.
It’s hard to draw the line between beige and browns, and obviously there’s a huge range of skin tones for women of color, but to roughly compare, Revlon’s Colorstay line offers 35 shades, but of the 22 available online, about five appear to be browner. Maybelline’s Fit Me line also offers 40 shades, an impressive 14 of which are shades of brown. Covergirl’s truBLEND line offers 21 shades and about seven browns. L’Oréal’s 33-shade True Match line, hailed for offering far more options for women of color, offers about 10 brown shades.
This dedication to diversity is a very conscious decision on Rihanna’s part. At the Fenty Beauty launch party last night, Rihanna told Refinery 29:
I wanted things that I love. Then I also wanted things that girls of all skin tones could fall in love with. That was really important for me. In every product I was like: ‘There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl; there needs to be something for a really pale girl; there needs to be something in-between.’ There’s red undertones, green undertones, blue undertones, pink undertones, yellow undertones — you never know, so you want people to appreciate the product and not feel like: ‘Oh that’s cute, but it only looks good on her.’
Rihanna makes a lot of things look easy: rolling a blunt on someone’s head, wearing a sheer crystal encrusted dress, rolling up a window, but offering shades for women of color (without a smarmy and hollow campaign) has never looked easier.