The beauty editor-approved complexion stick you need to know

merit beauty uk
Here's why I have good-skin days, every dayMerit Beauty

I don’t know about you, but full-coverage foundations no longer interest me. I prefer a lighter look, where my freckles peep through and rosy cheeks flush. I think we’re all opting for a less-is-more approach, and this is far from a fleeting trend. In fact, many beauty brands – like Jones Road and Trinny London – have built their name by ditching heavy makeup for sheer, glow-enhancing formulas. Seasonal trends take a backseat too, so you're able to invest in a smaller edit of timeless products that will go the distance.

One minimalist beauty brand that has come onto the scene is Merit. As an "antidote to the over saturated world of beauty," each piece in its ten-product line should be bought purposefully and used as an essential. What’s more, the brand is a pioneer for ageless beauty: it’s demonstrating that ageing is a natural process and makeup shouldn’t be used as a tool to conceal your complexion, but as a way to enhance it. With famous faces of all ages seen as loyal fans – from Michelle Pfeiffer to Hailey Bieber – Merit perfectly marries a touch of 70s glamour with today's cool, pared-back aesthetic.

I’ve been testing Merit for a few weeks, and while I love its entire line-up, I can attest that The Minimalist complexion stick is one of the greatest: it has ended my pursuit in finding a does-it-all product that gives a natural, fresh base. It’s a rare formula that doesn’t quite enter the foundation category, nor the concealer one, but perfectly hits both.

A review of Merit’s ‘The Minimalist’ complexion stick

Let’s talk about the stick formula. I always side-eye them, as finding one that offers adequate coverage without the cakey finish is a rarity. However, The Minimalist truly stands out, as far as hydrating bases go. Brilliantly creamy, it leaves a velvety, semi-matte finish that flatters your complexion. Being a stick formula, it’s naturally thicker in consistency, but luckily it’s super blendable so a little bit goes a long way. With a £40 price tag, only needing a small amount to go far, truly comes in handy.

Onto application: stick foundations can be a brilliant beauty weapon if you know how to use them. I was slightly perplexed on how to best apply The Minimalist, but I soon learnt there’s no rule book. It’s down to personal preference, however, there are a few ways you can approach it:

Fingers: Your fingers are your best makeup tool for thicker formulas as they warm up the product and help it to sink into your skin. I found fingers were the best method: it meant I had better control over where I was placing the product and was able to blend it for a truly seamless result.

Sponge or brush: I usually opt for a sponge when doing my makeup, but this is an instance where I left it behind. As The Minimalist is thicker in consistency, a delicate tap from a moist beauty sponge wasn’t going to cut it. I did find a dense brush much easier to use: it happily buffed, blended and left a streak-free effect.

Above all, what truly makes The Minimalist such a hero product is its finish – you can customise it however you’d like. I love a natural aesthetic, so I used it to spot cover certain areas, but let the rest of my imperfect, perfect complexion shine through (freckles, blemishes and all). However, if you want to take things up a notch, use The Minimalist as a concealer: it has enough coverage to diffuse spots and redness.

The finish is semi-matte, but if you want a dewy sheen, pair The Minimalist with the Glow Serum. I applied it on top of my moisturiser, and while I usually don’t like this phrase, it really is glowy skin in a bottle. The liquid instantly absorbs, hydrates and leaves an otherworldly radiance.

As far as longevity goes, I was pleasantly surprised: this clever stick foundation didn’t flake or slip into fine lines – and looked just as fresh after 12 hours.

My final verdict? Perfectly named, The Minimalist makes makeup easy. While it happily blends without appearing cakey, it’s not a product to be used all over.

Instead, it offers just the right amount of coverage to create a beautifully pared-back look: it’s great for those "my-skin-but-better" finishes and rushed mornings. For me, it’s the ultimate everyday product that has graduated to my ‘can’t-live-without’ collection.

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