I am going to be alone this Valentine’s Day. I have a deadline in Cambridge, my boyfriend will be working in London, we’re both skint, it’s just not gonna happen. But is that gonna stop me from serving Valentine’s glam? Absolutely not. I put this look together to try out a new matte liquid red I picked up at a vegan fair this weekend, and while I’m underwhelmed by it (I’ll come to why later), I think the overall look is ideal for a date night. Plus this is an excellent opportunity for me to discuss Fenty, my love, my light.
When Fenty dropped with 40 shades of foundation last year, it shook the industry to its core. Finally, the big brands with 20+ shades of beige plus a token Dark and Deep Dark were having to step up, take a long hard look at themselves, go to their rooms and think about what they’d done. Fenty has made such a noticeable difference to the make up world, from wider shade ranges coming out to more representation for POC in advertising. Let’s not pretend everything’s perfect – there’s still a lot to be done, especially as some brands seem to be jumping on the bandwagon by using diversity in their advertising but not coming through with decent shades – nevertheless, Fenty’s influence is undeniable.
I’ve been using Fenty for just over a month now. On my 23rd birthday, I headed to Harvey Nicks and picked up a Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer, Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in shade 120 (the fact that I’m two whole shades above the palest available is astonishing and says so much about how fucking great the range is), and a Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer (I’ll swatch and review this in another post). When it comes to finding your shade, if you can I would strongly suggest trying in store. I was matched by an assistant so quickly and efficiently, and I’m not sure I would have been able to do that myself just going by the pictures and descriptions online. I also wanna take a minute to appreciate the packaging. I’m a big fan of minimalism, and Fenty’s packaging is honestly a work of art. The foundation and primer bottles are made of heavy, frosted glass which just looks gorgeous on my make up counter, and the gloss’s pentagonal tube, a theme across other products in the range, is different and edgy, but still really pretty. I expected nothing less from RiRi, but nonetheless I’m super impressed.
So on to the products themselves. Like I’ve said before, I think it’s important to use the same brand primer and foundation if they’re formulated to work together, as it’s unfair to judge without and it makes such a difference for your look. Fenty is no exception, and the Pro Filt’r primer is beautiful. Creamy, glossy, luxurious-feeling, it leaves my pores smaller and my skin even, smooth and shine-free ready for foundation. The foundation itself is excellent. It has a medium buildable coverage, although I’ve never needed to build, and four pumps easily cover my entire face. One thing I will say is that it is very liquid and it dries very quickly – I believe this is because it “sets itself,” the idea being that you don’t need to set with powder. This can make application a little tricky, because once it’s set it’s not budging, so I would recommend dividing the face into three parts and working on one at a time. I apply dots with a flat foundation brush and then blend out with a damp BeautyBlender. Although it is matte because of the self-setting, I still find it’s incredibly skin-like, which stays true to Rihanna’s natural glow. I also still apply a light dusting of powder to the areas I’m going to contour and highlight, just to ensure a smooth application. It leaves my skin looking so even and gorgeous, it’s vegan, I really can’t see myself switching to another foundation anytime soon.
However, not all make up can reach the dizzying heights of Fenty, and unfortunately that seems to the case for my new lipstick from Perfect Shade. They are a fairly new cruelty free make up brand with some vegan products, including all of their liquid lipsticks. I was impressed with the shade range, I swatched a few nudes but settled on a bold carmine red called City Girl. I really like the thin, pointed applicator, and the thinness of the formula reminds me of Jeffree Star’s Velour Liquid Lipsticks (I have a couple that I bought before I knew he was absolute fucking trash, I will obviously never buy more but I’m not throwing them out please don’t judge). However, unlike Jeffree’s, these don’t build evenly, and it took me a while to get rid of streaks. It also felt super drying and chalky on my lips, and even though I’d exfoliated and moisturised them to prep they started to flake pretty quickly. It didn’t last through dinner, drinking a Diet Coke, or kissing my boyfriend; these are three activities I do pretty regularly and while I will consider dumping the bf I am not sacrificing Diet Coke in the name of a lipstick, fuck that. I really love the colour, and once I’d evened it out it did look good for maybe half an hour, but I’m not sure if there are really any occasions that that would be enough for. I’ll keep it, I’m all for a new vegan brand (I should also mention that I swatched a few of their shadows and highlights and they were blindingly pigmented and super creamy), and if you consider the £9.00 price tag it’s very promising, but I won’t be buying another until they’ve sorted their formula out.
So here is my finished look! As usual there are of course (many) extras that I have listed below. I opted for a subtle bronze eye because I wanted this look to be about lips. I’ll call it glowy Hollywood glam? Subtle vamp? Twilight for adults? (Christ that sounds like porn.) Open to suggestions.
- Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer, £24 (CF)
- Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 120, £26 (CF, V)
- Anastasia Beverley Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Soft Brown, £19 (CF, V)
- Benefit 24-Hour Brow Setter Clear Brow Gel, £20
- Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Eyeshadow Primer in Light/Medium, £22
- Benefit Hoola, £24.50
- Benefit Dandelion, £24.50
- NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, £24
- Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Peach Glow, £3.99
- Urban Decay Naked Palette using Naked, Buck, Smog, Half Baked and Creep, £39.50 (CF)
- Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, £24 (CF, V)
- Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper, £16.00 (CF, V)
- Beauty Pie The Ten Best Jewel Eyeshadow Shades using Softie, £35/£7.38 members price (CF)
- Beauty Pie One Powder Wonder, £26/£4.22 members price (CF)
- Max Factor Creme Bronzer in Light Gold, £9.99
- BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Moonstone, £32.00 (CF*, V)
- Diego Dalla Palma Ciglione Lash Booster Mascara in Black, £17.50 (CF)
- Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara in Brown, £8.99
- Perfect Shade Liquid Lipstick in City Girl, £9.00 (CF, V)
*BECCA has recently been acquired by Estée Lauder which may jeopardise its cruelty free status; Estée Lauder sell their products in mainland China, where animal testing is required by law for cosmetics.