While Lindsay has undoubtedly tried just about every skincare and makeup product out there, I’m the complete opposite. I’ve had the same routine and have used the same handful of makeup products for years. So when I was asked to test and review some of Merit’s most popular finds, I was honestly a little bit intimidated.
I’m a total minimalist when it comes to my beauty routine, choosing only a few products to incorporate in my daily lineup. I also don’t like to wear a lot of makeup. And always opt for finds that leave me with a natural look. Plus, I like my makeup routine to be quick and easy to get through (who has time for a lengthy routine anyway?)
Without giving away too many spoilers, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the products I tested from Merit. Some of them will definitely be reserved for use on more “special” occasions while others are now a staple in my everyday makeup routine.
Here, I’m sharing my honest Merit beauty review, including the products I plan to repurchase and which products I could do without. Whether you’ve never heard of this female-founded brand or you’re considering adding some of these products to your makeup brand, I hope this review helps!
Merit Makeup Review
I first heard of Merit makeup how many of you likely did—from Instagram. The brand has seemed to gain a lot of traction in recent months. And I credit a lot of that to the strategy implemented by the CEO and founder, Katherine Power.
Regardless of how much you know about the brand’s background, I think that overall, if you’re someone who is drawn to minimalist beauty products, you’ll like Merit.
The brand clearly put in a lot of effort to offer makeup options that are appealing to those with various skin types and skin tones. I also think that Merit is one of the few beauty brands that has a luxe feel without an overly expensive price point.
The Best Merit Beauty Products
Here, I’m sharing the exact Merit products I tested for this review, including how I used them, what I liked or didn’t like about them, and how I’d rate them overall.
Great Skin Instant Glow Serum
Like I mentioned above, I like to do the bare minimum when it comes to makeup. I’m the type of girl who throws on tinted moisturizer, a dab of concealer, and some mascara before I’m headed out the door. However, after using this Instant Glow Serum, I am totally committed to adding a step to my daily routine. It’s that good.
This lightweight serum (truly, it feels weightless) was formulated to hydrate and “plump” your skin for a healthier glow.
I used it after washing my face and before applying makeup. The main reason I love this particular product is because it makes my makeup apply so much more smoothly. It also gives you a slightly dewy finish that I find refreshing (especially in the dead of winter.)
The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick
I’ve been loyal to the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Concealer for a little over a year now, after some post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation left me no choice but to try and cover up my red spots. I’ve been really pleased with the coverage it offers. And honestly, I haven’t been interested in testing out another concealer because of this.
Merit claims that the Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick isn’t a foundation or a concealer, but that it will “replace both in your makeup bag.” Sounds promising, right?
When I put this product to the test, I first applied the Instant Glow Serum, then followed that with my daily moisturizer, and of course, SPF. Then I slathered on a small amount of my go-to tinted moisturizer and started to cover my hyperpigmentation with this Complexion Stick.
While it was really easy to use and to blend, I didn’t find that this product covered my skin concerns as well as my normal concealer. I had to go back a few times to even get close to the coverage I wanted, which ended up taking a lot of time (and product.)
It’s possible that a darker shade would work better on my skin. But overall, I think I’d skip on reordering this.
Day Glow Highlighting Balm
I have never been a higlighter girly, for no particular reason other than I didn’t really know how to apply it. And I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of adding something else to my routine. However, this Highlighting Balm is a new makeup bag essential of mine.
I ordered it in the shade Cava and love both the color and the texture. If you have fair skin, this color is perfect for adding a little extra oomph to your makeup—and it’s really easy to use.
When using it, I apply a small amount to the bridge of my nose, along my cheekbones, and on my cupid’s bow. It adds the ideal amount of shimmer to my complexion and somehow just makes me feel more put together.
I’ve been reserving this for date nights or happy hours with friends, just because I don’t feel a need to look a little sparkly when I’m working from home in sweatpants (lol.) You could totally use it as part of your everyday makeup routine if you want. I just personally have been saving it for more special occasions.
Bronze Balm Sheer Bronzer
Bronzer is another makeup staple that I typically reserve for special outings. I’ve had the same YSL bronzer palette for about two years (I probably should make sure it’s not expired) and I will occasionally dust my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose with it.
I do like the way that bronzer frames and adds dimension to my face. So I should incorporate it into my routine more often.
Using a cream bronzer was new to me. So I naturally felt a bit overwhelmed when I had to figure out the best way to use this product. I ended up referring to the instructions on the Merit website and applied the Bronze Balm with the wide side “anywhere the sun naturally hit.”
I will say that a little bit goes a longgggg way. And it is really blendable, which I appreciated (especially as a newbie!) I used the shade Quince, which I found to be a good color for my fair skin.
Overall, this bronzer was easy to use and work with. But I don’t think it’s particularly *amazing.* I would still prefer a powder bronzer over this. If you’re used to working with cream/stick bronzers, then you’d probably have better luck with this than me.
Flush Balm Cheek Color
One makeup item that I do find myself regularly using is blush, and this one is a definite winner. The Flush Balm Cheek Color is super pigmented. So just like the bronzer, a small amount does you a lot of good.
I like that the packaging is so compact and also love how pink and girly the shade I got was (I ordered it in Stockholm.)
While this blush certainly has a creamy feel to it, I found that it melted into my skin and complimented my natural skin tone very effortlessly. It also held up well throughout the day/night. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this cheek color (which comes in a ton of shades.)
Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil
While both products offer mega-shine and a pretty gloss effect, the Merit Shade Slick stays put on your lips much longer. I find that to be a major perk as I don’t want to reapply lip gloss or oil throughout the night.
Lip color is a 100% pass for me. So finding out that this product came in a clear shade (Bel Air) was exciting for me. I’ve been obsessed with it since it was delivered and definitely plan on reordering. An added bonus is that it actually does what it promises—softens your lips.
Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara
Just like Lindsay, I’m majorly picky when it comes to mascara. I actually do try out new finds from time to time because I’ve never really found one that I can wear entirely on its own—I always end up layering a couple at a time.
I had heard a lot of good things about the Merit Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara so I was really excited to test it firsthand. After curling my lashes per usual, I swiped on a small amount of this and thought it did a decent job at turning my blonde lashes black. I did have to go back and add a few layers to get the look I wanted, but it did a fair job overall.
Is it the best mascara I’ve ever used? No, probably not. Is it a good mascara that doesn’t clump and is budget-friendly? Yes.
I’d say it’s worth a try because finding the right mascara is highly personal and this one did the job just fine.
Is Merit Beauty Worth It?
To summarize all my thoughts on Merit, I think it’s totally a brand worth trying products from. I really like the wide range of makeup they offer and appreciate that everything is available at an affordable price point.
I’ve been using many of the products listed above regularly and plan to reorder them when I run out. There were certainly some things that I felt were a miss (see above reviews), but that’s kind of expected when you’re testing so many products.
If you’re interested in Merit Beauty’s products, I’d encourage you to start out with the items that I rated an eight and above. These definitely didn’t disappoint and I’m confident you’ll like them too!
Where to Buy Merit Beauty
As always, I think it’s best to buy makeup directly from the brand or from Sephora. The return policies are clear/familiar, and you’ll know for sure that you’re getting the right products. Plus, if you order directly from Merit, you get the cute little cosmetic bag that’s in the main photo of the post (with your first order!)
Here’s a full list of where you can find Merit:
— Kara Thompson (I work on Lindsay’s team and she asked me to review Merit!)