em cosmetics by Michelle Phan The Day Life Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

The beauty realm is abuzz over the launch of em cosmetics. This collaboration by Michelle Phan and L'Oréal was two years in the making, with Michelle's fans providing input throughout the entire process. em cosmetics is an intro-to-luxury brand that boasts an extraordinary 250 products, and I will first introduce you to the refillable Life Palette in The Day Life. Click more to view all swatches and discover if it is worth the splurge! 

"LIFE HAS A LOT OF LOOKS. Wear them all."
The signature item from em is called the Life Palette. There are six different variations available, each curated for a specific mood and/or lifestyle. I was fortunate enough to view all six palettes at the YouTube Space last month, and I found that I was most drawn to the Day Life and Career life palettes, since they are the most wearable. The Beach Life and Love Life palettes, however, had the most variety in color and texture.

Each palette comes housed in a large flap-top box with a plastic shield to secure the pans and tools. The top flap reveals an example of each of the four looks the palette can create. The Life Palette contains a nearly overwhelming amount of product — 24 eyeshadows, 4 blushes, 8 lip shades (four lipsticks and four lip glosses). The price tag of $75 USD may seem steep at first glance, but the Day Life palette weighs a whopping 1.33 pounds and contains 26.8 grams of product. 

--The blushes are of sheer to medium pigmentation. The colors are supremely wearable, and they feel most like Lancôme blushes (not too soft, not too powdery).
--The eyeshadows kick up a little bit of dust since they are of the softer variety, but they are fabulous! I was not expecting them to be so creamy or pigmented, and they blend easily without fading away. I have been wearing the eyeshadows consistently without eye primer, and I only experienced a little bit of creasing after 8 hours. These em cosmetics eyeshadows are far more pigmented and smoother than any I have tried from Benefit. I also prefer this Day Palette's eyeshadows to similar mid-range brands' palettes like the Lorac Pro or Urban Decay Naked I because the selection and texture of shades fits my needs best. I love a few mattes for balance, and there are no glittery shades in the Day Life Palette. 
--The lipsticks are much more lightweight than I expected, considering how creamy they are. I did not experience any feathering, but I recommend using a lip brush for more precise lines and full opacity.
--The lipglosses pair well with any of the lipsticks in each palette. The color coverage is sheer to light with a bit of weight, and they feel very comforting on the lips. The glosses are not too sticky, which is much to my relief. The lip gloss junkie in me is hoping that em cosmetics launches some traditional lip glosses (with a wand applicator) soon!

Every Life Palette comes armed with a de-potting wand. This way, 9 of the individual products can travel with you in the travel sized palette! I will demonstrate how easy it is to pop out the pans in my comprehensive em cosmetics video review and tutorial sometime next week. This innovative feature is what I appreciate most about the Life Palette. I am a minimalist when I travel, so I love that I can take my favorites pieces from the palette along without sacrificing too much in the variety department. If you like to apply your daily makeup on the go or touch up and add more makeup throughout the day, this refillable style of palette is perfect for you.

There is a dual-ended synthetic brush included with the palette, though I much prefer natural hair bristles because they are more gentle on my eyes. The angled eyeliner side is useful in a pinch, but the all-over shader side is not wide or dense enough for my liking.

The Life Palette is broken up into four quadrants called Looks, and the laminated insert above provides helpful tips on how to utilize every color in the palette. All of the color schemes are well paired, soft and feminine.. perfect for enhancing any face.
  • Look 1: Girls Day Out
  • Look 2: Coffee Break
  • Look 3: Weekend Brunch
  • Look 4: Day Dreaming
Now, I was hesitant about the inclusion of open lip product pans in such close proximity to the powder blushes and eyeshadows, but I have not experienced any fall out issues since I use my makeup neatly out of habit. My recommendation? Rough/heavy-handed ladies and gents, take it easy. Also, wipe down the edges of the pans with a tissue or wet wipe if necessary. 

And finally, I present the swatches of all 36 pans (taken with my fingertips). Placement from Left to Right: blush, eyeshadows — starting from the top left of each quadrant — and then the lip products.

Look 1 is the most dramatic. This will compliment tan and dark complexions well, but the deeper tones make it more of a night appropriate look on my light-medium complexion. Though I tend to avoid mauve eyeshadows and deep rosy tones, I was impressed by this quadrant. The eyeshadows here swatched the best, and Rush Hour is possibly the creamiest and most pigmented eyeshadow in the entire palette. 

The deep berry red lipstick must be applied with a lip brush for even color. My swatch of the shimmery gloss did not turn out as well as I had hoped, but it looks absolutely phenomenal on the lips. I expect Berry Busy to become the most popular of the lipgloss selections since the base is pigmented enough to be worn alone. 

Look 2 is my favorite quadrant. Lotsa Latte is my favorite color from the whole palette. It may not swatch well against my arm or hand, but it is ultra creamy, pigmented, and easy to blend on the eyes. Performance on the eyes is the priority here, so never dismiss a product based on swatches. Espresso is a deep matte chocolate brown, but the swatch accidentally got muddled with Cocoa. Just keep in mind that Espresso is a fabulous crease color and is not like the swatch above. I will use it in my video tutorial to demonstrate the true color and pigmentation. 

What's Nude? can be worn alone, but the peach hint is more noticeable against my arm than on my lips. I like to wear Morning Peach and What's Nude? together for the perfect peachy lip.

I initially used Look 3 the most because of its gorgeous peach theme, but I wish Nibble had been a matte instead of a subtle shimmer. I love wearing Peach Gelato all over the lid with French Toast (which has a little fallout so pat, don't swipe) in the outer corner. When I have a spare minute, I use a mix of Creme and Girlie to highlight my tear ducts and lower lash lines. Ballet Flats can be blended into the crease for extra definition if desired. 

Pinched is on the sheerer side for a blush, but the color is lovely and applies evenly. I suggest using a dense blush brush for best results, though tan and dark skins might only be able to use Pinched as a highlighter. Roses is a well pigmented and ultra smooth lipstick, while Parisian Nude is essentially a clear lipgloss with a smattering of glitter.

I did not expect to love Look 4, but I enjoy it more with each outing. I think the eyeshadows in this quadrant are the most fun and whimsical. I absolutely adore Silver Lining and Fantasy. Silver Lining is not a flat silver, which gives it a bluish-green lean against my yellow-toned skin, while Fantasy is much brighter and more prominently gold than how it appears in the pan. Storm Kiss is another matte than swatches poorly but performs incredibly well on the eyes. To wrap things up, Misty Mauve is just pink enough to brighten up the deeper mauve undertones of my natural lip color. It looks lovely with One More lipglosses because the pink shimmer brightens up the look.

My favorite products from the Day Life palette are as follows:
  • Blush: Pinched
  • Eyeshadows: Lotsa Latte, Espresso, Storm Kiss, Creamy, Silver Lining, Fantasy, Rush Hour
  • Lipsticks: Morning Peach and Misty Mauve
  • Lipgloss: Berry Busy and What's Nude?

I've seen complaints about the packaging, so I wanted to address some of the concerns. There is a substantial weight to the plastic and acrylic. The em cosmetics Life Palette build is thick and durable, made of the kind of quality plastic that beauty addicts associate with designer and luxury products. Though the rounded corners and "bubble" themed pans in varying size do not appeal to my structured and rectangular preferences, but I see and acknowledge the thought process behind it. em cosmetics as a brand is targeted toward the young adult crowd (teens to twenties) unlike Tom Ford or Chanel's more mature audience, so the em packaging reflects a younger vibe. 

Worn: em cosmetics Day Life eyeshadows (Crème, Peach Gelato, French Toast) with Black Night Waterliner and Misty Mauve mixed with Showstopper sheer lipstick & What's Nude? Lipgloss
For those that never know which eyeshadows are best paired together or for those that want to enhance their coloring for any daytime occasion, the Day Life palette is a $75 commitment worth making. It makes a great gift since there are so many pretty yet approachable and wearable colors to experiment with, and it's just in time for the upcoming Holiday season. I was not convinced at first, but the quality of the products and the utility of the refillable concept make this palette a steal! 

Bottom Line: The packaging may not be perfect, but the em cosmetics Day Life palette has so much to offer in terms of quality and variety, making this truly worth the investment.
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  1. Great Swatches Rae, the colours look great. Can't wait for em to be made available in the UK.

  2. Great swatches and photo quality. I could not tell some of the "neutral" colors actually look quite fun and interesting. Do you have the Career Life palette to review and compare with? Thanks.

  3. Those are all such great swatches. I love all the colors but Fantasy is my favorite!

  4. Look so good :) must have it. Good luck & best wishes .em Michelle Phan.
    ".em là 1 trong những niềm tự hào cho phụ nử VietNam."

  5. Look so good,I must have it. Good luck & Best Wishes to .Em Michelle Phan. Pride for VietNamses Women :)

  6. Not really a fan of bulky palettes, but those are very nice unique colors.

  7. Such pretty colors! Great review! :)

  8. The colors are really nice... But can't help but hate that lipstick and lipgloss is in a palette. It always gets so dirty!
    The concept is nice. I just find that and the price tag to heavy.
    The eyeshadows look amazing though!
    xoxo Elle

  9. Thanks so much for this review - have contemplated for a while whether to invest on this LP or not. I defo love the colours in this one though and I couldn't agree more with fantasy eyeshadow - what a lovely hue! You look gorge with this makeup look, love it! <3 x Donah

  10. Silver Lining and Fantasy are so pretty! Especially Fantasy - which reminds me of the Max Factor Max Effects Mini Nail Polish in Fantasy Fire - It's pretty much the exact shade!

    I Took Part in Nivea's #DareToDip Campaign!

  11. Very good review. I have read some that were very bias but yours was pretty honest.

  12. thanks for the swatches! fantasy is GORGEOUS!!! i'm with you - not a fan of the packaging. If i'm going to buy a palette, I like the rectangle ones. Seems like a lot of wasted space in this palette. I wish there were more options on purchasing, too...as in buying just one of the four looks here. That would be more in my price range. I know those are reserved for the samples they offer in their specials. The price is the only reason I haven't bought one of the palettes. I love make up too much to spend that much money on one item. Since the pieces pop out for travel purposes, I wonder if eventually they will sell refills.

  13. I just love the colors from Look no.4 - Day Dreaming.

  14. I have. This same palette and my colors do not have the same pigmentation as yours. My colors are soooo sheer, I have to really really apply tons of color to get even coverage and the texture is chalky and powdery if that makes sense...will be returning because I clearly got a bad batch.

    1. It could be the brushes you're using to apply the eyeshadows.. I find that my fingers or MAC's 239 and Tom Ford's Eye Contour shadow brushes work best.

  15. This palette was a drunk purchase and i'm so glad it happened it is a great palette i love all the colors and my eye shadow and blush last through an hour of crossfit and an hour of dynamic Pilates, i'm sure that's with the help of my UD setting spray but who knows. If you are on the fence about EM i highly recommend this palette or a lip stick they are also amazing


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