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Exploring the Makeup Line of Merit, a Clean Beauty Makeup Brand (VIDEO)

By Elise Marquam-Jahns February 11, 2021 Beauty

As we all know, just about any makeup will look great on us when we’re 20 or 30, but how products perform on our over-50 skin is a whole other ballgame! So today, we’re going to take a look at the six new makeup products launched earlier this year from the new clean beauty makeup line called Merit.

Some Background on This Brand

Merit is a vegan, cruelty free brand that’s free of any added artificial fragrances, sulfates, phthalates, and parabens. It also meets the very strict European Union standards for clean beauty products including its ban of 1,328 potentially harmful ingredients.

According to the Merit site, the brand is formulated with skin loving ingredients, including plant based squalene, Vitamin B5, and antioxidants. The brand founder also partnered with Biba de Sousa, a well-respected Hollywood esthetician, to eliminate 73 ingredients which have been designated as “clean” but can nonetheless trigger acne. The “mantra” of this makeup line is “less is more.”

Now I want to be fully transparent. The founder of this brand, Katherine Power, is the co-founder of Who, What, Wear which is an online fashion and beauty site. My youngest daughter is the Beauty Editor for this site which is why I have access to these products.

I’m very grateful to her for giving me five of these products to try. However, my first impression will be honest and objective.

The Six Products

Brow 1980

Although I didn’t have the brow gel to try out, I want to tell you a little about it. The brow gel was inspired by the fluffy, brushed up eyebrow looks of the 1980s and is both gel and pomade in one.

What I want to mention though is that unlike many brown eyebrow products, this one does not have an auburn undertone.

Perfecting Complexion Stick

The product I was most curious about is called the Perfecting Complexion Stick, and it’s meant to be a combination of both foundation and concealer. This product took two years to develop and includes a blend of vegan emollients that prevent water loss from the skin so the skin stays moisturized.

It’s meant to be applied only where you need it – whether to camouflage a few areas of your skin or to apply it all over your face. It provides a light-weight second skin finish and is buildable – the “your skin but better” concept. It’s also designed to be neither too matte nor too dewy and comes in 20 shades.

Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Clean Lash Mascara

Mascaras from clean beauty brands are notorious for being less than excellent because they’re difficult to create. During focus groups, the biggest complaints most women had with mascaras were that they smudged and clumped. Naturally, these were the two main hurdles Merit has tried to overcome.

The Merit mascara, called Clean lash, is a tubing mascara which is supposed to provide lift and length. It has polymers which wrap around each individual lash rather than just coating the lash as regular mascaras do.

So tubing mascaras provide a very even coat of mascara. Natural ingredients for shine have also been added, and it’s designed to avoid damage to the lashes.

Flush Bomb Blush

The Merit blush is called “Flush Bomb” and comes in five colors. It is designed to be very emollient, lightweight, and hydrating so it can melt into the skin. And it’s also buildable. It can be applied directly to the cheek, using your fingers, a brush or a makeup sponge.

Day Glow Highlighter

Their highlighter is called Day Glow and comes in two colors: Cava which is a pearly champagne color, and Bounce which is a rose gold color. It has a balm like texture which is meant to provide a dewy glow with no glitter or shimmer.

Shade Stick (Lip Oil)

And finally, let’s talk about the lip product, Shade Stick. It comes in five colors from a very soft, natural look to pink, peach, corals, and a berry shade called Sangria.

The Shade Stick is a tinted lip oil that has a blend of hydrating ingredients, including shea butter, rosehip, grapeseed, and avocado oils. It is designed to set into the lips like a stain but without the drying effect of a stain. It’s also designed to have a high shine finish without tacky dry down.

First Impressions of These Products

The Highlighter

I have to say that my favorite product of the lot is definitely the highlighter. It has a similar look to the Clean Beauty RMS Brand product called “Living Luminizer” which is a favorite of mine and which provides a stunning glow. But the Merit product is far easier to apply since it glides on, and it’s less expensive!

The Merit highlighter has no glitter or sparkle so it doesn’t draw attention to fine lines. It just provides a soft, radiant, natural looking dewy glow. Many stick and cream highlighters can be difficult to apply, but this is absolutely effortless.

The Blush

The blush applicator is uniquely shaped and very easy to use. It can be applied directly to the cheeks from the applicator, unless you want to use your fingers. It creates a lovely natural flush and is buildable. In my book, it ticks all the boxes for what I want in a cream blush.

The Perfecting Complexion Stick

The Perfecting Complexion Stick is a little heavier than I had anticipated, but that’s understandable since it’s a combination foundation/concealer. In my first application, I applied too much, but even then it didn’t look cakey.

It has far better coverage than I expected and creates a soft, natural look. I used a brush to apply it, which worked well. But in the future I may dab it on in the spots where I most need it and then blend it out with a dampened makeup sponge.

The small applicator tip makes it easy to apply to very specific areas of the face without making a mess.

I’m extremely impressed with this product – especially since many clean beauty brand foundations offer only a light coverage. This product will definitely be a regular in my makeup routine. And since it comes in 20 shades, it’s easy to find a perfect match.

The Mascara

Since I have extremely sensitive eyes, I’m unable to wear most mascaras – even mascaras from clean beauty lines. When I heard that the founder of Merit also had very sensitive eyes, I was hopeful that this mascara might actually work for me. And I was not disappointed.

If you have very sensitive eyes, you might want to check it out. However, if you do not have sensitive eyes and do not feel the need to purchase from a clean beauty brand, there are other mascaras on the market that create greater volume.

The Lip Oils

Lip oils are definitely having a moment in the beauty industry and the lip oil from this brand is particularly hydrating, applies easily and can be built up to a rich, lustrous color if desired. But I have to confess that I’m definitely a “bullet lipstick girl,” so this is not a product that I’ll use on a regular basis. And because this is a lip oil product, it will transfer onto a face covering.

Some Additional Thoughts on Merit

Since I’ve had mixed experiences with other clean beauty brands, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Merit, but I have to admit that I was very impressed. The products are meant to create a natural, no makeup look and provide easy, effortless application and they absolutely live up to that expectation.

It’s clear that a great deal of thought went into both the formulation of the products and the design of the packaging.

I love sharing new, exciting products with you and hope you enjoyed learning about this new minimalist luxury clean beauty brand.

Have you tried any clean beauty brands? If so, what’s been your experience? If you’ve tried some of these brands, what are your favorite products? If you haven’t tried any clean beauty brands, are you interested in checking any of them out?

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The Author

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and runs the “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” YouTube channel. Elise has authored the free guide The Top Four Research-Proven Makeup Techniques That Help Us Look Our Best Now.

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