I've recently fallen in love with Merit, a beauty brand with the ultimate goal of simplifying and streamlining your makeup routine. I've tried their creamy blush balm, highlighter, and lip oil—all of which have earned standing ovations from me and my face. So when I learned about the brand's bestselling perfecting complexion stick, "The Minimalist" ($38), I knew I had to add it to my growing Merit arsenal. "It's not a foundation or concealer, but it'll replace both in your makeup bag," the site confidently describes, showing a crayon-like applicator that ranges in 20 different shades. I got my hands on one immediately. Spoiler alert: I'm super impressed with this little non-foundation, non-concealer foundation-concealer.
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Like my go-to liquid skin tints, The Minimalist provides light (but very buildable) coverage that's creamy and easy to blend. Unlike my liquid skin tints, you apply by lightly drawing on your face and then blending with a brush (I got the one Merit specifically sells as a companion to The Minimalist). The application process took all of 10 seconds. I drew a few lines on my cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead, and used the brush to get the kind of coverage I needed (more lately, since I needed to cover up a few blemishes). Surprisingly, I didn't need to separately dab concealer on those angry, red zits—I just swiped on a little more of the complexion stick to completely camouflage them. In addition to instantly evening out my skin tone, the formula contains sea daffodil extract, which can help mitigate redness or dark spots over time.
The result was completely natural-looking coverage that evened out my skin's complexion, hid my acne, and didn't feel heavy or makeup-like. As a major plus (especially during the dry, colder months), the creaminess of the formula didn't dry out my skin thanks to fatty acids, which help lock in moisture. I'd been avoiding my other foundations because they would leave patches of dry, flaky, and irritated skin. Not the case here—my skin still looked luminous, and felt hydrated. Huzzah! If you're looking for a more matte finish (this one leaves you dewy), you can always apply a finishing powder (I like Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, $39).
Other folks are with me on this product. "I was so apprehensive about this product, but I was searching to minimize my makeup routine. I'm a tinted moisturizer kind of girl when it comes to coverage. I was BLOWN away by this; with dry skin, stick foundations have never worked for me. But this makes you look so natural and beautiful, soft and glowy. If you're looking for natural coverage that still looks like your skin but perfect, this is for you," one customer writes on Sephora's page.
Another says, "This foundation stick is perfect if you are a minimalist. I swipe under my eyes, around my nose, around my chin and blend it out to conceal redness. My skin looks pore-less, and the tone is beautiful. I think it tends to be medium coverage but can blend to be lighter, or you can layer for heavier. It's a great daily use product!"
Anyway, I get it now. It really isn't a foundation, nor is it a concealer. The Minimalist is truly a "perfection complexion" stick that enhances your features, provides as much coverage as you want, and gives skin a nice glow. Considering I'll be using this every day until the end of time, I'll take ten more.
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