Is Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Mascara Any Good?

Four W Magazine editors tested the product to find out.

Fenty Beauty Artistry and Beauty Talk with Rihanna
Mark Ganzon/Getty Images

Fenty Beauty’s latest product, a mascara called Full Frontal Volume, Lift and Curl, officially dropped today. Products from Rihanna’s makeup line have historically done well, to say the least—in 2018, revenue 15 months after launch amounted to $570 million; and in terms of impact, releasing a 40-shade range of foundation and face powder had the competition quaking in their boots. Coupled with super smart, edgy and inclusive marketing (and the fact that, let’s be real, Rihanna is behind it all), Fenty Beauty was a bona-fide hit from the beginning.

Now, the question remains: what about the mascara? How does it stack up against its star cousins, the Killawatt Highlighter and Gloss Bomb lip gloss? Four W editors—each with different mascara habits and needs—tried the product and gave their honest opinions.

Stephanie Eckardt, Staff Writer

How would you characterize your relationship to mascara? Regular user? Occasional? Never? Definitely never.

Preferred brand, if any? N/A.

Your thoughts? If there’s anyone who could make me change my mind about wearing mascara (or makeup in general), it’s probably Rihanna. Or so I thought until I tried the new formula from Fenty (in the privacy of my home—I had a hunch it would make me look more femme than I’m comfortable with). Perhaps I shouldn’t have done it solo, though, because I ended up needing some assistance. Thanks to Rihanna (and my coworker Maxine), I now know that yes, you’re supposed to put mascara on your lower lashes, too. I also now know that I have one very long lower lash in the center of one of my eyes, because the mascara elongated it enough for my brain to conjure the deeply buried image of early aughts-era Benji Madden.

I decided to consider it a blessing in disguise that I don’t own any makeup remover, which forced me to see if the look would grow on me. It did not. That being said, I have nothing against Fenty in particular—nor, of course, Rihanna.

Maxine Wally, Senior Digital Editor

How would you characterize your relationship to mascara? Regular user? Occasional? Never? Mascara is the only eye makeup I wear on a daily basis—unless, by some rare confluence of planetary alignment, I am forced by more social people to go out. Then I have two other eye makeup “looks” that I do: eyeliner, or red eyeshadow. I am makeup-challenged and therefore do the same makeup every day.

Preferred brand, if any? I use what the beauty editors tell me to use. They are all-knowing.

Your thoughts? First impressions: the packaging is whatever, I like the name: “Cuz I’m Black.” The brush is thinner on one side than it is on the other, which might have some effect on my lashes, but due to the aforementioned makeup-challenged status, I sure as hell don’t know. Anyway, I tried the stuff last night at a friend’s house while we cooked a fresh pasta dish together. She had me cut the onions. I will say the mascara held up well against my tears, despite not technically being a waterproof mascara. The brush was, in fact, very dope—the angled design allowed me to gain access to my inner lashes and made application easy. For my taste, the formulation is too light—but I personally have sparse, tiny eyelashes, and I really like to pile product on them. It seems to be more of a lengthening mascara, so if you have thick lashes already, this would be a great addition to your makeup collection.

Oona Wally, Senior Visuals Editor

How would you characterize your relationship to mascara? Regular user? Occasional? Never? I use mascara every single day, it’s my beauty must-have. I have short, thin eyelashes and like to make them thicker and more dramatic by doubling up and using a couple different mascaras.

Preferred brand, if any? Milk Makeup Kush Mascara, Benefit Roller Lash, Revitalash Double-Ended Volume Set, L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara.

Your thoughts? For Fenty, the packaging is not that interesting or attractive. Based on what I’ve seen before—the highlighter sticks for example—I expected a more interesting or functional package. Upon initial opening, I thought the mascara brush being flat on two sides and rounded on the other two was unique and cool and I hoped for a very different experience because of that. However, once I started to use it, I didn’t like it so much. I felt like the brush was not able to fully grasp onto my baby lashes and coat them evenly. The formula itself is not very thick, so it took many swipes to get my lashes volumized/coated. (Here’s a pro tip: sometimes to combat a thinner formula, I leave the cap off for an hour to dry it out.) It’s worth noting that I also put the mascara on while riding the train into work, and it was that much more difficult in a moving vehicle.

Andrea Whittle, Features Editor

How would you characterize your relationship to mascara? Regular user? Occasional? Never? I like a subtle, no-nonsense oomph. I don’t wear mascara every day, but when I do it’s usually limited to one or two swipes on my top lashes only, which are stick-straight and don’t hold on to a curl for very long. Because I have oily skin, I usually don’t put anything on my bottom lashes—and when I do I end up looking like I’m auditioning to be a backup singer for Green Day after a few hours. (Not my desired beauty look.)

Preferred brand, if any? I’ve been a pretty devoted Glossier Lash Slick user since it launched.

Your thoughts? Based on the appearance of the packaging and the shape of the brush, I got the impression that this would be a high-impact, night-on-the-town kind of product, which I always find overly gloopy and prone to clumps. But it’s not at all! I curled my lashes and applied a few swipes around 8:15 a.m., and found the effect to be light and feathery, like the brush is actually coating each individual lash rather than just raking gunk across the whole shebang. Feeling optimistic, I put a little on the bottom just to see what would happen. At noon, I went to check my reflection in the office bathroom and found a slight Green Day situation down below (oh, well), but otherwise everything looked separated, longer and notably curlier than usual. I felt just the right amount of dolled-up. I’m a fan. Maybe even a convert.

Related: How Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Is Ushering in a New Era of Inclusivity in the Beauty Industry