Rihanna changed the makeup world as we know it by releasing her now-iconic beauty brand, Fenty Beauty, in September 2017. Complete with 40 shades of foundation—and an impressive selection of highlighters and multisticks—the brand instantly disrupted the industry and challenged its compliance when it came to lacklustre shade ranges. With Fenty Beauty, Rihanna made (at least) 40 the gold standard.
These days, the singer-songwriter turned beauty brand founder (turned actress turned fashion designer) has made a name for herself as a leader in the beauty industry, even winning several innovation awards for the brand’s offerings. In fact, to younger generations, her role as a beauty brand founder may outshine the fact that she’s also a music legend. (See this chilling tweet.)
But long before she made her dramatic and industry-altering entrance into beauty, Rihanna has been the celebrity to watch on red carpets, at award shows, and on the streets of New York, half-full wine glass in hand. And while we may all know her show-stopping looks from the Met Gala or the Grammys like the back of our hand, Rihanna’s stunning beauty looks haven’t always gotten the attention they deserve.
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To celebrate Rihanna’s 32nd birthday, we’ve compiled a list of the best—yet most underrated—beauty looks she’s worn throughout the years, courtesy of the many makeup artists she’s worked with, from Priscilla Ono and Hector Espinal to Lora Arellano and Mylah Morales. Browse the list below to give these 10 RiRi looks the honour they rightfully earned.
Rihanna attended the BET Black Girls Rock! in 2016 wearing several pearl-encrusted hair clips and the boldest cat eye we’d ever seen on her. If you look closely, you’ll see that her mod, ’60s-inspired eye makeup was paired with sparkly gold highlighter that, in hindsight, looks suspiciously like Fenty Beauty’s Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in “Trophy Wife,” which would only be released a year and a half later.
We’re throwing it way back to the 2009 American Music Awards for this one. We love Rihanna’s upside down eyeliner shape (all the way around on the bottom, and only the outer third on the top), bold colour choice and spider-y, clumpy lashes.
Redanna. That’s it. That’s the caption.
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Apart from that amazing red hair, Rihanna wore barrel rolls and bright coral lipstick on NBC’s Today in 2011, and we’re still thinking about it.
Rihanna’s FIFA World Cup 2014 beauty look was defined by the Brazilian flag temporary tattoo on her neck, Pelé written on her cheek (in liquid eyeliner, it appears) and those red lips—likely M.A.C Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, allegedly Rihanna’s go-to before the launch of Fenty Beauty.
To launch her River Island Spring/Summer 2014 collection, Rihanna showed up in a mullet, baby bangs and blue lipstick. And we simply need to talk about this more.
As if the matching pink pixie, nails and purse weren’t enough, this look also created one of our favourite memes of all time.
During Paris Fashion Week back in 2014, Rihanna paired this choppy, blunt cut with tons of eyeliner and a nude lip, resulting in (in our humble opinion), one of her best looks to date.
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You probably remember Rihanna’s look from the 2014 Met Gala, but do you remember her after-party look? The singer kept her curly ’do and amped up her makeup, wearing a rare (for her) bold, smokey eye.
Pairing glossy black lips with blunt bangs and minimal eye makeup? So good. Not getting the highest maintenance lip look of all time all over your chin? Masterful.