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Yahoo Lifestyle’s Diversity in Beauty Awards (the DIBs) highlights and celebrates personalities, brands, and products that embody inclusive...

Rihanna's humanity — and not her celebrity — is why she's changing the beauty industry

Yahoo Lifestyle’s Diversity in Beauty Awards (the DIBs) highlights and celebrates personalities, brands, and products that embody inclusiveness and innovation. Fenty Beauty was a 2018 winner. 

Rihanna is an award-winning musician who made the world fall in love with radio hits such as “Umbrella,” “We Found Love,” and “Wild Thoughts.” She is also a fashion muse for designer brands, including Dior and Puma. While there is no doubt that these successes play into the self-proclaimed bad gal’s superstar status, in 2017 it was the debut of her cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty, that truly changed the game.

On Sept. 8 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rihanna unveiled Fenty Beauty to a room full of beauty editors, bloggers, influencers, makeup artists, and industry experts. The range included a primer, highlighters, blotting powder, lip gloss, makeup brushes — and last, but certainly far from least — 40 foundation shades, ranging from very fair to very deep.

“After years of experimenting with the best-of-the-best in beauty — and still seeing a void in the industry for products that performed across all skin types and tones, she launched a makeup line ‘so that women everywhere would be included,'” the brand shared in an official statement. In addition to her loyal fanbase, aka the Rihanna Navy, people around the globe were excited about seeing what they felt was one key element missing from the beauty world: makeup representation for all.

The products were available for purchase at mega beauty haven Sephora and department store giant JCPenney, and Fenty Beauty items sold like ice pops on a scorching hot summer day. In its first month, Fenty Beauty earned $72 million in media value (revenue received from social media), according to WWD. Riri managed to beat out other popular brands with her outstanding reach, including reality star Kylie Jenner’s popular namesake line, Kylie Cosmetics.

“I believe Rihanna is an icon across the board — fashion, music, and beauty — so not only were her fans super-excited but people into beauty products were also hyped,” celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff told Yahoo Lifestyle. “The marketing and promotion on social media with makeup artists and models, as well as real women, also was just genius.”

Digging deeper into the numbers, it actually doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Rihanna knows how to bring in the big bucks. In fact, in 2016, she was listed as one of the most marketable celebrities, beating out Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Khloé Kardashian, based on research conducted by the NPD Group. The same study also revealed that fans of Rihanna are 3.7 times as likely to purchase from the 30-year-old megastar as they are from other stars. With all the success Rihanna has already seen with other brands — such as Puma and Chopard — the marketability of Fenty Beauty was almost a no-brainer.

Of all the products Fenty Beauty has to offer, the most talked about had to be the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation. Available in 40 shades, it is an oil-free formula that can easily build from medium to full coverage. An added bonus: It’s made with climate-adaptive technology to give your complexion a shine-free look that wears like second skin.

Editorial makeup artist Justine Purdue told Yahoo Lifestyle that the foundations also offer a wide range of “undertone variations.” Just a few short days after the official launch of Fenty Beauty, a tweet of a beauty display at Sephora showing nearly all the darker foundations missing went viral. The caption read, “The dark Fenty Beauty foundations are sold out everywhere! This is for all the makeup brands who think the dark shades won’t sell.”

As Allure reported, certain beauty brands have made the statement that darker shades won’t sell. However, Fenty Beauty’s inclusive range of foundations proved that notion false. Another important statistic to point out is that in 2013, African-Americans had at least $1.3 trillion of total buying power, with black women specifically shelling out $7.5 billion annually on beauty products  — 80 percent more on cosmetics than non-black consumers.