Merit's Minimalist Foundation Stick Is a Must-Have For a "No Makeup" Routine

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Merit The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick

Merit Foundation Stick

Karla Ayala / Unsplash

What We Like
  • Natural, lightweight finish 

  • Blends easily

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like
  • Can emphasize dry skin

  • Could offer more shades

The Merit Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick gives that "my skin but better" look. If you're looking for a simple and easy way to even out your complexion, give this one a try.


Merit The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick

Merit Foundation Stick

Karla Ayala / Unsplash

Among the many trends that have taken over our feeds is minimalist makeup—and I've hopped fully on board. Over the last year or so, I've become obsessed with lip oils and glosses, sheer blushes, and barely-there manicures.

Lockdown significantly impacted our routines, inspiring many of us—myself included—to downsize our makeup collections. Even now, I generally limit my use of makeup to the weekends. Plus, as someone with sensitive skin, I love using simple products that highlight my natural features and make my skin feel good.

When it comes to minimalist makeup, Merit is one of the leading names. I tried out the brand's Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick to see if could give me that "no-makeup makeup look." Read on for my full review.

Merit The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Foundation and Concealer Stick

Best for: All skin types looking for a light-to-medium coverage foundation, concealer, and/or contouring product

Price: $38

Shade Range: Available in 20 shades

About the brand: Founded by Katherine Power in 2021, Merit is a minimalist, upscale beauty brand best known for its Flush Balm Cream Blush and Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil.

About My Skin: Dull and sensitive

I am the type of person who either wears medium to full coverage foundation or nothing at all. (My go-to foundation as of late has been the NARS Light Reflecting Foundation.) That said, there are moments when I want to look put together without applying a full coverage foundation—I just haven't found the right base product. My must-haves for those minimal makeup days include concealer, blush, highlighter, and mascara. My skin is also sensitive, dull, and dry, so I need a fragrance-free foundation that gives a hydrating finish. 

How to Apply: Easy to control and blend

According to Katherine Power, the founder of Merit, the Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick should only be used where necessary. Because it is expandable, you can add more or less to particular areas. You can use any brush or sponge; she suggests using Brush N.1 from Merit, a tapered blending brush. She begins by blending in the middle of her face and moving outward and upward, which she refers to as "editing your skin." I personally loved using a sponge and my fingers to blend out the product. I found this to be easier. 

You can use this one as a concealer if you only need coverage under your eyes, and I tapped and blended the product with my finger in this area. You can also use this stick as a contour or bronzer, applying it near your cheekbones, forehead, and jawline, then blending. 

The Results: Radiant, natural-looking skin

The author before and after applying the Merit foundation stick

Karla Ayala / Byrdie

When I first opened my Merit Perfecting Complexion Stick, I instantly noticed how sleek the packaging was. I immediately swatched it on my hand, and it glided across my skin. It is so creamy and feels hydrating. The shade I chose looked lighter than I would have liked, so I knew I would need to add bronzer. 

After filling in my brows and applying primer, I used the complexion stick all over my face, paying special attention to my nose, chin area, cheeks, and forehead. I immediately noticed two things: that the product clung to some dry patches on my skin and how refreshed the rest of my face looked. If you have a lot of texture, this product will not completely cover it the way a full-coverage foundation would. I had to add concealer to cover up a few blemishes. Next, I applied mascara, blush, bronzer, and lip balm.

After a few hours, the product still looked great on my skin, except for the areas where you could still slightly see my dry patches. The next time I tried the complexion stick, I did an extensive and hydrating skincare routine, which helped to prevent the look of dry patches.

The Value: Comparable to other foundations

The Merit Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick costs $38, comparable to most foundations from mid-range brands. The product's versatility makes it a valuable addition to any routine. It doubles as a foundation and concealer, saving space in your makeup bag. Additionally, I think this formula is perfect if you do not have textured skin and prefer sheer to light coverage. That being said, I have super dry skin, and after applying the right skincare products, the complexion stick gave me that minimalist look. There aren't many base products specifically formulated for subtle looks, which makes this the ultimate everyday product. 

Similar Products: You have options

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick: Bobbi Brown's Skin Foundation Stick ($52) is a moisturizing base product that helps to even out your complexion in a single step. It can be used as an all-over medium-to-full coverage foundation or as a spot concealer. It is more expensive than Merit's Complexion Stick, but it is ideal if you want a broader range of shades—there are 43 hues—or more coverage.

Milk Makeup Flex Foundation Stick: Another medium-to-full coverage option, Milk Makeup's Flex Foundation Stick ($31) provides a natural finish at a price point that is on the lower end for a mid-range brand. Among the 36 shades are plenty of options for those with olive undertones, which can be tough to find.

Final Verdict

The Merit Perfecting Complexion Stick gives you a "no-makeup-makeup" look with a natural finish. It is a necessity for people who love quick and minimalist makeup looks.


  • Product Name The Minimalist Perfecting Complexion Stick
  • Product Brand Merit
  • Price $38.00
  • Number of Shades 20
  • Full Ingredient List Hydrogenated Polydecene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octyldodecanol, Silica, Polyethylene, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate/Hexastearate/Hexarosinate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cera Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cire de Carnauba), Synthetic Wax, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax, Cire Microcristalline), Sorbitan Isostearate, Pancratium Maritimum Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Propylene Carbonate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Glycerin, Aqua (Water, Eau), Mica, BHT, CI 77491/77492/77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).

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