Changing the Rules of Beauty

By Christina Harris, Account Planner

Robyn Rihanna Fenty, most commonly known as Rihanna, flipped the switch on beauty brands with the launch of Fenty Beauty. The line made $72 million and garnered 132 million views on YouTube in its first month alone. It’s important to note that its success wasn’t just based on Rihanna’s celebrity status.

The initial release of 40 foundation shades made many women feel seen, heard and beautiful. Her messaging touched them by celebrating women of ALL skin tones, shapes and sizes. Women that looked like them. Women that look like me. It reached all makeup lovers where they live—on YouTube with tutorials and reviews by trusted influencers and on Instagram where they go to post and scout out savage looks.


That, combined with a high quality of product that delivers, proves her brand is about genuine inclusivity, not just a marketing catch-phrase (though the brand has been consistently praised for its inclusive marketing and use of social media).

The Fenty Effect has many beauty brands scrambling to promote their darker shades and show more inclusive images. Brands and retailers that pre-Fenty wouldn’t develop or take too many darker shades because of perceived lack of demand.



Whereas now, beauty brands From CoverGirl to Dior have announced their launch of 40-shade foundation lines. Ulta reportedly held off on carrying Tarte’s Shape Tape foundation line, with only 15 shades, until more shades were released. And it should have other brands sitting up to take notice.


Are you missing out by undeserving a specific consumer group? Are you messaging inclusivity, but not living it or delivering on it? Does your message meet consumers where they live and play?

As a makeup fan and lover, I’m excited to see where Rihanna takes her brands. As a mother, I’m looking forward to my daughter growing up seeing women of all colors, shapes and sizes celebrated and represented.

Christina is a natural-born storyteller who hones her skills of presence and persuasion daily on her toughest audience—her two children. She loves discovering insights to help make meaningful connections between people, brands and trends. When she’s not looking for lost shoes, she can always be convinced to share a margarita and a good laugh.

Dieste Inc