Saturday, August 16, 2014

em Cosmetics Yays and Nays

I have had this collection for a few months now, and I have been hesitant on reviewing the makeup since I had so much of it, and I didn't know where to start. Also, if you're thinking I bought it all in one sitting, I think you'd think I'd be crazy. You'd be right. Alas, I have acquired these lovely treasures at three different times, and by three different ways, since em has started up. Be prepared, it's a long post concerning my experiences with buying, applying, and enjoying.

On that note, it's actually been a year since em Cosmetics started up. There is a one-year anniversary sale up on the site now, if you're thinking of grabbing some things. Happy Birthday em! =)

When em Cosmetics just started up, the whole thing was new and it escalated as Michelle Phan's biggest achievement; her very own makeup line partnered with L'oreal. And, if you don't know who Michelle Phan is, you probably should know now that she is one of the biggest names in makeup. Her YouTube channel has been around since 2006 (eight years ago), but it was probably in 2007 when she started gathering popularity over her edgy and unique make up tutorials. Her online blog is one of the most well-known beauty blogs on the internet too.

Anyway, this is a review on some select things I picked up, and how I picked them up. I did say I picked them up at three different times and by three different ways. The first time, I asked a favor of a friend of a friend, who lives in New York City, to send a few things down my way. She was able to order them online and then send me them when she received them. Considering how much the Life Palette was then, it was expensive, but I really wanted my hands on these.

The second time I ordered some things from em, was when they first partnered up with who send American packages internationally. This time, I ordered a couple of things thinking it would be a simple process, but I dished out a lot more money than expected this way. The package costed almost thrice the shipping expenses it was worth, which was VERY disappointing considering all the "discounted international rates for exports to 225 countries." Basically, if you lived outside the US, and you were willing to dish out a lot more money, you could have these products. But for me, it was almost entirely not worth the complicated process and precious monies getting it here. EmCosmetics still uses this method on their main website for international shipping. =/

Even considering that some of these products are made in Canada, it's completely mind-boggling how em Cosmetics is not readily available anywhere in Canada. The labels on a lot of these products say Montreal, Canada, and "Made in Canada" so there's no denying that fact. I just think that L'Oreal and em Cosmetics could have made better decisions when considering distribution. I know licensing can be a difficult process, but it seems like it was an after thought to even consider sending to other countries.

The third time, was not too long ago, when em Cosmetics made some of their line available on This final way of buying from the line is probably the most convenient, and in my opinion, the best way if you live outside the US. If you have Amazon Prime, then you can probably get your package in the next 2-3 days. It was that convenient for me. The cost was much, MUCH lower than the myus way, and that "WORTH IT" factor was definitely present. Keep in mind there is a bit of a price difference from products on the main site too.

As for the prices, I was glad to see Michelle lower the cost of her Life Palettes from $79 to $49 (on the main site). Though I think it could have also been a marketing ploy, to grab as much as would sell in the hype before turning to more realistic prices that can be affordable to your average make up enthusiast (Hmm... indeed!). I'm just glad they're kind of more affordable now.

Well now that those points are out of the way, we can move on to the actual makeup!

This is a preview of one of the Life Palettes. I bought the Career Life Palette because I found it's probably the only palette in the collection I'd get the most use out of. The sectioned off looks are divided by name. First is power suit (top left), girl in charge (top right), out to lunch (bottom left), and natural talent (bottom right). The individual shades do have names typed on the backs of the pans, but they are one too many here. I do love the lip colours each look comes with. 

I won't be swatching these, unfortunately. There are a ton of other blogs and review sites that will have them. I do have swatches ready for the other makeup products I got from em Cosmetics, and yes, I do have some eye shadow swatches below as well. Don't worry! ;)
Each palette comes with a complimentary empty compact and a tool that removes each pan via the tiny extra space provided along each pan space. I do like this concept, but I think it should have been included with the Shade Play compacts that are also by em.
See here, the Shade Play compacts are also eye shadows palettes, but the pans don't have the ability to be removed from their palettes like the smaller life palettes. I feel the collection as a whole would be kind of interesting had all the palettes have removable pans too. Instead, they are glued down this time 'round. Believe me, I've tried prying a pan out too with no luck (Had to try!). This palette is called tokyo plums, and each of the other shade play compacts are named after other major cities around the world as well.
From the top left going counter clockwise, we have a light matte peachy shade that is a great blender colour. The next is a semi-matte lavender that has a bit of a satin finish. Third is a complimentary satin shade that is kind of a light rose gold colour. The first darker matte shade is a deep purple, and the second has a blacker base with violet glitter. The last shade is the biggest pan in the palette, and it's a dark lilac shade, and probably my favourite. =D

The quality of all of the eye shadows including the Life Palette will come reviewed as a whole. I do like the formula. The matte shades are drier than the shimmers, which is pretty standard when considering any eye shadow. I feel like the colour pay-off comes a little short. I did have to pick up a lot of product a couple of times in order to get the pigment I want. When blending, I have to be careful not to make the shades look like they're "muddying" over blending together. Eye shadow fallout isn't too much of an issue for me, but I think the lip gloss pans in the Life Palette do have the inevitable bad luck of getting eye shadow fallout in them. I think it'll be tricky to keep the big palettes clean overall, unless the lipgloss pans are switched out.

I do like the variety that em Cosmetics has when considering different shades. I feel like this is one of the biggest varieties available, which makes the combinations absolutely endless. If any one of you gals or guys have more than one Life Palette, I can't even think of how many different looks you can make.

I think the issue of replacing used up pans could be a good marketing idea. I think it has come up more than once that maybe there are specific eye shadows used more than other shadows, and that it could bode well for the customization factor.

Next up, I have three different creamy color sheer lipsticks from the lip gallery.
I'm not much for one with full-on colour, so these sheer lipsticks are actually kind of perfect for me. The tubes and bullets are standard. There is a little weight to them at the base of each lipstick, but I think that's more to help them stand.

Oh and, just a little trivia on the em logo/title... Em is a Vietnamese term of endearment when considering younger siblings, or a younger woman in your family. You would call your younger sibling "Em-" plus their name. I would know. ;)

The slogan that comes with em is, "a reflection of me," which I feel is also appropriate. And that also includes all the "em" words written on each of the packaging of these products.
From left to right, the shades I picked up are miss moneybag, one true kiss, and showstopper.

These lipsticks feel so creamy and comfortable when applied. There is a scent that I appreciate that doesn't come off as synthetic plastic that I find with some drugstore lippies. These would last a good while throughout the day. If you're eating or drinking, you'll definitely need to reapply after. On their own, I feel like the lipsticks are moisturizing, and I don't need a lip balm underneath. These lipsticks were spot on! =^3^=
The next products I will mention are these waterliners. Michelle has said that she made these waterliners with the intent that they last on the waterline without smudging or coming off so easily as other eyeliners. The other ends are smudgers with detachable sharpeners. These are only available on the emCosmetics site.
Again, left to right is teal tease, royal amethyst, chocolate dream, black night, and ro's gold.

I have to say, "YES!" Michelle Phan has definitely hit her mark with these liners. Not only is their pigment is just off the charts, they do stay on the waterline all day without moving. The bonus I find with these are that they are non-irritating to my eyes. And Hallelujah! As with other eyeliners, I find irritation is always present and expected. With these, I have not experienced ANY irritation in my eyes at all, and I have sensitive eyes, sir!

The only downfall of these are how soft they are...
When sharpening the tip of my favourite shade, ro's gold, the tip snapped off inside the tube without any real pressure applied. Now, I love these liners, but with how much I paid for them versus how much product I actually get, this was very upsetting. I have this shade stored, and now I'm afraid to use it lest it break some more. It does look lovely on the waterline. =(
Last but not least, is the infamous chiaroscuro contour and highlighter stick. The shade I grabbed is deep, only because I find bronzers never tend to show up on my skin unless they're darker shades. And well you know, when shopping online, it's a little more difficult to see what will show up and what won't. You can only get this stick exclusively on
The swatches out right are vibrant, but the blended swatches are what makes them suitable for casual day wear. There is the issue of these not lasting very long, but I think a powder over top helps it last longer on the skin. The highlighter side is shimmery, but it blends out very easily. The contour side is the side I'm most impressed with. I feel like it's the perfect contour shade for my skin tone when blended. You can use this effortlessly, and I think it's a great touch-up tool if you want to keep your sculpted look all day long.

I think that's it for now. I do have a few select products I didn't include, like a lipbalm, a concealer I'm still trying to work with, and a shimmery topcoat eye shadow. I may do future reviews on those. 

If you stayed this long, I sincerely thank you for checking in on this post. Hopefully I didn't go off too extravagantly. If there are any questions about these products, I can and will answer them to the best of my ability.

Thanks again!