It's really surreal having an intimate group Zoom meeting with an A-list celebrity like Ariana Grande. It's even more surreal when that celebrity busts out into a Jennifer Coolidge impression mid-makeup swatch. But that's exactly what happened on November 2, as Grande revealed to a small group of beauty editors everything in the first drop, a.k.a. Chapter One, of her new cosmetics brand, r.e.m. beauty. The much-anticipated line, which the singer's been teasing for months and keeping secret for about two years, is almost here.
As you've probably already gathered from some of its preview photos, r.e.m. beauty is like one of Ariana Grande's sultry, spacey pop albums wrapped up into a line of funky, science-fiction-esque products for the eyes, lips, and face. And yes, she knows she's not by any means the first celebrity to launch a makeup brand. "I don't ever want to just jump into something that is popular, or whatever. It has to feel super intentional and fueled by passion," Grande says during the meeting. She insists that r.e.m. "feels so honest and so true to me and my life."
Chapter One consists of 12 products, all of which Grande cheerily showcased to about a dozen skeptical beauty critics. On my screen, creamy eye shadows, shimmering highlighters, juicy glosses, and more glided across her arms with pigment and ease. (If I hadn't been trying so hard to stifle my laughter at Grande's spot-on impersonation of Coolidge, I would've been visibly impressed.) Thankfully, just moments after my casual Tuesday afternoon meeting with one of the world's biggest entertainers, a package full of the same r.e.m. beauty products landed on my doorstep for me to try first-hand in advance of the brand's grand debut on November 12.
In fact, the brand sent its first drop (well, most of it) to three Allure editors with wildly different tastes in makeup, application techniques, skin tones, and skin types. Below, we break down everything we tried from the line, which also includes lipsticks, false eyelashes, eyeliners, and plenty more.
Eye makeup, the primary focus of r.e.m. beauty's first chapter, comes in six formats: a pocket-size six-shade eye shadow palette, liquid eye shadow, two different types of eyeliner, mascara, and falsies. The biggest staple of them all, the Midnight Shadows Eye Shadow Palette ($24), comes in three color schemes: Babydoll (the warm, neutral selection shown below), Midnight Snack (dark and cool mattes and shimmers), and Principessa (lighter, warm mattes and shimmers).
Each of these shadows is highly pigmented and lightly pressed — a quick dip of a brush into the formula will grant you enough powder to cover your entire eyelid. You can keep their color payoff subtle and translucent by blending outward or build them up to full opacity by packing them on with a finger or damp smudging brush.
Midnight Shadows Eye Shadow Palette in Babydoll, $24
An Ariana Grande makeup line would be incomplete without a full-pigment, easy-wing, black liquid eyeliner, which is exactly what the singer has delivered with her On the Borderline Eyeliner Marker ($19). Less like a marker and more like a pen, this eyeliner's felt-tip pen is one of the most flexible I've ever used, and its formula is so incredibly black that cat-eye newbies might want to give this a few practice runs before wearing it for real (these tips will help). Because once this very fluid liner settles, you're not getting it off without an oil-based cleanser and a little bit of elbow work (just how I like it). Seriously, I took a hot, 15-minute shower wearing it and came out with entire wings still intact.
On the Borderline Kohl Eyeliner Pencil ($17) comes in three shades — Midnight Black (self-explanatory), So Mod (the true white pictured below), and Teddy Bear (a rich brown) — and is every bit as long-wearing as the liquid iteration. One firm swipe makes the soft gel formula melt into the skin with full-color payoff. You can blend it before it dries down if you're quick. Otherwise, you can wear it as is because smoky or graphic looks are well within this pencil's abilities.
On the Borderline Eyeliner Marker in Midnight Black, $19
On the Borderline Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in So Mod, $17
Liquid eye shadows are my be-all, end-all makeup kit staple, so my expectations for Grande's Midnight Shadows Liquid Eye Shadows ($16) were higher than everything else in the line. And much to my delight they wae everything I think liquid eye shadows should be. Available in 10 matte and 11 metallic hues, these compact little tubes are wildly easy to store and transport. As far as the colors go, you'll find a mix of neutrals (copper, gold, glittering black), warm tones (rose-gold, iridescent baby pink), and bright, standout, cool tones (galactic purple, deep ocean blue). All the basics are covered with a splash of colorful standouts.
Like the kohl pencil, you can adapt the liquid eye shadow formula to do basically whatever you want it to. Pick up a brush and blend to your heart's content or use the pointed edge of the doe-foot applicator to paint on graphic shapes and just let them dry. Whatever look you choose will stay put until you decide it's time to part ways.
Even our senior commerce writer Sarah Han, who normally hates liquid shadows, was won over by this formula. "I definitely didn't think the liquid eye shadow would be my favorite product out of the debut lineup, but here we are," she says, laughing. "This one has just the right amount of sparkle. It's very noticeable but not quite at an over-the-top level for me." More importantly, she adds, it never becomes patchy, thanks to its really fluid texture.
Midnight Shadows Lustrous Liquid Eye Shadow in UFO, $16
Midnight Shadows Matte Liquid Eye Shadow in NVM, $16
Ah, lashes — another category we knew Ari would have in her first lineup. Seeing how many mascaras have hit the market in the past six months, you might feel like you're drowning in them right now. But don't worry. When it comes to r.e.m. beauty's Flourishing Lengthening and Volumizing Mascaras ($15), they're not like other girls. First, there's the packaging, which I don't even know how to describe because it's not cylindrical and it's not rectangular either. Let's just call it geometric and you can come up with your own description when you inevitably get your hands on them.
The Lengthening Mascara, pictured below, sadly didn't come in my r.e.m. beauty mailer — but if its tapered brush with short, widely spaced bristles is anything to go by, it grips lashes individually to build length at the tips. The Volumizing Mascara, however, I did try and was immediately taken aback by its chunky, dense spoolie, which has a wavy side-profile because the length of the bristles is intentionally uneven. Says Han: "I've never seen an applicator shaped quite like this one."
I'm not one to choose a volumizing formula over a lengthening one, but I did like the wispy definition this one added to my lashes. Han couldn't agree more. "My hunch is that the shorter bristles were perfectly primed to latch onto my hard-to-reach outer lashes, which always give me the toughest and smudgiest time," she says. "I was left with fluttery, perfectly separated lashes — the latter being an especially rare feat."
Flourishing Lengthening Mascara in Midnight Black, $15
Dream Lashes in Eternally Meowing, $16
If you're the type who feels naked without falsies, Ari has you covered there too with two different pairs of Dream Lashes. One, Eternally Meowing (pictured above) is thinner and shorter near the inner corner and thicker and longer at the outer corner, emulating the singer's signature cat-eye shape. The other pair, which are full and fluttery with a slight taper at the outer corner, is called Grow N' Show. (When Grande cheekily revealed this name in our meeting, I cackled out loud. Great, dirty minds think alike!)
Now, I'm not very good with falsies — but associate news editor Gabi Thorne, pictured above, sure is. After hearing her feedback on the lashes, I'll have to give them a go. "I found that the clear, thin band on Grow N' Show was so easy to apply," she says. "It's nice and flexible so you can easily form it to the contours of your eyes. In literally two minutes I could apply these lashes, which never happens."
Grande appeared in our Zoom meeting with a glossy, berry-stained lip that she attributed to two products that weren't yet available for press, the first being Utmost Importance Plumping Lip Gloss ($17 ), a tingling clear gloss she said you can layer over just about anything or wear on its own. "Utmost Importance is just the perfect, clear topcoat. It's so '90s and it has the yummiest warm vanilla scent," she explains. "It's its own separate thing because that's how imperative it is for the lip."
The other is Practically Permanent Lip Stain Marker ($16), a lip stain available in four pink and red shades. "I've always preferred lip stains over lip liner or lipstick because it's going to be there for you," Grande says.
Practically Permanent Lip Stain Marker in Full Out, $16
On Your Collar Matte Lipstick in Bubbly, $19
On Your Collar Plumping Lip Gloss in Chuckie, $17
Utmost Importance Plumping Lip Gloss in Clear, $17
If you like a little bit of color in your gloss, you can select one of the nine On Your Collar Plumping Lip Glosses, which come in nude, red, pink, and a few iridescent shades like Chuckie (shown above), which Grande says is her favorite in the range. We, unfortunately, didn't get to try these glosses, but Grande did confirm over Zoom that they also have a tingling and plumping effect. "The plump was very important to me because I remember being in middle school and having DuWop Lip Venom on and that, to me, was the best feeling," Grande jokes.
I was enthralled to find one On Your Collar Matte Lipstick shade, a nude-pink called Bubbly, in my mailer, though, because its packaging is just too cute to handle. (Grande says she's "obsessed" with it.) The rounded silver tube has a circular, see-through hatch at the top, revealing the lipstick bullet sitting pretty, like a spaceman in his flight suit. The range includes six nude hues in light, medium, and deep shades, all of which feel like velvet and you need only a small amount to cover the lips fully in color. Although they're matte, they don't dry down for the sake of all-day comfort — though you can always blot if you prefer them to feel drier.
Nicola wears r.e.m, beauty Midnight Shadows Eye Shadow Palette in Babydoll, On the Borderline Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in So Mod, On the Borderline Eyeliner Marker in Midnight Black, Flourishing Lengthening Mascara in Midnight Black, On Your Collar Matte Lipstick in Bubbly, and Interstellar Highlighter Topper in Miss Mercury.
Grande is giving blinding, shimmery, could-see-them-from-space highlighters a major comeback with the Intersetallar Highlighter Toppers ($22). The 10-shade range, all named after planets, includes the classic highlighter hues — like champagne, copper, and frosty pink — plus some you probably thought you could find only in an alien's makeup tutorial — like icy mint, color-shifting lavender, and a green-tone gold.
That wide color range was very intentional on Grande's part. “We wanted them to have range so that you could use them to create fun eye looks,” she explains. "You can really use them anywhere." Just like the eyeliners, these beautifully engraved powders are pressed somewhat lightly for a complexion product. They crumble and melt to the touch, hence their high-impact color payoff.
Interstellar Highlighter Topper in Miss Mercury, $22
While the soft, gold Miss Mercury glowed like candlelight on my fair, rosy skin, it was the iridescent purple Miss Neptune that caught Gabi's and Sarah's eyes. "I've found that a lot of purple or lavender highlighters can look a little ashen or too light for my brown skin, but this shade was perfect," Gabi says. "The moment I swatched the pigment on my skin, I literally gasped and was amazed at how well it paired with my vibrant pink blush."
While Miss Neptune does look intimidatingly colorful in the pan, it can be applied lightly, as Han did, for a lovely, subtle flush. "When I applied the lilac Miss Neptune highlighter with my finger, it lent my cheekbones a gorgeous glow and became my favorite out of the two shades I tried," she says.
These days it's easier than ever for celebrities and influencers to slap their name on a product line and call it a day, but believe me when I tell you that r.e.m. has one of the clearest visions I have witnessed in a celeb-founded brand. Everything in the range brings some facet of Ariana Grande to mind: its mix of classic and experimental colorways, its futuristic packaging, its deeply personal shade names, and its many nods to Grande's own discography are just some of the minor details in which the singer's biggest fans will find joy.
Each product the brand has revealed is packed with pigment, versatile, and can last all day long. In other words: Just like Grande, r.e.m. beauty has The Range.
r.e.m. beauty retails from $15 to $24 and is available starting November 12 on rembeauty.com, where you can also sign up for email updates on the brand's launch.
All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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