Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review: Physicians Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Powder Foundation

What a mouthful! When I first spotted the bright orange compact in early July, these two words sucked me in: 'healthy' and 'SPF 50'. This product is one of the very few foundations on the market which offer such a high degree of sun protection and I was delighted at the prospect of skipping another step in my routine, especially given that my skin doesn't take layers of cream products well due to its oiliness.

What does it claim to do? (from Physicians Formula website)
- Delivers maximum SPF 50 broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and full coverage with a soft-matte finish.
- Protects- SPF Boosters and Mineral-based sunscreens provide SPF 50 protection without residue or greasiness.

- Prevents- Potent antioxidant blend helps prevent future UV damage and premature signs of aging.

- Restores- Licorice Extract & Tomato Derivatives help brighten skin and diminish the appearance of sun spots.

On top of that, the product is hypoallergenic, fragrance free, paraben free, non-irritating, dermatologist approved, non-comedogenic and oil-free. The compact containing 0.34 Oz./9.6g of product retails for about $15. Sounds too good to be true? Let's see how it performed.

The Good:
- first of all, I looove the packaging. It might not be to everyone's taste, but I find it quirky, clever and easy to use. As you can see in the photo, the compact houses a decent sized mirror, a powder pan and a make-up sponge underneath it; basically, everything you need to apply it on the go.
- the application: I found three different methods that work well with this product. You can use it with the sponge pressing the powder gently onto moisturized skin, which gives you the most coverage but a surprisingly natural finish (my favorite technique). You can also apply it like a mineral foundation, using a kabuki brush and buffing the product into the skin. And then you can also use it as a setting powder on top of another liquid/cream foundation for the least amount of coverage.
- the coverage: while the marketing blurb is obviously stretching the truth here stating that the coverage is full, I'd describe it as light to medium, which I find much more wearable for everyday
- the texture: finely milled, silky powder that glides over the skin
- the finish: not exactly matte, it looks more satin on my skin - just fresh and natural with no shine.

The Bad:
- sun protection: in my experience, the amount of product that I usually apply is not enough to provide the protection this product promises. Yes, I have slightly burned my forehead wearing it to the beach and have had some new freckles appear on my nose. I believe that for a powder product to deliver such a degree of protection, you'd probably have to pile it on in a thick layer and then reapply throughout the day, which I don't want to and can't be bothered to do.
- longevity: even though it promises to be perspiration and water-resistant, somehow, by the end of the day, it simply disappears from my oily skin
- since my skin is very pale (the shade I have is Translucent Light), this doesn't look obvious or ghostly on me, but I can imagine it could be a problem for someone with a darker skintone
- it does contain talc (it's the first ingredient listed), so won't be suitable for anyone with the allergy
- it also contains dimethicone (a silicone), which is known for clogging the pores (it didn't clog mine though, but I'd still prefer it to be silicone-free)

Will I repurchase? Maybe. I like it as a powder foundation, but the SPF claims haven't worked out for me, I'd obviously need another product for that. Being a curious make-up addict, I'll probably discover another powder foundation I'd like to try after this runs out. However, I'm glad to have it and will continue to use it.

What is your favorite foundation with a higher SPF?


  1. I love the packaging! I can't believe it's SPF 50!! I've never seen make-up with such a high SPF!
    Great review by the way!


  2. Great post!
    I just discovered your blog,it's very cute!I added to your followers:)
    xx Mary

  3. @Emma: I love the packaging too, very visible in a crowded make-up drawer :) x

    @Mary: Welcome, I'm so glad you like it! xxx

  4. The packaging is very summery! I'm also doubtful of the SPF factor, and I prefer to use a primer with SPF just to ensure the protection.

  5. Well, there IS a lot of titanium dioxide in there, but they always tell you to apply a generous amount of sunscreen, which is not a good look if it's a foundation. x