*The products featured in this article were sent to me by Merit Beauty in exchange for my honest review. This article may also contain affiliate links, where I may receive a small commission, at no additional charge to you, if, and only if, you decide to make a purchase.
The older I get, and the more my life changes, the more I have to adjust my makeup routine. There was a time when I was all about color. I loved doing all these fun makeup looks and trying every new product. And don’t get me wrong, I still love the artistic aspect, but my lifestyle doesn’t always allow for it. Sometimes I just need a simple, clean look. That’s where Merit Beauty comes in.
What Is Merit Beauty?
Merit Beaty is one of the newest entrants to the clean beauty space. Merit was founded in 2021 by Katherine Power, who is also one of the minds behind brands Who What Wear and Versed Skincare. While pregnant with her son, Power took a deeper interest in what was in her beauty products. She found it to be more than she had bargained for – and not necessarily in a good way.
Power discovered that the conventional beauty products in her collection contained over a thousand not-so-clean ingredients that are toxic or have potentially harmful side effects. In response, Merit was born as a clean beauty brand with a minimalist approach.
Merit Beauty’s Approach To Clean Beauty
Merit Beauty takes a three-fold commitment to clean beauty standards: clean for the body, clean for skin, and clean for the planet.
- Body – European Union compliant; paraben-free; sulfate-free
- Skin – No artificial fragrance; safe for sensitive skin
- Planet – Cruelty-free; vegan; reusable packaging
Less Is More: The Merit Beauty Minimalist Makeup Routine
In addition to making your makeup stash safer, Merit Beauty’s offering is a carefully curated collection that is designed to declutter and simplify your makeup routine.
Merit currently offers eight products:
- Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick ($26)
- Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara ($26)
- Flush Balm Cheek Color ($28)
- Day Glow Highlighting Balm ($30)
- The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick ($38)
- Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil ($24)
- Brow 1980 Volumizing Pomade ($24)
- Brush No. 1 Blending Brush ($30)
You can purchase all eight products from Merit here.
I used five of the eight products to build a 10 Minute (or less) Basic Makeup Routine.
My 10 Minute Minimalist Makeup Routine (ft. Merit Beauty Signature Lip)
In order to review these products, I constructed a simplified, basic makeup routine.
- Skin – Merit Beauty does offer an all-purpose complexion stick, The Minimalist, to create a flawless, natural finish to the face. I did not get to try this product, as my suggested shade, Chestnut, was out of stock. Therefore, I opted for my old faithful lightweight foundation, Makeup Forever Reboot (check out my full review of that here.)
- Eyebrows – Regardless of whether you wear complexion products or not, a neat eyebrow provides a great frame for the face. The Brow 1980 Pomade is a great convenience for taming the eyebrows. It boasts ingredients like vitamin B5 for conditioning the brows. I really like the consistency of this pomade. It’s not overly thick, but it isn’t too runny to control either. It comes in three shades, Blond, Brown, and Soft Black. I got the shade Brown because I don’t typically fill my brows with extremely dark colors. However, the Brown seems a bit light on me, so I would recommend Soft Black for those with dark hair. My only drawback to this product is that the wand is a bit scratchy.
- Eyes – The only eye product offered by Merit is the Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara. Clean Lash comes in the shade Perfect Black, and like Brow 1980, it has conditioned agents like vitamin B5, fatty acids, and olive oil esters to promote healthy lashes. I can attest that eyeshadow is not always necessary to make the eyes “pop.” As a person who wears glasses 90% of the time, full eyeshadow just doesn’t always feel like a worthy investment of my time. A good mascara instantly lifts the eyes, making you appear more awake. Merit’s Clean Lash Lengthening mascara is no exception to that. It delivers on its lengthening claims and as an added bonus, it’s a tubing mascara!
Pause – What Is Tubing Mascara?
Tubing mascara evenly wraps your lashes in polymer fibers (like little tubes), as opposed to just coating them with layers of pigment. As a result, they are water-resistant, safe for sensitive eyes, and great for curling and lengthening. But that isn’t the best part. Tubing mascaras can be removed with warm water – so no more going to bed with raccoon eyes! Now back to our routine…
4. Cheeks – I find that blush just adds a gentle touch of dimension to the face. Again, I wear glasses, so wearing color on the face is a great compliment to an uncolored eye. Flush Balm comes in five shades and is formulated with vitamin E, a traditional skincare favorite.
I used the Flush Balm in the shade Mood to add just a little color to my cheeks. The color is very subtle but surprisingly just enough to add a pop. It’s a nice product for someone who is a bit scared of blush in general. However, I’m not crazy about the formula.
5. Lips – The lip is the last of the must-have areas to hit in the minimalist’s makeup routine. Merit’s newest product is the Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick. This new lip color gives us the classic sheer satin finish without the weight of traditional lipstick. This lipstick comes in a great spectrum of wearable colors (eight shades total). It is also quite comfortable and keeps the lips feeling moist throughout the day. This is probably attributed to ingredients like squalene, sunflower seed oil, and papain enzyme in the formula.
*As a bonus, you can top your Signature Lip with the Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil for a touch of gloss. Shade Slick comes in 8 colors, including a clear gloss, so you are sure to find a complimentary match.
You can also create a monochromatic look using the Signature Lip as a cheek color – just be sure to clean it before and after applying it to the lips.
My Review of Merit Beauty
I was impressed by my first impression of Merit. Instead of the standard bubble wrap or paper, my products came packaged in a lovely washable corduroy bag. This bag comes free with your first purchase of any size from Merit’s website. The packaging on the actual products is simple, yet elevated- very vanity-worthy.
I also appreciate the soft natural color story across the collection. In recent years, there has been a push toward an over-the-top, theatrical way of doing makeup as the way we SHOULD do makeup. However, in reality, that methodology can prove impractical for many people on many levels and intimidating for those without experience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this (I happen to love a good beat myself), but it’s not necessary. Merit Beauty makes makeup foolproof for the novice and life-proof for all.
As for the individual products, my ratings are as follows:
- Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick – High and Mighty: This is by far my favorite of the collection. I tend to shy away from satin lips, but the quality and comfort of the Signature Lips make them great contenders for daily wear.
- Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara – Mighty Fine: Tubing mascara for the win! I live in the South and wear glasses and contacts. I’m all for something that’s going to stay put under the sweaty summer sun and not turn into a hot mess during removal. The lengthening effect was also great for my stumpy little lashes.
- Flush Balm Cheek Color – It’s Decent: I was pleasantly surprised by the subtle effect it gave, but I was not impressed by the slightly greasy texture. It also seems a bit expensive for what it gives.
- Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil – Mighty Fine: This is a tinted lip oil, but it isn’t oily. It operates like a gloss and has a balanced level of opacity that makes it great by itself or as a topper. It also has ingredients such as rosehip and shea butter to condition the lips.
- Brow 1980 Volumizing Pomade – It’s Decent: I definitely should have gotten Soft Black, but I appreciate the formula. My only qualm with this pomade is that the brush is a bit scratchy.
Overall, I think Merit Beauty’s collection is perfect for the person whose motto is “Less Is More.” Merit’s products allow us the opportunity to edit down the excess in our stash and in our daily routine. I highly recommend Merit for those who are short on time and long on the to-do list, as well as those who are invested in cleaner beauty for themselves and the world.
When it comes to your beauty routine, do you like to do the most or the least? Talk to us in the comments!
Clean for Body, Skin, and the Planet
Free reusable bag with first purchase
Clean Lash - Easy to wear and remove tubing mascara
Signature Lip - Beautiful finish, comfortable wear
Shade Slick - Balanced Opacity and non-greasy formula
Great beginner-friendly color story
Very easy to use
Brow Pomade - Easy to control formula
Flush Balm - Formula not impressive for the price point
Brow Pomade - Scratchy wand