Rihanna: the gift that keeps on giving, human edition. Since the official debut of her skin-care line, Fenty Skin, back in August, she's clearly been hard at work continuing to build and round out the collection. On Tuesday, the brand launches its fourth product, Fenty Skin Instant Reset Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream, a night cream to complement the existing collection of a daytime moisturizer/sunscreen, a toner/exfoliator and makeup-removing cleanser.
"I took my time with this one," wrote Rihanna in an Instagram caption announcing the new product. "[Apply it] at night and wake up with refreshed, nourished, juicy skin."
Touted as a lightweight gel-cream with multiple benefits — including brightening dark spots, reducing the appearance of pores and, of course, moisturizing — Overnight Recovery was created to serve as a counterpart to the existing Fenty Skin products. Like the Fenty Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen, Fenty Skin's daytime moisturizer, this new cream comes in refillable packaging, allowing shoppers to purchase replacement pods at a slightly discounted price. And, in keeping with the brand's existing lineup, it's also cruelty-free.
"When you're sleeping your body's in recovery mode and I wanted to maximize that for the skin. I wanted a night cream that would reset my skin and relieve it from all the stress of the day so you wake up fresh, nourished and glowing," said Rihanna via a press release announcing the launch. It's spiked with two different forms of hyaluronic acid (to hydrate and plump skin), glycerin, jojoba seed oil and Kalahari melon oil (to moisturize), niacinamide (to reduce the appearance of dark spots and even skin tone and texture), vitamin E and green tea (protective antioxidants) and aloe (to soothe skin).
The cream comes housed in a refillable jar, with a flip-top storage spot for an applicator spatula; that means means you won't lose it and will actually use it — so although it seems like a needless use of an extra piece of plastic, it's important for preserving the ingredients and maintaining a sanitary product, which can often be a struggle with cream stored in jars. Per the press release, the inclusion of the applicator was Rihanna's own design, meant in particular to facilitate ease of use for those with the "longest nails." So smart.
Those are the basics — now for my unfiltered review. I tested the product over the course of two and a half weeks, during which I relied on it as my sole nighttime product (not counting eye cream). And while I do think there are plenty of merits to this formula, I also found a few downsides, and I'm not sure I buy into the brand's promise that it enables you to "wake up to juicy skin," based on my experience.
First, the good: The pale pink cream does feel light, if not exactly what I'd consider to be a "gel-cream"; it's sort of the texture of pudding, and it leaves a very thin layer on skin, but not in an unpleasant, sticky or greasy way. From a tactile perspective, Overnight Reset is really lovely, and I came to look forward to massaging it into my skin every night.
I'm also a big fan of many of the ingredients Rihanna and her cosmetic chemists chose to include here: Pairing antioxidants with hyaluronic acid, glycerin and niacinamide is a nice, multi-tasking cocktail of skin superstars that have been well proven to have a positive impact on most complexions and skin types. Would I have enjoyed a retinol in a nighttime product? Yes. But if you're not gonna give me a vitamin A derivative, these other things are a good secondary option. (And omitting retinol probably also helped to keep the price down to a middle-of-the-road $40.) The refillable packaging and the spatula situation are some of my favorite aspects of this product, for reasons I noted previously. I think it's clear that the Fenty Skin team put a lot of thought into the product development process and the packaging design, and it's really paid off.
Now, for the aspects I'm less thrilled about: The brand makes some big claims for this formula, namely that it supposedly "brightens and reduces the look of pores [and] dark spots in just one week!" Now, niacinamide is a really great ingredient for delivering on both of those benefits, and the extra antioxidants and non-pore-clogging moisturizers can certainly work toward bolstering them. But in terms of truly noticing a difference in dark spots or the appearance of pores, one week is likely not enough time to make that happen (in my case, it certainly wasn't). Several weeks in, I did notice extremely subtle improvements in both — and it's important to note that in order to get those benefits, it's crucial to also use a sunscreen religiously every day.
Then there's the fragrance, which the brand describes as a "subtle clean, fresh scent inspired by lush tropical fruits and flowers." One sticking point I had when I reviewed the first three Fenty Skin products was the heavy, flowery smell of them, not just because I personally found it unpleasant, but also because added fragrance has the potential to mess with skin, particularly for those with specific sensitivities. Unfortunately, that same complaint applies here, as well. I'm just not into the smell of this stuff — too floral, too perfume-y and just not something I want to smell as I'm trying to drift off to sleep — and I wish the fragrance wasn't there. It's worth noting that it's not quite as heavily scented as I found Fenty's daytime moisturizer to be, but it's definitely present.
And finally, the formula really didn't live up to that whole "juicy skin" promise for me. I'm not sure how Rihanna and the Fenty Skin powers that be define "juicy skin," but to me it would be a dewy, ultra-hydrated, taut, plump complexion with fewer noticeable lines (thanks to all that moisture infused into it) and a radiant, glow-y, glass-like finish. I'm 30 years old, I have combination skin, and this time of year, my dry patches begin to get significantly more dry, so if I'm going to wake up looking dewy and "juicy" in the morning, I need something with a little more oomph, by which I mean more actives (looking at you, retinol, ceramides and peptides!). This formula seems like it would best serve those with oily or combination skin that skews oily; but for anyone with severely dry skin, I'd look for a denser, more emollient cream or oil that'll be more likely to keep moisture from evaporating overnight. (The sandman totally steals your skin's moisture while you sleep, in case you didn't know that.)
So, to sum things up, I think this is a good formula — it's just perhaps not ideal for me, personally. I think for someone in their 20s who is perhaps just starting to create a more thoughtful skin-care routine and pay attention to active ingredients, this is a solid place to start. I'd probably stay away from this formula if you have severely dry skin, a super sensitive complexion or an aversion to fragrance in your skin care. But if you don't fall into those categories and are looking for a streamlined, retinol-free night cream that will work toward creating a more evenly toned complexion, I don't see why you wouldn't want to give this a go.
Fenty Skin Instant Reset Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream will retail for $40 (the refill cartridge will cost $36), launching exclusively on FentySkin.com on Tuesday.
Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.
Homepage image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Bergdorf Goodman