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Update [9/11/23]: As promised, I tested Merit Solo Shadow as a colored primer. Scroll down to check out the video test drive and review!
When I was first introduced to Merit Beauty last year, the only eye product they offered was their mascara. That changed this week as Merit added two new products to its minimalist beauty lineup – Solo Shadows and Brush No. 2.
As a minimalist brand, Merit has really leaned into the basics, making our beauty routines as simple as possible. We have come to know that we can run out the door with a little foundation, brows, and a pop of color on the lips. In terms of Merit’s eye products, the Clean Lash Mascara has become a mainstay in my makeup collection (check out my review here). However, without something on our eyes, some of us may feel like something is missing. Merit is finally answering that request with its first eyeshadow option.
Merit Beauty Solo Shadow
The new Merit Beauty Solo Shadow is a matte cream-to-powder eyeshadow that is meant to provide a soft wash of buildable color. This product is available in a range of eight shades, four neutral and four wearable colors.
Normally when I test eyeshadow, I like to judge it based on the strength of the neutral shades. Since Merit’s aesthetic is very much foolproof “wear-and-go,” I decided to try the shade Viper, which is a warm green.
The Pros Merit Beauty Solo Shadow
This eyeshadow delivers on the soft wash of color, and it has a creamy, non-greasy texture. It’s fairly smooth to the touch, as opposed to some cream eyeshadows that are grainy. Once you get it on, it’s definitely self-setting. That said, it will be on your face until you remove it. I also give Merit bonus points for offering this as a single shadow, not a palette, which really allows you to build up and strip down your makeup collection as needed.
Remember what I said about “self-setting?” Well, you have to work quickly if you want to blend. After a few seconds, you can’t really move the shadow around too much with a brush without completely smudging it off. To be fair, I did not use an eye primer for this test, as I didn’t get the impression that it was meant to be used that way.
The Cons of Merit Beauty Solo Shadow
I actually found the Solo Shadow a bit challenging to apply. The firmness of the eyeshadow made it kind of hard to pick up with a brush. Once I did get it onto my brush and swipe across my lids, it was difficult to deposit the color. It seemed to want to stay on the brush. Granted, this is probably what aids the softness of the color. Applying with a finger resulted in a smoother, more opaque finish.
Merit Beauty Brush No. 2
You guessed it – Brush No. 2 is the second brush in Merit’s collection, behind the Brush No. 1 complexion brush. This brush is a dual-ended eye brush with a fluffy blender at one end and a small tapered shader at the other. The fluffy end can be used to apply a wash of the Solo Shadow across the lid and the tapered end can be used to target the lash line. In keeping with the brand’s values, Brush No. 2 is vegan and safe for sensitive skin.
The Pros of Merit Beauty Brush No. 2
The synthetic bristles are ultra-soft and great for blending (in theory). The bullet tip brush is the perfect size and shape for lining the eyes, especially the bottom lid. The brush itself is a good length and lightweight to hold.
The Cons of Merit Beauty Brush No. 2
The one thing I don’t like about this brush is the thing I don’t like about most dual-ended makeup brushes. I wish it had caps on the ends. When dual-ended brushes are included in a palette, they are at least stored flat with some protection from the outside world. Outside of a case or caps, you can’t really store them upright because there’s no flat bottom. If you throw them in a bag, they bounce around and the bristles get beat up. This is minor, though, and it doesn’t outweigh the convenience and function of Merit’s new eyeshadow brush.
Would I recommend Merit’s new eyeshadow and brush?
After my first impression, the jury is still out on the Solo Shadow. Although I struggled, I think there is still potential. My test of the Viper shade left much to be desired, but the neutral colors may be better for wear-and-go girls. Of course, for those of us who are browner in hue, that will largely depend on how saturated those neutrals are. The texture of the shadow also leads me to think it would be great as a colored primer. If I test this shadow that way, I’ll come back and update y’all.
With that said, if you want to see the other shades or any other products from the brand, check them out here. (Hint: once you check out the eyeshadows, head on over to the mascara and lipsticks, then thank me later.) Merit will throw in their Signature Makeup Bag FREE with your first order AND all orders over $40 ship free.
What do you think of the new Merit products?