Fifty different shades of concealer in front of the white lettering and two pictures of Rihanna and Fenty Beauty

How Fenty Beauty Changed the Makeup Game

By Arlett Ramirez
Web Content Contributor

A white makeup rack of Fenty Beauty carrying 50 shades of concealer on the top row, 50 shades of foundation on the middle row, and 11 shimmering highlighters on the bottom row
With 50 foundation shades anyone can find their perfect match with the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r foundation at Sephora. Photo by Arlett Ramirez.

Everybody knows Rihanna whether it’s by her music, fashion moments or through social media. Rihanna is a true pop and fashion icon. In 2017, she launched her own cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty that completely changed the way the beauty industry operates.

Let’s talk about the beauty industry pre-Fenty Beauty. Before Fenty Beauty launched, many beauty brands were only creating products that consumers with a lighter complexion could use. Many consumers of color had difficulty finding a matching foundation shade at Ulta Beauty or Sephora. Not only was it difficult to find a matching shade but to find a foundation that had the right coverage and finish was another thing! Beauty brands would release a foundation line with a larger range of shades for lighter skin tones and maybe one or two darker shades. Where is the inclusion of all shade ranges?

Being a woman of color from Barbados, Rihanna wasn’t having it! So what did she do? Rihanna released Fenty Beauty a brand that focused on a wide range of traditionally hard-to-match skin tones, creating formulas that work for all skin types and pinpointing universal shades. Her foundation had 50 shades that revolutionized the beauty industry by addressing the long criticized gap in cosmetic industry offerings for women of color.

The effect of Fenty Beauty was heard all over the world. Women of color were finally being included in the beauty industry! Fenty Beauty changed the game.

Now let’s talk about after Fenty Beauty launched. So we talked about how before Fenty Beauty shade ranges were extremely limited. Then Fenty Beauty offered an extensive shade range. Well, other beauty brands thought that they could continue having the same shade range as before and people wouldn’t think anything of it.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Tarte cosmetics learned the hard way. A few months after Fenty Beauty launched, Tarte announced that they were releasing their Shape Tape foundation. People were excited because the Tarte Shape Tape concealer is one of the best concealers in the market so they thought the foundation would follow its footsteps. However, when the foundation shade range was revealed people immediately took to Twitter to voice their disbelief. The foundation only had 15 shades! Do you know how many shades women of color could potentially purchase? Three.

Tarte obviously had to put out a public apology. Eventually, Tarte pulled the foundation and reinvented it as Face Tape foundation in 50 shades a year after the initial fiasco.

But the question has to be asked, if it wouldn’t have been for Fenty Beauty having such an inclusive foundation shade range would have Tarte gotten away with only releasing 15 shades? I would hope not. Certain brands (like Tarte and Beauty Blender) have learned the hard way that if there’s not a wide shade range the backlash will be immediate. It’s 2019 and it’s time for all women and men to be able to find their perfect shade of foundation.

If you’re looking for a makeup brand that has an inclusive shade range for all consumers, here’s a helpful list!

Featured image by Arlett Ramirez.

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