We Tried It First, and—Wow—Merit’s New Lipstick Will Be Your All-Time Favorite

Not to get too kitschy on you, but whenever I’m shopping for a new lipstick—preferably, perfection in a tube that will become my fail-safe signature—I feel akin to the bumbling Grand Duke in Cinderella circa 1950, desperately flying all over town trying to find the perfect fit, sweating whilst trying to convince myself that the not-right lipstick will actually do just fine (it won’t), and eventually giving up and succumbing to exhaustion. Sound familiar?

Finding your ultimate signature lipstick is hard with a capital H. After all, there is so much to consider! There’s the shade and undertone, of course, but then there’s also the finish, wear, price tag, and ingredients to consider. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack or, if I’m staying on-theme here, Cinderella’s foot for an impossibly temperamental glass slipper—an adventure, to say the least. But after years (and years) of trying hundreds of lipsticks, I’ve finally found the perfect fit, and if the raving reviews of my fellow beauty editors are any indicator, I think you have too.

Enter Merit’s first new product since the brand’s launch in January of 2021, The Signature Lip—a dreamy, featherlight lipstick inspired by the grand success of the brand’s OG lip hero, Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil ($24), which, fun fact, currently holds the crown as the number one clean lip gloss at Sephora.

Clocking in at $26, the lip product, the brand explains, has been five years in the making (it’s been in development just as long as the original Merit clan has) and represents “a new approach to lipstick.” It’s fantastically hydrating, for one, and it also boasts a soft but highly buildable base. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it comes in eight equally stunning shades—you 100% won’t be able to choose just one.

“The Signature Lip signals our collective return to the tried and true,” the brand muses in a press release. “Your signature color that makes every outfit intentional, every low messy bun feel pulled together and is impossible to mess up. It’s elevated ease.” Sounds dreamy, no?

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Merit lipstick if it weren’t consciously created with clean and healthy ingredients. Plant-derived squalane and sunflower-seed oil tag-team to provide comfortable, long-lasting hydration; papaya fruit extract instantly soothes; stabilized vitamin C diffuses the appearance of lines for a fuller-looking pout; and last but not least, raspberry oil adds one last kick of moisture and shine. Then, there’s also the brand’s commitment to sustainability via the 30% PCR, recyclable cap, aluminum base, FSC-certified cardboard packaging, and vegetable-based ink.

Not surprisingly, we couldn’t wait to test out the Signature Lip collection ourselves, and you can check out the entire lineup (plus the reviews and photos of some of our favorites) below. But that’s not all! In an extra nod of celebration, we’re granting you early access to shop. The lipsticks aren’t *officially* available until February 22, but if you’re keen to buy your favorites right this second, simply head over to Merit with this link to gain early access shopping one full day before everyone else. Keep scrolling, and enjoy! 

“These lipsticks are actually a DREAM. My first thought was that the formula was so smooth. It felt like a conditioner for my lips and glided on so easily. I also love that the shade range is so perfect for everyday wear. I’ve been looking for a few good neutral shades of lipstick for my daily looks that aren’t too over the top, and these are it! Frankly, I was just really impressed with these overall. Usually, a lot of lipstick shades just don’t look right on my skin tone or they’re a bit too loud for me, but these are just right.  “I think Slip will be my absolute favorite shade for everyday wear. I’ve had trouble finding a mauvy-pink lipstick that I feel confident in, and I think this may be it. It plays so nicely with bolder eye shadow or a more neutral look.” — Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor

“I have never really tried a nude lipstick before because most of the time, if I’m wearing a lip color, I want COLOR. But this one is making me a believer. I think it looks so pretty, natural, and understated. I like this shade of nude because it’s a little bit darker, so there is still at least a hint of color.” — Sarah Yang, Managing Editor, THE/THIRTY

“The best word I can use to describe these lipsticks is cushiony. They feel nourishing and glide on so well I almost forget that they’re lipsticks and not lip balms while I’m applying them. They go on sheer, which means that they’re ultra customizable, and the colors are incredible. This color honestly is like a silk slip for your lips. I’ve been gravitating toward more brown-leaning shades lately, so I can already tell this will quickly become a favorite for everyday wear.” — Katie Berohn, Associate Beauty Editor

“Such a fun shade. It’s giving me tropical-vacation vibes. I’ll be bringing this with me the next time I want to plan a trip somewhere warm.” — Hudson

“I loved this reddish-brown hue. It looks so warm and luscious on. This is a shade I would wear for any occasion—it just works with everything. And you can really layer on the color if you want it to pop more.” — Yang

“I wasn’t sure about this shade when I saw it in the tube, but luckily, like the rest of these lipsticks, it goes on sheer, so you can build it up as much as you like. I ended up liking this color on myself a lot more than I thought I would—it’s a great burnt orange.” — Berohn

“I love lipsticks but don’t regularly reach for them. I know; it’s my thing. I just find that a lot of them enhance how dry my lips really are, which makes me self-conscious. But Signature Lip is making me change my tune. The formula is so lightweight, basically glides onto my lips, and makes them feel super hydrated. I also love how buildable the formula is. One layer gives a sheer wash of color, but three really packs a punch. I’m honestly surprised by how much I love this shade on me. It’s the perfect combination of red and brown with a hint of orange. Honestly, I’d wear this day or night.” — Caitie Schlisserman, Beauty Director, Branded Content 

“This one turned out darker than I anticipated, but I’m into it. Another fantastic neutral shade that really suits darker skin tones.” — Hudson

“Add this one to your no-makeup makeup tool kit. It’s the easiest pinkish nude to wear. I like how it just seemed to enhance my natural lip color.” — Yang

“This is such a good nude pink—I’d describe it as a dusty rose, and I think it accentuates my natural lip color really well.” — Berohn

“In my opinion, this is the shade. I’m a sucker for a pinky-nude, and this one feels universally flattering. I’ve been grabbing it on the regular.” — Schlisserman

“This is such a velvety, deep shade of berry. I would definitely wear this on a night out. I just love that this formula doesn’t dry your lips out in the slightest.” — Hudson

“I’m a sucker for berry lipsticks, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The color is so pretty—a mix of flirty pink and purple. This is a shade that I’m convinced will work on just about any skin tone. And again, you can layer on the color if you want a saturated hue.” — Yang

“For years, I was a loyal devotee to the Glossier Generation G lipstick in Jam. The hold that shade had on me in my early 20s was unmatched—but I haven’t gravitated toward berry shades in a while. After trying this shade, it’s official: I’ll be wearing berry lipstick again.” — Berohn

“This feels like the most ‘out-there’ shade of the bunch. It’s a softer take on a standard berry color but one I can actually see myself wearing for a special occasion.” — Schlisserman

“Definitely a pretty shade, but it’s a bit too orange for me, personally. But who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be feeling really adventurous and will decide to give it another shot.” — Hudson

“The only word I have to describe this shade is fun. I actually said to myself when I was putting it on, ‘Ooh, this is fun!’ It’s a happy red-orange color that is super flattering and a little spicy. I think it screams summer, even though I’m sure you can wear it year-round.” — Yang

“Right off the bat, this was the shade I was most excited about, and I was not disappointed. I love a red lip, and this shade feels like such a versatile, approachable, everyday red.” — Berohn

“I’d consider this to be the perfect introductory red. If you’ve struggled to find a perfect true red like I have, this one checks all of the boxes. The color isn’t too powerful, it applies easily, and my lips don’t look (or feel) like they’re going to peel off after an hour of wearing it.” — Schlisserman

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