Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You've Gotta Start Somewhere: EM Cosmetics First Impressions

As some of y'all may have heard, one of the founders of my beloved ipsy subscription, Michelle Phan, recently launched her own line of cosmetics. Over the weekend, the company ran a special, where you could purchase a "sample" palette of your choice for ten dollars. It would consist of three full-size shadows and a full-size lip color. Considering I'm getting ready to go on vacation, this seemed like the perfect time to snag a travel palette and review some new products all at once. It's great when things fall into place like that. 

I had some issues ordering the palette, unfortunately. The site is new, and the sale inundated the servers, so I'm cutting them some slack, but basically, I received an error message instead of a confirmation. I'd used PayPal, and received a confirmation from them, and the money was immediately held on my bank account, but I didn't receive any sort of confirmation from EM. I contacted customer service...and they couldn't tell me if my order had gone through or not. It takes 30 minutes to an hour for an order to process. Now, during checkout, I'd created an account, so I tried logging in to see if anything showed up there...and my login didn't work. My email address wasn't recognized. The customer service rep had no idea why. After about fifteen minutes, the rep told me that I should receive a confirmation email shortly, and to let them know if I didn't. Approximately thirty minutes after my error message, the email receipt showed up, and everything was kopasetic, though I gave up on ever trying to get into my account.

The palette shipped out quickly, and arrived yesterday morning--incredibly fast service--but wasn't quite what I expected. Yes, I did get three shadows and a lippie, but not really in palette form. Instead, they were pressed into clear plastic packaging over a picture of the complete palette.

I have absolutely no problem removing them and placing them in another travel palette, but I don't think this should have been advertised as a "palette". These are three shadows and a lippie. The palette is non-existent.

The shades are lovely. I chose the Warm Fuzzies selection, which comes with plummy taupe, grape with gold shimmer, and deep teal shadows, along with a shimmery raspberry gloss. The largest shadow is not quite the size of a MAC shadow, and the other two shadows and gloss are close to dime-sized (give or take). Bottom line: they're small. They're workable, but far from a more standard full-size.

Left to Right: Lip Gloss, Plummy Taupe, Grape, and Deep Teal
The shadows, themselves, are...fine. They look velvety in the pan, but that texture doesn't translate to the brush. They're not chalky, but not buttery, either. They're...okay. Average. The pigmentation, unfortunately, is fairly awful. The above swatches are swatched two and three times, and that's the best I could make the color build. The taupe is not bad, and the grape is a little disappointing, but the teal is downright dud. The lip gloss, however, is gorgeous! It's pigmented (that's one swipe up there), shiny, not sticky, and feels unbelievably moisturizing. I freaking love this lippie. For me, that's the shining star of the group.

This look was created by using the taupe on the lid, grape in the crease and outer corner, with the teal darkening the outer corner and under the lower lashline. I like it. It's not spectacular, but it looks nice.

Here's the gloss swatched on the lips. It does coordinate nicely with the shadows.

Now, here's the $65,000 question: Would I, based off of this sample, be willing to spend $75 for the rest of the Warm Fuzzies and the palette that it is a part of (Warm Fuzzies is one quadrant)? That's 24 shadows, 8 lip colors, and 4 cheek colors. Um...probably not. Granted, that works out to slightly over two bucks per product, and a smaller travel sized case is thrown in, but that's a lot of money to pony up for some hit and miss shadows. I'd be much more likely to pay somewhere in the twenty dollar range for just one quadrant. Still, the shadows aren't amazing, and the colors aren't terribly unique. I haven't looked through my not-as-extensive-as-you-might-think collection, but I can think of two, possibly three shadows that could rival the grape, and at least one that doubles the taupe. I picked this particular palette mainly for the teal, because I couldn't think of anything I had like it, but the Wet 'n' Wild Fauna trio now comes to mind.

The lip gloss was amazing, but again, not a hard color to dupe. In fact, after I put it on, I tossed a Juice Beauty gloss into my purse. I didn't even have to look at it; I knew it would be close enough for touch-ups.

There are stand-alone eyeshadow and lip palettes for $38 and $28, respectively. That's a little easier to swallow, but still pricey, especially considering the quality of the shadows. The packaging is adorable, but I'm leaving that out of this, since I didn't get to test it out first-hand.

I'm not thrilled, but I'm also not giving this a final verdict. This is a new company, and there's a learning curve. The colors are pretty, if not thoroughly original, and with a few tweaks, I think the quality could end up being quite remarkable. There's definite promise here, and I'm excited to see what's in store in the future.

Have you tried EM yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

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