Luxury beauty has helped keep high fashion brands afloat for decades: sales of posh lipsticks and perfume allow designers greater creative freedom on the catwalk. But it’s only recently that beauty brands have become huge fashion players in themselves, with new makeup collections shrouded in secrecy and launched to beauty-fan stampedes.
Singer Rihanna’s new Fenty Beauty, in my generally cynical view, delivers on its hype. Everything in the reassuringly small range is good – the cute Match Stix (£21 each), for cheeks, contouring and concealing, for example, are a cinch to use – and is focused admirably on serving all women, from the super-pale to very dark. Rihanna says she “wanted everyone to feel included”, and with 40 Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundations (£26), she’s gone at least 16 shades further than most. The full-coverage base’s formula is excellent, if better suited to oilier skins than dry. The finish is matte but not dull, and the staying power exceptional.
Meanwhile, the full range from Glossier, founded by US online beauty editor Emily Weiss, launches here in October, and looks set to fly. The range is cool and pared down – think fresh skin, groomed brows, glossy lips – to the extent that one could fairly assume it “a bit basic”. But there are some real gems hidden inside the millennial-targeted packaging. Cloud Paint in Dusk (buff pink) is the softest, easiest cream blush imaginable. Also great are Haloscopes, Pritt Stick-style highlighters that give, more than anything else I’ve tried, that dewy-cheeked look so loved by makeup artists.
Huda Beauty is another brand capitalising on Instagram influence (founder Huda Kattan has more than 21 million followers), but don’t look here for a similarly low-maintenance approach: Huda is all about several eyeshadows blended into prisms of bold colour, contouring as standard and ombré lips (where two or more lipsticks are worn for a tonal finish; Huda’s £17 Lip Strobe gives novices a decent approximation in one stroke). It may not be my own aesthetic, but I concede the products are of fine quality. My favourites are Desert Dusk Palette (£56), comprising 18 densely pigmented shadows in warm earth tones, and Lip Contour Pencils (£16), liners that are creamy without sacrificing definition. All of the above are cruelty free, as any respectable brand should be.
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