The Diamond Empire

Everyones tryna fix their inner issues with a bad bitch.Everyone's tryna fix their inner issues with a bad bitch. Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Staff

Last year, Rihanna expanded her music and fashion empire into beauty, debuting Fenty Beauty, an inclusive makeup line addressing the lack of products that cater to women of color, specifically, women with deeper skin tones. To commemorate the one year anniversary of the brand, Rih launched two products in September: Gloss Bomb, a universal lip luminizer in the new shade Diamond Milk, and Diamond Bomb, an all over silver highlighter.

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As a fan of both Rihanna’s music and business acumen, I eagerly awaited the anniversary drop. Being of the Lip Smacker generation, I naturally gravitated toward the Gloss Bomb. No lie, the lip gloss kinda looks like glittery cum. Naturally, I'm into it, but getting Rihanna's Diamond Milk means going to Sephora. Sponsored: Gambar Koala

Walking into any Sephora immediately rouses the most confusing mixture of emotions in me: deep-seated insecurity, the Glamorous Bitch, a desperate need to find a matching foundation shade. Most importantly it awakens the little monster who lives in my liver, the one who whispers, "want, want, want." It activates the beauty part of my lizard brain, compelling me to swatch every concealer known to man, telling me that yes, everyone does notice my acne scars, and I should really do something about that.

Elbowing mother-daughter duos and gaggles of teenage girls for mirror space, I carefully applied Rihanna's Diamond Milk all over my lips. It was less sticky than I imagined it to be. I watched myself transform, preening and striking Naomi Campbell poses in the mirror. As if I were preparing for a high fashion photo shoot rather than preparing to smudge most of the gloss on my coffee cup the next day.

I walked around the store for a full 10 minutes, fingering eyeshadows, dodging Sephora employees, turning the lip gloss over in my sweaty palm. Despite my initial willingness to shell out, I was having second thoughts. $18. The same amount as two grams of weed, a movie ticket, gas for my car, groceries, or a discounted hardcover book. I needed something, really anything, to justify throwing another product in the little monster’s dog bowl. Words like "empowerment," "self-care," and "support a black-owned business you consumerist swine," floated around my brain, urging me to just get it already.

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Shimmering pearls for the gurlsss... or your lips 👄 #DIAMONDMILK #GLOSSBOMB makes every lip dewy and chewy! 💎✨😘

A post shared by FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA (@fentybeauty) on

I caved in and bought it, the cashier telling me, "I've heard this is AH-MAZE-ING." "I'm wearing it right now, actually." A pause. "Hmmm, it must be... subtle." My stomach dropped. The transaction went through and those doubtful thoughts came creeping back. Why did I buy something that a Sephora employee didn't even notice? Did I really even need this? Once I was back in my car I vowed to return it the next day.

After several more glittery pouting sessions in front of the mirror at home, in front my mother, in front of my sisters, I glowered at the bag the Gloss Bomb came in. I flipped and flopped, ultimately deciding that my uncertainty was actually a sign that, deep down, I really wanted this fucking lip gloss. In the morning before work at my temp job, defeated, I smeared the stuff on my lips, hoping to turn into the business casual sex kitten I'd always dreamed of being.

Halfway through the day, after a second reapplication, a colleague turned to me, facing me square in the lips, and said, "Wow... you are so beautiful," as if she just noticed. A beat. "Is that your REAL hair?" But I'm already mush, melting into my own gaping hole of desire that resides just left of the little monster who lives in my liver, not even hearing the racially hostile second half of her sentence. “Beautiful” rang in my ears. I was all doe-eyed, radiant, puckering my lips to a silently stunned conference room. "Ahhhhhhh thank you so much." The light from all the beautiful stars in my beautiful eyes above my beautiful Fenty-ed lips now concentrating on the 20th Excel spreadsheet I was tasked with organizing for the day. I heard a belch come from the lizard part of my brain.

Do I regret buying Rih’s Gloss Bomb in Diamond Milk? Absolutely not. I have a mountain of respect for Rihanna and what she’s done to push shade inclusivity mainstream, but the most important product of any beauty campaign is not any tangible thing but a feeling. That for a brief moment, I could revel in my own beauty before something else told me, reinforced in me, this yearning for an ideal that I can and will never embody.

Thank you, Rihanna, from my little monster to yours.

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