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I’ve Tried Every Merit Product. Here Are the 10 You Need to Know About

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As a beauty editor, I am frequently asked all manner of makeup-related questions, ranging from the practical ‘how do I prevent cakey makeup?’ to the bizarre ‘can’t I just use hairspray to set my makeup?, and of course, the classic ‘but what is your favourite makeup brand of all time?’.

I’ve always diplomatically answered the latter with a selection of my longterm staples—Chanel, Laura Mercier, Charlotte Tilbury, MAC, and the like.

However recently I realised that while I’ll always love and trust those brands, there is one makeup brand that for the past few years I have used every single day and actually currently makes up about 80% of the contents of my makeup bag—Merit.

It’s proof that in 2024, the most coveted products in the beauty industry aren’t only those from heritage and household names. Over the past few years we’ve seen the rise of smaller, up-and-coming brands that quickly attract cult followings and impossibly long waitlists. 


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Behind the brand’s scenes

US brand Merit first launched in 2021 and has since acquired a massive and loyal global following.

As an ex-beauty editor, founder Katherine Power has a spot-on sense of what women want in their makeup bags.

It’s a modern, minimal aesthetic that echoes many of the wider trends towards minimalism and clean beauty we’re seeing in the wider beauty industry, but with a luxury spin that’s very much its own. There’s no doubt in my mind that the ‘It’ factor of Merit is a huge part of its appeal, but the impressive quality of the products themselves is what is cementing the brand as a must-have staple in makeup bags worldwide. 

I count myself as one of the many who have transitioned into a more low-key and low maintenance approach to makeup post-pandemic. Don’t get me wrong: I love makeup as much as (if not more than) the next girl, but that doesn’t mean I want to wear a full face of foundation and a complex blended eyeshadow look on a daily basis.

After all, the real skill in makeup lies in the ability to subtly enhance your natural features. 

Merit creates high-end, luxury makeup products designed exactly for people like me—those who want a quick, easy, fuss-free approach to makeup application, and a foolproof, wearable everyday makeup look to rely on.

The products themselves are refreshingly simple to work with, and the packaging is both luxurious and practical.


Image – Courtesy of writer


Everything has a swipe-and-go ease that reduces the need for an excessive arsenal of makeup brushes (the brand has just two, designed to be used with multiple product types). What’s more, the foundation, bronzer, blush, and highlighter are all in stick formats, with creamy formulas that blend easily with a few dabs of your fingertips.

While Merit’s products have proven to be a retail hit (good luck trying to track down Flush Balm in Beverly Hills), celebrities and influencers continue to endorse everything from the lipsticks to the eyeshadows.

Merit counts the likes of Sofia Richie Grainge, Hailey Bieber, and Sarah Jessica Parker amongst its legions of fans, and over the past year Google searches for the brand are up 380% in the UK alone. So what’s the deal and which Merit products do you need in your makeup bag?

Keep scrolling for the full low-down.


1. Great Skin Instant Glow Serum

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Okay, it’s technically skincare, but I couldn’t skip out the Great Skin Instant Glow Serum (£40 from Merit UK /$38 from Merit US) since (in my opinion) skincare is integral prep for any makeup application.

Designed specifically to prepare skin for makeup (so no pilling will occur!), this silky-textured serum absorbs without leaving residue.

Instead, skin feels plumped with moisture and is left with a radiant glow. It’s like a primer, serum, and moisturiser all in one—perfect for those who like a low-maintenance morning routine.


2. The Minimalist Complexion Perfecting Stick

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If I had to choose, The Minimalist Complexion Perfecting Stick (£40 from Merit UK /$38 from Merit US) would be my favourite Merit product. I’ve tried many a foundation stick in my time as a beauty editor, but somehow none of them quite compare to this one, which truly gives my skin a ‘your skin but better’ finish. 

Part-foundation and part-concealer, this swipe-on stick deposits a weightless creamy pigment to skin—I tend to scribble it on and then use the Brush No.1 Blending Brush to blend. It’s buildable, so it’s easy to tailor the coverage to suit your needs, from barely-there and just enough to cover any redness through to a full coverage face for days when skin is looking tired.

The best part? No matter how much you apply, it never actually feels like you’re wearing makeup.


3. Bronze Balm Sheer Bronzer

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I know a lot of people find bronzer intimidating, but Bronze Balm Sheer Bronzer (£32 from Merit UK /$30 from Merit US) really is exactly as the brand describe it—the easiest bronzer ever.

Again, it’s in a stick format so you can easily dot or swipe it on anywhere you want it. For me, I do cheeks, temples, jawline, and nose. Then just use your fingers or the trusty Brush No.1 Blending Brush to diffuse pigment.

The result is a naturally warmed and softly sculpted complexion, no orange streaks or powdery patches in sight. 


4. Flush Balm Cheek Colour

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The award-winning Flush Balm Cheek Colours (£32 from Merit UK /$30 from Merit US) are Merit’s most frequently sold out products, with shades Beverly Hills and Persimmon especially popular. The shade range itself varies from classic pinks and peachy tones through to warmer reds and rich purple-browns, so there truly is something for everyone. 

While they appear super pigmented, the creamy formulas melt into the skin and blend easily out. Those who have been scarred in the past by using cream and liquid blushers will be pleased to know that with these ones, it’s impossible to overdo it.


5. Day Glow Highlighting Balm

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Not your average highlighter—you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s absolutely no chunky glitter or shimmer in sight—Day Glow Highlighting Balm (£34 from Merit UK /$32 from Merit US) gives skin exactly the kind of fresh, dewy, glow we’re all coveting right now.

The magic in the formula is less about sparkle and more about hydration, thanks to ingredients like squalane and olive fruit oil which naturally illuminate skin.


6. Solo Shadow Matte Eye Colour

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In order to create the ultimate capsule makeup bag, last year Merit ventured into the eyeshadow category with the launch of the Solo Shadow Matte Eye Colours (£26 from Merit UK /$24 from Merit US). Offering a streamlined and considered approach to eyeshadow (a far cry from the 20+ shade palettes of the 2010s), you can pick and mix from eight shades designed to be worn together or alone. 

Choose from the Neutrals—a spectrum of soft and wearable browns, or The Statements, which offer muted colours for bolder and more creative looks. All of the shades have a modern matte finish and are delivered in a cream-to-powder formula that’s effortless to apply (use the Brush No.2 Eyeshadow Brush) no matter your skill set.


7. Brow 1980 Volumising Pomade

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I am no longer a multi-step brow person. As someone who wants their makeup done in less than five minutes, a tinted brow gel really is my best friend. However, it’s a product that not everyone manages to get right—some formulas are too pigmented and others don’t offer enough hold. 

Inspired by the full and fluffy brows of the 1980s, Brow 1980 Volumising Pomade (£26 from Merit UK /$24 from Merit US) provides both pigment and shape in one product. It results in brows that look naturally defined and sculpted (never blocky), that don’t feel crispy or look too slicked down, and that actually stay in place all day long.


8. Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara

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I’ve been loyal to the same handful of mascaras for the past decade, so when a new one actually makes the cut and lands a spot in my everyday routine, you know it’s going to be a good one. And that’s definitely the case with the Clean Lash Lengthening Mascara (£28 from Merit UK /$26 from Merit US).

The fluffy but narrow shape of this brush makes it perfect for delivering on every one of the criteria by which I rate a good mascara—volume, length, lift, and longevity. What’s more, it relies upon a much-underrated tubing technology, which means each individual lash is wrapped and extended, and smudging is prevented.


9. Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil

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Of all the makeup trends to come out of the past few years, lip oils have to be my favourite. The blend of skincare and makeup is what really drew me toward the product type and is also, I think, why they have garnered such mass appeal.

Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil (£26 from Merit UK /from Merit US) does good as well as looks good, and in true Merit fashion, is the perfect finish for low-key makeup looks. I wear the shade Au Naturel when I want just a little something on my lips, without having to reach for a lipstick.


10. Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick

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Of course, if you do want something with a little more impact on your lips, Merit has a product for that. In fact, it technically has two.

Available in both a satin and a matte finish, the Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick (£28 from Merit UK /$26 from Merit US) has lip options for everyone—both delivering pigment in a weightless, hydrating formula. And of course the shade range ticks all of the boxes. I love Baby, a neutral pink in satin finish, and have my eye upon Antibes, a soft peach in the newly-launched matte collection.


The takeaway

If you’re asking me—and honestly, the contents of my makeup bag is testament to the fact—Merit really is one of the best makeup brands out there. The easy-to-use products allow me to pull together a whole face of fresh, natural-looking makeup via an effortless application process that takes just a few minutes.

Plus, as someone who has limited time to get ready, I can count on them to work without error every single time. I’ve applied them in the near dark, half asleep, mirrorless, and even in the back of a cab racing to the train station without having to redo a single thing.

If you prefer a ‘less is more’ approach to makeup and are on the hunt for products that are actually enjoyable to both apply and wear, look no further than Merit. I promise, you will not regret purchasing.


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Freelance Beauty Writer

Grace Day is the former Beauty Editor of Beauty Bay and a regular contributor to publications like Hypebae and POPSUGAR UK.  A qualified aesthetician, Grace is regularly featured in the likes of The Evening Standard, In Style and Brydie for her expert skincare consultations and facials at Dolls Part salon in Manchester.

Expertise: Skincare, makeup
Education: University of Manchester

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