Apr 302010
 

The weather is slowly turning from spring to summer on the West Coast.  To get us all in the mood for summer, here’s a look at two drugstore bronzer items that I’ve been playing with for the past few weeks.

First, Physician’s Formula has a line of Bronze Booster Powder Bronzers ($10 to 15) that I found difficult to resist based on the packaging.  The tortoise shell coloring and gold lettering seemed to evoke the Guerlain Terracotta line.  The box promises a “glow activator” and I really like Physician’s Formula’s baked bronzers so I thought that I would give the Light-Medium one a try.  For reference, my skin tone is NC15/ Chanel Cameo (Intensity .5 or 1.0 depending on the foundation).

You really cannot get a more convenient, all-in-one for this price.  This has a multi-layered package with a built-in mirror and a pretty decent brush is pretty usable.   That makes this a real value.  Plus, if you do travel in rough conditions, this would be a great bronzer to throw into a bag.   Sand or squirt of sunscreen, plus some juice spilled all over?  No worries, the price point makes the bronzer relatively replaceable.

After some experimentation, I found the following:

  • Near-matte finish (if you are looking for a sheen or shimmer finish, try Physician’s Formula Baked Bronzers)
  • Adds some coverage–you will not need as much foundation in areas where you apply this bronzer
  • Seemed to last well throughout the day
  • I did not notice any skincare benefits from using the product. However,  this did not cause any breakouts or adverse skin reaction either.

Tip:  Buy the right shade for your coloring. When I tried to build up more coverage to get a darker look, I got a decidedly orange color begin to show.

Bottom line: Not my favorite bronzer and I will probably donate this to a friend.  This will work well if you are looking for an almost-matte bronzer that you will use lightly applied.  I find it worrisome that this turned a bit orange on my skin, and it didn’t seem as flattering as some of the other bronzers that I use.

The other product that I tried was Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips in Malibu Strip/Pink Sand Bronzer ($11).  Of all of the choices on the pegboard, this one had the rosiest tones and so I thought this had the least chance of turning orange on my warm skintone.

This product resembles the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks in many respects.  However, the packaging is clear and minimal.  On the upside, this clear acrylic seems significantly stronger than the average Shu Uemura package.  This is a BYOB (“bring your own brush”) product, but so is Bobbi’s.

This is really pretty…

I found Physician’s Formula’s Shimmer Strips excellent for the price.  I had a very difficult time telling much of a difference between the texture of the Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strip from the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick when applied–with one important exception.  To my eye, the Physician’s Formula seemed warmer–more gold and in some light slightly more orange–than the Bobbi Brown Nude Shimmer Brick that I used as a my primary point of comparison.

Physician’s Formula’s packaging advertises the Shimmer Strips as capable of being used on the eye.  I’m reading this as saying that the product is eye-safe.  Do you want to wear this as an eyeshadow?  Because this is designed as a highlighter, you will find that using the product on the eye will give you a very shimmery look.  Also, I found that the lightest shade didn’t seem to have very rich pigmentation for a highlighter shade.  Here are some swatches of the individual bars.  I loaded up the lightest shade for the swatch with several layers:

Bottom line: Despite the warm cast, I liked the product and will keep this in my stash.  I found the performance impressive for the price point.  The package seems like it will travel well, it’s slimmer than Bobbi’s Shimmer Bricks.  I like that I can use it as an eyeshadow in an emergency.  The texture and look was very nice for the price.

Here are swatches of the Bronze Booster and Shimmer Strip side-by-side:

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Mar 092010
 

Physicians Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50+ is a powder compact foundation that promises serious sunscreen protection.  Because I’m concerned about sun exposure, I recently picked up one in the lightest shade at my local CVS drugstore.  It retails for about $15, but there was an instant $5 off coupon on the box–so $10 total.

Even SPF 100+ rated chemical sunscreens allow me to pick up color during the blistering hot summer months while wearing a hat.  So I view claims of “SPF 50+” with some doubt.  The only sunscreen that I’ve found that really works for me is Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41, which is a physical sunscreen.  I have been looking for a mattifying powder to wear over the Elta MD, which has a slight tint so I can use it as a sheer foundation. If the powder had serious sun protection, I’d be pretty happy.  So I thought that I’d give Healthy Wear a try.

Physicians Formula Healthy Wear’s packaging is massive and bright, and the website promises that the product “delivers maximum SPF 50 broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and full coverage with a soft-matte finish.”

Healthy Wear comes in only four (4) shades, and there are no testers at the store.  I got the lightest shade “Translucent Light”, which applies a bit ashy grey on my NC15/Chanel Cameo skintone.  This shade is either too light or too cool for me, or both.  In terms of texture, it applied better than I thought it would.  Believe me, it’s not as finely milled as high-end powder foundations.  It got powdery/chaulky when layering, but was all right with a single layer applied with a powder brush.

Although the package is large, the non-refillable powder pan is not.  There is a large compartment for a sponge  and mirror, which bulks up the compact.  You get 0.34 ounces for $10 (or $15 if you pay regular price).  To compare, MAC’s Blot is $22 for 0.42 ounces (MAC’s compact gets some credit for being Back-to-MAC-able).

When the package is closed, it looks like a bulky little flying saucer:

As far as the claim of SPF 50+, I cannot tell whether a typical application delivers this protection. In other words, how much of that pan has to be on my face to block that much sun?  Neither the package nor the website says.  Unfortunately, it’s not sunny enough yet for me to assess this claim myself.

Bottom line:  If I’m running out the door for a quick errand, it’s fine with my tinted sunscreen.  If I’m going something a bit more formal, I’ll go with my usual sunscreen and liquid foundation.  Would I rebuy? I’d love some proof from Physicians Formula that the “SPF 50+” delivers when I use an average application.  And if I found a color that works better for my skin tone.

The ingredient list on Physicians Formula website states as follows:

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: OCTINOXATE 4%, TITANIUM DIOXIDE 21%, ZINC OXIDE 3%, INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: TALC, MICA, NYLON-12, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, STYRENE/ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, DIACETYL BOLDINE, DIISOSTEARYL MALATE, DIMETHICONE, GENISTEIN, GLYCYRRHETINIC ACID, LAUROYL LYSINE, ALPHA LIPOIC ACID, OCTYLDODECYL STEAROYL STEARATE, PEG-12 GLYCERYL DIMYRISTATE, SOLANUM LYCOPERSICUM (TOMATO) FRUIT EXTRACT, SQUALANE, TOCOPHEROL, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, UBIQUINONE, ZINC STEARATE, DISODIUM EDTA, PHENOXYETHANOL, SODIUM DEHYDROACETATE, SORBITAN SESQUIOLEATE MAY CONTAIN: IRON OXIDES, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, ULTRAMARINES

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