#DontShootTheMessenger: This Is What Happened When I Tried The Fenty Beauty Foundation

I know that by posting this review I’m going to run the risk of having my black card revoked. However, as a journalist by trade, and someone deeply committed to the truth, this has to be said:

The Fenty Beauty Foundation is acne in a bottle. im shocked gifIf you’d prefer to hear my thoughts as opposed to reading this article you can watch my impromptu facebook like video:

Now, before I jump into my review, let me drop a few facts about your girl:

  1. I’ve been a beauty blogger for over 5 years. Reviewing makeup both here and on my youtube channel is what I do.
  2. I am a full-time content creator.
  3. I know how to apply makeup and test it on myself
  4. I am not a skincare expert
  5. I am not a chemist
  6. I am not a makeup artist
  7. I am a makeup enthusiast
  8. I am a woman of a certain age
  9. I  have a rigorous skincare routine and have been under the care of a dermatologist for the last year
  10. I have acne-prone, and oily skin. No combo skin, oily all around skin.
  11. To keep my acne at bay, I use the prescription Retin-A.
  12. To keep my face oil (sebum) at bay, I drink a ton of water.
  13. I am a Rihanna fan, while I am not a member of the Navy, I fucks with her. Heavy.
  14. I purchased all of my Fenty Beauty products with my own money.
  15. If you love this foundation I’m happy for you.

Like most of you reading, when Rihanna announced she was releasing a makeup line, I set aside my coins and waited with bated breath. I routinely support black-owned businesses and businesses that cater to black women like Vault Cosmetics, Juvia’s Place, Coloured Raine, Danessa Myercks, Pat McgrathThe Lip Bar, and many more (read HERE), so it was without question that I would support Rhi Rhi’s launch. Also, As a sheer coincidence, I was staying in Times Square the day it was released and was able to buy her foundation, primer, several of her stick and powder highlighters, and the highlighter, concealer, and contour  trio.

As they say go hard or go home, right?

Let’s start with what I love about this foundation:

  •  40 effin colors! Most brands wait months and months before releasing the darker shades, so it was so clutch to go right into a store and grab a foundation in my shade from jump giphy 3 2
  • The foundation feels like a dream going on
  • It’s creamy and light weight. Feels like nothing is on your skin.
  • It has a very natural finish, perfect for girls who want to wear a foundation without looking made up. This foundation is perfect for my girls who love a quick beat for the workday or for running errands

Here’s what I didn’t love about it and why I call it acne in a bottle:

  • I tried Fenty Beauty twice for about 8-10 hours on each try, and on both occasions, I developed several pimples. Not huge cystic pimples, but 2 each time. I’m still battling the two I developed on Saturday.
  • I was color-matched by a Fenty Beauty Makeup Artist/Specialist in the color 430. While this color is advertised as Neutral, it has a very golden undertone that simply became more gold/yellow as time wore on.
  • Fenty Beauty Foundation made my skin beyond oily. I tried it with the Fenty Primer and the The Fenty blotting powder, and still, within an hour or two my face was oily. I could see my pores enlarge as the day went on as well. My skin reacted almost as if it were being suffocated, and in an effort to breath, my pores got bigger and my skin began to produce more oil.
  • The ingredients in the Fenty Beauty Foundation read as such:

Water, Dimethicone, Talc, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Polypropylene, Isododecane, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Nylon-12, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Glycerin, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Aluminum Hydroxide, Methicone, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Propylene Carbonate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Parfum/Fragrance, Silica, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Paullinia Cupana Seed Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid. May Contain (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI77499).

Notice how frequently Dimethicone, a silicone, occurs so early on in the indredient list.

Why is this important?

The Beauty Editor (read more HERE) lists 7 reasons why it’s important to avoid silicones in your skincare, including:

1. Silicones trap debris in your pores.

Like plastic wrap, silicones form a barrier on top of your skin. That barrier can lock in moisture, yes, but it can also trap dirt, sweat, bacteria, sebum, dead skin cells and other debris along with it!

2. Silicones can cause acne and congestion.

Prolonged exposure to oil, dead skin and bacteria underneath the semi-occlusive seal of silicones can lead to increased breakouts. If you are acne-prone, I consider silicones among the most important ingredients to avoid—maybe even THE most important. Silicones can also be a culprit in under-the-skin clogs (a.k.a. congestion), even if you don’t develop full-blown acne.

To be fair, if you like a liquid foundation, you’ll be hard pressed to find a liquid foundation without silicone, particularly Dimethicone. It’s found in most foundations, but it occurs a LOT in Fenty Beauty. Too much for my liking. The only, and I mean, only, foundation that keeps my skin less oily (not oil-free, but less oily than any other foundation I’ve tried, is Estee Lauder Doublewearir?source=bk&t=l05f2 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=a256f56a530402f3da016ef6eddfb8dd& cb=1505930800486 ir?source=bk&t=l05f2 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=43159f1336ed00e36d5b409541306e23& cb=1505929951429foundation:

best foundation oily skin estee lauder doublewear

Still, even Estee Lauder Double Wear (reviewed HERE), contains Dimethicone:

 Water\Aqua\Eau; Cyclopentasiloxane; Trimethylsiloxysilicate; Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone; Butylene Glycol; Tribehenin; Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate; Magnesium Sulfate; Tocopheryl Acetate; Polymethylsilsesquioxane; Methicone; Laureth-7; Xanthan Gum; Alumina; Sodium Dehydroacetate; Disteardimonium Hectorite; Cellulose Gum; Propylene Carbonate; Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate; Phenoxyethanol; [+/- Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499); Mica; Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891)] <ILN39010>

Note how infrequently Dimethicone occurs in Double wear in comparison to the how frequently it occurs in Fenty Beauty.

It’s also found in the Fenty Beauty Primer:

Screen Shot 2017 09 20 at 2.06.01 PMWater, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Glycerin, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Nylon-12, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Talc, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Benzoic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Propylene Carbonate, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Parfum/Fragrance, Aluminum Hydroxide, Coral Powder, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492).

In short, if you truly have oily skin, Fenty Beauty Foundation Primer and Foundation will not keep your oil at bay for extended periods of time. It’ll feel great going on and even look great at first, but over time? Forget about it.

My thoughts on a few of the other products in the line:

Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters $34-6 shades


The color Ginger binge is my absolute favorite, and looks and feels like a dream going on. Placed on top of Sinnamon shimmer stick and you’ll never want to use another highlighter in your life.

Con: Dimethicone is the first ingredient on the list, so it may cause you to break out as well.Screen Shot 2017 09 09 at 1.13.54 PM

Matchstick Concealer, highlighter, and Contour Trio in 400: $54


This was just a fail on me. I always highlight and contour, and while the concealer shade in 400 was slightly darker than I would normally go, by the time I was done with my face, I looked  “too natural.” It would work, perhaps, for my “go to the office face,” but not for the Fenty beat I was after. It did feel amazing going on, and blended out beautifully. This product would be great for beginners, too.

Fenty Shimmer Sticks: $25, 10 shades.

honest-fenty-reviewLove these. For me, they are the stand-out product. They blend out beautifully on the skin, and provide a beautiful natural glow. The ingredients, as far as I know, are relatively safe.

My advice?

Get to a local Sephora and snag some samples. Try to get enough to test this foundation out on your skin 2-3 times. Do not make up your mind at first attempt. You can also try other foundations. Click HERE for a list of 30 companies that make foundation colors for dark skin.

Share your thoughts below!

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  1. Dimethicone in primers and liquid foundations is why I always use the least amount of product needed. Silicone makes makeup feel heavy on me real quick. It’s another reason why I always use my acne lotion under makeup. That is a whole lot of silicone in one foundation. This might be why some people said it felt wet on their faces. I think I won’t get the primer and just go with the foundation. This might serve me better as a winter foundation.

  2. Thank you for an impartial review. I hope Rihanna is picking up the constructive feedback to improve the cosmetics. I love Rihanna’s business acumen and I’m rooting for this brand, but it has to work for my skin, which like yours, is oily.

  3. THANK YOU! This is the same exact problem I was running into as well! After an hour of wearing the primer and foundation, my T-zone got immediately oily 🙁 I had high hopes for this too after watching all of the videos. I may check out your suggestion of Estee Lauder’s line of foundation. Thank you for your honest review – I wasn’t finding many honest reviews so it was hard for me to decide if I should return this or not. Now I will be returning it in exchange for something else. Thank you!

  4. I thought I was bugging out but my face is breaking out after using this foundation !! Don’t get me wrong I love how the foundation looks flawless on my skin but I have been getting cyist like bumps all over my face, it’s very aggravating only because I spent much of my time trying to clear it up now I’m back to square one.

    1. Omg the only time I wear Fenty beauty foundation is on Thursday and Fridays which is 2x a week and every time I use it, its like 2 pimples pop up and I’m trying so hard to get rid of it… When It goes down and Friday comes around 3 more pop up plus the old pimples are still noticeable… I’m very religious on my skin care, 2x a day and nothing seems to work!!! I have never broken out so bad in my life. So this has to be the reason why, but I love the way foundation looks and feels on me ???

    2. Omg! I’m dealing with this now. I have VERY big cyst like pimples all over my face from only wearing the foundation one time. What did you use to view yours up?

      1. i have a blog post I wrote last week..it’s actually my most recent post here on the site with a complete skincare routine. Check it out!

    3. I have been having the same problem of my skin breaking out, just a few days ago my cousin called me and told me the same thing. Both of us are Fenty lovers, its the best foundation for me but we suspected its the cause if our skin breakouts, i dont wear everyday but once i do, which is Fenty, i always get a bad really bad reactions, both i and my cousin are dealing with the same problem.
      I knew it, your article explains it so well, thanks so much, I have completely discontinued using Fenty even though it was the best foundation for me and am on. treatment.

  5. Whew…glad it wasnt just me. I was matched to 440 Fenty Beauty. I have oily skin, with warm undertones. So.. I put on my primer, then some loose setting powder (extra protection from that oil) and commenced to applying the foundation.

    It goes great on. Very lightweight and full coverage. I applied my concealer and setting powder again to set everything. I even applied my setting spray (matte of course). 2 hours later, my nose and forehead were so shiny. I couldn’t believe it. I usually don’t get shiny until 5-6 hours later.

    More disappointing were the little pimples that appeared within a day or so. I really wanted to love this product. I’m going to try the bare minerals liquid foundation next in Truffle. Wish me luck

  6. Thank You, Thank You!! I feel that you were in my head when you wrote this article. I wanted to love Fenty soooo much that I packed up my trustee ole double wear foundation because I wanted to support a sista in the beauty industry and man when I say that I almost apologized to my Estee bottle when I had to unpack it lol it was pitiful. I now have several little pimples on my cheeks and forehead from Fenty ?. I know people haven’t had these issues but for a oily acne prone girl like myself issa no for me dawg

  7. I found your post because I had a horrible breakout from Fenty. I LOOOVE the way it looked on my skin and I thought I was definitely going to switch to it from the foundation I previously used for many years.

    I bought it right before an international trip and was so busy that I didn’t really consider the makeup as the source of the breakout. I assumed the breakout was from a different environment/traveling/different water, but I’ve done this same trip before and never experienced anything like the daily new pimples and cystic acne I was experiencing. 🙁 I haven’t had skin this bad in 10 years or more. Suddenly it dawned on me at the end of the trip… and then I found your post.

    I used a product with silicone in it once before. It was a primer and I experienced the same thing. I love the way the silicone makes things look but it just doesn’t work. 🙁

    1. I’m not surprised. Leave that stuff alone! it’s so not meant for us. Look into Coverfx foundation! Love it, and it’s water-based

    2. Omg I am so glad I found this… my skin is in shambles and I JUST realized it’s been the foundation this whole time!
      I’m so sad… It looked so beautiful on…. when my skin was clear. ?

      1. I’ve had problems with acne in the passed but used Retin-A to clear it. I started using the foundation and i LOVE it. Absolutely loved. And then….my forehead completely broke out. Figure it was stress. Just tried it again after my face was clear and they’re back before even wiping it off 5 hours later. I’m so sad!!! I thought i found my forever foundation 🙁 I was always a powder girl. And i really want to keep using liquid.

  8. So glad I stumbled on your reviews on Fenty and Estee lauder double wear! I can’t decide here. I have oily skin. I want something long lasting but still feels light weight on the skin with out the cakey makeup look. I haven’t tied Fenty yet. I tried double wear but it’s too matte for me. Looks too cakey. I was thinking of going with fenty or trying the double wear light. Any recommendations?

    1. i think you should look into Cover FX foundations….full coverage and water-based, and not as matte as estee lauder.

  9. In Sweden they only have fenty at Sephora. But double wear everywhere. Does Estée Lauder give more flawless results?

    1. Within this article there is a link to my review of the estee lauder doublewear. The review includes pictures and video. Hope you have a chance to watch!

  10. Oh wow.
    Bought Fenty Yesterday
    Pimple Today
    Googled “Fenty made me break out” and…
    Just read your article Today
    My bad, didn’t even check if was hypo-allergenic, I just bought it.
    No words left

  11. OMG! No wonder why I have 13 freaking pimples on my face. I don’t breakout at all so I’m like WTF? Returning this asap.

  12. Thanks for the honest review. I certainly wanted to support Fenty Beauty, but will probably reconsider (at least on the foundation anyway) making the purchase. I currently use Tarte foundation which is vegan friendly and I love it, but I did just look up its ingredients and dimethicone is listed 4x’s and I am an oily/acne prone girl as well, but I don’t experience breakouts from it. If only we were all blessed with flawless skin that allowed us to just be in our own skin.

  13. I noticed after wearing Fenty 6 times within two weeks that my cheeks have small bumps and my forehead is breaking out more than usual. I love the foundation because I have oily skin and it makes my face much more matte. It also covers up dark spots on my face. I did not have an issue with oily skin after I put the foundation on like others. I wear the shade 390 and absolutely love the foundation. I am giving it a break to see if my face can properly heal. I am in law school and I am very stressed… so maybe that’s why my face is breaking out? Not sure …

    1. SAME HERE. I go to law school as well and thought the breakout was because of stress/exams. Did you get small bumps on your skin different from acne but more like small cysts?

      Have you had any luck in getting rid of them? Mine haven’t gone away in 3 weeks and I stopped using it 3 weeks ago :'(

  14. I cannot thank you enough for being honest and sharing this fact. My face reacted the same way with Fenty beauty after one month of using it, at 26 years old, my face broke out and I got a lot of acne. So thank you!!

  15. So glad I came across this I thought I was tripping. My face broke out the 2 times I wore this with a few bumps. Even by the end of the day while still wearing it I had a bump on my face that wasn’t there before. It makes sense with that silicone being something that traps oil in the skin. I thought maybe it’s something else I did considering all the positive reviews for this but after finding this i know it wasn’t just me. Im still tempted to try again hoping it won’t break me out, I’m just mad at the money i wasted and that foundation was beautiful ?. Do you have any dupe recommendations for a dark skinned girl that wont break me out?

    1. Within this post, I have linked my recommendation for a matte foundation that won’t break you out. Did you have a chance to check it out?

  16. Thank you for writing this blog. I fell in love with the fenty primer and foundation. After a few weeks of wearing it my face started breaking out. I did not think it was my new favorite foundation and I continued to wear it. After process of elimination it has to be the fenty products. I’m left with both white heads and cysts to deal with. Back to Mac Studio Fix for me.

  17. i thought i was the only one having trouble with putting it on… After Primer and everything, it already started to crease after 10 Minutes, and my pores were getting huge. I was so disappointed, i hope ill be able to get a refund soon because its so much money! I was so excited for fenty too ?

  18. My lower face broke out so bad! Just got a facial today to hopefully aid the breakouts. After a few weeks of wearing daily to work I developed multiple small size acne, almost in patches! Bummer because the foundation coverage and color is great.

  19. Hi, I stumbled across your post when I couldn’t figure out why my skin was breaking out. I am also someone interested in making Youtube videos and decided to make a video on why I was stopping using this foundation and used you as a reference. I hope you don’t mind!

  20. I have always been fortunate to be able to use any product on my face with no reaction. My skin is a weird shade of ‘fair’ most products are a shade too light or a shade too dark…never just right. So I was excited to know I could finally find a perfect match and it was. 310…I used it three days in a row and noticed my skin got dry and a rash formed. The foundation was the only new product I introduced so I knew it was the cause of the breakout. I thought I was the only one…

  21. God! I wish I came across this article before using the Fenty Beauty foundation ? I have dry skin and have always had a clear face, regardless I always stick to products that are hypoallergenic. I recently went to sephora and found the perfect shade, tried it on, and completely fell in love. By the time I got home my whole face broke out in hives. I thought it was food allergies. It’s been over a month and a half and I still have pimples all over my face. I’m 28 yrs old and this the first time I’ve had a break out this bad since puberty. I don’t know what to do, the bumps just won’t go away.

  22. Oh my God! I started using fenty foundation today and i broke out all over my face! I literally run to google to se if some one else had this problem. I was soo happy to find a foundation for my skin color…now i’m so heart broken….i want to cry i swear.

  23. oh my god! I’m always skeptical when it comes to putting anything on my skin, I had terrible acne which has all cleared up due to a new simple skincare routine and accutane. My skin is extremely dry and the only foundation I use is Estee Lauder. i’ve been wanting to try fenty for ages but always feared breakouts so when I read this, the first review which relates it to acne, I go tso happy! But whats even better is reading that you use Estee Lauder Double Wear! THE SAME AS ME ! I have extreeeeeeemely dry skin but it always works well for me! Thank you for the honest review 🙂

  24. Thank you! I tried two different foundation samples at the same time, and I knew one of them was making me break out (I have oily, acne prone skin). I just really didn’t want to believe it was the Fenty. I wanted to support a line that had a more complete set of colour options, but alas, it’s just not working for my skin. I really loved the way it felt and looked on my skin, but I will have to go with something else. Thanks for the honest, in-depth review.

  25. THANK YOU!! I just turned 30, and was wondering why in the world my face just all of a sudden started breaking out like I was 20 again. I thought about what i changed and I immediately remembered that i changed my primer to Fenty. I just googled Fenty primer reviews and yours was the first to pop up. I love Rihanna and that’s why I invested in her product, but my lord my face has turned into a pizza face in a matter of 3 days. Do you have any suggestions for a good primer for oily skin?

  26. I’m so gutted because i thought I had found a foundation at last that suits my skin tone and doesn’t make my already very oily skin more oily. I noticed after using fenty that i started breaking out. What’s even more upsetting is that my skin had just recently cleared from all the acne and hormones from being on the pill only to now be back to square one with breakouts again! I bought 2 bottles of fenty as I don’t live in the US and we haven’t got a sephora in the UK. I have to find a way to return them and get my money back.

  27. I literally just googled “does fenty beauty foundation breakout your face” and came across your review. I’m glad you confirmed what I thought was the culprit to my face breaking out. I wore the foundation yesterday and mid-day noticed tiny bumps all over the perimeter of my forehead, cheeks and bridge of my nose. I am also testing out the Too Faced peach perfect mattifying powder, so I thought it was that. To figure it out, today I wore my covergirl queen, which is something I’ve been wearing for years and put the TF powder over it. My face is fine and the bumps have almost disappeared. So now I know for sure it was the Fenty foundation. I wanted to like it so bad because I love Rih Rih, but oh well it’s going back to the store.

  28. Thank you for writing this! I was experiencing the same problem around my chin area (my prone breakout area). I was wondering what it was and finally thought it could be the foundation. I am stopping my use on this foundation to see if my breakouts continue or not, but I think it is because of this foundation since before I started using it, I was using the Peach Perfect Matte Foundation and my skin seemed fine.

  29. This is heartbreaking because I love the product but I think you may be on to something. I’ve been using my Fenty for months now and I have had breakouts that just won’t quit. Also, more recently my eyelids burn after applying it. I think I may be due for a Fenty detox.

  30. Wow I am glad I read your blog. I experienced the same reaction and I felt like I was left alone because everywhere I read it said that Fenty doesn’t give break outs and my face was covered with break outs after I started using Fenty.

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