The last time we caught up with Rihanna it was last Friday, Sarah posted about her and A$AP Rocky in New York with RiRi in a tee that read “I’m Retired”, perhaps in response to some of her fans bitching about the release of Fenty Hair and no new music. 


As Sarah noted, though, it’s not like she hasn’t been busy with her two babies and her business baby. Fenty is an empire, and the boss’s priority right now is the launch of yet another department, the hair department. Which means marketing – and few celebrities are as good at marketing as Rihanna. 

First of all, this packaging, I LOVE this packaging, the colours, the textures, and I love how the round tubs open like a compact. You can see that at the end of this video that is 100% in service of promoting the aesthetic of the packaging. 



So that’s the visual and the audio of Fenty Hair. But RiRi’s also leaning into the sense of smell. A “warm, ambery floral” is how she describes it. But what hit for me is how she talks about being able to smell the product throughout the day, and smell for me, personally, with hair products is the key. It’s why I love Oribe Dry Texturising Spray so much. Expensive as f-ck, yes, so I’m very selective about when I use it. But it’s such a nice soft hold and it smells INSANELY good. Anyone who has ever tried Oribe Dry Texturise talks about the smell. The Anti-Humidity Spray is the same. Not sure though if the shampoo and conditioner are consistent with the styling product – because I use too much of both to spend that much on it. 


So I’m interested in the smell of Fenty Hair and the price point because these designer hair products come in such small bottles. 


Back to the marketing though, as we’ve seen with previous Rihanna product launches, it’s exactly the right balance of creativity and access. They’re working with the packaging now and invoking the Barbie energy of last year – and the result is a sense of familiarity, but fresh: a new product that makes you think of a legacy brand. 


Of course on access, Rihanna’s been pretty hands-on when it comes to makeup, no matter where she is, from LA to Shanghai, and we can probably expect the same level of engagement this week as she ramps up promotion right up to release day on Thursday. She’s already getting personal in this video below, with her hairstylist Yusef, going through some of her greatest hits, where she candidly and matter-of-factly mentions “post-partum hair loss”. Some people online have been grousing about her wig use and what can she possibly know about hair if she wears wigs. This is absurd – you can wear wigs and have an intimate understanding of natural hair, maybe even a better one, because of the lengths you need to go to to protect your natural hair. Rihanna’s not spending time addressing the haters but she does make a subtle point here about her qualifications. 


And on that note, here she is in New York this weekend, not in a wig but wearing her hair natural, just in time for Fenty Hair Week. A marketing genius at work once again.