Welcome to Glam Room, our beauty destination where we put celeb-founded beauty brands to the test. As A-listers continue to launch new ranges on the regular, we’re using our beauty editor expertise to sniff out which products from the line are worth the hype—no lies, no publicists, no ads. Our latest contestant: r.e.m beauty, created by the singer, songwriter, and beauty icon, Ariana Grande.

elle glam room

If there’s a celebrity I can be confident actually cares about beauty, Ariana Grande would be somewhere near the top of the list. She’s made a name for herself with her superb vocals and ridiculously catchy tunes, but in my opinion, a good portion of that stardom is because she has created an iconic look. A ginormous sleeked ponytail and winged eyeliner are at least half the equation.

So when Grande announced that she was launching r.e.m. beauty, I thought, “Well, at least she knows what she’s talking about.” Nothing irks me more than a celeb launching a brand I’m positive they don’t use themselves. I’m looking at you, [insert almost anyone]. Her first drop was pretty much what I expected: liquid liner, glosses, eyeshadows, lipsticks, and mascara. Drop two was a little more nuanced, adding intense cream eyeshadows, a lash and brow serum, and two skincare products. Currently, she has pretty much every category covered: eyes, lips, cheeks, and skincare.


glam room nominees rem

I’ll be honest: It’s hard to make a standout product when the market is already saturated with alternatives. Wowing me with lipstick or eyeshadow is a feat, considering that I’ve probably tried hundreds by this point. Skincare and makeup prep intrigue me more, but coming to a consensus about their worthiness is even harder, given that no one’s skin reacts the same to each product. Given these limitations, I eventually settled on four products I was genuinely interested in and wanted to know more about: at the borderline eyeliner marker, midnight shadows metallic gel eyeshadow, on your collar plumping lip gloss, and flourishing lengthening mascara.

at the borderline eyeliner marker

My standards for liquid liner are high. Maybe too high. This version has a felt tip, which is my preferred method for a sharp cat-eye. It’s a true matte black and promises 48-hour wear. I’ll admit that it was a little unfair of me to test this one out because I already have a favorite eyeliner–coincidentally, also created by a celeb brand. While Grande’s version has intense pigment, it truly does last, and the applicator was easy to wield. Unfortunately, this liner let me down in one particular, nit-picky way: It is my pet peeve when felt-tips remove pigment when you try to add a second coat of eyeliner. If this isn’t your particular hang-up, you should have no trouble with this pen.

midnight shadows metallic gel eyeshadow

Given the mixed reviews about r.e.m.’s midnight shadows lustrous liquid eyeshadow from drop 1 (the most common one I heard was that they weren’t satisfactorily pigmented), I knew I needed to try this alternate version. This product comes in five metallic shades and promises comfort and blendability. I am happy to say that all these promises were delivered, plus a few more.

on your collar plumping lip gloss

Glosses are another category that is hard to make a statement in, but Grande persevered. The tubes are a bit reminiscent of Juicy Tubes, but the product is plumping, tingy, and come in all the bold or neutral shades we could hope for. Once they were on, I found that they lasted for quite a while—I didn’t need to re-apply after my morning tea. The shine is there, minus any stickiness or globbiness. I was a bit concerned that the applicator would remove more product than it placed, giving the Juicy-association, but I found no application issues at all, to my surprise.

flourishing lengthening mascara

In the same way I’m doubtful that celebs use their own under-$20 skincare when they can afford La Mer; I’m skeptical that a performer who has access to lash extensions and masterfully-applied falsies knows how to make a great mascara. My doubts were put to rest when the first person I saw after applying this product immediately asked what I used. I like to make it look like I have several small spider legs growing from my lash line, and this mascara added an astonishing amount of length, helping me realize that goal. Even more than that, I had zero fall-out after wearing this mascara all day, but it still came off easily with my nighttime oil cleanser.

glam room winner

glam room winner rem

glam room acceptance

Despite my dubiousness, I was very, very pleasantly surprised with r.e.m. beauty. Though I generally had positive experiences with most of the products I tried–and there were more standouts, like their highlighters, that I couldn’t get into here—ultimately, the winner was decided on a few factors: The midnight shadows metallic gel eyeshadow is one of the only, if not the only, cream eyeshadow that I found to be blendable, pigmented, long-lasting, and comfortable to wear. Ever.

In my experience, metallic cream eyeshadows are either pigmented but chunky and uncomfortable; or comfortable and blendable, but not pigmented. And no matter which variation, they’re never long-lasting. After a full, sweaty day at the office, I didn’t have so much as a crease line. While I think the plumping gloss and mascara are great, the truth is you may be able to find dupes elsewhere. But when it comes to creating something new and worthwhile, ultimately, I don’t think you can find a product that parallels the midnight shadows metallic gel eyeshadow. And if you do, tell me about it immediately.

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