em Cosmetics: Hit or Miss?

Michelle Phan


Purchased by me


The collaboration between Michelle Phan and L’Oréal that resulted in em cosmetics is not new. I held off trying the brand for a few reasons; it was way more expensive than I anticipated and I wanted to read a few reviews before I pulled the trigger. When I found a deal, I decided it was time to try em cosmetics. I was able to purchase an eyeliner, lipstick and a sample palette for $27.50.

 em Cosmetics Waterliner Eyeliner ($18) – Y’all know by now, I love colored eyeliners; they are the easiest way to change up your look affordably. These are nicely pigmented and really budge- proof. There are 12 shades available, the darker shades are intended to define and the lighter shades to brighten. I choose Amazing Grey, which is deceptively named. I expected something close to my holy grail grey: Urban Decay Uzi. Amazing Grey is softer and less grey than Uzi. It does last 5-6 hours without smudging, but I wish it was more of a traditional grey shade. I do like the texture and lasting power so I would like to try different colors.

em Cosmetics Waterliner

Lip Gallery Creamy Color Sheer Lipstick ($15) – The shade One True Love was a freebie when I purchased the eyeliner and sample palette. It has the consistency of a lip balm rather than a lipstick (similar to Revlon Lip Butters which I love). It’s very soft and creamy and One True Love is a pretty peach. On more pigmented lips it would be just a tint, but on my fish belly white lips it’s a glossy peach. The packaging is a silver tube with a white case inscribed with inspiring “E” words like esteem, empower, embrace, etc.

em cosmetics sheer lipstick


Amazing Grey, One True Love

Amazing Grey, One True Love

Sample of Look #4 Day Dreaming – I was confused when this sample arrived. I expected sample sizes of the palette but what I got was a cardboard picture of the entire palette with tiny pans of three eye shadows and one lipstick. The entire palette has 5 eye shadows, 2 blushes and 2 lipsticks so I thought it was strange to only be able to try 4 of the 9 products.

em Day Dreaming

em Cosmetics

My sample pack had no blushes to try, instead there are three eye shadows and one lipstick. I would have preferred 2 eye shadows and one blush just so I was able to try it. There are no names on the sample pack but I have done some research and determined the eye shadows to be–right to left: Silver Lining, Fantasy and Storm Kiss. The lipstick is Misty Mauve.

em Daydreaming

Silver Lining turns very blue on me; it’s very hard for me to find a true silver that stays silver, so that was slightly disappointing. Fantasy is simply gorgeous; bronze, pink and gold all blend together to make a lovely shade with great dimension. Storm Kiss is a light matte charcoal that doesn’t swatch well but is a great crease color that can double as a soft eyeliner shade. All the shadows have a smooth texture and are long lasting even without primer. Misty Mauve is a very pretty My Lips But Better Plus–a very wearable color for a polished everyday look.

Bottom Line: for me, em Cosmetics has some hits and misses. I would repurchase the Waterliner eyeliners, I don’t think I will be repurchasing the Sheer Lipstick when I am just as pleased with Revlon Lip Butters for half the price and twice the selection. I’m not sure if I will purchase the cornerstone of the line–The Life Palette. It has 24 eye shadows, 4 blushes, 8 lip shades and 4 distinct looks. I’m glad I waited to try em Cosmetics because their prices have come down considerably from the launch. The Life Palette was originally $75 and is now priced at $59. I’ve also noticed the brand consistently has sales and specials too. I’m kind of on the fence: somewhat impressed but not completely won over.

Have you tried em Cosmetics? Do you have any favorites from the brand?



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  1. I have never tried the line. I’m a Michelle Phan fan but I’ve heard too many mixed reviews on em Cosmetics and the prices don’t make me want to take the chance. That sample palette seems really odd!! Fantasy does look stunning, but the picture only items and no names given is just really messed up to me lol. Thank you for your review/swatches! =)

  2. I love their Chiarascuro sticks.

  3. They’re the contour and highlighting sticks. I bought them BOGO.

  4. That palette looks fab!

  5. I love the eye primer. It totally surprised me. I’m wearing a black eyeliner pencil today and it lasted through a lot so that at least impressed me but my other eyeliner pencil tip broke off and I was disappointed about that. The e/s palettes are just okay – hit and miss in the same palette.

  6. Thanks for reviewing. The sample palette does seem a bit odd. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the waterliner in rose gold. I’m still on the fence though.

  7. Robin Feinberg says:

    Have the holiday palette. Honestly? I wouldn’t repurchase. Unfortunately the fallout ends up in other parts of the palette. I really am not a fan of dark eyeshadow ending up in my lipstick. Prob won’t repurchase anything unless the design of the palettes change, or the formula changes.