This Oil-Serum Hybrid From the Cool-Girl Brand Used by Cameron Diaz Doubles as My Favorite Hydrating Primer

It helps my makeup look fresh all day long.

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Merit Serum Review


Let me start by saying that the last thing I wanted to do was add another skincare product to my morning routine. Between my vitamin C serum, moisturizer, eye cream, sunscreen, and tinted serum (which, yes, I’d classify as skincare given its ingredients), I didn’t think my skin could tolerate an additional layer without pilling. Yet, I’m always looking for that one miracle product that’ll help my skin look hydrated until the very end of the day. So I tried adding just one more addition to the mille-feuille of products on my face — a layer of Merit’s Great Skin Instant Glow Serum — and it’s become a can’t-miss step in my skincare routine.

You’ve probably heard of Merit by now; it’s the cool-girl makeup brand that’s taken over your Instagram feed. But, for a recap: The brand is known for its “minimalist makeup,” meaning it offers a curated collection of products that deliver a barely-there makeup look. Each product in its lineup deserves to be gushed over — and InStyle editors have. Just check out our love for the brand’s concealer sticks, tinted lip oils, cream blush and mascara. And we’re hardly the only fans; Merit is used and worn by celebs like Cameron Diaz (who opts for the best-selling Complexion Stick), Sarah Jessica Parker, and Bella Hadid, too.

Merit Great Skin Serum


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The Instant Glow Serum is the brand’s first foray into the skincare realm. It “instantly hydrates and plumps skin for a healthy glow,” according to Merit’s website, by using a blend of niacinamide, four types of hyaluronic acid, caffeine-rich cacao seed extract (a dull skin booster), and Japanese goldthread root (a soothing, anti-inflammatory herb). What drew me to the product was its texture — it sits somewhere between an oil and a serum and soaks instantly into skin, leaving a glowy — never greasy — finish that’s primed for makeup.

The way I see it, the Great Skin serum is a makeup primer with skincare benefits. Its plumping and hydrating abilities help makeup go on smoothly and prevent it from sinking into dehydrated skin throughout the day. I apply it after sunscreen and before tinted moisturizer (the brand says it can be applied before or after moisturizer), and my skin no longer looks dry and flakey. Instead, it looks hydrated all day long, so I no longer feel the need to redo my makeup before going out at night. Surely, that’s well worth the extra step in my morning routine.

Shoppers, of course, love it too, calling it a “gorgeous and effective product.” Customers agree with me that it makes a “base before putting on your makeup” thanks to how easily it soaks in. “My makeup goes on much smoother and wears better throughout the day,” one shopper wrote. As a plus, some reviewers even say it makes them look “a bit younger” due to the “super hydration.”

If you haven’t tried Merit’s Great Skin Instant Glow Serum (or any of its other makeup products), I recommend scooping it up ASAP and checking out the rest of the brand while you’re at it.

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