Despite incessant washing and nonstop sanitizing, my hands are as soft as those of a surgeon.
My face, however, is a whole other story. Burned by the sun, battered by the years, raked raw by too many close shaves, my most billboarding feature shows wear and tear.
So when an editor suggested that I road-test a new facial regimen by beauty badass Rihanna, called Fenty Skin, that’s reportedly formulated for men and women of all skin tones, I was game.
Rihanna’s marketing is tight — with stylish rapper A$AP Rocky featured in the ad campaign and male aesthetician Sean Garrette serving as spokesperson. In his Fenty YouTube spot, for example, he shows that a beard does not get in the way of a clean and hydrated face.
Clearly, Rihanna abides. “I think skin care is gender neutral,” she recently said during a press Zoom call with beauty editors. “Skin is skin, and you shouldn’t have to feel funny or hesitant about using [facial-care products] if you’re a man, because everybody has skin and everybody should take care of their skin. So I never approached skin care or making this line from a gender standpoint. I didn’t want anyone to feel excluded.”
When a package containing skin cleanser, toner serum and sunscreen arrived at our home, I mentioned to my 17-year-old daughter Chloe that I scored a set of Rihanna’s new line of facial goop.
“Fenty?” she said. “Can I try it?”
“How do you know about it?” I wondered. “You like her music?”
“I like her makeup,” she said. “And I follow her on social media.”
Social media, after all, is one place where it had been impossible to miss Rihanna and Fenty this past week. Before it was even introduced, Fenty Skin was trending on Twitter. Now it seems to be blowing up everywhere — even in my house.
So began a bit of a father-and-daughter moment, which has become increasingly rare as Chloe figures out which college to attend next year and does her best to enjoy final months at home in New York with friends.
Inspecting the three cylinders of substances that promise soft skin, refined pores and “the ultimate canvas” for makeup, we agreed that the minimalist packaging looks cool. Chloe particularly liked the fact that you don’t need to remove the lids or flip them up to get at the product — they just require an elegant twist.
She applied as much to the top of the Total Cleans’r ($25), and the creamy coral-pink formula emerged. She rinsed and scrubbed, and I proudly marveled that this is exactly how Garrette did it in Fenty’s YouTube video.
“Yeah,” she said. “I know how to wash my face.” The cleanser earned rave reviews: “Whoa, I like the texture, and this smells really good,” said Chloe.
“That’s because it’s made with cherries from Barbados,” I informed, reading from the press kit. “Rihanna says each one has more vitamin C than an orange.”
Face cleansed, comment reserved on the vitamin-C claim, Chloe wondered when I would jump in and start on the stuff.
Immediately, it turned out. And my favorite part of the process was what Garrette described as the second step: Fat Water ($28), which promises to “refine the look of pores” and “fight shine without stripping skin.”
Pinkish orange and bubbly like champagne in the clear container, it dribbled out a little goopy but liquefied on the skin — negating, I’ve been told, the need for cotton balls, as, apparently, is the norm with traditional toners. The Fat Water felt bracing while emitting the alluring Barbadian cherry scent — there is a theme here — and my skin turned tight but not dry or oily.
The finishing touch was sunscreen/moisturizer, dubbed Hydra Vizor ($35, if you buy Rihanna’s goods, you get to talk that way). Pressing out the pinkest sunscreen I’ve ever seen, I applied dabs to my forehead, cheeks, chin and nose. Considering that I don’t normally wear sunscreen for walking, and moisturizer is almost always a nonstarter, the process was simple enough to feel like a bit of a bargain. Especially since it came with this advice from Rihanna: “Ya better wear sunscreen every damn day!”
Will do, RiRi.
Procedure completed, I walked into Chloe’s bedroom for a postmortem. She glanced up from her laptop and said, “Dad, your face is glowing.”
Clearly, Fenty Skin is riding high on the Kaplan household’s Top 10. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get my hands on it again.