Have you ever been served up an Instagram ad so compelling that you bought something you’ve never heard of before on the spot? Well, that’s why we’re here today!
Several weeks ago, I scrolled past an Instagram ad for a clean, minimalist beauty company called Merit. I’d never heard of them, but the ad featured this really cool makeup bag that was free with your order–it was so cute and tied up in a knot. (And now they’re giving away a “holiday” version with EVERY order!) All I really wanted was the bag, so I clicked through, and was intrigued by the company and their products!
I purchased this “Minimalist complexion perfecting stick” and this lip oil (which I also love, but we’re not talking about that today). As soon as it arrived, I was a convert! I shared about it on Instagram and you all were equally as intrigued–especially by this stick thingy that’s “not foundation or concealer, but it will replace both.” Naturally, you all asked for a review after I’d had a chance to really give it a full test-drive–so today, that’s what you shall receive!
Merit Beauty “The Minimalist” Complexion Perfecting Stick Review
(Well if that isn’t a mouthful)
First, who the heck is Merit beauty?
I knew I loved what I read about the brand on the website and that they are a clean brand–i.e. they are EU compliant (and also qualify under “Clean at Sephora” standards.) But I just realized I’d never actually even GOOGLED them before the moment I sat down to write this post–but this just in–Merit was founded by Katherine Power! AKA Cofounder of Who What Wear and also of Avaline–that “clean” wine company Cameron Diaz launched? (No idea Katherine Power was her Co-Founder, haha!)
So–hot damn–this company is even cooler than I thought!
Let’s get into the stick review–first, a before and after so you can see the difference but also how natural it still looks when it’s applied!
Merit Complexion Stick: Before vs After
(Brightened these photos slightly so you could see better but otherwise they’re unedited for the most accurate representation! Zero makeup on on the left, and only the Merit stick applied on the right!)
What is it?
Okay, so, yes it says it’s not foundation or concealer but it…is? And it does actually function as both–at least I think it does as someone who has a fairly minimal approach to makeup these days!
To give you some background, I was a die-hard fan of Beautycounter’s SkinTwin concealer and used that as my base makeup on most days (I.E. in place of foundation because COVID happened and my makeup routine got majorly pared down!) but they put a halt on production because of a packaging issue (the applicator kept breaking!) so I needed to find something to tide me over in the interim.
This stick came along at the perfect time, or else I probably wouldn’t have considered ordering it. And I do still have a bit of of the BC concealer left so I’ve been playing around with both to compare. I love both, and I still use both!
I would say the Merit stick is more matte–which is interesting, because matte products don’t typically get along with my skin because it’s already on the drier side. But magically, I do not have any issues with this product at all! I do make sure to apply moisturizer beforehand, so that may have a lot to do with it. But it does a really great job of not setting into fine lines or emphasizing dry areas of skin.
(I also heard from a reader with oily skin that it works great on her skin too! So just an FYI for those with skin on the oilier side!)
What’s the coverage like? Does it stay all day?
I love the coverage it provides, as it is very natural-looking! And I would say the coverage is buildable and easily blendable–it can be light with first application and then you can build it in certain areas as needed to a true medium coverage. I like to blend it with a foundation brush. You can see in the photos it does a good job of evening out skin tone, brightening up under eyes, and covering up dark spots/ areas that are a little red/uneven.
I do not think this product could be full coverage. In other times in my life when I’ve truly needed a full coverage, this wouldn’t have been enough for me.
In terms of longevity–this coverage STAYS. It wears really well and stays put all day. I feel like so many products wear after several hours, but this has gotten me through LONGGG days.
Who is this product best for?
If you’re someone who wants light to medium coverage, doesn’t like to feel like they have makeup on their face, wants an “all in one” product (i.e doesn’t want to have to use multiple products for concealer and foundation) and wants a product that is fairly foolproof to apply–you will love this product.
Also, someone who wants a “middle of the road” product as it pertains to texture–it’s not “dewy” and it’s not “matte” but it’s also not hydrating and it’s not drying either. It’s somehow the perfect “goldilocks” in-between.
Also, if you’re someone who is looking for products with more minimal, clean ingredients–this brand is EU compliant (they have MUCH stricture standards for ingredient safety in Europe vs. the US).
How do you apply it?
I like to apply it with a foundation brush. (Sadly the one I have is from Sephora and they don’t make it anymore! But Merit sells one that has really great reviews!) I bet you could also use a damp beauty blender or even blend with your fingers if you prefer.
Which shade are you/how did you choose?
As a rule of thumb when it comes to foundation/concealer, I am typically always the second lightest shade, with neutral undertones. I got color matched at Sephora once (which I highly recommend doing!) and that’s what they told me, and it’s never failed no matter what brand I use. (Knowing your undertones is really important!) So, in Merit, that corresponding shade is called “Linen.” I am also “Linen” in my Beautycounter concealer. (Strange coincidence?!)
My only bone to pick:
Updated to add: I don’t know if this is just a “me” thing, but the packaging makes it really hard to figure out which end is the cap to pull off, and which end is the twist-base. I’ve accidentally pulled the base out before trying to get the cap off and it’s getting annoying! Minor thing, but hoping they can update this in the future. (I’ve had to remind myself that the cap is at the end with the “T” and not the “M”)
Bonus: it’s affordable!
Maybe the most delightful surprise about this product was the fact that it’s so affordable–$38 for a product that does double-duty is definitely a win in my book!
Where can I buy it?
You can buy directly from Merit’s website (which is what I’d recommend so you get the free makeup bag!) or at Sephora.
Any other products you’d recommend?
I have and LOVE the lip oil in “Marrakech”– it feels like a gloss but a super hydrating one. I also love their “flush” balm cheek color if you prefer a cream blush!