Merit Beauty was founded on the idea of a "five-minute morning"—meaning your morning makeup routine should take up as little of your precious time as possible—and my a.m. schedule and I have yet to meet a product we haven't liked. Recently, though, the brand's Flush Balm cream blush has officially my new favorite no-fuss, no-fail way to add a pop of color to my cheeks in literally two seconds.
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While I generally stick to powder blushes in the spring and summer, I like a creamier formula in the fall and winter to keep my skin happy in drier weather. This formula features a nourishing vitamin E, which adds hydrations and gives cheeks a natural-looking sheen. The consistency itself is pretty pigmented, but blends in easily and doesn't come off too strong. It's very buildable, so you can put on as much (or as little) product as you like without looking like you just swiped on your mom's makeup in secret. In general, the balm gives you a very natural flush, and the color stays on all day long, and thanks to its creamy texture, it doubles as lipstick in a pinch. As far as color goes, I like "Raspberry Beret," which is a classic, rosy pink.
Application is easy: just swipe on your cheeks and blend in with your fingers or a brush. For a more contoured, sun-kissed look that will trick everyone into thinking you just got back from a tropical vacation, use the "blush draping" technique to apply product from the apples of your cheeks all the way up to your temples in a "C" shape, then top it off with a little bit of highlighter. "To really make your contour make you appear less flat on zoom and FaceTime, highlight the high points of the face with your highlighter of choice," makeup artist Natalia Thomas previously told us. (My go-to is Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick.)
While I like to have fun with makeup, and can get down with glam and glittery palettes, I tend to stick to a simple routine Mon-Fri. And that goes for Katherine Power, creator of Merit, too. "I am not a makeup artist. I haven't spent hours consuming beauty how-tos on YouTube, but I like makeup, and I want to enjoy it through a ‘less is more’ approach," she told Forbes back in September. For a quick and effortless (and definitely "less is more") splash of pigment and liveliness, get yourself a Merit Flush Balm.
Check out some other editor-approved cream blushes in the videos below.
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