I'm in a Zoom hold, waiting for the meeting host — Ariana Grande's PR team — to let me in to a Zoom room with the talent herself. Once I hear the familiar ‘vroom’ sound and the expanded window, there, on my dirty laptop screen (should've given it a wipe down), is Ariana Grande's face and she's all smiles. "Hey, Megan," she opens.
She's wearing a black long-sleeve top, her signature high ponytail, winged eyeliner, and a faint silver line skimming just below her brow, which she tells me later is "a metallic cut-crease moment."
The glam is apropos, as we're on a press call to talk about Grande's new brand, R.E.M. Beauty. The name, if you're curious, is not a nod to her music, but an acronym for eye movements. "You know, our eyes are our main communicators," Grande explains. "That's why we're calling it R.E.M. — rapid eye movement."
For Grande's aesthetic, it makes sense to focus branding to the eyes. Her winged eyeliner is as iconic as the ponytail, just a little more subtle. The R.E.M. line includes eyeliner, a few eyeshadow palettes, two different mascaras, and strip lashes — so she's got eye makeup on lock. Today, though, we're discussing some of the newest R.E.M. beauty products in Chapter 2, which aren't makeup products at all, but actually fall under the “wellness and skin prep" categories, according to Grande.
"I was excited to introduce skin prep and treatment with Chapter Two," Grande explains, "because I feel like it's such an important part of makeup — and an important part of self-care and the whole routine." As of this week, the entire R.E.M. collection is now available at Ulta Beauty, including the newest products: a calming blue setting spray called 'Mist Thing,' a lash and brow-boosting serum with biotin and tetrapeptide, and a cooling under-eye balm that Grande says feels like a Slushie.
I'm most intrigued by the under-eye balm, which Grande describes as a sensorial experience: "It's so light and fluffy — it feels like whipped ice." (I can confirm, after trying the balm myself, the gel texture is cool on contact and subtly blurs darkness.) "This is one of my favourites because naturally I have dark circles around my eyes," Grande continues. "I mean, we're all on the run, and have early call times sometimes, so we know what it's like to be like, 'Hello, my eyes, let's go, we have things to do.' It feels like an energising way to prep the skin for makeup — or not, it can just energise the face. I use it when I'm done with my skin care, before makeup. Like a primer for my eyes [to go] under concealer."
As for the new brow and lash serum, Grande says she only uses it on her lashes. "I don't put it on my brows, it works on both, but I personally put in on my lashes," she explains. "I put it right on my lash line, before I apply my makeup. I love it. For work, I use a lot of lashes, day after day, and this helps me maintain strong, healthy lashes on my own." Then, the Mist Thing face mist serves different functions, but falls into Grande's personal wellness routine. "I use it as a setting spray, but also as a refresh throughout the day," Grande explains. "I love lavender and essential oils in my wellness routine, so I'll even spray some on my pillow because I find it relaxing and soothing."
When asked about her favourite makeup products at the moment, I'm surprised when Grande points me away from her eye. "I love, love my lip combination: the Practically Permanent Marker and gloss," she explains. "Then my Miss Mercury highlight is my favourite highlight in the world." It's funny, because the entire ethos of the brand is very space-y and futuristic, almost out of this world.
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