This loose powder with sunscreen is a prime example of a promising formula that just doesn’t perform well. The powder has a smooth texture that’s easy to pick up with a brush, but when applied it looks very dry and flat on skin.
The three shades provide sheer coverage, but are all nearly indistinguishable variations of light to medium skin tones. Although the mineral actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide do provide great broad-spectrum protection, it leaves your skin dry, accentuating fine lines, and adding an unnatural chalkiness to skin.
One more comment: The plastic egg-style container is cumbersome and messy to use. It looks unique, but in actual usage it’s a dud.
While it’s wonderful to get broad-spectrum sun protection in a powder, you should always consider powder as a way to boost your daytime moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen, rather than as your sole form of sun protection. Why? Because you need to apply any sunscreen liberally to get adequate protection, and if you apply a powder liberally, it can look unnatural, thick, and caked on skin, which obviously will discourage liberal application.
Active: Titanium Dioxide (15%), Zinc Oxide (10%), Other: Mica, Boron Nitride, Zinc Stearate, Lauroyl Lysine, Tricaprylin, Magnesium Silicate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, May Contain: Iron Oxides. Titanium Dioxide
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 don’t 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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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