Since its debut on September 8, Rihanna’s Fenty Cosmetics line has been a whirlwind of press, influencers, and some good old-fashioned brand beef. With forty shades of foundation to choose from and highlighters so bright they put the Kirakira+ app to shame, it’s easy to forget that this is the singer’s first foray into beauty.
But aside from star products, star power, and an especially sparkly ray of inclusivity rarely sighted in most beauty brands, what exactly took Fenty Beauty from buzzworthy to bona fide?
Over the past year, social media has undergone a serious unravelling. Once lauded for its authenticity and audacity, Snapchat now almost consistently trails other platforms, leaving Instagram to take the digital marketing wheel, especially between brands and influencers. That said, it wasn’t long ago that Snapchat held the hearts of many an influencer and brand, including, and especially, Kylie Cosmetics. The platform was used almost exclusively to tease tutorials of the Snap queen herself, Kylie Jenner, sneaking peeks of her latest lip kit or eyeshadow palette.
Though this method proved effective for her brand’s elusive, exclusive vibe, it’s important to note that the temporariness of Snap stories may have permitted the Kylie Cosmetics glow to fade a little faster with each new release, as depicted below. While Fenty was able to match Kylie’s all-time highest peak on its first day, the latter followed a more spiky, less reliable path to popularity.
While Kylie Cosmetics paired Snapchat stories with SEO, Fenty Beauty doubled down on influencer and brand partnerships and Instagram ubiquity. However, it’s Fenty Beauty, not Kylie Cosmetics, that appears predominantly from social and organic searches for such generic terms as “shades of foundation” and even simply “makeup.”
The irony is that Instagram, which has become one of the least authentic platforms, played a huge role in allowing Fenty Beauty to come out on top as the most genuine brand. Although Snapchat may have played that role for Kylie Cosmetics in the past, its lingering moments of irrelevancy have rendered its effects to be just that — mere moments of authenticity that fade after 24 hours, soon to be forgotten by users everywhere.
Both brands boast the siren call of celebrity, arguably great products, and in the case of Kylie Cosmetics, even a catchy music video to boot. But the status of most authentic appears to have found its home in the Instagram grid.