Glow Boosting BB Bronzer SPF 20
We could go on and on about how ridiculous a “BB” bronzer is, but just know that there’s nothing about this that makes it any better than a regular bronzer. Beauty brands have started using the BB and CC designations to make their products standout, but rarely do the formulas have any advantages over their non-BB and CC counterparts (see this article for more info on the craze).
We do applaud Physicians Formula for the inclusion of the mineral active titanium dioxide, which provides broad spectrum sun protection (though plenty of other bronzers do the same). Still, we recommend combining this with another form of sun protection; otherwise you’d really have to cake it on in order to ensure sufficient protection—and in reality, no one is ever going to apply that much bronzer!
The ascorbic acid (vitamin C) this product contains is a good antioxidant, but it isn’t present in a high enough concentration to offer much benefit. More importantly, all plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a makeup compact like this is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate.
In terms of aesthetics, this pressed powder blends on evenly and delivers bronze, sun-kissed color in Light to Medium and Medium to Dark shades.
The formula contains sparkle for the added “glow boosting” which can be attractive to highlight areas like the chest and collarbone, but for overall face application, a matte finish looks more natural/less distracting, especially during daylight hours.
This fragrance-free bronzer can be used by all skin types, and if you’re going to go for it, we’d recommend tossing the cheap, scratchy brush that it comes with and using your own instead.
Pressed powder texture blends on evenly.
Delivers bronze, sun-kissed color in Light to Medium and Medium to Dark.
Frangrance-free formula provides broad spectrum sun protection.
Sparkly finish can be distracting.
Compact packaging can’t keep air-sensitive antioxidants stable.
Physicians Formula At-A-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive; almost all products fragrance-free; outstanding cleansers; pressed powder with broad-spectrum sunscreen; several bronzing powder options (primarily for fair to light skin tones); one of the only lines at the drugstore selling matte finish eyeshadows; the loose powder; most of the blushes; good liquid liner; excellent automatic brow pencil.
Weaknesses: Dated moisturizer formulas; several sunscreens lack sufficient UVA protection; jar packaging; several of the makeup products epitomize wasteful packaging; the shade selection for almost all the foundations and concealers is awful; tons of gimmicky products that dont perform as well as you'd think but are eye-catching in their compacts; the lip color and lip plumper; mostly average to disappointing mascaras;the Organic Wear products either have undesirable textures or contain irritating ingredients.
There aren't really any doctors at Physicians Formula (the founder of the company was an allergist, Dr. Frank Crandell, but that was back in 1937), and no physicians currently sell or endorse it either. The company asserts that "The term hypoallergenic is more than just a cosmetic claim for Physicians Formula. It is the basis for every product that is created. Physicians Formula honors this claim through stringent product testing and quality control. In fact, Physicians Formula products are formulated without 132 known irritating ingredients still found in many cosmetics on the market today." While the line doesn't list the "132 known irritating ingredients" that they claim not to use, one of their newer products contains menthol, which serves no purpose for skin other than to cause irritation, and other products contain alcohol and witch hazel, which won't make any cosmetic chemist's or dermatologist's list of anti-irritants.
It's good that the skin-care products have been streamlined. There are some excellent makeup removers and a couple of gentle sunscreens whose sole active ingredient is titanium dioxide. Surveying this line in its entirety reveals that makeup is its major focus. However, as you'll see from the Physicians Formula makeup reviews below, things aren't exactly rosy there, either.
For more information about Physicians Formula, call (800) 227-0333 or visit www.physiciansformula.com.
Physicians Formula Makeup
Does this assortment of makeup products have what the doctor ordered? The enormous selection of makeup (no other line at the drugstore sells more individual pressed powders, concealers, or powder bronzers) has seen some noteworthy improvements in recent years, but far too much of it is still built on gimmicky premises or eye-catching graphics while performance and texture are given short shrift. And for a line where just about every product carries on about its goodness for sensitive skin and the non-comedogenic nature of its ingredients, they're not using anything that other companies aren't also using, not to mention that many of the ingredients that show up in these products (such as waxes and occlusive thickening agents) can absolutely clog pores.
Still, for a line with increased retail presence in major drugstores, you may be wondering just what to pay attention to, and the good news is that there are indeed some finds among all the mosaic powders and oddly packaged concealers. Physicians Formula has never done foundations and concealers well, and for the most part that still holds true today. Only one of their concealers is recommended, while the others are best described as dismal. The expansive powder category has several attractive options, including a pressed powder with sun protection and many worthwhile bronzing powders. You'll also find best beauty buys among the blushes and other key products, including the matte eyeshadows, felt-tip eyeliner, brow pencil, and a few of the mascaras. There isn't anything medical or extra-pure about Physicians Formula makeup, but if you know what to look for and are on a budget there are some products that any doctor concerned with the subject of beauty would appreciate!
Note: The shade range of this line does not cater to darker skin tones. In fact, for some products, only those with fair to light skin will find options.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.