This fragrance-free cream foundation with a zinc oxide sunscreen claims to make your skin look 10 years younger plus restore firmness and elasticity to sagging skin. Although the formula contains some anti-aging ingredients (and, of course, the sunscreen counts as anti-aging), this foundation is far from a face-lift in a tube! What it has going for it is a smooth, ultra-silky texture that dispenses thick (like spackle), but quickly softens into a sheer-coverage makeup that improves skin tone and texture without looking or feeling heavy or mask-like. You get a soft matte finish that won’t emphasize wrinkles, but it won’t make them disappear or look lifted, either. In essence, if you keep your expectations realistic and have normal to oily skin, you’re likely to enjoy this foundation.
Physician’s Formula includes a mini foundation brush whose synthetic bristles feel smooth and soft, though it’s not quite as elegant as most full-size foundation brushes. Whether you use the brush, a sponge, or your fingers, the result is seamless sheer to light coverage.
Only three shades are available, which is limiting, but all are workable for fair (but not porcelain) to medium skin tones. Our only concern is that as the sole active ingredient, the percentage of zinc oxide is a bit on the low side. We’d like to see at least 2% zinc oxide, with 5% being even better to ensure reliable protection.
Note: This foundation’s rating is due to its overall performance rather than its SPF rating. Due to concerns about people not applying sunscreen liberally enough to get the amount of SPF protection stated on the label, it is often recommended to look for SPFs with ratings higher than 15. If you plan to use foundation as your sole source of facial sun protection, consider using one rated SPF 20 or greater. If the foundation with sunscreen you choose is rated less than an SPF 20, we strongly advise applying it over a daytime moisturizer rated SPF 15 or greater and following it with a pressed powder rated SPF 15 or greater. That way, you’re ensuring sufficient broad-spectrum protection which is essential for having and maintaining healthy, younger-looking skin at any age.
Active: Zinc Oxide 1.960%; Other: Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Hydrogenated Didecene, Lauryl PEG-8 Dimethicone, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Tribehenin, Nylon-12, Polyamide-5, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Ceramide 3, Glycerin, Aluminum Dimyristate, Disodium EDTA, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Magnesium Silicate, Olive Glycerides, Propylene Carbonate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
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.
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