Is the new Fenty foundation worth the hype?

Declared one of the most successful beauty launches ever, Rihanna's Fenty Beauty range has had everyone talking, but is its hero foundation really worth the praise? Team Pool investigates...

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By Elle Turner on

Rihanna's latest project, Fenty Beauty, has landed and it made a crashing great entrance. After weeks of teasers on Instagram, the brand presented itself on September 8 to queues around the block, an 8,500-long waiting list on stockist Harvey Nichols' website and instant online sell-outs. The 91-piece collection comprises shimmery highlighters (the gold will leave you glowing like a lightbulb), blotting papers, shimmer sticks in pinks, peaches, oranges and purples, and a universal browny-pink lip gloss. But what really elevates the collection from just another celebrity launch to a range truly worthy of recognition is the meticulously blended Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £26. Available in 40 foundation shades, Rihanna's line is devoted to providing everyone with a tone that genuinely matches their skin.

Already, it has a loyal following. Super-pale fans were quick to praise its flattering (non-orangey) undertones, including Krystal Robertson, who expressed her excitement at finally finding a shade to match her albino skintone for the first time, while darker skintones are celebrating it for its ability to avoid looking ashy or flat (a notoriously tricky feat). Of course, although some brands – Bobbi Brown, Nars and MAC, to name a few – have offered a wide range of shades to their customers for years (something that Makeup Forever tried pointing out recently), it's still not unusual to find well-known brands failing to provide an inclusive range of shades. For a celeb-led line, especially one with as much influence behind it as Rihanna's, to use this opportunity as a platform to spotlight the need for fully thought-out, fully inclusive shades is a brilliant and much-needed development. We tried it on to see if it does indeed live up to its high praise.

The Pool tries Fenty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Kuba Shand-Baptiste, editorial intern
skintone: deep. Tried shade: 420

The first thing I noticed about this foundation was how little blending I had to do before it set and how well it matched my skin when it did. In over a decade of wearing make-up, I've only ever been able to find one high-street product that has worked for my skintone and, even then, I have to mix it with concealer just to make it work. If other Fenty Beauty products are as effective as this, it's no surprise that it took just days for the make-up line to be pegged as a gamechanger. 




I found the Fenty Beauty foundation to have a really nice, light and natural texture. Not oily or too thick. As an occasional foundation user, I'd invest in this, as I found it easy to apply and blend in with fingers on the go and the colour worked well on my medium skintone.


Elle Turner, fashion & beauty assistant
skintone: pale-medium. Tried shade 240

I like a fresh finish or something with a bit of glow and I never really go for mattes, so I was surprised that I quite like this. It's technically a "soft-matte" and feels velvety, rather than like full-on plasterboard. It has a medium texture – heavier than a tinted moisturiser, but lighter than full-coverage foundations – so is a nice one for winter. I found the shade 240 worked well with my pale-medium skintone, especially now that I have a little more warmth after summer. If Rihanna were to release a silkier version though, I'd be all over it.



I only ever use very light, creamy foundations, as nothing else really takes to my skin. For me, this was a bit heavy and ended up looking quite chalky on my skin. I think, for winter, it's probably a great option for those who like a thicker base and it's so brilliant that the shade range is so vast (as it should be). 


Amy Jones, Video Producer
Skintone: Very pale. Tried shade 110

I tried applying this with a beauty blender and foundation brush, but it looked a bit powdery. Instead, I found it works better with the heat from your fingers warming it up a bit – that way, it smooths on perfectly. It's the first foundation I've ever used that perfectly matches my ridiculously pale ghosty face and looks entirely natural. It doesn't cover spots entirely, so I have to layer a bit of concealer on top, it does last all day. Considering most of the time I just use a BB cream, I've worn it every day since I got it and have no intention of stopping. I love it. 



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