Merit Has Seriously Surpassed Itself With Its Latest Fashion Collab

merit x tove bag
Merit Has Surpassed Itself With Its Latest CollabCourtesy of MERIT

There are enough beauty brands appearing to embrace the long overdue age of inclusivity that's currently occurring, but more often than not the end goal seems to be the same: skin that looks curiously ageless, free from the aesthetic signs of a life lived beyond teenhood. But beauty’s vibe shift means we’re now pretty familiar with the fine lines and lingering scars on our complexions, and covering them up cake batter style finally feels wholly outdated.

If there’s one brand that sums up how a lot of us are feeling about beauty now, it’s Merit. Chic, pared-back and pleasingly practical, this fashion-led edit of modern beauty essentials combines sheer finishes and buttery textures in products you can apply with truly minimal effort.

Merit founder Katherine Power is well placed to deliver exactly what us thirty-somethings are craving: her previous ventures include Who What Wear, Versed Skincare (whose Mood Lighting Glow Drops are a must-try, FYI), and Avaline wine, which she launched alongside Cameron Diaz.

So while other areas of the beauty industry contort to meet the demands of Gen Z, Merit isn’t sleeping on us millennials and Gen X-ers. Yes, Bella, Hailey et al have selfied in Bronze Balm and Shade Slick, but the A-list endorsements Merit boasts about lie at the more mature end of the celebrity spectrum: on Instagram, Diaz sips a glass of red while applying the brand’s Flush Balm (shade: Raspberry Beret), while Mandy Moore and Nicole Richie are reportedly loyal fans. On the Merit mood boards, Old Celine nestles alongside a young Naomi Campbell, while iconic Polish model Malgosia Bela has just starred in the brand's latest campaign. In fact, the brand's fashion-girly status has surely been cemented by its scene-stealing turn at JW Anderson's SS24 show, where stamped on red lips (courtesy of the new Signature Lip Matte, which launched on Thursday 22 February) and the most flawless glass skin we've ever seen stole focus from the clothes themselves.

Speaking of high-fashion forays, the brand is seriously stepping things up this year, with what might just be the best beauty/fashion crossover ever arriving later this month. Following the success of its Proenza Schouler collaboration late last year, Merit is now joining forces with minimalist favourite Tove. From 26 June, when you spend just £100 on-site, your order will arrive in Tove’s vegan-silk evening bag, which comes in the chicest shade of latte-brown and can be styled either as a sleek clutch or shoulder bag.

merit x tove bag
Courtesy of MERIT

And if you're side-eyeing your overstuffed make-up bag right now, you might want a little help pinpointing the products that are really worth adding to your collection. My advice? Start with these stand-outs – the rest of the line is lovely, but not essential – and forget all about that seven-shade smoky eye. The beauty of now is easier than that.

Merit Beauty: The ELLE Review

Day Glow

That note-perfect JW Anderson runway look wasn't all about the bold red lipstick you know (although we'll admit, we're on the waitlist to get our hands on that vermillion matte bullet). The key to keeping a statement lip modern is actually all in the skin: you want a complexion so well-glossed it almost looks moist – and the trick of the trade is Merit's Day Glow highlighting stick. It's completely free from sparkle, meaning the result is athletic, mega-hydrated skin rather than a disco-ball glimmer. To finish? Skip mascara for the most fashion-with-a-capital-F beauty look there is.

The Minimalist

The Minimalist is the perfect introduction to the brand. It’s a simple yet stand out, all-in-one base that’ll replace all those caking foundations, BB creams and concealers you’re currently hoarding. The secret to its success is the creaminess: it hydrates skin as much as it covers, so you’re never left with that give-away powdery finish, or product that seeps into fine lines.

What’s more, the brand consulted aesthetician Biba De Sousa to approve the inci list, ensuring there’s nothing that will trigger acne (because spots don't stop once your teenage years do.) Try it wherever you need a little brightening coverage: the idea is that you don't scribble energetically over your entire face, but let your natural complexion stay front and centre.

Bronze Balm

Another clear stand-out is the Bronze Balm: a mega-dewy colour stick that really sits somewhere in-between a bronzer and highlighter. The shades are especially sheer, meaning you get juicy, plump cheeks rather than a tell-tale terracotta streak. Try using a deeper shade as a discreet contour, too.

Flush Balm

Now for the fan favourite. Flush Balm is one you’ll either snap up immediately or skip over entirely: but even the most stoically blush-averse should pay attention here. These low-pigment balm colours seriously bring skin to life, melting in with whatever you’ve applied beneath (see above for the correct answers) to lend just a tiny hint of colour. Layer it up or leave it sheer: the cool tones are always flattering.

Brow 1980

This might not be the most exciting product in the line-up – when there are sparkly glosses and dual-phase serums winking at you, a brow pomade will likely be overlooked. But don't sleep on Brow 1980: a surprisingly brilliant formula, it uses kaolin clay and mineral pigments to build serious body in sparse brows. Flick it through your arches in an upwards motion for light hold (this isn't a brow-lamination situation) and major bushiness.

Signature Lip

It's not easy to get me excited about a new lipstick launch – truth be told, innovation in the category is pretty stale, and there are only so many nude bullets one can truly work their way through. But Signature Lip hits different, and I'm very much into it: imagine the creaminess of a lip treatment combined with pigment that has just enough opacity to be seen from across a room (or through your camera lens). It's buildable, buttery and, crucially, feels just like a lip balm. Apply it straight from the bullet, then smudge the edges with a finger to get that chic soft-focus result. As for the shade? It's a 1990 situation over here.

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