Are All-in-One Beauty Products the Future of Your Makeup Regimen?

Multiuse beauty products have taken center stage during the pandemic, when a quick swipe of color on the eyelids, cheeks, and lips can make a world of difference during Zoom meetings. But the trend was bubbling far before lockdown began last March. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Match Stix (which highlight, conceal, and contour), Philosophy’s Instant Miracle Worker (an antiaging treatment that simultaneously blurs fine lines), and others have been around for years. Against the backdrop of Covid-19 and working from home, however, the need for a speedy pick-me-up has gained newfound importance. Enter Merit Beauty, a vegan makeup brand that launched on January 12, which touts itself as providing a complete “five-minute makeup look.” Its lip, cheek, and concealing products are meant to be multifunctional, and the complete line consists of everything you need for a full face of makeup while still retaining a natural look. But how does it work under the circumstances of real-world application? Four W editors tested Merit out to see.

Jenny Oliver, Social Media Manager

How do you prepare for a Zoom meeting, aesthetically speaking?

I’m probably one of the few who actually cares about putting in effort for Zoom meetings. In general, I always feel put together by wearing makeup and getting dressed, which also makes me feel most productive. I get ready like I would in pre-pandemic life: eyeliner, mascara, subtle eyeshadow, skin tint, and blush/bronzer for makeup, soft beach waves for hairstyling, and typically a full outfit. Although, nowadays I’m most likely to be seen on screen in something tie-dye. 

Discuss the experience of using Merit beauty. What did you think of the products and colors? Were they as easy and quick to apply as advertised? 

I loved using Merit beauty. I knew I was going to be obsessed with this brand as soon as I opened the box to the luxe corduroy pouch in which the products arrived. The makeup’s packaging is simple yet chic, and everything is clearly labeled with what type of product it is. After applying my daily moisturizer and SPF, I started with the Perfecting Complexion Stick, and then used the brush to blend it in; I was pleased with the results and how it felt on my skin. I then went for my brows and lashes. The brow gel was probably my favorite item—I loved the way it made my brows look. I was impressed with how the mascara was truly volumizing, but I wish it was able to curl my lashes a bit more. Then I went for the blush, which was a little intimidating on my fair skin, but once I blended it in with my fingers it was the perfect shade and looked very natural. I finished off the look with the highlighter stick for that perfect glow—and the lip gloss. I hope Merit adds a lip balm to their lineup as well, because that’s the one thing I feel is missing. This whole routine took me five minutes, which was quite impressive. My skin feels like I don’t even have any makeup on, but I still look put together and like I put some effort in. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CJ9ItSRACfQ/

A post shared by MERIT (@merit)

Do you see the benefits of an all-in-one approach to makeup or do you prefer using multiple different products? Would you use Merit again?

I am 100 percent going to keep these Merit products in my makeup bag. One day when life returns to “normal,” I will want to use Merit in addition to my everyday staples. I prefer to use products from multiple brands as I’ve come to find each brand has at least one product I can’t live without, but I do see benefits from an all-in-one approach, especially when it’s from a sustainable, clean beauty brand. 

Tilden Bissell, Digital Designer

How do you prepare for a Zoom meeting, aesthetically speaking?

I would classify myself as a Zoom minimalist: my coworkers know what I look like sans makeup, and it’s not like I was wearing a full face before quarantine when I was in the office. Still, I’ve pared down my look a bit. Usually I’ll just do a little foundation, blush, mascara, and lip balm or gloss, sometimes highlighter or eyeshadow if I’m feeling extra, but I’ve definitely been known to show up in just skincare from time to time. I usually let my hair air dry, or I’ll throw it in a clip or pigtails depending on the length. The extent of my dressing up is picking which black shirt or amorphous sweater I want to wear on any given day. 

Discuss the experience of using Merit beauty. What did you think of the products and colors? Were they as easy and quick to apply as advertised? 

I was very into these products—they felt Glossier-adjacent, but a little more refined. They were basically everything I needed to create a good daytime look for work, if I had meetings. I kept it pretty simple every day with the foundation stick in Bone (which was full coverage but benefitted from a hydrating primer) mascara (solid), brow pomade (a standout), cheek tint in Terracotta (buttery and dewy, but I used it as more of a contour), highlighter in Cava (gorgeous) and lip gloss is Sangria (sheer and non-sticky). The brush and makeup bag were also huge pluses, and very high-quality. 

Over the weekend, I supplemented them with a liquid shadow from Rare Beauty and a little wing of gel liner and was very happy with the overall effect, which took it from a light daytime look to something more special. My only critique is because of their lightweight, glossy qualities, they definitely were not mask-proof, although that could probably be mitigated if I’d bothered to use primer, powder, and setting spray. I was actually impressed with how versatile the products were—all of the color cosmetics provided a pretty wash of pigment on the eyes, cheeks, and lips, which perked up my face for my Monday morning Zooms. As far as color range, at 20 shades the foundation seemed fairly substantial (though definitely not a Fenty level of inclusive). I usually have to go for the palest shade—and sometimes even then it’s not a great match—however, it was pretty flattering despite my very rosy (read: red) undertones. Still, I’m curious to see what more people think about the shades now that it’s launched. 

Do you see the benefits of an all-in-one approach to makeup or do you prefer using multiple different products? Would you use Merit again?

Merit has definitely made it into my work beauty routine, and I loved the no-fuss versatility of the products. I’d definitely recommend it to my friends who are looking for some lowkey additions to their makeup bags, plus as someone who does like to experiment with makeup, it’s a solid foundation to riff off of.

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A post shared by MERIT (@merit)

Oona Wally, Senior Visuals Editor

How do you prepare for a Zoom meeting, aesthetically speaking?

Looking cute on Zoom is a constant internal battle—I go back and forth in terms of enthusiasm for getting ready. It now takes effort to want to get dressed in anything other than cozy sweatsuits and put on makeup when working from home every day, knowing I won’t be seeing anyone in person. Nevertheless, in the morning before my first meeting, I usually put on light makeup: blush, an eyebrow fill, and mascara—oftentimes, I’m wearing that on top of a hydrating moisture mask or facial oil as I have a drier complexion, which I usually wouldn’t do if I were being seen in person. I try to look put together, but also have definitely cut out a lot of makeup and cute outfittery from my routine.

Discuss the experience of using Merit beauty. What did you think of the products and colors? Were they as easy and quick to apply as advertised? 

I was really looking forward to using Merit. I had seen it teased on Instagram as the light makeup you need for your new WFH life, and was excited when I heard we’d be giving this a try. I tend to go light on makeup anyway, so I was curious to see how this stood up next to the other, lighter makeup formulas I regularly use from brands like Glossier and Shiseido. I felt the Merit foundation stick was nicely packaged and presented, though the product itself was too dry. In general, for my skin type, a liquid formula is best. I did enjoy the blending brush that was included for the foundation, though. The blush comes in an easy-to-apply large stick format, and it’s fairly easy to move around the skin, but it sort of just sat on top of my face without blending to my liking. My favorite item of all is the volumizing eyebrow pomade. I alternate between simply using a brow gel and fully filling in my eyebrows, and this pomade adds volume without feeling dramatic or chunky. Plus, it lasts throughout the day. I do think the products are all very straightforward and easy to use; putting on my entire face using every product took about seven minutes total. Merit Beauty is a great option for anyone wanting to look natural and put-together for a Zoom meeting—or for under their mask.

Do you see the benefits of an all-in-one approach to makeup or do you prefer using multiple different products? Would you use Merit again?

I will definitely use Merit again. I want to try different shades of the blush and lipgloss to see whether a lighter shade works better for blending with my skin tone. I do love a quick approach to makeup period and Merit makes it easy. I don’t think I’ll use every product from Merit equally, as I play favorites with some of my other favorite foundations and lip colors, but let’s just say Merit will be staying on my cosmetics shelf.

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A post shared by MERIT (@merit)

Maridelis Morales Rosado, Visuals Editor

How do you prepare for a Zoom meeting, aesthetically speaking?

To be frank, I just want to make sure I don’t look like I am in my pajamas, or wearing a giant sleep shirt. The grain on the camera does a good job of making me look decent, and I would barely wear makeup to the office back in the day—unless I felt the need to give myself a mood boost in that sense. 

Discuss the experience of using Merit beauty. What did you think of the products and colors? Were they as easy and quick to apply as advertised? 

Whether I’m doing my makeup just to leave the front door of my house or to go out on the town, I want my routine to be as quick and straightforward as possible—that means relying on a small but mighty (like I am myself) combination of products that often have more than one use. I was able to use only the products in the Merit bag and still felt like I had a full face on (I also felt emperifollá, which is Spanish for getting dolled-up and feeling whole in oneself). I used the blush on my cheeks and eyes to make them pop, the concealer stick only to cover blemishes and under my eyes, and the rest as advertised. The colors and shades complimented my skin tone, and felt like just a hint or suggestion that I was wearing makeup, rather than being obvious—which was perfect, because I’m trying to look effortless here!

Do you see the benefits of an all-in-one approach to makeup or do you prefer using multiple different products? Would you use Merit again?

I’ll definitely continue to use Merit in my once-in-a-blue-moon makeup routine.

Related: Putting Bobbi Brown’s Latest Beauty Venture, Jones Road, to the Test

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