Those of you that were around way back when the YouTube beauty community was in its infancy no doubt remember Michelle Phan as one of the most influential gurus of the era. Her impressive makeup skills combined with creative editing helped her skyrocket to fame and she’s had an impressive career since. Her brand Em Cosmetics relaunched a few years back an while I’m generally skeptical of influencer brands, a few products caught my eye and that’s what I’m reviewing here.
- Em Cosmetics Overview
- Em Cosmetics Color Drops Serum Blush
- Em Cosmetics Heaven’s Glow Radiant Veil Blush
- Em Cosmetics Infinite Lip Cloud
- Em Cosmetics True Gloss
- Em Cosmetics Lip Cushion
- Cruelty-free and Vegan Status
- Where to Buy Em Cosmetics
- Final Thoughts
Em Cosmetics Overview
Michelle Phan first launched Em Cosmetics under L’Oreal in 2013 but largely failed due to a number of factors including high price points and lousy packaging. Michelle subsequently bought back her brand from L’Oreal in 2015, rebranded and relaunched Em Cosmetics in 2017 but this time with her creative vision as the focus.
Em Cosmetics takes a more curated approach to their line. As you’ll see, they don’t offer many items but each product seems well thought out and significant within the line. Part of what drew me to try the products was the contrast with the many oversaturated brands we’re used to seeing.
They created several collections based on specific shades that are available across a range of products. For example, their popular “Venetian Rose” shade comes in a blush, liquid blush, and matte lip cream. You therefore get the feeling that each product is unique and recognizable as opposed to just one in a huge lineup of colors even though some of the color cosmetics ranges are pretty limited.
Currently Em Cosmetics face products consist of a cushion tinted SPF, liquid blush, and powder blush. They also offer two formats of liquid liner (felt tip and brush tip), a mascara, and a couple of eyeshadow compacts, in addition two a brow pencil and brow gel. The lips products are the most extensive category with four items to choose from, a gloss, matte lip cream, gel lipstick, and lip lipliner.
Em Cosmetics Color Drops Serum Blush Review
The Em Cosmetics Color Drops Serum Blush is a liquid blush that retails for $25. The blush comes in a cute little rounded glass bottle with a dropper and it contains 0.34 oz of product. The Color Drops blush is currently available in eight shades, ranging from dusty neutrals to brights and deep shades.
I have the shade Rose Milk which is a light pinky peach.
Straight out of the bottle, the blush has a gel-like liquid consistency. A drop on the back of my hand holds it shape and looks like it has an opaque creamy texture. As you blend it the texture starts to feel oily rather than gel-like and leaves a very hydrated and greasy feel on the skin. I don’t think “serum” is a good description because these really feel like an oil.
The color dissipates nearly entirely as it blends in and you really need to build it up in order to get any kind of impactful color. And even with multiple layers, the color is still really subtle. Moreover, layering the blush gets complicated because it’s already so oily and adding more product makes it feel really heavy.
I’m one who loves a radiant finish and I don’t mind a hydrating cream blush. That being said, the Color Drops Blush is just straight up greasy. It feels like I’ve applied a rich face oil and the finish doesn’t dry down, it just continues feeling moist and oily. Even Stila’s Convertible Color Blushes which have a very hydrating finish, blend in with the skin texture. These continue to look and feel shiny and they don’t provide much color.
The consistency also doesn’t play well with makeup underneath it because the oil starts to break down the product. And applying powder on top can be tricky because the finish is so moist that it grabs the powder and doesn’t let it blend properly.
If you’re dealing with major dryness and you wear minimal makeup, these might work, but you’d have to be ok with feeling like you got oil on your cheeks throughout the day. The one benefit would be that the blush moisturizes and almost plumps the skin.
Overall I was pretty disappointed with the Em Cosmetics Color Drops Serum Blush. I’m just not a fan of the texture, even as someone who likes a hydrating cheek product and the color was severely underwhelming.
- Cute packaging
- Hydrates and plumps skin
- Oily heavy texture that leaves a greasy finish
- Very sheer color payoff
- Difficult to apply over makeup
Em Cosmetics Heaven’s Glow Radiant Veil Blush Review
The Em Cosmetics Heaven’s Glow Radiant Veil Blush is a powder blush that retails for $34 and contains 0.28 oz of product. The packaging is rather bulky and the blush has a domed look to the powder. There are three shades currently available in the line.
I have the shade Venetian Rose which looks like a pale silvery pink in the pan. The powder has a frosted finish to it and looks similar to a lot of baked blushes.
In a swatch the color applies quite a bit darker than it looks in the pan. Rather than a cool muted pink the shade looks like a medium warm rose. The shimmer which can look a bit loose and sparkly in the pan actually applies pretty seamlessly and gives the blush a smooth satin finish. It’s less radiant than I thought it would be based on the look of the powder which can be plus or a minus depending on your preferences. Personally I thought I was getting a more reflective finish so I was a bit let down.
The Heaven’s Glow Radiant Veil Blush blends easily and provides even pigmentation. It’s a nice blush though the color is different than it looks in the pan and the finish is less radiant than the name and look of the blush would lead you to believe. If you’re thinking of getting this because you want a shimmery glowy blush I think you might be underwhelmed and I’d recommend other formulas over this one.
- Good color payoff
- Applies and blends smoothly
- Color applies differently than it looks in the pan
- Shimmer is less pronounced than it looks in the pan
Em Cosmetics Infinite Lip Cloud Review
The Em Cosmetics Infinite Lip Cloud is a matte lip cream that retails for $20. They come with 0.13 oz of product and there are twelve shades in the line. They’re packaged in standard acrylic tube with a doe foot applicator.
The Lip Clouds have a faint artificial vanilla scent but it’s very subtle and not really noticeable once applied.
I had heard these described as being really comfortable to wear and not like traditional drying liquid lipsticks. They have a whipped mousse-like consistency which doesn’t dry down completely. There’s almost a silicone feel to the texture and while they’re not drying you can definitely feel them on the lips.
My biggest issue with this was how patchy it applied. Maybe it’s just the shade I chose and a deeper shade would work better but the color “Cashmere Creme” didn’t apply nicely at all.
The mousse-like consistency of the product makes it hard to spread evenly and every line or crack holds a bit more product than the surface of the lips, resulting in a patchy application. I also found that the Lip Cloud really highlighted every bit of texture on my lips even when they’d been moisturized before. The formula is just really not good at spreading evenly and it makes for a very unflattering look.
They’re somewhat similar to the Bare Minerals Gen Nude Matte Liquid lip color but those are more comfortable to wear and they apply evenly so I’d definitely recommend them over the Lip Clouds.
- Doesn’t dry out the lips
- Feels heavy on the lips
- Applies unevenly
- Highlights lip texture and looks very unflattering
Em Cosmetics True Gloss Review
The Em Cosmetics True Gloss is a lip gloss that retails for $15 and contains 0.13 oz of product. They’re packaged in frosted acrylic tubes (why the glossed are in frosted tubes and the matte lip creams in shiny ones I don’t know) with doe foot applicators and there are fifteen shades in the line.
The True Gloss has a gel texture that’s easy to apply and feels pretty comfortable on the lips. And unlike a lot of glosses these aren’t the slightest bit sticky. You can press your lips together and you won’t feel any cling. I’d describe the consistency as lightly hydrating but it’s not greasy and the color doesn’t slide around or transfer from lip to lip.
The finish is a slightly more muted shine similar perhaps to that of a shiny lip balm or lipstick as opposed to a sticky high-shine gloss.
The color payoff is nearly opaque. When worn the gloss shows up as the color in the tube but there’s a hint of sheerness that lets a bit of the natural lip color peek through. With the shade I have “Ash Rose” I think opacity worked well and helps the color look a bit more natural on the lips.
I really like this gloss formula and I think it’s a great option for someone who doesn’t like sticky gloss. It’s comfortable, the color applies well and it wears for a decent amount of time.
- Comfortable hydrating texture
- Gel-like finish that isn’t at all sticky
- Color applies evenly and with good pigmentation
Em Cosmetics Lip Cushion Review
The Em Cosmetics Lip Cushion is a glossy tinted balm that retails for $22 and contains 0.05 oz of product. They’re packaged in slim lipstick tube with a click-up applicator and there are five shades in the line.
This is a newer format of lip products that several brands have put out recently (Tarte’s Maracuja Juicy Lip and Kaja Heart Melter Lip Gloss Stick come to mind). It’s essentially a very high-shine sheer lipstick that clicks up through a slim tube and sort of melts as it comes in contact with the lips.
The texture is very soft and balmy and as you apply the Lip Cushion it easily transfers from the tube to your lips. It does seem to melt a little and leaves a very shiny finish on the lips almost as if you applied a gloss but there’s no stickiness. I’d say it feels more like a balmy lip oil, very hydrating but not greasy. The texture is a bit similar to the True Gloss but feels more nourishing.
I don’t know that Em Cosmetic’s description of “tinted balm” is accurate. The color payoff is intense enough to put it in the category of a semi-sheer lipstick or gloss. It provides a nice even application of color and while there’s a hint of your lip color visible, the shade is nearly opaque.
If you like a shiny finish and fuller color I think you might like the Lip Cushions. The texture feels very nourishing and the color and finish look beautiful on the lips.
- Hydrating texture nourishes lips
- Glossy, shiny finish without stickiness
- Nearly opaque color
- Very little product for the price
Cruelty-free and Vegan Status
Em Cosmetics states that neither they do not test their ingredients or products on animals and neither do their suppliers. They don’t have third parties test on their behalf and their products are not sold in countries where animal testing is required by law.
The Color Drops Serum Blush, Heaven’s Glow Blush, and Lip Cloud are all vegan. Some shades of True Gloss contain carmine however the shade “Ash Rose” is vegan. The Lip Cushions are not vegan. The full list of non-vegan products is available on the Em Cosmetics website.
Where to Buy Em Cosmetics
Em Cosmetics products are currently available on their website or and some products are listed on amazon. However, most of the amazon listings are currently unavailable so I’m not sure if they’ll be restocking or if they’re being phased off amazon.
Overall I like that Em Cosmetics has a smaller, more thought out line and I like how they’ve created iconic shades and developed collections focused on each one. I also appreciate the brand’s aesthetic and the packaging is on point for the most part.
There were some definite hits and misses. The high points for me were the True Gloss and the Lip Cushions. The Heaven’s Glow Blush was just ok, it didn’t perform badly, just not the way I expected it to. I really didn’t like the Lip Cloud and I think there are lots of brands with similar products that perform way better. The Color Drops Serum Blush seemed promising but the formula is really strange and difficult to work with.
I’d love to know if you tried anything from the brand and what your experience with them was so please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading.