My Honest Review of the Merit Beauty Solo Shadow


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With its curated catalog of unfussy favorites, Merit Beauty has managed to simplify every step of your makeup routine—from the foundation and concealer stick and streak-proof bronzing balm, to the ultra-blendable blushes and the primer-serum hybrid that’s essentially glass skin in a bottle. The minimalist beauty brand has everyone—including celebs like Cameron Diaz and SJP (who donned a full face of the brand for the premiere of And Just Like That…)—positively hooked. Now Merit’s new, highly-anticipated launch, the Solo Shadow ($24), is putting the ease back into eyeshadow.

Merit Beauty, Solo Shadow — $24.00

Buildable, long-lasting and available in a curated line up of soft matte shades, Merit’s new cream-to-powder shadows have repaired my strained relationship with eyeshadow.

What makes the Merit Solo Shadows special?

Disclaimer: I’ve never been a big eyeshadow wearer. Mostly because I find eyeshadow palettes intimidating, all the color options overwhelming and the application generally kind of annoying. Merit’s new Solo Shadows are none of these things. First, they’re single pot eyeshadows made for touch ups and one-and-done looks (music to my ears), with a cream to powder formula that can be applied using a finger or a brush (they made a new one for this, the Brush No. 2, which we’ll get to). They come in eight buildable shades—four neutrals and four approachable colors—all with a soft matte finish. And in true Merit fashion, they’re infused with skin-loving ingredients, like nourishing sunflower seed oil, and antioxidant rich calendula and chamomile extracts to help soothe the delicate skin on the eyes.

Apart from its user-friendly formulas, Merit is known for its luxe, intentional packaging, and the Solo Shadows don’t disappoint. The shiny gold caps are stunning, of course, and designed with a genius twist-lock so you’ll never have to worry about them making a mess in your purse or makeup bag. It’s the little things, after all!

They’re creamy and long-lasting

I was immediately impressed by the smooth, creamy texture and the amount of pigment I could pull with a single swipe. And as buttery as the Solo Shadows feel in their pots, there’s zero greasiness when applied, so you get a seamless, easy blend without a greasy mess. What’s more, the cream-to-powder formula sets down to a matte finish that’s not chalky or flat—and after hours of wear when my lid’s natural oils start to come through, it oddly looks even better. We’re talking *minimal* creasing (without the use of primer, I might add) after six plus hours of wear, which is rare for a cream eyeshadow. With the Solo Shadows, you’re essentially getting the ease and blendability of a cream, with the longevity of a powder shadow. Seriously, once these babies are set, they don’t budge.

author wearing the merit beauty solo shadow
Photo: Author

The shades are just *chefs kiss*

When it comes to pigment, the Solo Shadows are rich but buildable, allowing you to ramp up the intensity for a night out. Being an eyeshadow newbie, I gravitated towards the neutral shades first—with Midcentury, a warm russet brown, as a fast favorite for daily wear. But it wasn’t long before the beginner-friendly formula had me feeling brave enough to experiment with the more colorful shades. Honorable mention goes out to the Solo Shadow in Viper, the warm mossy green shade that I never imagined I’d be into. But even the colorful shadows have a deep, muted look that’s never “too much.” They’re colorful eyeshadows for people who *think* they don’t like colorful eyeshadows.

merit beauty solo shadows swatched on the author's arm
Photo: Author

With the help of Merit’s new Brush No.2 ($20), a dual ended shadow brush (which can be used with any eyeshadow, BTW), I smudged Midnight,  a classic deep navy, along my upper lash line for my take on a colorful liner look—and it was almost too easy. The brush picks up the perfect amount of product, and the soft vegan bristles distribute the color with ease without feeling scratchy or stiff. And with the fluffy rounded tip on one end and small liner tip on the other, you can achieve an all-over wash of color and precise line without fussing with other tools.

merit beauty brush no.2

Merit Beauty, Brush No.2 — $20.00

Designed with soft vegan bristles that feel gentle on your lids, Merit’s new dual-ended eyeshadow brush makes applying the Solo Shadows (or any eye product) truly effortless.

Every Solo Shadow is a winner, but the real beauty of this launch is that you only really need one (or two, okay maybe three) they’re that versatile. Don’t tell the untouched eyeshadow palettes at the back of my drawer, but the Merit Solo Shadows are all I want to wear as of late.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.



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