Question: When did we start calling lip glosses, “lip oils?” Because I don’t want to name names, but most, if not all the “lip oils” I've ever tried, have actually been as goopy as a traditional gloss. That is, until I tried the new Merit Beauty Shade Slick Gelée ($24). The same brand that celebs like Cameron Diaz and Sarah Jessica Parker swear by for its ease of use and quality has yet again impressed me—not that I'm surprised.
Not to be confused with the brand’s Classic Shade Slicks, the lip gelées boast an ultra-sheer, cushiony formula that gives lips a subtle tint of pH adjusting color, a kiss of moisture, and a comfortable (read: not at all sticky), natural shine. It’s the truest version of a lip oil I’ve ever tried, and an absolute must if you’re a no-makeup makeup loyalist like me.
Merit’s Shade Slick Gelées come in four shades: Jeté (a peachy neutral shade), Les Deux (a bubblegum pink), Maraschino (a true cherry red), and Mapleton (a plummy brown). While the original Shade Slicks have a more saturated color payoff, the Gelées are made with super sheer pigments that respond to your natural pH and develop into a beautiful, barely-there stain that’s supposed to look a little different on everyone. On me, Les Deux blooms into a natural pink flush that’s everything I crave for a light makeup day. Jeté’s neutral tone doesn’t transform in the same way on me, so much as it enhances my bare lip color. Like I said, if you love a natural lip, this is it.
How Merit Shade Slick Gelées feel
As much as I appreciate the juicy look of lip gloss, I can’t stand the way they feel on—and peeling sticky strands of hair away from my lips is unequivocally the worst. The Shade Slick Gelée’s lightweight, oil-jelly texture, however, is an utter delight. It feels featherlight on my lips, glides over dryness like a dream, and gives me the shiny finish of a gloss without any of the stickiness, something lots of lip oils promise but few can actually deliver.
“This gives the perfect ‘my lips but better’ [look] that I need each morning,” echoes a Merit shopper in a 5-star review. “The formulation applies very smooth to the lips and actually stays far longer than other lip oils I have!” It’s true, the Shade Slick Gelées offer the perfect amount of glowy shine that doesn’t feel like a thick layer of lacquer (*cough* Dior Lip Glow Oil *cough*) on your lips.
Another reviewer says the Merit Shade Slick Gelées have fully replaced her go-to lip balm, which I can proudly co-sign because they’re incredibly moisturizing, like a true lip oil should be. “I have used Aquaphor on my lips for the last 15+ years, and for 7 days straight I swapped it for Merit's new Shade Slick Gelées (today marks the 7th!) and I won't be going back!” she gushes in a 5-star review.
What makes Merit Shade Slick Gelées so good?
Plant-derived squalane gives the Gelées their silky, emollient feel while nourishing dry lips for a soft and supple pout. Quinoa seed oil offers an antioxidant boost and even helps support moisture barrier function for lasting hydration—which explains why I’ve been wearing my Gelées nonstop since I got them. While others merely *gloss over* dryness without addressing the real issue, the Gelées are the only lip oils that leave my lips feeling noticeably softer, smoother, and more hydrated even after hours of wear.
I keep Les Deux on my desk for a quick hit of moisture and color before Zoom calls, and Jeté lives in my tote as a fail-proof lip option while on-the-go—and out of the approx. 5,403,310 lip products that have taken up residence in my bag, it’s the one I continue to reach for.
I’m calling it: the Merit Shade Slick Gelées are the sheer lip oils that we gloss-averse girlies have been waiting for. Treat yourself to a shade (or all four) before they inevitably start to sell out. Find them on the Merit website, here.
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