Our series The One Thing is a Sparknotes version of the products, rituals, and moments your favorite celebrities and influencers swear by—their go-tos, must-haves, and can’t-live-withouts. So go ahead—take a brief, intimate peek into the lives of your favorites through the things (and people, and moments) they hold dear.
Michelle Phan is unquestionably a beauty vet. She has been providing her loyal YouTube audience with tutorials on trendy, transformative, and simple makeup looks since 2006 and, over the years, has witnessed health, makeup, and wellness evolve. With the introduction of new dermatologists, aestheticians, biochemists, and other professionals, the beauty industry looks very different today than it did nearly 16 years ago.
"When I first started off as a beauty guru/YouTuber, there wasn’t a lot of diversity or inclusion, but now it’s so cool because you get to see everyone from all walks of life," Phan tells us. "You can find someone like you and connect with them. That’s what makes the internet so special."
Today, Phan is a prominent member of the community. Not just an influencer, the content creator-turned-entrepreneur is also the founder of EM Cosmetics, a cosmetics brand that relaunched back in 2017.
Most recently, the brand introduced a limited-edition collection, featuring its best-selling Heaven’s Glow Radiant Veil Blush in two radiant shades, Persimmon and Cherub. "We hadn’t formulated the shades looking to create a collection, but they were so beautiful it inspired us to do so," Phan explains about the Heirloom Collection, which originally started out with just one color.
"Persimmon, which is one of my favorite fruits, and my mom’s favorite fruit, has a very fun, complex color story. My product development team was up for the challenge to create a blush that represented this," she explains about the inspiration behind her search for the perfect color. "It took us years—maybe three—to capture the colors of the fruit."
"I always loved the cherubs in Beauty & the Beast and wanted to replicate their rosy cheeks," she shares about the second shade, cherub. "We had to get the right tone, the right pink, to ensure that it was inclusive of all the different depths and shades of skin." Both colors, according to Phan, are ideal for a spring makeup look because they "inspire feelings of spring." And we couldn't agree more.
Ahead, the busy beauty mogul shared her favorite beauty trend for the season, insight on her beauty essentials, and how she self-cares when she’s not working.
The One Thing She Does To Unwind
"The moment I remove my makeup, my sunscreen, and start my skincare ritual is when I really start to chill and unwind. I have the type of personality where it’s really hard for me to unwind because I’m so wired. I’m a doer. Many of my placements in astrology are fire signs, and I have so much energy. Skincare really does take me to this meditative state, so for me, it's such a beautiful ritual. I get into my robe, and that’s when I can finish half an episode of Bridgerton, just be normal, and read a book or something."
The One Thing Her Beauty Routine Needs
"Good lighting and a good mirror. You could end up with clown makeup if you don’t have the right lighting!"
The One Beauty Trend She’s Loving For Spring
"I’m glad to see people exploring and embracing blush this spring. EM Cosmetics is known for our blushes because we do blushes really well—in a way, we’re blush connoisseurs—and the Heirloom Collection is no exception. The playful colors are perfect for spring while the formula enhances the skin with a multi-dimensional glow that looks like your natural skin, but better.
"I love that people are embracing the versatility of blush. You can wear it on your cheeks, but you can also play around with the placement. You can wear it on your eyes for a monochromatic look. The Heirloom Collection is ophthalmologist-tested and eye-safe to encourage you to be playful with your blush."
"I also like the trend of natural dewy skin. Less foundation, more skin. It was nice to see that people had been taking care of their skin during the pandemic and found enthusiasm for skincare, which means more people will embrace the dewy, natural skin look. I also love fun eye art—graphic color liners and glitter—and the trend of beauty filters. It’s a fun way to try on a new look without committing to the whole routine."
The One Beauty Trend She'd Like to Leave Behind in 2022
"Full coverage every day. Do you remember those old makeup tutorials where they drip all the foundation on their face? It looked cool and theatrical on camera, but it was too much product and we were hiding our already good skin. Then, we had to powder, add bronzer, and blush. It was such a thick layer of makeup.
"Now, with people wearing masks, the heavy, thick makeup just doesn’t work anymore because it’s all going to transfer onto the mask. People started wearing less foundation and heavy makeup, and I think we realized, ‘I didn’t need that much’ and began celebrating our skin instead.
"I wouldn’t say this is the end of full coverage because there are still going to be moments where you want to be super beat, but day to day most people just want something that’s easy, livable, and fresh."