Makeup brand review: Em Cosmetics by Michelle Phan

How many of you have heard of Michelle Phan? Well I’m sure most of you know who she is. She is famous for her makeup tutorials and reviews on YouTube. Go ahead and type in her name on YouTube and I guarantee that you will be drawn into one of her videos. I recently started watching YouTube videos around springtime, and I had no idea about how popular YouTube was for cosmetics and all things beauty. Michelle Phan recently came out with a new makeup line called Em Cosmetics. Em she states is, “a reflection of me.”

Here is a link to her video on the meaning of the name

Shipping and packaging
Everything came wrapped up in pink tissue paper with an Em Cosmetics sticker which added a nice little touch. Also there was a lot of extra packing to help protect the products from moving all around during shipping because nobody likes broken eye shadows or eyeliners, etc.

So I ordered 4 products, 2 of those products are eyeliners, a lipstick palette, an eye shadow palette, and I also got a free eyeliner for being an Ipsy subscriber which was a nice little gift to receive. Here is my impression of each of the products that I received!
I might also add that shipping was fast!! I ordered online on 8/18/13 and on 8/19/13 received my email that my package shipped. I then received my package on 8/23/13. That is pretty fast shipping!!!!
Product #1
Shade play artistic eye color palette in shanghai lavenders 
Price: $38.00
The reason I decided on this palette was because I loved the colors. Also, with every palette, there is a tutorial online and I was impressed with the tutorial on this palette.
This is what the outer box looks like. I feel like they put a lot of work and time into creating the look of these boxes. They are so colorful! I definitely love this packaging! But, I never put my palettes back into their boxes any way. However, it does grab your attention.

This is what the front of the shade play eye shadow palette package looks like. The case does seem sturdy and well made. It is an acrylic case. In my opinion, I do feel like the packaging isn’t that spectacular. I don’t get the wow factor. It does look modern and sophisticated though, but the packaging isn’t my favorite. Maybe that is because I’m a big fan of color and I find the packaging a little boring. You can’t see in the picture, but there are a bunch of engraved words such as: esteem, empower, embellish, emerge, emotion, etc. I do think it would have been cool to have those words in a color for a little pop of color and then it would make the words stand out more.

So this is what the palette looks like. As you can see, there are 3 different sizes of colors: one very large sized pan, 2 medium sized pans, and 3 small sized pans.

If you look at the picture below, it shows numbering, so I am going to describe the colors using that numbering system. I knew that picture would come in handy. How Michelle Phan describes how to use these colors on a video on the website:

Line: 1 & 3
Color: 2 & 6
Coutour: 5
Highlight: 4

But, honestly you can use them however you want and make a multitude of looks. I am not the best at describing colors so I swatched them on my arm for you. Numbering goes from right to left.

  1. Very dark charcoal taupe with hints of glitter. The glitter has a pinkish/red tone to it. This color is gorgeous. I feel like this color would make a good color to use on the outer eye or outer V. You can also use it as a liner.
  2. My absolute favorite color. It is absolutely gorgeous. Michelle was smart because she knew that color would get the most use. I use this color on the outer eye also or on the inner eye dependent on what kind of look I am going for. I would describe this color as a shimmery mauve taupe. I also feel like it has an iridescent effect to it, which I love.
  3. This color does have some shimmer, but not as much as the previous 2 colors. There is some glitter in this color also. I would describe this color as a purplish mauve.
  4. This color seems to work best for a highlight color. It is very light. It does have some shimmer.
  5. This color I describe as a matte light lavender. It looks gorgeous paired with color number 2 and 6 with this color on the inner corner.
  6. This is also another one of my favorite colors from this palette. It is gorgeous. I feel like its a good color to add to the outer V and the crease. It is a shimmery color. I would describe it as a medium taupe.
Here are the brushes that come with the palette. It includes 1 double sided brush and then 1 regular brush. I like that they included brushes instead of foam applicators. I don’t have a great review on these because I switched to my regular brushes during makeup application. But, these definitely would come in handy during travel if all you wanted to bring with was that palette.
Here are a few pictures of looks I created with the palette. I also used the black eyeliner and the gold eyeliner that I will be describing below in these looks.
              The first time I used the palette.
A close up of the same look.
Hours after makeup application
The second time I used the palette.
Overall I do like this palette. The eye shadows are pigmented and the colors are a nice combination to have in a palette. The formulation is more of a powdery shadow compared to Urban Decay’s shadows which are a little more creamy and buttery. I do feel like the blended nicely. The eye shadow look seems to fade a little throughout the day, but it wasn’t bad at all. I didn’t see major fall out. It is also nice that it came with a good sized mirror. The mirror also actually stays up instead of falling like some other makeup palettes. The thing that got me was price. I do find it expensive for what you get. The price was $38 so that would make each shadow a little over $6. Comparing it to the Naked 2 Palette ($50: 12 shadows at 4.16 plus a double sided brush) and the Lorac Pro palette ($42: 16 shadows at 2.63 per shadow).
I know the colors and sizes of the shadows aren’t the same but it is just to give you a general idea. I think that $20-$25 would have been a better price.
Product #2
Shade play lip color mixing palette in mix it up roses
Price: $28.00
This is what the outer packaging looks like. A lot like the eye shadow palette but just a different color scheme. I do like this packaging, but who honestly keeps all the boxes.

The packaging for this lip stick palette is the same as the eye shadow shade play palette so you have to either open it up or look on the back to distinguish what palette you are holding. I wish that there was a little something that set them apart. Once again, I find the packaging boring.

So this is what the palette looks like. It has the same set up as the shade play eye shadow palette but this palette comes with a place to mix colors which is really smart. They are pigmented but they are more for the natural lipstick fans. I would recommend choosing a different range of colors if you like big bold lips. I do like more of a natural look so that is why I chose this palette.

Here are the swatches of the colors included in the palette. There are 3 sizes of pans included in this palette: one very large pan, 2 medium sized pans, and 3 small sized pans making for a total of 6 colors. I am not the best at describing colors to I swatched them on my arm for you. Numbering goes from right to left.

1) Matte dark mauve
2) Shimmery pink with glitter. You can tell in the pan that this color is the most glittery and it is the biggest one. You can add this color onto the matte colors to give you a shimmery look.
3) Shimmery coral
4) Shimmery sheer pink
5) Matte rosy peach
6) Matte rose
7) This is just an example of a color I created mixing a few of the colors.

Overall I think this lipstick palette is good, but not great. The colors are gorgeous. I think its a great idea. I just feel like the lasting power is pretty good but will fade a little throughout the day. You will need to bring this palette with to reapply throughout the day so it is more bulky in your purse than an actual tube of lipstick. But, I thought it was fun to come up with my own creation of colors. The lipstick feel itself feels good on the lips. It isn’t sticky and I like the brush that comes with it and thinks it applies the lipstick nicely. I think this is a tad pricey. I think that $20 would have been a more reasonable price.

I am wearing colors 2 & 6 together and I am also wearing Ro’s Gold on my waterline which will be explained below.

Product #3

Waterliner: Intense color eyeliner


I got 3 eyeliners, 1 of the eyeliners was free from my Ipsy subscription. The packaging is just like a normal eyeliner, nothing spectacular, but it is cool that there is a smudger and a built in sharpener like in the photos below. These eyeliners are a twist up so it doesn’t even need to be sharpened.

Here are swatches of the colors. From right to left.
1) Turquoise: I think this color is gorgeous. You could use this color for a pop of color with a neutral eye shadow look and it would look amazing.
2) Ro’s gold: a very pretty gold color. This color looks very nicely as a waterliner because it helps open the eyes. With all of my looks above I used this waterliner in my waterline.
3) Black night: just a basic matte black color. I also used this color in the first two looks above.

Overall, I do like these liners. They do apply nice to the waterline and they don’t tug on the eyelid. They come in a wide variety of colors. I am not a fan of the smudger. I wanted a softer effect but I felt like the smudger just ended up taking the eyeliner off too much while tugging on my eyelid. Ro’s gold stayed put for quite awhile on the waterline but I don’t have much to compare it too because I usually don’t wear eyeliner on my waterline. I do feel like they are a tad pricey, I think that $15-16 would be a more reasonable price.

The Life Palette 
Em cosmetics also has the palette called the, “Life Palette” which comes in many different variations: beach, career, night, party, day, and love and it basically is a very large palette. This is a big focus of her makeup line. The price is steep though which is $75. The palette comes with a tool so you can take out shadows and put them into a more smaller palette for travel purposes. Apparently the smaller palette comes free with the price of a Life Palette at this time. I feel like $50-60 would have been a better price especially for someone who is just starting out their makeup line. But then again you get 24 eye shadows, 8 lip shades, and 4 cheek shades, so you do get a lot of product. I did not get one of these because there was a wide range of colors and I wasn’t sure what one I liked and I just loved the colors in the palette that I decided to get. But, it probably would have been smarter to get one of those palettes instead of the lip stick palette and the eye shadow palette because the Life Palette is like having 4 mini palettes. There are tons of reviews on YouTube on these palettes if you want more information.

Overall experience with Em Cosmetics
In conclusion I was impressed with her makeup line, but I was not wowed. I do like all the products I got. My favorite product is the eye shadow palette simply because I do love my purples and lavenders and I do feel like they’re pigmented and stay well on the eyelid throughout the day. I say good job Michelle on making your dream come true.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my review on Em Cosmetics by Michelle Phan.