The Makeup Brand I’ve Sworn By for Creating a ‘5-Minute Face’ Ever Since Becoming a Mom

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One of the biggest things I lost in the initial shift into motherhood was time. A million things in your life become different the moment you become a parent, but for me, losing any sense of free time or a clear schedule was one of my most unexpected hurdles. While it may seem frivolous, even in my limited time, I tried hard to keep a beauty routine as part of my daily schedule. The routine kept me grounded and made me feel a little more ready for the day immediately postpartum.

Now, I’m a year into motherhood, and things have only gotten more chaotic. I no longer have the option to take a few minutes while my little one is chilling next to me in a Snuggle Me Lounger. I now have a very mobile almost-toddler, leaving me with approximately five minutes in the morning to slap anything I may want on my face. Luckily, I found a makeup brand that understands the constrained schedule of a parent perfectly.

I was first introduced to MERIT Beauty through Instagram, where it was touted as a highly curated, minimalist line of makeup products that could help you achieve a literal five-minute face. Created by Katherine Power (the founder of women's lifestyle website Who What Wear), the brand features an array of products packaged in tube or stick form, which means they are easy to throw in your bag and apply on the go.

Power started the line in 2017 while she was pregnant with her son, wanting to create a brand that offered cleaner formulas that were well-edited and accessible. Instead of creating dozens of palettes and options, Power sought to make MERIT a minimalist line to exist in an overwhelming market. In the FAQ section on the MERIT website, the brand shares that it curates its collections to "give you only the products and shades you need, making it easy for you to get ready in five minutes or less."

In my mission to create a quicker routine to fit into my current lifestyle, I willingly took on that challenge – and I was blown away by the results.

MERIT Beauty Complexion Products

MERIT Beauty, Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick — $38.00
  • Moisturizes skin and diminishes the appearance of pigmentation and dark spots
  • Active ingredients: Fatty acids, sea daffodil extract
  • Available in 20 shades

The star product of MERIT’s line is the Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick ($38), a creamy formula that is intended to be used as both a foundation and concealer. Instead of using it all over, the brand recommends using this product where it’s most needed to help cover any darkness, uneven tone, or redness. The product has a beautiful skin-like finish, neither matte nor dewy.

MERIT Beauty, Brush No. 1 Blending Brush — $32.00
  • Can be used to blend any complexion product, but works best for cream formulas
MERIT Beauty, Great Skin Instant Glow Serum — $38.00
  • Hydrates, plumps, and soothes skin
  • Active ingredients: hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, cacao, Japanese golden thread

I’ll admit that I am not usually a fan of cream products, but I absolutely love wearing the Complexion Stick. I have found my favorite way to wear it is by blending it out with the Brush No. 1 Blending Brush ($32), worn over the top of the brand’s Great Skin Glow Serum ($38), which gives skin a gorgeous lit-from-within radiance. I am not someone who typically vouches for using a brand’s brush with the accompanying product, but in this case, I have to tell you that it’s worth it. The dense brush blends in the product effortlessly, so it never looks heavy but provides the perfect amount of coverage. It helps me blend everything in in seconds, no joke.

MERIT Beauty, Day Glow Highlighting Balm — $32.00
  • Infused with micro-fine pearls to induce radiance
  • Active ingredients: Plant-based squalane, vitamin E, olive fruit oils
  • Available in three shades: Soft gold, rose gold, and champagne
MERIT Beauty, Flush Balm — $30.00
  • Conditions skin without clogging pores
  • Active ingredients: Vitamin E
  • Available in nine shades: Fox (a warm taupe), Persimmon (a soft orange red), Terracotta (a warm brown orange), Beverly Hills (a soft peach), Stockholm (a baby pink), Cheeky (a cool pink), Après (a soft berry), Raspberry Beret (a deep berry), Mood (a soft burgundy)
MERIT Beauty, Bronze Balm — $30.00
  • Moisturizes skin without clogging pores
  • Active ingredients: Fatty acids
  • Available in five shades ranging from light to deep

I also use the Blending Brush for the products that can be worn on top of the Complexion Stick, MERIT’s Day Glow Highlighting Balm ($30), Flush Balm ($28), and Bronze Balm ($30). While it may seem ambitious to add contour, highlight, and blush into a five-minute routine, with these foolproof products, it’s genuinely possible. All it takes is a few swipes and gently patting them in with the Blending Brush, and you’re good to go!

MERIT Beauty Eye Products

On the eye makeup front, Merit offers the Clean Lash Mascara ($26) for your lashes and the Brow 1980 ($24) for your eyebrows. If I had more time, I would use an eyebrow pencil to fill in my brows, but when I’m in a rush, a few swipes of this brow gel will do the trick.

MERIT Beauty, Clean Lash Mascara — $26.00
  • Lengthens, lifts, and tints lashes
  • Not waterproof
  • Includes olive oil and vitamin B5 to condition lashes
  • Available in one shade (Black)
MERIT Beauty, Brow 1980 — $24.00
  • Includes vitamin B5 to condition lashes
  • Pigments derived from kaolin clay and other minerals
  • Available in three shades: Blonde, Brown, and Soft Black

The Clean Lash Mascara is a tubing mascara with an incredibly natural finish. The formula gives just enough coating with a few swipes to give your eyes a bit of a pop, and I especially love that it washes off very easily at the end of the day (which I’ve found is not always the case with tubing mascaras). If I’m looking for a little more volume for my lashes, I sometimes opt for the Caliray Come Hell or High Water ($24) instead, but I love the option of having a more natural look as well.

MERIT Beauty Lip Products

MERIT offers two different lip products, their Signature Lip Lipstick ($16) and Tinted Lip Oil ($24). The lipstick is a lightweight formula available in eight different shades, including both neutrals and deeper red and berry colors. For my everyday look, I often go for Baby, a neutral pink that adds just a bit of color to my lips.

MERIT Beauty, Signature Lip Lipstick — $16.00
  • Lightweight-but-buildable matte finish
  • Moisturizes lips, diminishes the appearance of fine lines
  • Active ingredients: Vitamin C, plant-derived squalane, Papain enzyme, sunflower seed oil
  • Available in nine shades: Slip (a warm neutral), Millennial (a classic pink), Baby (a neutral pink), Cabo (a soft red orange), L’Avenue (a berry brown), Tiger (a brick red), Fashion (a soft berry), 1990 (a deep brown), Aperitif (a true red)
MERIT Beauty, Shade Stick Tinted Lip Oil — $24.00
  • Glossy finish
  • Available in 12 shades
    • Classics (saturated formulas): Bel Air (a warm clear), Au Natural (a warm crème), Taupe (a neutral brown), Pink Beet (a cool pink), Marrakech (a soft peach), Cara Cara (a soft red orange), Sangria (a deep berry), Falcon (a deep brown)
    • Geleés (sheer formulas): Jeté (a sheer neutral), Les Deux (a sheer pink), Maraschino (a sheer red), Mapleton (a sheer brown)

However, while I love the lipstick from the brand, I cannot rave enough about the Tinted Lip Oils. The product is available in both classic and a new gelée, the latter of which is a sheerer wash of color. The formula somehow manages to be hydrating without ever feeling sticky like a gloss, and the classic formula provides a surprisingly opaque amount of coverage. I love wearing the gelée’s sheerer wash of color over the top of a bit of lip liner, especially for the warmer months.

Prior to motherhood, the idea of needing a five-minute routine was nowhere near as literal as it became post-child. Now, a well-edited, minimalist line of makeup to get ready in the morning is exactly what I need – and MERIT perfectly fits that bill.

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