(Trial Run)

What A Beauty Writer *Really* Thinks About Ariana Grande's New Makeup Collection

Is it worth your coin?

In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews.

The past few years have seen an influx in celebrity beauty lines from fragrances to makeup collections, and each new launch begs the question: will this actually be any good? When it was announced back in October that Ariana Grande was launching her makeup line, r.e.m. beauty, I couldn’t have been more excited, firstly because I absolutely adore Ariana, and secondly because she’s been one of my favorite makeup influences over the years. Whether it’s a cut crease or her signature winged liner, she always seems willing to try out different looks.

According to the brand, the name r.e.m. comes from the sleep phase when vivid dreams often occur and a time when you’re most creative and limitless. At first glance, you definitely get a futuristic vibe from the products, from the spacey silver packaging and the galactic inspired shade ranges. The website details Grande’s vision for the brand, stating “It means so much to me to be able to create a product line for absolutely everybody and anybody who wants to wear it and feel incredible.”

There are 13 different products to choose from for eyes, lips and face. While I can’t wait to get my hands on the full collection, for the past three weeks I’ve been testing five products in particular: the highlighter, two liquid eyeshadows, an eyeliner, and an eyeshadow palette. Here’s how I got on.

The Collection Details

The 100% vegan and cruelty-free products range from $15 - $24, which, considering I’ve often found most celebrity makeup lines are priced much higher (at around the $40 mark for the cheapest product), I think it’s great to see that r.e.m. beauty has been able to create a line that is inclusive for everyone, but isn’t prohibitively expensive.

The Interstellar Highlighter Topper In Miss Neptune

The highlighter toppers come in 10 unique shades from vivid gold to icy mint (I went with iridescent lavender), and can be used on your cheeks, eyes, and even on your body. The formula is infused with vegetable-derived emollients and creates a beautifully silky powder that glides effortlessly onto the skin for a dewy and luminous finish.

I tried the highlighter topper in two different ways. First, over the top of a bronzer, and I was delighted to see that there was zero product pilling. The second was layering it over the top of one of my other favorite highlighters. I went in with the No Filt-Her Universal Complexion Brightener by Ciaté London x Christine Quinn and then with a fluffy highlighter brush, I generously swiped the highlighter topper over it.

Despite the highlighter topper being really shimmery, there was barely any fallout and it did a really great job of adding a shimmery pop of color to my cheeks. I also found that the lavender color didn’t come through as much as I first thought it would on my cheeks (but if you really want that purple to show up, an extra coat or two helps it stand out).

Vanese wearing the Interstellar Highlighter Topper in shade Miss Neptune. Vanese Maddix

The Midnight Shadows Liquid Eyeshadow In <3 & UFO

There’s nothing I love more than a good eyeshadow, no matter the finish, and as long as it manages to stay put all day and doesn’t leave a lot of fallout underneath my eyes, I’m sold. r.e.m. beauty released two different liquid eyeshadow formulas: a lustrous shimmery liquid eyeshadow and a matte liquid eyeshadow. I found both shades really pack a punch with the pigment, and the luxe liquid gel formula blended smoothly onto the eyelid without any creasing.

Despite the shade “<3” having a matte finish, I didn’t find it drying in the slightest, and once the formula had dried down after a few minutes, I was still able to go in with another swipe of eyeshadow without it ruining the first layer. I found that both the matte and shimmery shade complimented each other really well, and because the shadows are so compact and easy to slip into your bag, it means they’re a great pairing when needing to do your makeup on the go. The provided brush was also easier for application than using my fingers.

The Borderline Eyeliner Marker In Midnight Black

Before r.e.m. beauty announced the initial products, I just knew that there would be a black eyeliner of some sort (it is her signature look after all). Now, over the years I’ve tried every type of eyeliner from liquid to gel, and despite years of practice, the only eyeliner that I could make work for me was an eyeliner marker, thanks to the felt tip and super easy precision. Luckily, that’s what the brand launched for this collection.

I found that the eyeliner marker delivered a smudge-proof and bold black line onto the eye area in a matter of seconds. I love creating classic eyeliner looks with a standout winged liner and experimenting with graphic eyeliner looks, and I found that the eyeliner marker was a great fit for each different style. I would definitely love to see r.e.m. beauty launch a number of different colored eyeliners in the future.

The Midnight Shadows Eyeshadow Palette in Babydoll

Lastly, I’ve been trying out r.e.m. beauty’s midnight shadows eyeshadow palette in Babydoll. There are two other palettes available called Midnight Snack (which features more purple and intergalactic-inspired shades) and Principessa (which has lots of warm and vibrant tones from metallic vibrant red to metallic warm copper). The shades in Babydoll are more what I typically tend to reach for on a day to day basis, from a matte brown to a golden bronze. The eyeshadow palette comes with a mix of six shimmer and matte shades that I found can easily be worn for a casual daytime or a bold, standout look.

The shades applied super silky and I didn’t find myself having to blend out the shades for very long to get a diffused edge. The color payoff was great, and I appreciated that the six shades were the perfect amount — any more and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed (or like you’ll never actually use the entire palette). It’s a definite must-have for anyone looking to find a perfect everyday palette with inclusive shades.

Vanese wearing r.e.m. beauty's Eyeliner Marker and Midnight Shadows Lustrous Liquid Eyeshadow in shade UFO. Vanese Maddix

Is r.e.m. beauty Worth The Hype?

Overall, I am super impressed with r.e.m. beauty and think this is hands down my favorite launch from a celebrity makeup line. It’s clear to see how much passion and hard work went into creating these products without skimping any details. Each product has easily made its way into my everyday routine thanks to the long-lasting formulas and easy to wear shades.

From what I’ve tried over the past two weeks, r.e.m. beauty is definitely worth the hype. The products currently available are titled ‘Chapter 1: Ultraviolet’ which I think means beauty lovers can expect even more greatness to come from r.e.m. beauty over the next few months, and I for sure can’t wait to see what’s next. Ariana, you came to slay, and slay you did!

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