Merit Beauty's New Bronze Balm Gave Me Instant Cheekbones in One Swipe

You can’t go wrong with the buildable, minimalist formula.

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Merit Bronze Balm in Clay Tout

During the pandemic, I adopted a more minimalist beauty routine that would help me look polished during Zoom meetings without too much fuss, but I still felt naked without a rock-steady bronzer by my side. Typically, I go for powder bronzers in the spring and summer, but now that it's getting cooler, I've been searching for a richer formula. As someone with a round face shape, I need a bronzer that will sculpt and warm my complexion without fading throughout the day.

Merit Beauty continually stands out as a clean and carefully curated brand, so when I heard it was launching a Bronze Balm last month, I knew I needed to try it. The already internet-beloved bronzer crayon comes in five shades for fair to deep skin tones; I received a sample of Merit Beauty's Bronze Balm in clay (an ecru-bisque shade) to test.

Merit Bronze Balm in Clay

To buy: $30;

As soon as I applied the vegan Bronze Balm, I noticed how creamy it felt against my skin due to the moisture-locking vitamin E and fatty acids—it was also formulated without acne-triggering ingredients. It was easily buildable and very forgiving, making it impossible to over-apply. While I tried blending the bronzer with a sponge and brush, I found it looked best when I diffused it into my skin using my fingers.

With its unique oval shape, I had no trouble gliding it under my cheekbones and around my jaw and forehead to add depth. One swipe was all I needed to add a subtle wash of color to my face. The satin-matte finish and neutral undertone made it look natural, whether I wore it with just my sunscreen or over my favorite skin tint.

Even though the formula is more on the translucent side, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't streak or disappear after hours of wear. I had no trouble fitting the compact stick in my purse or makeup bag, but with its exceptionally beautiful packaging, I was even happy to display it on my desk and vanity.

I finally understand why shoppers dubbed it "a must-have for everyday makeup." After a few weeks, I'm still reaching for it, and it's earned its place in my beauty arsenal when I need to look glam in a pinch.

If you're looking for a dependable bronzer that will give you a fresh glow without ever having to step foot in the sun, you won't be disappointed with Merit Beauty's Bronze Balm.

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