6

Physicians Formula

Spotlight Illuminating Primer

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 14.95
Expert Rating

Expert Reviews

Community Reviews

Claims

Ingredients

Brand Overview

Spotlight Illuminating Primer is pitched as "A universally flattering illuminating primer that blurs, corrects, and protects to deliver a radiant, spotlight glow." It definitely delivers on the glow, but not necessarily everything else.

Before we get into the nitty gritty details, we have to start by saying that this shimmering, sparkling primer is best for normal to dry skin. The blatant sparkle and shine that it adds to already oily skin can end up looking, well… greasy.

This is best used as a traditional primer that you pair under or mix with foundation. On bare skin alone, the all over radiance it adds is overkill.

Dispensed via pump bottle, a little goes a long way with the fluid gel-cream. It has a lightweight feel that is a cinch to blend and the champagne color sheers out nicely, leaving skin looking dewy and overtly luminous.

We have to dispute the claim that it "blurs" and "corrects." The very nature of the shimmery finish tends to exaggerate pores, wrinkles, and fine lines rather than disguise them. Universally flattering? Definitely not. But if you have flawless skin, the radiance is a nice added touch.

Of course, layering a foundation over this tones down the shine—how much so depends on the amount of coverage the makeup provides. With a full coverage foundation, the luminosity gets hidden, whereas with a tinted moisturizers or lighter-coverage foundations you can easily see the radiant finish gleaming through.

What about the age-defying claims that Physicians Formula makes? Indeed, the formula does contain some good antioxidants ,but nothing to get excited about.

Last, the formula also contains fragrance, which can potentially irritate skin. Between that and other limitations of who this primer will actually work well for, we have to go with just a so-so rating.

Pros:
  • Delivers the shine-reflective, luminous skin that it promises.
  • Lightweight formula is a cinch to blend.
Cons:
  • Contains potentially irritating fragrance.
  • Shimmery finish tends to exaggerate pores and wrinkles.
  • The overall luminosity will be overkill for some.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No
A universally flattering illuminating primer that blurs, corrects, and protects to deliver a radiant, spotlight glow.
Water/Eau, Dodecane, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Polyisobutene, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylene Brassylate, Panthenol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Sorbitan Isostearate, Retinyl Palmitate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tin Oxide, Tocopherol, Carmine (Ci 75470), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

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.