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These Merit products were used for Carrie’s make-up in And Just Like That – and we’ve tried them all

The vegan-friendly formulas are presented in bougie packaging

Helen Wilson-Beevers
Wednesday 30 August 2023 15:49 BST
We’ve spent six months wearing the same beauty buys as worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the Sex and the City spin-off show
We’ve spent six months wearing the same beauty buys as worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the Sex and the City spin-off show (The Independent)
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It’s no secret that many essential beauty buys find fame across the pond first. From CeraVe to Jones Road, the US is responsible for some of our most-loved beauty arsenal items. And, since February this year, Merit has joined the beauty brands available UK-wide.

Merit is a minimalist vegan-friendly brand founded by Katherine Power of Who What Wear and Versed Skincare fame. It landed in the States in January 2021 and focuses on skincare-style ingredients, sleek packaging and vegan-friendly formulas.

There’s huge hype surrounding this brand and the hashtag #meritbeauty has garnered 7 million views and counting on TikTok. Plus, it can count celebs such as Bella Hadid, Cameron Diaz and Sarah Jessica Parker as fans. In fact – as recently revealed by make-up artist Elaine Offers – the product line-up was used on SJP during seasons one and two of Sex and the City spin-off show And Just Like That, as well as for the show’s premiere event.

The line-up includes a bronzing balm, tinted lip oil, flush balm, a minimalist complexion stick and lengthening mascara, which were all seen on Carrie in the much-loved series. There’s a mid-range price tag and it’s worth noting that all the brand’s products feature ingredients such as vitamin E, rosehip, shea butter and jojoba oil.

Following the UK launch a few months ago, the latest product to join this beauty ensemble is a cream-to-powder eyeshadow in a selection of eight statement and neutral shades. Plus, numerous new colour options have been added to the existing buys, significantly widening the choice available.

The packaging encapsulates luxury, with gold tones seen throughout, and the holders are either recyclable, reusable or compostable.

They certainly look worthy of elevating our make-up bags, but what are the formulas and finishes like on skin? We’ve spent six months incorporating some of the range’s most popular buys into our daily make-up routine.

How we tested

We spent several months testing a few core products from Merit, and looked at each buy’s formula, finish and packaging. We also explored the multi-tasking benefits of these products, and how simple they are to apply. Keep scrolling to see our full review.

The best Merit beauty products for 2023 are:

  • Best overall – Merit shade slick tinted lip oil: £26,
  • Best for a natural lash lift – Merit clean lash lengthening mascara: £28,
  • Best for a healthy glow – Merit bronze balm sheer bronzer: £32,
  • Best dewy blush – Merit flush balm cheek colour: £32,
  • Best for fluffy brows – Merit brow 1980 volumising pomade: £26,

Merit shade slick tinted lip oil, au naturel

Merit lip oil.jpg
  • Best: Overall
  • Shades: 12
  • Key ingredients: Rosehip oil, shea butter, jojoba oil

This little lip oil bottle comes complete with the signature Merit gold lid, and we’ve completely fallen for the brand’s chic, luxurious and simple packaging. Opening it up, we noted the product looks like a lip gloss and lip oil hybrid, complete with a slimline doe foot applicator. We popped it onto our pout with ease – whether near a mirror or not – and the results were instant. We saw tinted moisture with lingering glossiness, and there was a plumped-up effect to smoothed lips, plus a splash of peachy colour, minus any stickiness. Its gentle skin-softening finish comes courtesy of ingredients such as rosehip oil, shea butter and jojoba oil.

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Merit clean lash lengthening mascara, perfect black

Merit clean lash.jpg
  • Best: A natural lash lift
  • Shades: 1
  • Key ingredients: Vitamin B5, omega fatty acids, olive oil esters

We were immediately impressed by the chic black and gold packaging and angular shape. It’s one bougie and minimalist make-up-bag buy, in keeping with the rest of the collection. This is a tubing mascara, which means the formula wraps around each individual lash. The straight brush is slimline enough to reach the inner eye, yet with enough width to also efficiently coat lashes.

Ingredients include vitamin B5, omega fatty acids and olive oil esters for conditioning and nourishing, and we noticed how softened our lashes felt with wear. Billed as being a lengthening mascara, we found it does help offer the appearance of elongated lashes, but in a subtle, natural way. We didn’t see clumping or spikiness either, and the mascara is weightless to wear.

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Merit bronze balm sheer bronzer, clay

Merit bronze balm.jpg
  • Best: A healthy glow
  • Shades: 5
  • Key ingredients: Fatty acids

This chunky gold tube holds a twist-up bronzer stick inside, with a dome-shaped tip for easy application. We sampled the light clay shade, and there are four other colours to try, depending on your skin tone.

The creamy balm stick has a silky soft, sheer finish, and it glides across skin. Plus, because it’s buildable, you can adapt the coverage to suit how much bronzer you prefer to wear. We tended to use it as a glowing bronzing boost, and it’s equally straightforward for a quick contouring fix. Ingredients include vitamin E for skin soothing, and we really enjoyed applying the formula. We saw a healthy-looking, gentle bronzed glow to our skin, and that effect was simple to top up throughout the day.

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Merit flush balm cheek colour, Beverly Hills

Merit flush balm.jpg
  • Best: Dewy blush
  • Shades: 9
  • Key ingredients: Vitamin E

Presented in a cute, compact pot, this cheek colour is a handheld blush version of the bronze stick (£32, The product can be applied directly onto skin, thanks to its curved dome shape, or by using a brush, if you prefer. The buildable formula is lightweight on skin, and we saw a natural pop of colour on our cheeks straight after application.

Once again, vitamin E is included as an ingredient, and the balmy blusher did feel super softening on our skin. It has a glossy sheen at first, and this settles into a subtle dewy layer. Beverly Hills has an earthy pink hue, and there are several other shades to discover, too. We particularly like the fun, futuristic packaging and its size is useful for stashing in your pocket or bag for on-the-move application. This product is perfect for a quick pick-me-up and it instantly boosts the rest of your look, too.

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Merit the minimalist perfecting complexion stick

Merit complexion stick.jpg
  • Best: Versatile base
  • Shades: 20
  • Key ingredients: Fatty acids

This multi-tasking complexion stick can be used as a concealer or as an overall base instead of foundation. We loved the option of a buildable, versatile concealer and foundation hybrid, for lighter make-up days or just nice and easy application. Available in 20 shades, including linen, camel and cacao, you can mix a few for contouring, too.

The precise stick tip is useful for dabbing onto skin or combining with Merit’s brush no.1 blending brush (£34, Fatty acids are included for their moisturising qualities and we saw the formula blend across skin seamlessly. The lightweight coverage offered a natural-looking skin veil, which felt weightless to wear.

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Merit great skin instant glow serum

Merit serum.jpg
  • Best: Skincare buy
  • Shades: N/A
  • Key ingredients: Nniacinamide, hyaluronic acid, cacao seed extract

The brand’s first skincare product, great skin instant glow serum is a bi-phase buy, so it separates into two layers in the bottle and needs a decent shake before use. The first thing we noticed when applying this serum is how refreshingly lightweight it is, and the formula sinks in quickly. Plus, it can be used underneath or on top of your moisturiser, depending on which you prefer.

Ingredients include hydration-promoting hyaluronic acid in a whopping four forms; cacao seed extract, which contains awakening caffeine; balancing niacinamde, and antioxidant Japanese goldthread root. We saw a dewy skin effect, a gorgeous brightening glow and a healthy-looking, fresh finish. Plus, like the other Merit products we tried, the serum is pleasing to apply.

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Merit brow 1980 volumising pomade

Merit brow 1980.jpg
  • Best: Fluffy brows
  • Shades: 3
  • Key ingredients: Vitamin B5, kaolin clay, mineral pigments

Designed to recreate the fluffy Eighties brow sported by supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, this tinted pomade comes in blonde, brown and soft black shades. Ingredients include conditioning vitamin B5, alongside kaolin clay and mineral pigments for the colour. The tapered brush is a compact size for reaching every single eyebrow hair, and it can also be used alongside a separate spoolie if you prefer. We brushed our brows up and outwards, and saw an effortless-looking finish that was very easy to achieve. The formula is buildable, so we found it simple to achieve a bolder look with heavier eye make-up as well.

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Merit signature lip lightweight lipstick

Merit signature lip.jpg
  • Best: Smoothing lip colour
  • Shades: 8
  • Key ingredients: Plant-derived squalane, vitamin C, sunflower seed oil

This smoothing lipstick has an angled bullet for precision application without the need for a lipliner. We immediately noticed its soothing, moisturising formula on our (often dry) lips, and that’s thanks to ingredients such as plant-derived squalane and sunflower seed oil. We trialled ‘fashion’, and this berry tone added a brightening hue to our lips. The lippy creates a hydrating pop of colour, which isn’t heavy, and our pout felt softened, too. Meanwhile, you can pair it with the shade slick tinted lip oil for a glossy finish.

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Merit solo shadow

Merit solo shadow.jpg
  • Best: Long-wearing eye colour
  • Shades: 8
  • Key ingredients: Chamomile, calendula and magnolia bark extracts, sunflower seed oil, peptides

The creamy eyeshadow comes in a wide variety of colours across neutral and statement categories, and we tried a selection, including the bold midnight blue and earthy brown midcentury shades. You can either apply the cream-to-powder product with a fingertip or by using the brush no2 eyeshadow brush (£22, We did a combination of the two, and noticed how buildable the highly pigmented eyeshadows are. They easily smooth onto the eyelids, without pulling or settling into creases, and create an even amount of colour.

While the shadow glides on like a cream, it has a matte powder finish, which is what makes this product stay put so well. Whether using them for definition, vibrant colour, layering or as an eyeliner substitute, solo shadow is a joy to apply, and delivers a long-wearing make-up finish.

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The verdict: Merit beauty review

For a moisturised pout with a plumping effect and a tinted finish, we love Merit’s shade slick tinted lip oil. Meanwhile, flush balm cheek colour adds an easy pop of dewy blusher, and there are several shades to try. Finally, great skin instant glow serum adds lightweight hydration and creates fresh, healthy-looking skin.

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