In today’s post I’m reviewing Merit Beauty, one of the newest makeup brands to hit Sephora last month. I believe they initially launched back in January, and I have to tell you I was immediately intrigued by them. I totally jive with their “less but better,” minimalist vibe when it comes to makeup and beauty. More than ever, especially as I age, I really appreciate that the less I wear, the better and fresher I actually look. Long gone are the days where I would spend 30 minutes and use 5 different products just to create a smokey eye. Now I want products that get the job down quickly and can be multi-tasked. So I love that Merit launched with a full face routine, including everything from a foundation/concealer stick, a cream blush, a cream highlighter, a mascara, a brow pomade, and a lip oil (plus one brush).
The Merit team very kindly let me pick out two products from the line back in early February, which I’ve been diligently testing out ever since for you guys: their Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick, and their Brow 1980 Volumizing Pomade. So let’s dive into the nitty-gritty including my pro’s and con’s and recommendations!
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS GIFTED ITEMS, BUT ALL OPINIONS ARE 100% MY OWN.
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THE DEETS ON THE MERIT BEAUTY BROW 1980 VOLUMIZING POMADE
This tinted flexible pomade shapes and grooms your brows into place for natural, bold arches. Made with a mineral-based formula to provide flexible, all-day hold that never smudges or flakes. Nourishing vitamin B5 adds flexibility and encourages fuller-looking brows. Kaolin clay and mineral pigments build natural-looking color. Tapered precision brush makes it easy to coat every hair
RETAIL PRICE – $24.00 FOR 2.4 GRAMS OF PRODUCT
AVAILABLE IN THREE SHADES
You all know I’m a sucker for brow gels, brow mascaras, anything of that nature. It’s my preferred way of getting product into my brows quickly for a fuller, more volumized appearance. Now I never normally stray far from the drugstore for this category, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to see how a more pricey brow product stacked up against some of my lower-cost favorites.
I’ll cut to the chase here: the Brow 1980 Volumizing Pomade is OK, and really nothing more. There’s no reason to spend over $20 on this one, in my opinion. I’ll tell you what I like about it first though. The packaging is beautiful; very lightweight – yet still luxe – and easy to hold and use. But what I really like about it is how dry the formula is. The brush never gets too overloaded with product, which is a huge pet peeve of mine with most brow gels. This deposits just the right amount of color in your brows without looking overloaded. The finished effect is effortlessly natural, which gets a big A+ from me.
However this formula offers little to no hold at all, which is kinda a deal-breaker for me. I adore and will always prefer products that offer not only color, but also hold so you can shape your brows to your liking. I’d say within five minutes of applying the Brow 1980 my brows have completely reverted back into their default shape and thickness. I probably should have been tipped off by the name “Volumizing Pomade” as pomades tend to be much softer and more flexible than gels. But still, I’m a little disappointed.
If I were you, I’d go for the ELF Wow Brow if you want something flexible that still offers some level of hold. Or the Maybelline Brow Fast Sculpt or the NYX Control Freak for really intense hold all day long.
RATING: 3 / 5 ⭐️
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THE DEETS ON THE MERIT BEAUTY MINIMALIST PERFECTING COMPLEXION STICK
Get compliments on your skin, not your makeup.
We designed this in place of all-over coverage, so you can make small edits only where you need them.
Formulated in partnership with esthetician Biba de Sousa, whose No List includes another 72 potentially acne-triggering ingredients that we eliminate.
Lightweight, hydrating formula wears throughout the day without settling into fine lines. Buildable light-to-medium coverage that stays breathable all day. Sea daffodil extract helps diminish the appearance of pigmentation and dark spots. Fatty acids condition skin and lock in moisture.
RETAIL PRICE – $38.00 FOR 3.7 GRAMS OF PRODUCT
AVAILABLE IN 20 SHADES
Even though I’m not the biggest fan of foundation or concealer sticks, I definitely wanted to try their Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick. Last year I tried experimenting with the L’Oreal Infallible Longwear Shaping Stick, and while the finished result was OK I couldn’t seem to get its cream-to-powder texture to truly connect with my dry skin, no matter how much I prepped my skin beforehand. I wanted to find out if spending more on a cream-textured foundation meant getting a better quality result…and so here we are!
Again, in the interest of brevity (which my regular reviews are certainly NOT known for), I have to say that I’ve really been enjoying this formula! That being said, it’s not completely without its faults. First off, let me give you some facts first. It’s very thin and lightweight on the skin with a satin-matte finish. There’s definitely a creaminess when you rub it between your fingers, but it’s in no way very nourishing for a dry skin. In terms of coverage, I’d say the most you’re gonna get out of this is a buildable light to medium coverage.
Through all my testing, I’ve found the best cocktail of products to really make this foundation work the best for me. One pump of the Glossier Futuredew as a glossy, hydrating base applied first, and then a thin layer of the Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick drawn over top. Utter brilliance! The shine and glossiness of the Futuredew beams through the foundation, and makes for easy-peasy blending. I use my synthetic aDesign Professional Blush Brush, and stipple it all over my skin like you would with a makeup sponge. The product just melts into the skin in moments, and completely connects to the point where it’s nearly invisible. It doesn’t cake up, or cling to any dry patches; it’s just perfection.
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Now I have tried this formula over less hydrated skin, and as predicted it doesn’t work for me. It just sits on top of my skin and looks dry throughout the day. So if you also have dry skin like me and want to try this foundation, you’ll definitely need to prep and sufficiently hydrate before application.
Merit markets this as a foundation/concealer hybrid – and you can certainly use it that way in a pinch – but I definitely prefer it as a foundation. I’ve tried using it under my eyes but it tends to move around on me, even after I set it with powder.
I have the shade Silk, which is the second lightest shade with neutral undertones. I think it’s a great match for me, and it just disappears into my skin with no weird cast. The full range offers 20 shades which are quite well distributed.
RATING: 4 / 5 ⭐️
You know how I feel about the Brow 1980, so I won’t repeat myself again. (Decent, but nothing special.) (Couldn’t help myself!)
In regards to the Perfecting Complexion Stick, I really love it because I’ve found the best way make it look absolutely flawless and second-skin on me. But be aware that this is VERY expensive for the amount of product you get: $38.00 for just 3.7 grams. Compare that to other luxury stick foundations like the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick which is $33.00 for 10 grams, or the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation which is $43.00 for 12.5 grams. Thud. It’s a huge difference, so I’m not really sure how Merit came up with their price frankly.
(Just to be clear, I haven’t tried either the Bare Minerals or the Make Up For Ever foundations before, so I cannot attest to their quality. I’m strictly talking about the ratio of price to product.)
So would I buy these products with my own money? The brow product, no, but I would consider repurchasing the foundation because it’s really beautiful, it performs well, and it’s very user-friendly. Personally I can justify spending more on base products because I think it’s a very important category to get right. But be guided by your own judgement, needs, and budget always!
Would you purchase any Merit Beauty products? I’d love to know!
xo, and be well, Erica
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