Review: Fenty Skin – Total Cleans’R, Fat Water, Hydra Vizor SPF 30
Like everyone else in the world, I love Rihanna. Her debut album came out while I was in high school and I’ve been following her style and makeup ever since. Not only is she one of the most beautiful women in the world, but she is unapologetic, relatable, and consistently thinks of her fans and target audience. I love that she shows herself actually using her products and explaining what’s good about the ingredients, why she loves it, why she’s using it, how she’s using it. Not gonna lie, I was pretty surprised that she knew as much as she did because I assume most celebrities just slap their names on a product, give a quick once-over and it hits the market. She shows she cares about what you’re putting on your face and body.
That being said, there was excitement and disappointment in the skincare community with the launch of Fenty Skin. The disappointment? Fragrance. It is a polarizing topic with dermatologists and skinthusiasts where some are absolutely against it and others, like me, who just don’t mind it that much. A dermatologist will tell you it’s beneficial for everyone to avoid fragrance in skincare because there’s less potential for irritation. The truth is everyone has different sensitivities to ingredients and if you know fragrance is a chief trigger for your skin, then you may want to avoid the Fenty Skin line. It’s important to note that many ‘natural’ or ‘clean’ products contain extracts and essential oils in lieu of fragrance that can be just as, if not more, irritating to the skin. For example, apricot scrubs contain shell powder which is natural.. but on the skin? Micro lacerations, irritation, dryness are all commonly reported. Lavender essential oil is a calming aroma, but can be irritating in high concentrations and often found in products labelled ‘soothing’.
My skin doesn’t usually get irritated with fragrance unless it’s high up on the inci list. A light fragrance as opposed to a plasticky sort of … unscentedness.. can be nice! How something smells is extremely important because it dictates the frequency and pleasure of use, so fragrance to me isn’t a huge no-no but YMMV.
Because I want to give Fenty Skin a fair review, I used the products religiously for a month where they fit into my routine. That meant using the Total Cleans’R & Fat Water every AM & PM and Hydra Vizor SPF 30 in the AM only. Actives like AHA/BHA and retinoids at night. At this time I was not using a vitamin c serum. I was NOT given any of these products for free and I am not sponsored by Fenty – I bought the bundle for $75 on FentySkin.com when it launched.
Fenty Skin Total Cleans’R – $25 USD for 4.9oz/145ml at fentyskin.com
Claims: The claims that stood out to me, directly from the website, were the following:
“This 2-in-1 makeup remover-cleanser gives you the delicious deep clean you deserve: Its creamy lather removes dirt, oil, and longwear makeup without stripping or drying.
CLEAN, VEGAN, CRUELTY FREE, GLUTEN FREE.”
Ingredients: AQUA/WATER/EAU, SODIUM COCOYL GLYCINATE, SODIUM COCOAMPHOACETATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, SODIUM CHLORIDE, POLYGLYCERYL-10 LAURATE, GLYCERIN, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, GLYCOL DISTEARATE, SUCROSE, MALPIGHIA PUNICIFOLIA (ACEROLA) FRUIT EXTRACT, CHAENOMELES SINENSIS FRUIT EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, FICUS CARICA (FIG) FRUIT EXTRACT, GINKGO BILOBA LEAF EXTRACT, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, COCONUT ACID, SODIUM COCOATE, SODIUM METABISULFITE, POLYQUATERNIUM-7, SODIUM BENZOTRIAZOLYL BUTYLPHENOL SULFONATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, SODIUM BENZOATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, PARFUM/FRAGRANCE, BENZYL SALICYLATE, BLUE 1 (CI 42090), RED 40 (CI 16035), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), YELLOW 5 (CI 19140), YELLOW 6 (CI 15985).
Personal Thoughts & Recommendations: Firstly, a note on extracts: When a product has all these great extracts, they are often not at a high enough concentration to solicit any real, obvious results. Sure, Barbados cherry (malphighia punicifolia) may have a high amount of vitamin c – when you eat it. Its effects on the skin are not studied as well as vitamin c in the form of l-ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), and sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD ascorbate) – the latter three being more stable than l-ascorbic acid. So I take the inclusion of these extracts with a grain of salt and don’t expect any miracles. Also, I never expect anything from my cleanser beyond it being thorough and non-stripping because it’s on my skin for 60 seconds.
I truly enjoy using the Total Cleans’r. It has a creamy, sweet fig scent that is less green than the fig scent you may be familiar with if you like Diptyque’s Figuer. The cleanser itself comes out like a creamy gel and works into a creamy lather. I remove all my cleansers with a wash cloth, but it does rinse clean if you’re only using water. Not ONCE did my combination/dehydrated/acne-prone skin feel stripped or dry – and FYI – I have felt stripped and dry from highly recommended and popular drugstore dermatologist-recommended cleansers.
Fenty Skin Fat Water Toner Serum – $28 USD for 5.0oz/150ml at fentyskin.com
Claims: “A 2-in-1 toner-serum combo that targets pores, improves the look of dark spots, brightens, smooths, and fights shine—all without stripping skin.
CLEAN, VEGAN, CRUELTY FREE, GLUTEN FREE.”
Ingredients: AQUA/WATER/EAU, HAMAMELIS VIRGINIANA (WITCH HAZEL) WATER, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, NIACINAMIDE, POLYSORBATE 20, LEUCONOSTOC/RADISH ROOT FERMENT FILTRATE, BACKHOUSIA CITRIODORA LEAF EXTRACT, CAMELLIA OLEIFERA LEAF EXTRACT, CEREUS GRANDIFLORUS (CACTUS) FLOWER EXTRACT, FICUS CARICA (FIG) FRUIT EXTRACT, GINKGO BILOBA LEAF EXTRACT, HOVENIA DULCIS FRUIT EXTRACT, MALPIGHIA PUNICIFOLIA (ACEROLA) FRUIT EXTRACT, GLYCERIN, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, BENZOIC ACID, POTASSIUM SORBATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, PARFUM/FRAGRANCE, RED 33 (CI 17200).
Personal Thoughts & Recommendations: See notes on extracts above. Fat Water is a water-based toner-serum hybrid that claims to tighten pores, smooth skin, diminish hyperpigmentation and oiliness. Firstly, those claims are only supported by the niacinamide, which at high concentrations (5-10%) can help with skin texture, dehydration and hyperpigmentation. Fenty Skin is not advertising the % of niacinamide so I can’t imagine it’s at concentrated levels. Secondly, I don’t understand the inclusion of witch hazel water. Touting itself as being a “universal game-changer”, you’d think they’d be using something more sophisticated .. like a mild lactic acid for pore refinement instead? The only game-changing aspect of this is a thicker consistency toner..
I believe calling Fat Water an essence rather than serum would have been more accurate. When I read ‘serum’, I think high concentration of quality ingredients known to provide specific skin benefits. Fat Water behaves as an essence in the sense that it preps the skin by enveloping it in a light layer of hydration as a base for your more potent skincare products. To me, it’s an unnecessary step when you consider the witch hazel, niacinamide, fragrance levels in here. Ugh, the smell.. I didn’t mind it at first but after a month that vanilla cake fragrance started making me grimace. It was no longer an extremely pleasurable experience.
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor SPF 30 – $35 USD for 1.7oz/50ml at fentyskin.com
Claims: “This 2-in-1 moisturizer and sunscreen is lightweight, oil free, and truly invisible on all skin tones. It claps back at dehydration, discoloration, dark spots. Makeup-friendly, too: No pilling and zero flashback. Refillable.
CLEAN, VEGAN, CRUELTY FREE, GLUTEN FREE.”
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: AVOBENZONE 3%, HOMOSALATE 9%, OCTISALATE 4.5%
INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: WATER, GLYCERIN, CARTHAMUS TINCTORIUS (SAFFLOWER) OLEOSOMES, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE, NIACINAMIDE, ZEA MAYS (CORN) STARCH, HYALURONIC ACID, SODIUM HYALURONATE, CITRULLUS LANATUS (WATERMELON) SEED EXTRACT, ADANSONIA DIGITATA PULP EXTRACT, BAROSMA BETULINA LEAF EXTRACT, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, GLUCONOLACTONE, SORBITAN OLEATE, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, SODIUM ACRYLATE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE COPOLYMER, DIMETHICONE, ISOHEXADECANE, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCRYLENE, POLYSORBATE 80, XANTHAN GUM, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, CITRIC ACID, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, TOCOPHEROL, TRISODIUM ETHYLENEDIAMINE DISUCCINATE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, SODIUM BENZOATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, FRAGRANCE, BENZYL SALICYLATE, CITRAL, HEXYL CINNAMAL, LIMONENE, LINALOOL, RED 33.
Personal Thoughts & Recommendations: I was weary of the tocopherol. It’s pretty low on the inci list but still has the potential to break me out. Immediately, I love the creamy moisturizing gel texture, the juicy scent, and the pink hue which is just enough to take away possible ashiness and add a bright glow to any skin tone. There is no white cast whatsoever, but I didn’t expect any because it doesn’t contain zinc oxide & titanium dioxide. The texture is a nice change from the usual Asian milk type sunscreens that contain tons of silicones and/or alcohol. Other than that, it contains unsophisticated chemical sunscreen filter for such an exorbitant price of $35!
To Fenty Skin’s credit, the sunscreen filters approved by the US FDA are ancient and they did the best they could with what is available. It would be very hard to formulate a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide formula that is cosmetically elegant and leaves no white cast but others have done it. Avobenzone is not very photostable and -salates aren’t very impressive either (though they do help to stabilize the avobenzone). I don’t want anything with mediocre SPF protection sitting on my face no matter how much I like the texture or scent (which are the only two things I enjoyed about this product). I felt the need to apply another sunscreen over it for proper protection so what’s the point of Hydra Vizor? There are better sunscreens that double as moisturizers for the same price, if not less. If Fenty is pricing a mediocre SPF at $35, I can’t imagine how they’ll price a night cream or treatment serum.
Hard PASS. I was enthusiastic and committed to using everything daily despite every product being subpar ingredients-wise compared to the other performance-driven products I use. Despite this, Fenty Skin products played nicely with the AHAs and retinoids I was rotating in the month of August. Like.. it didn’t make anything perform worse or better. It didn’t elevate my routine. It didn’t make it a more pleasurable experience.
Product wise, I started to hate how much Hydra Vizor made my pores appear larger as it settled into my skin after 4 hours or so. The smell of Fat Water started to get sickening and reminiscent of cheap vanilla body sprays that I used to LOVE in my teenage years. The one product I liked and can see myself tossing into my travel bag is the Total Cleans’R (I hate typing it this way.) I love the creamy rich lather, I love how you can control how foamy you want it, I love being able to use it wet or dry, I love that it’s not too oily/balmy, I love that it didn’t strip my skin at all. I think it’s truly a great 2 in 1 product and I hope you are using a washcloth with it!! Another thing I love about the Fenty Skin line is the packaging. I had no problems with the twist and pour cap on Fat Water, it works with the runny gel texture. I like how Hydra Vizor is refillable. I did have a small issue with the cleanser’s twist and squeeze – a bit of product comes out when you twist to close.
I can see this bundle being a cute gift for a junior high school student getting into skincare because they love all things Rihanna. Truthfully, I swear to you that you can build a better routine in the drugstore that isn’t as expensive but produces results. I’ll make a separate post on that.