Rihanna's Stylist Tested Fenty Hair on Me—and It's a Game-Changer

Yes, it's worth the hype.

a collage of images with Deena Campbell trying Fenty Hair products
(Image credit: Future)

“I’ve done everything to her hair except shave her damn head,” chuckles Yusef Williams, a New York-based celebrity hairstylist who’s responsible for Rihanna’s most iconic looks for the past 15 years. “Now, I wouldn’t shave Rihanna bald, but she can pull off a cute boy cut beyond a pixie.”

Williams and I are in the Mott NYC Salon in New York, where I'll soon be one of the first people to test and review Rihanna's upcoming Fenty Hair collection. But first, Williams is walking me down memory lane, sharing his favorite looks created for the mega singer. He explains her latest style—a honey-blonde pixie—was inspired by wanting to try something different. A new look that’s fresh and bold.

I’m on a similar vibe. I’ve worn braided hairstyles for several months and my need for change couldn’t be timed any better. As I sat with Williams, I was perfectly primed to preview Fenty Hair, a collection of nine haircare and styling products created by Rihanna and her team of research and development experts, that will be ready to shop on June 13.

For many of us, this launch isn't a total surprise. In March 2021, the singer filed a trademark for the brand, hinting that items like stylers and straighteners were in the works. Over the past year the Rihanna Navy has patiently waited for this moment, especially in recent weeks as the mom of two teased the hair launch on her social media platforms. While it isn't an album, or marriage rumor, or baby announcement, real Rhianna fans know that when the 36-year-old mogul launches a brand, you stop and listen.

Side profile of Rihanna with teal background

Rihanna is hoping to lead another beauty category with Fenty Hair.

(Image credit: Fenty Hair)

To rewind a bit, her empire started in 2017 when she launched Fenty Beauty with Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey. Since then, the brand has expanded with Fenty Skin, and then Fenty Eau De Parfum. Now that Fenty Hair is on the roster, it begs the question: Is this another strategic business move or a passion project?

According to the pop star, hairstyling has always been at the forefront of her career and persona. “Hair has always been personal to me—my hairstyles have been markers of my evolution and growth over the years—so launching Fenty Hair was something I was passionate about,” she says.

With Williams as my styling coach, I put Rihanna's passion project into action. Here's everything you need to know before shopping the collection, including my honest thoughts.

The Fenty Hair Collection

Fenty Hair is rooted in repair. The assortment consists of a moisture repair shampoo ($29), conditioner ($29), and deep conditioner ($29) that gently cleanse and moisturize without stripping your hair or weighing it down; a damage repair treatment ($36) that can be used as a leave-in or rinsed out to support damaged hair; a heat protectant styler ($28) that helps smooth and de-frizz hair before blow drying, silk pressing or diffusing; a curl-defining cream ($28) that gives hair body and bounce; a strong hold gel ($26) and edge control gel ($18) laced with proteins and antioxidants to repair split-ends and reduce breakage while locking hair into place; and finally a 3-in-1 edge tool ($18) that smoothes baby hairs and flyaways.

Nine Fenty Hair products in various colors, shapes and sizes

Fenty Hair consists of nine haircare and styling products created by Rihanna and her team of research and development experts.

(Image credit: Fenty Hair)

As a bonus, all of the items are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) aluminum and 50 percent PCR plastic, making each item recyclable. Rihanna was also intentional with artful packaging—the tops have various 3D design elements corresponding with routine steps. A brand representative further explained that Rihanna smartly wanted users to determine the type of product it is, from a glance. She nailed it. Tiny teal-colored swirls are on the tops of conditioners, pink triangles are on the styler, and peach-colored semi-circles denote the curl-defining cream.

What Type of Hair is Fenty Hair Made For?

The products were developed and tested on all hair types, and the brand developers tell me the conditioners should be selected based on need, not hair type. So if you want a touch of moisture that also defrizzes and reduces split ends, opt for the moisture repair conditioner, but if your hair is craving a thicker moisturizer, that almost serves as a mask, try the repair deep conditioner. “Creating a line of products that were easy to use no matter your hair type or texture that included repair in every step and could keep up with me was crucial,” Rihanna explains in a press release.

My Fenty Hair Review

Williams’s assistant started my Fenty Hair testing experience with the rich one moisture shampoo, first applying it to my wet hair and then working my 4C curls into a gentle lather. I briefly touched my saturated curls and quickly realized they weren’t hard or brittle. “It feels soft, but not weighed down,” I said. Apparently my hair was responding well to the amino acids and antioxidants, which are compounds that work to reduce split ends. It passed the test.

After a refreshing rinse, my curls were ready for the next step—the richer one moisture repair deep conditioner, specifically designed for thick, highly textured hair. Williams handed me the jar, and as I flipped the top, a delightful scent of a blooming garden filled the air. It was a sophisticated, pleasant fragrance, not overly sweet or annoying. It was a scent I knew I could never grow tired of. Williams then saturated my strands, paying special attention to the mid-shaft and ends. As the comb glided through my curls, I could feel the moisture seeping into my scalp and strands. It was a luxurious treat for my hair.

Fifteen minutes later, I was back in the styling chair, but this time with a clean scalp. I was ready for styling, and to kick off the session, Williams applied the comeback kid, a damage repair treatment fortified with a bond-building technology. He tells me I can leave it in or rinse it out, but he decides to keep it in for extra moisture.

“Rihanna loves this stuff,” he says. “It’s her favorite product in the line.” Until then, I was a big fan of the conditioner, but after hearing that the comeback kid is Rihanna’s must-have, I wondered if it could be mine, too. I ran my fingers through the product, and just like the conditioner, it left my strands shiny, soft, and touchable. My hair hadn't felt this good in months, and I couldn't have been happier.

Next, Williams blow-dried and flat-ironed my curls to perfection. As a final step, he applied the edge control and managed my wayward ends with the 3-1 edge tool, the only bush/comb and chrome tip instrument designed to tame flyaways and smooth baby hairs. And with a quick trim and smoothing of the top, I was done—and majorly impressed.

My Final Thoughts

Rihanna joins an exhaustive list of celebrities who’ve launched hair brands. I’ll spare you the complete list, but more popular ones include Tracee Ellis Ross’ Pattern Beauty, Beyoncé’s Cécred Hair, and more recently, Brooke Shields Commence line (formulated for women over 40 years old). Every collection has a place, but Fenty Hair feels different. It feels necessary, even in a saturated market vying for the attention of Gen Zers and young millennials looking to secure the latest trending outfits and runway looks.

Like Fenty Makeup, Fenty Hair isn’t a flash-in-the-pan beauty brand that will fade into the background after one year. It has staying power. The products are effective; my hair felt healthy and stronger days after usage, and my blowout lasted an entire three weeks, even in the sweltering New York heat. I’m not sure if it was Williams's magic fingers or if Fenty Hair is just that good, but just like the tagline, I’m looking forward to my hair getting stronger by the style.

Deena Campbell standing next to Yusef Williams

Williams gave Campbell a bouncy, voluminous blow out with Fenty Hair.

(Image credit: Deena Campbell)

On Thursday, June 13, Fenty Hair will be available exclusively at FentyHair.com.

Deena Campbell
Beauty Director

Deena Campbell is the Beauty Director of Marie Claire where she oversees all beauty and health content on all platforms. Deena is a leader who is passionate about driving conversations on beauty topics, and is particularly dedicated to ensuring BIPOC feel seen and that their stories are told. Deena joined Marie Claire after a decade-long career as an editor in print and digital media. Before joining the brand, she managed editorial content for L’Oréal owned Makeup.com and Skincare.com where she led and developed a team of beauty editors and edited their contributions. She also crafted and successfully executed comprehensive brand strategies that resulted in brand growth and differentiation, a skill she currently brings to Marie Claire.

In 2015, she launched Essence.com’s hair channel where she received Time Inc.'s Henry R. Luce Award, shortly before joining Allure.com’s staff as Senior Beauty Editor. Along with her editorial positions, she also consulted on content and marketing strategies for beauty companies including DevaCurl and Dove, and has appeared at various speaking events and live television segments. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Byrdie, SELF, Refinery29, Teen Vogue, and a host of others. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Pittsburgh and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children. You can find her on Instagram at @deenacampbell.