Well well well, if it isn’t all of my dreams coming true right before my very eyes. My two great loves, beauty and pop music, are intersecting in the most exciting way, almost like I fever dreamed it into existence. My main pop girl, Ariana Grande, launched her very own beauty brand, r.e.m. beauty.
What place does Ariana have in beauty? Well, that’s the thing—Ariana has surpassed the need to prove herself to us or anyone else. She continues to move the needle, shift culture, and push trends with every song, every post, and every move she makes. The Positions album cover really (re)invented that floating wing eye trend we’ve been seeing all year, and the accompanying music video gave way to its very own TikTok trend that’s still going strong. And that’s all just within one year.
What I mean is, in big and small ways, Ariana has made an indelible impact on culture: the oversized sweatshirts, the thigh-high boots, bringing '60s mod looks back into the everyday, and yes, the ponytail. Why wouldn’t she start a beauty line? Now, let’s get one thing out of the way. Before you hit me with the, “ugh, another pop star releasing a makeup line,” my only response is, “okay, and???” This is the way things have always been. What we’re seeing is just another version of the celebrity fragrance boom of the early 2000s on a larger scale, and it's not stopping anytime soon.
While we knew her beauty brand was coming, we knew very little about what it would actually entail. After a lot of teasing, r.e.m. beauty has finally unveiled, and the whole thing just… makes sense. Throughout her career, Ariana has consistently pulled references from '60s fashion, old sci-fi franchises, and Halloween monster movies. In the r.e.m. teaser photos, we see pieces of that coming through, and when she recently spoke to Byrdie about creating the collection, she often mentioned her points of reference, which include Barbarella, Twiggy, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lip Venom, and jelly sandals.
The first drop, Ultraviolet, launched on Friday, November 12, 2021, and it was comprised of Ari’s take on everyday essentials. While Chapter One is pretty eye-focused, it also gives you (a ton of) options for your lips and face. Below, we got all of the details on r.e.m. beauty straight from Ariana herself. Keep reading for a rundown of the products, the inspiration behind them, and more.
The Eye Products
Okay, so obviously, this is an iconic reference to the first line of "Be Alright" from her album Dangerous Woman. We continue to stan. These liquid shadows are easily the part of the launch that I'm most excited about, since Ari is pulling up with shades and options. They're ultra-pigmented, long-wearing, and very blendable.
"We have several matte shades and then several super metallic, sparkly shades. I love them both," Ariana told us. "The coverage on these is really, really insane. They're super pigmented."
The matte offerings include a range of nudes, pinks, and browns that are all named after your favorite flip-phone phrases: l8r is a matte nude cream, brb is a matte pink mauve, and ttyl is a matte deep brown.
The luster shades include a variety of colorful metallics, ranging from iridescent pink to rich teal. Each shimmery offering has a space-inspired name, like asteroid (metallic bronze), telescope (metallic blackened silver), and ufo (warm metallic taupe).
If you're more of a traditional pressed powder eyeshadow person, then don't worry, Ari has three super wearable, take-anywhere palettes for you, with six shades in each. One of the singer's signature eye looks inspired each palette. There's Babydoll, the quintessential warm palette, named for the nickname her grandpa gave her, which she also has tattooed on her finger.
Next is Midnight Snack, a more spacey, duo-chrome option filled with cool-toned mattes and shimmers.
And finally, the warmer, bolder, Principessa, which is "princess" in Italian.
The shade names in each palette, as well as throughout the entire collection, are very Ariana. In her own words, "The names are all super personal to me. The Babydoll palette was the one that I gave the most personal name because this is the neutral, more warm, and yummy tones. And Sunset In Gildone, that's where a lot of my family on my Nona's side is from in Italy. And we got Cannoli on the Principessa palette. We have Boca Mocha is a shade which is named after my hometown Boca Raton."
No matter what her beauty look is from day to day, Ari is rarely seen without her signature black cat eye, so a liner was an obvious pick for r.e.m.
Of course, Ariana's liner marker has everything you could possibly want from a liquid offering. It's waterproof and smudge-proof, which means it's cry-proof, too! Though that won't be a problem anyway since we have no tears left to... nevermind.
"I love this marker because it's super precise, and you can make the perfect little simple cat eye but also create more graphic looks because it's so pointy and precise, thin and flexible," Ari tells us of the liner's tapered felt tip.
According to the brand, the jet black liner also lasts up to 48 hours (but please don't ever wear your makeup for two days straight). And yes, the name is a nod to her song "Borderline" off of her Grammy Award-winning album, "Sweetener."
If felt tip liners aren't your thing, there's also a kohl pencil option that comes in three shades: black, brown, and bright white.
For Ariana, adding a "super, super white" shade to the collection was a no brainer. "[I created] So Mod because a lot of my inspiration is from like 60s," says the singer. "You know, Twiggy, Barbarella, stuff like that, so you can create more graphic, vintage stuff with this or just use it on your waterline, whatever you want."
For lashes, Ariana is launching with not one, but two mascaras. The Flourishing Volumizing Mascara is designed to give you the fullest lashes of your life without absolutely no clumps. The uniquely shaped "satellite-inspired brush" deposits the perfect amount of mascara on lashes, while the formula itself is infused with naturally derived bamboo powder meant to prevent fallout, according to the brand.
The second mascara offering is all about length. The "spaceship-inspired brush" is tapered, so it can get into your inner and outer corners to lengthen even your tiniest lashes. For full, lifted lashes, Ariana recommends applying the Flourishing Lengthening Mascara first, and then following with its volumizing counterpart.
"I wanted to launch with two mascaras," she says. "This was a big debate because mascara is so important and also so personal. So many people want all the coverage, all the depth, all the drama... So I wanted to launch with one that's more lengthening and separating, and also another one that gives the pigment [with] a little bit more drama."
And, of course, there are lashes. The line's Dream Lashes are faux mink, lightweight, and made with a clear band, so they sit on your lashes and blend into your natural lash line flawlessly. They come in two different styles: Eternally Meowing (a pair of long, wispy lashes for maximum glamour) and Grow N Show (a full and feathery pair that creates a cat-eye effect).
"They're the best. I love, love, love these lashes," says Ariana. "I wear them all the time. I've been wearing all of these products on The Voice, I wear them all the time to work, I wear them on TV."
The Lip Products
Now, you know Ariana is not going to drop a beauty line without giving you options for lips. She often steps out with some iteration of pinky-nude lips, sometimes matte, sometimes glossy, so I expected a lineup of products that would help us recreate this. And, of course, she did not disappoint.
With a lightweight, non-sticky, hydrating formula, r.e.m. beauty's plumping glosses are high-shine and packed with pigment and shimmer. The contoured, slant-tip applicator gives me '90s vibes, as does the cooling, plumping sensation the formula offers. Speaking of nostalgia, with shade names like Pink Razr, Away Message, and Jelly Sandals, she's really bringing the bygone era back in a big way.
Now, we love a pigmented lip gloss, but if there's one thing that brands have finally learned in the last year or two, it's that we also need a simple clear gloss to finish off any look with. Is that so much to ask? Well, Ari came through and gave us the same plumping formula, free of pigment, in a crystal-clear, essential gloss that I'll be sporting for the foreseeable future.
The plumping effect was inspired by everyone's favorite painful but addicting lip gloss—I know you know it. "The plump was very important to me because I remember being in middle school and having Lip Venom," Ariana tells us. "We love that sort of like multi-sensation like cooling, warming, pumping. Everything has to have a little extra thing in it. So this is super pumping and yummy and tingly and warm. And smells delicious."
If you're into bullet lipsticks, r.e.m. is also launching with six gorgeous nude shades that range from light to deep. Since we continue to see the matte lip trend creeping its way back in, Ariana is giving us an ultra-comfortable formula that she can't get enough of. "I love this formula. It's super matte but also super creamy and hydrating at the same time."
The On Your Collar Matte Lipstick packaging is one of the real triumphs of r.e.m. When the cap is on, there's a little window where you can see the shade of the lipstick (THANK YOU, ARIANA), and it looks like it's wearing its own little spacesuit.
"I'm obsessed with this packaging in a way that I don't even know how to articulate," she says. "It's our little space human-alien pod. And I'm so excited. It's kind of the cutest thing I've ever seen. I love that you can peek through and see the colors. I love that it's spacey and fun and then sort of very soft and smooth."
Here is where Ariana's inspiration comes through in a major way. In the campaign photos, she wielded a giant version of the lipstick component as a space blaster and referenced an iconic image of Barbarella. Ariana frequently pays homage to her inspirations throughout her work, and it's so cool to see her having fun with her beauty line in the same way that she does her music.
It's funny, after the early 2000s, lip stains might have slightly drifted away, but the fans of them didn't. After matte liquid lipsticks became such a huge trend in the early aughts, brands pivoted their focus and forgot all about stains. However, people still ask me all the time, "Who makes the best stain?" The answer is, well, they're pretty hard to find, and all the good ones are coming out of K Beauty (of course), which means they're often hard to get your hands on.
Well, you can thank Ariana, because r.e.m. is pulling up with the goods. The practically Permanent Lip Stain Marker is available in four lightweight, pigmented shades, and 100% of consumers who tested said the product didn't bleed or run, according to the brand.
The shade pictured above is a bright strawberry pink named Popular, which is, no doubt, a reference to her upcoming role as Galinda in the Wicked movie.
"I've always loved stains more than lip liner or lipstick because I feel like it's going to be there for you," says Ariana. "Also, it doesn't move, it's there. And so my favorite combination is the lip marker with the Utmost Importance Plumping Gloss, or with one of the other glosses."
Take it from me (someone who has seen Ariana on every tour, in every photo, from every angle)—no one is more serious about her highlight than Ariana. Her makeup is always perfect, of course, but her highlight is seriously out of this world. And now, it can be ours, too.
The creamy formula is weightless and multidimensional and can be used on the face, eye, and body. It comes in ten glow-inducing shades that range from warm champagne to rich bronze to icy mint.
The Bottom Line
Can you stand it? Doesn't it feel like her? I'm so excited. By no means does Ariana have to earn her space in the beauty industry; it's already hers. But I guess, in fairness, she does have something to prove—and that she did.
R.e.m. beauty is a concise, curated collection of products with thoughtful shade ranges, stellar packaging, and branding that feels like it came from its creator. Chapter one, Ultraviolet, makes a lot of sense as a first offering and plays in a ton of spaces that new brands rarely do (like mascara). If Ariana's track record with, well, everything is any indication, then we have a hit on our hands. And from the little I've heard about what's to come, we're only just getting started.