I’m so excited about how the beauty industry is adapting and changing its standards to make our cosmetics and skincare more consciously and with better ingredients. Even in just the few years I’ve been focusing on cleaner beauty in my own routine I’ve noticed a huge improvement in the options available and there’s also been so many new brands that have launched lately.
One that I was keen to try was Merit Beauty. Today I’m giving last year’s full review an update following a year of incorporating the products into my routine.
Merit Beauty Review
Merit Beauty launched in 2020 and is centered all around a minimalist makeup beauty routine. Founder Katherine Power wanted Merit to serve as a reset for its users. The line was designed to be a full face but simplified and I definitely think it delivers after several weeks of testing. I think it gives a fresh face that leaves you feel put together and ready for the day but without spending loads of time getting ready. This beauty brand is really perfect if you’re someone after five minute makeup.
Merit Beauty Standard
Merit is EU-Compliant, which means they’ve removed 1,328 potentially harmful ingredients from any of their formulas that aren’t allowed in Europe formulations. They consider themselves a clean beauty brand.
Biba de Sousa’s No-List
Merit worked with celebrity master esthetician Biba de Sousa who publishes a no-list of ingredients to avoid.
They also try to eliminated as much virgin plastic as possible from their products and operations which I love. All Merit packaging is recyclable, reusable or biodegradable.
The brand is vegan, cruelty-free and certified by Leaping Bunny.
Merit Beauty Ingredients
The formulas also boast ingredients that are said to improve skin health such as plant-based squalane, vitamin B5 and antioxidants. Here are a few of the key ingredients used in Merit Beauty:
Sea Daffodil Extract
Merit uses this ingredient in their Complexion stick to help diminish the appearance of pigmentation and dark spots.
The Merit cheek color features Vitamin E to condition skin while you wear it (and also helps ensure it doesn’t cake with application!)
Several of the products include nourishing oils like rosehip oil, grapeseed oil and jojoba oil.
Merit harasses fatty acids in several products like their lip oil and their complexion stick to give skin a healthy barrier function and provide antioxidants to skin.
Plant-based squalane locks in hydration, conditions skin and supports elasticity. It’s featured in Merit’s highlighting balm.
Shea is one of my favorite skincare ingredients because of its conditioning benefits that I think really last. The Merit lip oil features it to help soften and nourish.
Best Merit Beauty Products
The minimal products in the line have an approachable but luxurious feel. I love the sleek packaging. And all first orders ship with a complimentary makeup bag that is just so cute. (The makeup bag was designed with a double-lining and without any wasteful hardware or toggles. You can actually wash it on cold to refresh it responsibly!)
Bronze Balm, $30
This is a great matte-statin lipstick that goes on effortlessly. The finish is pretty sheer so you don’t get the heaviness of a traditional lipstick and it makes it really easy to wear. I like to build it out with a lip liner and then top it off with a gloss.
It has hydrating ingredients like squalane and sunflower seed oil so lips feel cushioned and not try. I think the light satin finish is the best part of this lipstick.
Available in eight shades with Millenial and Baby being my personal favorites.
I think this is the hero product for the line in my opinion. It’s a cream blush tint with microfine pigment powders that melt into skin for lit-from-within color that gives you a pretty, natural flush. It now comes in nine shades and I have shades Cheeky, Beverly Hills and Stockholm. Beverly Hills is my favorite and most worn – it is such a gorgeous and flattering soft peach-beige shade.
And for summer I absolutely adore the new shade Stockholm. It is a punchy, Barbie-esque baby pink that gives you the best flush of summer-y color.
Even better? You can also wear it as a tinted lip balm!
My tip for this blush? Apply more than you think you need! It is buildable but also sheers out as you blend so it is natural and glowy.
Part lip oil, part stain, part lip gloss you can slick this sheer color on every day and your lips will look more healthy thanks to the formula’s rosehip oil and shea butter.
It comes in a variety of shades and two finishes: The Classics which are hint of buildable, saturated color and The Gelées which are sheer, cushioned formulas for a bare-lip finish.
I own Pink Beet which is a great every day cool pink color and I really love it layered over the Merit Signature Lip Lipstick in Shade Baby. Merit claims that with repeated use your lips will become more moisturized over time.
I feel about this brow product the way I did about the Saie Brow Butter. It’s probably great if you were blessed with full brows. Me? I have to really work to give my brows more volume (usually by filling in and then setting) and the only one-step product I’ve found from a clean brand that does that is the Ilia Brow Gel.
If you were, however, blessed with full brows, Merit’s tinted flexible pomade will shape and groom your brows in a few sweeps. It’s made with a mineral-based formula so it will give you flexible, all-day hold of fluffier brows. It features kaolin clay for hold and pigments for natural color offered in three shades.
I do use it from time to time but I always fill in with the Kosas Brow pencil first.
I’m personally usually a fan of powder highlighter in a pinch but Merit instead designed a balm highlighter for the line. It’s definitely intended to be more of a daytime dewy, balmy sheen for every day wear (there’s zero sparkle!)
It definitely does a nice job illuminating skin that adds some pretty glow for every day wear. It comes in two shades and I got shade Cava.
If you like fluffy, butterfly like long lashes, this is for you. It tints, lengthens and lifts lashes and leaves you with super fluffy, super long lashes. I think the lengthening quality is the best part of this mascara!
I personally prefer more dramatic lashes so I’ll likely be reaching for these three favorite clean mascaras of mine more often but I’ll definitely keep this one in my arsenal. It doesn’t flake or clump or smudge which I really appreciate. (It features a proprietary tubing technology designed to wrap and define each lash). It comes in one shade – Perfect Black.
Solo Shadow, $24
These are a super unique eye shadow formula. They are cream to powder and very buildable if you prefer more pigment vs. the initial sheer wash of color. They are safe for sensitive eyes and have ingredients designed to soothe and nourish skin.
I have shades Studio and Brun. You can apply using your fingers or their No. 2 Brush which I really like.
I really, really love this brush. It’s perfect to blend your complexion products and I found it handy for applying the Merit Complexion Stick and the Flush Balm. It gives products a natural, airbrushed finish.
Related: My Favorite Makeup Brushes
This is a really liquidy serum that provides instant glow to your skin which makes makeup go on in a really beautiful, dewy way. The formula is weightless and was designed to plump skin and provide a lot of hydration so skin is prepped for makeup. I really like how bright and glowy my skin looks after applying it.
With regular use, Merit claims it helps to provide a healthy skin barrier. The formula is also non-comedogenic and you can choose to apply it either before or after your moisturizer & SPF.
My Honest Review of Merit Beauty
If you were interested in trying Westman Atelier but the price point kept you away, I definitely recommend you try Merit. I think this makeup brand is also perfect if you’re a fan of more minimal makeup and a straightforward makeup routine.
I keep finding myself reaching for the product for my working from home makeup routine. I also think it’s great for moms who often are crunched to do a full makeup routine in the morning. I’ll be interested to see how the brand evolves with new products knowing it wants to embrace the minimalist routine.
Merit Beauty is also now available at Sephora but you won’t score the cute makeup bag unless you shop on Merit’s site! I also think the Curated Sets on Merit’s site are the perfect way to experience the products you are most interested in.
I’m definitely a believer in this new minimalist beauty makeup brand and hope you guys will love it, too! Let me know what you end up trying and shop more of my Makeup Favorites.
Shop the line
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Merit Beauty gifted me product for review. All opinions are always my own. This post contains affiliate links. Should you purchase something from an affiliate link, I may earn commission, at no cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work!