When it comes to my beauty routine, especially makeup, my main goal is quick and easy. I didn’t even start wearing makeup until after college (aside from the occasional mascara and lip gloss). Over the years I’ve discovered some really incredible brands with products I’ve fallen in love with. One of those brands is MERIT Makeup.
Launched in January 2021, MERIT is all about the less is more approach to minimalist makeup. My initial introduction to the brand was shortly after their launch, with some of their most popular products, the highlighting balm, flush balm and brow gel. I was impressed, and loved how easy they were to use, along with being clean and cruelty free.
I’ve had the opportunity to try almost all of MERIT’s products over the last few years, so today I’m sharing my honest review of the products I’ve used, along with my top picks for easy, everyday makeup. For anyone who travels frequently, MERIT is great makeup to travel with!
Merit Beauty Review
Based in Los Angeles, MERIT launched in January 2021, founded by Katherine Power (whose name you might recognize as cofounder of Who What Wear). Power founded MERIT, the minimalist beauty brand, to fill what she felt was a gap in the market for a beauty brand that was clean and well-edited. Essentially she wanted to bring a curated 5 minute makeup beauty experience to consumers. One of the things I really like about MERIT is their approach to products. They sell 9 beauty products total (with various shades) and a brush. They’ve made makeup very approachable and easy whether you’re short on time or just don’t like to wear a lot of makeup.
Is Merit Beauty Clean?
MERIT is a clean brand, meaning they use non-toxic ingredients, both natural and lab-created. There is no regulated definition of clean beauty, however MERIT meets the Clean at Sephora brand standards as well as EU standards. The brand also excludes artificial fragrance from their products.
MERIT also partnered with Hollywood aesthetician Biba de Sousa, on the formulas for their complexion products to ensure they don’t cause inflammation or potentially acne triggering .
Is Merit Beauty Cruelty Free?
MERIT is vegan and cruelty-free, and certified by Leaping Bunny.
Merit Beauty Products
Merit Beauty Brow 1980
MERIT brow volumizing pomade was one of the first products I tried and love it to this day. So far it is my favorite brow gel product for filling and defining brows. The brush and formula give a nice fluffy brow look. The brow gel is incredibly easy to apply and lasts all day. It’s a mineral-based formula with vitamin B5 to condition brows without flaking or getting dry. It’s a great way to get a natural looking, fuller brow. For my brows I use shade brown.
Merit Beauty Shade Slick
I’m a big fan of lip oils and MERIT makes one of my favorites. The MERIT shade slick tinted lip oil is sheer and moisturizing with rose hip oil and shea butter. It’s shiny without feeling sticky. My two favorite shades are Bel Air (clear) and Au Naturel (warm peachy pink). It’s kind of like a lip stain and lip gloss in one.
Merit Beauty Day Glow
MERIT’s highlighting balm Day Glow was another one of the first products I tried, initially in Bounce which is their rose gold shade. It’s creamy, buildable and blendable. I love how it gives a subtle dewy glowy without being shiny or sparkly. It’s made with squalane to lock in hydration. I’ve tried all three shades, Bounce, Cava, and Citrine. I tend to reach for Citrine the most which is a gorgeous soft gold. I wear day glow over blush on my cheekbones.
Merit Beauty Flush Balm
MERIT’s flush balm is a creamy cheek tint with buildable color and a satin finish. It’s lightweight on the skin and gives a really gorgeous pop of color that is so easy to apply. This is one of my favorite cream blush products because it’s so easy to build color and blend into skin. It currently comes in 9 cheek colors including a few new ones. My favorites are Stockholm (pink), Persimmon (orangey red), and Beverly Hills (peachy pink).
Merit Beauty Bronze Balm
MERIT’s Bronze Balm is a creamy sheer bronzer in a convenient stick form. If you’ve read my reviews of Saie’s Sun Melt than you probably know it’s my favorite bronzer ever, but MERIT’s Bronze Balm is pretty steep competition. It’s definitely more sheer but I love how it comes in an easy to apply stick. It’s very easy to blend with your fingers and for subtle color or contouring it’s a great option. I use this in shade Clay.
Merit Beauty Clean Lash
I have to admit I had low expectations for MERIT’s clean lash mascara. I have other clean mascaras I really like (Tower28 and Ilia) and I wasn’t really in the market to find a new one, but I wanted to test this one, so I did, and I was very impressed. You’ve probably heard of tubing mascara before, if you haven’t, it’s a technology that wraps around each individual lash which means no smudging. One of my favorite things about the clean lash mascara is that is doesn’t clump, at all. It takes a few coats, but it’s incredible for lengthening and volumizing lashes AND it’s super easy to wash off at the end of the day. Nothing drives me more crazy than mascara that is impossible to get off. Clean lash easily washes off with water and cleanser, and stays on all day without smudging.
MERIT minimalist complexion stick
MERIT describes their minimalist complexion stick as “not a foundation or a concealer” and I would say that is accurate. While they describe it as light to medium coverage I would say it leans more on the light side. If you like no makeup makeup, the complexion stick is a great option. I tend to use the minimalist complexion stick as more of a concealer since I usually wear a tinted moisturizer/sunscreen as my everyday makeup.
I like that it’s easy to use and feels super light on the skin. It’s very easy to apply and blend. The only thing I had trouble with was finding my shade. I eventually landed on cream which works well for my skin tone. My only other complaint is that one of the complexion sticks flew out of the packaging when I opened it the first time. I was able to put it back in but not sure if it was a one time thing or a design flaw.
MERIT Great Skin
MERIT Great Skin Instant Glow Serum is a lightweight serum with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Overall I like the serum. It’s definitely nice under makeup and works well with MERIT’s minimalist complexion stick. It’s not enough for my skin on its own so I need to wear additional serum/moisturizer with it. It’s almost like an essence vs a serum. It definitely gives skin a glowy look. And it’s best to let it sit on the skin for a minute before applying makeup. The bottle lasts a long time, but I think the product would be better in a dropper because of it’s thin consistency it tends to spray when using the pump. It needs to be shaken well before using. It claims to plump skin (I haven’t noticed that) but it does make my skin look brighter and glowy.
Where Is Merit Beauty Sold?
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