Merit Solo Shadow Review

Farah Gasimzade By Farah Gasimzade6 min read

Merit Beauty did it again. Meet Solo Shadow, another stellar addition to what Merit defines as “makeup you can live in.”

Indeed, if you follow a minimalistic makeup routine, eyeshadows may not be your daily essentials. However, Merit decided to give eyeshadows another chance by creating solo pods with cream-to-powder eyeshadows in 8 wearable soft matte shades.
Merit drew their inspiration for Solo Shadow from the 90’s beauty trends. At that time, the eyeshadows were applied as a single wash of color rather than layered with different colors for a dimensional effect.

Formula

Merit formulated Solo Shadow to become the new daily essential: versatile, wearable, buildable, blendable, and long-wearing.
From my experience, I love how blendable the formula is. With just one eyeshadow pod you can create different looks, from subtle wash of color to bold color block. Such a buildable formula allows one to achieve dimension in the eye look, which professional makeup artists usually strive for.


I love how weightless this creamy texture feels on the lids, even when you decide to rock a layered, bold look.
At the same time, the pigment doesn’t set in fine lines, and these eyeshadows are easy to work with. On top of that, the formula dries to powder very fast for a long-lasting effect, so it is best to blend the eyeshadows instantaneously.
For the test purpose, I took myself out into the Texas heat to see how my oily hooded eyelids would do with these eyeshadows on. Surprisingly, my eyeshadows remained intact, even after taking a shower. While makeup is not intended for a shower, such fun experiment gives me an idea of how longwear the formula is in non-extreme conditions.

Merit Solo Shadow Ingredients

The clean formula of Solo Shadows is enriched with skin-loving ingredients, such as camomile and calendula extracts and sunflower seed oil to soothe and nourish the skin around the eyes. Plus, the magnolia bark extract and peptides help to visibly smooth and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Merit Solo Shadow is Vegan and cruelty-free. The formula is ophthalmologist-tested and ophthalmologist-approved, safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
On top of that, all Merit products are carefully crafted in collaboration with renowned esthetician Biba de Sousa to ensure a safe formula that caters to those with acne-prone skin.

Full List of Ingredients

Merit Solo Shadow Eyeshadow and Brush No. 2

Isododecane, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Hydrogenated Polycyclopentadiene, Synthetic Wax, Helianthus Annuus Seed Cera [Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax], Mica, Silica, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Sh-Polypeptide-123, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract, Tin Oxide.
May Contain (+/-): CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77510 (Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 16035 (Red 40 Lake), CI 19140 Yellow 5, CI 77400 (Bronze Powder), CI 77400 (Copper Powder), CI 77000 (Aluminum Powder).

Unfortunately, there is no differentiation in the lists of ingredients between shades. I would assume the base formula mixture is used across all the shades, except for the color, where the precise ingredients per shade are also unknown.
Overall, I do not see any concerns with the ingredients. The eyeshadow contains two silicon-based polymers as the second and third ingredient in the formula, used as lubricant and conditioning agent. Additionally, it has paraffin wax as the fifth ingredient. It doesn’t necessarily mean that this product is a concern, but to my knowledge it’s a personal preference for some people, so I wanted to highlight them here.

Merit Solo Shadow Shade Selection

I love the intentionally limited selection of neutral and bold shades. All eight shades are saturated yet toned down for daily use and work across all complexions. To my surprise, even the statement colors are also wearable for daytime.

Merit Beauty launched Solo Shadows in four neutral and four statement shades, you can find descriptions for each shade below. Merit Beauty also offers recommendations for neutral shades based on your The Minimalist Complexion stick shade.

The Neutral

  • Studio – cool tape
  • Vachetta – warm beige
  • Midcentury – warm brown
  • Brun – deep brown

The Statement

  • Social – soft mauve
  • Viper – warm green
  • Nelson – soft gray
  • Midnight – classic navy

When Merit Beauty first reached out to me to test their new launch, the brand offered to pick a shade I liked the most. Initially, I preferred Brun, a deep brown shade to complement my eye color. However, Nelson, not your average grey color, got my attention. As a true millennial, with a nostalgia for the Smokey Eyes era, I couldn’t resist it.
Nelson is a soft gray shade with a hint of neutral brown. It looks brownish in the pod but blends in a beautiful, soft, neutral smokey wash of color on the skin.
Even with such a bold shade as Nelson, you can get a neutral grey veil on your lids if you tap the product 2-3 times with the brush.

Brush No 2.

Along with Solo Shadow, Merit introduced Brush No. 2, a multi-use two-sided brush to blend and define. The brush is made with 100% recyclable aluminum handle and extra-soft vegan bristles that is gentle on sensitive skin. The Brush No. 2 works seamlessly with the Solo Shadow formula.

The fluffy end of the brush is perfect for blending this cream formula, while with the tapered end of Brush No. 2, you can use Solo as eyeliner or use it for more definition.
I love that the brush doesn’t get stiff after use, so if you forget to wash it between applications, you can still reuse the brush.

How to Use Merit Solo Shadow

Because of the creamy formula, you can use a brush or fingers to apply Merit Solo Shadow.
Once you break the seal of the pod, tap 2-3 times to pick the pigment with the fluffy side of the brush and apply it to your lids, blending the color right away. Use a tapered brush to add color to the bottom lashes to balance out the look. You can also use this side of Brush No. 2 to create a soft flick.
For a wash of color, tap the eyeshadow with your fingers.
For more coverage, build the product on your brush or on your fingertips. Apply the pigment to the lids and use the fluffy end of Brush No. 2 to blend the edges.

Farah Gasimzade, founder of Sun Kissed Blush, wearing Merit Beauty Solo Shadow in Nelson

How to take off Merit Solo Shadow

With all the long-wear products in my arsenal, I prefer using a balm cleanser to take off the makeup, and it works great with removing Merit Solo Shadow without any residue.

Packaging

I enjoy the luxurious look of the eyeshadow pod with a gold lid and a black smoky transparent plastic jar. It reminds me of a luxurious eye cream. I also like how the lid locks in place to prevent the formula from drying. The pod comes in a recyclable packaging.

Final Thoughts

Merit Solo Shadow certainly deserves its place in a minimalist beauty bag. These eyeshadows are easy to work with, blend well, and have a clean and long-wear formula, perfect for everyday use. Even with the limited shade selection, you can find your unique, essential shade. I prefer to use Nelson for a classic smokey eye look but also as a dark base for transparent iridescent eyeshadows. For this purpose, I would recommend using eye primer since mixing two mediums affects the long-wear performance of the formula. I’m strongly considering trying other shades of Merit Solo Shadows as well.

Merit Beauty Signature Lip, Merit Solo Shadow Eyeshadow and Brush No. 2, Minimalist, Flush Balm,Day Glow,Clean Lash, Great Skin

What Solo Shadow shade did you like the most? Let me know in the comments below!

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