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Monday, December 28, 2009

Review: New Physicians Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Powder Foundation

Let me start this review by saying that powder foundations are my FAVORITE type of foundation. They're fantastic for oily skin, and if you can find one that works for you, there's simply not a quicker, more convenient way to apply foundation and get out the door FAST.

For years and years I used MAC Studio Fix, convinced that I could never find a better powder foundation with medium to full coverage (I tend to like my foundation more on the full-coverage side). But even while I was devoted to Studio Fix, I didn't love it. If you've used Studio Fix, you know that it can get a bit chalky and cakey if not applied carefully. But on those days when I need full coverage, it sucks to have to be careful and not apply too much. I don't want to have to apply my foundation with the precision of a surgeon--I just don't have the patience or time for that. I want to slap it on and be done with it, confident that it's going to look good and get me through the day with minimal touch-ups.

So if you're like me, then you might appreciate this review. Because I'm looking at this product STRICTLY on the basis of how quickly I can apply it, and how little I have to fuss with it. If I have to be careful, not use too much, apply with a special brush, etc. then it COMPLETELY defeats the purpose of using a powder foundation, which is all about convenience, right?

That said, let's begin!

Physicians Formula Healthy Wear SPF 50 Powder Foundation (I bought this at Rite Aid for $14.95 but the package comes with an instant "save $5" coupon attached, which of course I took advantage of):

As I mentioned in my earlier post about this product, the compact really jumps out at you. There's just no way this can get lost in your makeup bag, that's for sure! I also love the little pink ribbon that you can pull to open the compact.

And since this is SPF 50 (awesome!) I tried to take some pics of the active and inactive ingredients for you (excuse the blurriness but I had to take these w/o flash and my camera is awful at that setting):

I really like that the SPF 50 will continue working for up to 40 minutes after swimming or perspiring.

This product contains the standard talc and mica that most drugstore powders contain. I do like that it's paraben-free.

Something else I like is that it contains licorice extract and tomato to help brighten your skin. Natural ingredients are always a plus, right?

I love the hot-pink sponge!

The shade I chose is Translucent Medium 7071, which is actually a good match for my pale, wintertime NC20 skin.

So...the burning question: how does it work? Well, I used this product for five days straight, and while at first I wasn't exactly sold on it, it has grown on me immensely (that is why you should always test a product for several days before you decide you hate it!).

Day one: The first time I applied it, I used the sponge and applied it after applying my regular moisturizer and concealer. I liked that I was able to get full coverage almost instantly--no time was wasted having to layer and layer to build the coverage I need. BUT, I did noticed that it looked a bit cakey on certain parts of my face. I could see the pores on my nose, and the dry patches of skin on my cheeks. This is something that used to happen when I used MAC Studio Fix, but it NEVER happens when I use my beloved Prestige Multi-Finish Wet/Dry Powder Foundation in "Wheat" which I have been using for quite a while now. BUT, the Prestige product is getting harder and harder to find in drugstores (although I have been assured by a representative of Prestige that they are NOT discontinuing it). But still, it's nice to have a back-up product at the ready, so I didn't want to give up on this just yet.

Day two: I used the same method as day one, but this time I made sure to use a touch more moisturizer prior to application. The difference was incredible, really. I didn't see the cakey area around my nose or cheeks, and it just looked smoother all around. The coverage of this foundation is truly impressive for a drugstore powder foundation (sometimes I actually believe that the powder foundations you find at the drugstore are pretty much the exact same formula as regular powder compacts and they just call them "foundation").

Days three, four and five: You know this product was working for me if I chose to wear it on Christmas Day. I have got to say that I am delighted with the full coverage it provides, and the color really matches my skin. The ONLY warning I want to give you is that, if you have dry skin, take extra precautions and moisturize like crazy before applying this (if your skin is super dry you probably don't generally use powder foundations anyway, but I still want to throw that out there). But if your skin is very oily like mine, you have a VERY good chance at keeping your oilies at bay for the entire day with this foundation. I was amazed that I didn't have a shiny nose by mid-day while wearing this (yes, it's the winter and the true test will be in the summer, but still!).

Another observation: Like many other powder foundations, this one needs to set a bit on your skin before it looks its best. So if you try this and you see the cakiness or notice little dry patches on your face, wait about 20 minutes and check again. For me, once this powder interacts with my natural oils, it looks a lot softer and more natural. Another added bonus: I swear this foundation made my blush last longer AND look brighter! I have been using one of my normal Sally Girl powder blushes for the past few days and I swear the color is more intense when put it on top of this foundation, and it lasts until I'm ready for bed!

Here's a swatch of a VERY generous amount of this powder foundation on the back of my hand:

Granted, this pic is an extreme close-up, but I just wanted to show you how it looks without any lotion/moisturizer underneath. So be sure to use moisturizer before application! If you look at the bottom of the pic, you can see how the redness of my skin is neutralized by this foundation--I'm telling you, this has excellent coverage that really lasts. So far, I am loving this foundation and it's GREAT to know that I have a quality alternative to my beloved Prestige foundation. I really can't wait to see how this performs in the summertime.

So, are you a powder foundation fan? What's your favorite drugstore powder foundation? Do you think you'll give this one a shot?


  1. I am a new reader (started checking out your blog about a month ago) and I just want to let you know how much I love it. I check out a lot of blogs, but it's really rare that I find one I like so much (and can count on for almost daily updates) that I check it every single day. You're now in my top three, with Temptalia and Karlasugar. :)

    I love that you focus on drugstore products. While I do love drooling over all the new high-end stuff that comes out, it's usually just eye candy - I won't just go buy a new high-end item on a whim. But what's great about your blog is that I can get a craving for a product I see here and actually afford to indulge!

    Sorry for the rambling, just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the time you take to keep this blog in-depth and timely!


  2. I have a hard time finding drugstore powder foundations that are dark enough for me. :(

  3. i may try this when my current powder is done (which will happen soon). i'm always looking for better oil control (specially on the nose!) and a less chalky finish.

  4. I'd love to know if you are familiar with/ever tried what I considered to be THE best d/s powder foundation (before they d/c it, of course), which was from Olay? I don't think I'd ever known what a Holy Grail product was 'til I found the Olay powder foundation, and I've been looking for its match ever since ...

    This looks promising, but I seem to have discovered recently that my skin is NOT combo, as I once thought, but leans more toward the dry side now ... and having failed with Revlon's PhotoReady foundation AND MUFE's HD foundation/silica powder, I'm wondering if I might have the same problem with it making my skin appear even drier than it is? Hmmm, one to think about, but damn, I'm tempted by this!

  5. huh- I didn't knew that a foundation powder has SPF before I read you review ^^.

    My two most favourite powders are from Alverde(european drug store brand,natural cosmetics) the tranpsarent loose powder and MAnhattan Soft compact powder(also an drug store brand). I rarely use foundation/powder so those are sitting in my make-up box for quite a while now and I only use them when I have the time or when I've got the feeling I need a bit of coverage.

  6. Cover Girl Simply Powder has been my "Holy Grail" foundation for the past ten years. I've watched the shelf space for the product shrink and shrink and I live in fear of the day they discontinue it...but if that does happen, it looks like I'll have a good option with this Physician's Formula product. Thanks for sharing your experience with it!

  7. EllenChristine: WOW, I was just completely blown away by your comment. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for all the kind words. I am honored and thrilled to be in your top three, and I just hope I don't let you down in the future! :) xoxo

    fatpinkchicken: I swear that's the top complaint I hear about drugstore powder foundations, and I don't understand why manufacturers don't broaden the color selection on these. I'm so sorry to hear that. :(

    beautifulmonday: I would LOOOVE to know what you think if you try this, honey!

    shei: Me too! lol. :)

    LipstickChick: I heard many wonderful things about that Olay powder foundation and I am so bummed I never got to try it. :( Have you tried the Prestige powder foundation I mentioned in this review? No matter how dry my skin is, it NEVER makes it look worse. Another one I like (but it too moisturizing for my super oily skin) is the CoverGirl AquaSmooth foundation. It's a light cream that dries down to a soft powder-like finish--it might be just the thing you're looking for!

    Let me know if you've tried that one. I swear, if my skin weren't so oily I would use that one every day. xo

    amusedPolish: Usually they don't, so that's why I'm loving this one so much! lol. Those European brands you mentioned sound lovely. And you are very lucky to not need to wear foundation most of the time. I'm jealous! :)

    Rickie: I have used the CG Simply Powder Foundation MANY times in my life! It's one of my fall-backs when I can't find my Prestige one, although for me, I just can never find a perfect match for my skin coloring. Other than that, it's a great product, for sure. And cheap too! I really hope they never discontinue that--let's both keep our fingers crossed! :)

  8. Thanks so much for this review. I hope I can find it here. I would love to find a cheaper powder foundation. And honestly, Studio Fix is good but not the best one out there.

    Have you tried the Palladio wet/dry foundation? I saw it at Walmart but haven't read much about it. It does have good ratings at MUA.

  9. Hi Beda! You are so welcome! I am hoping you can find it as well because I'd love to see how you like it compared to Studio Fix.

    Regarding the Palladio powder foundation, I think I tried it YEARS ago and if I remember correctly, it was good but I just could not find a decent match for my skin color. So I *think* that's why I didn't continue using it. :(

  10. Looks like a good replacement for my Hello Flawless! But is this one unscented?

    This actually looks a lot like Sephora's mattifying compact but that one has a heavy plastic scent.

  11. Good question, honey! I just sniffed it and I can't smell anything, so I guess that means it is unscented. lol. Lemme know if you try it! xo

  12. Do you mind me asking where you found this? I've been combing CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens to no avail. :( I'm in San Diego, too. ~Liz~

  13. Hey Liz! Not at all! I found mine at the Rite Aid near SDSU on El Cajon Blvd. But I have also seen it at the CVS near SDSU (also on El Cajon Blvd). Both times they were in the new product section. Hope that helps, and I'd love to know what you think of this product if you try it! xo

  14. This powder seems awesome! What color would you recommend for an NC30 girl like myself? BTW I love your site!!

  15. Hi Bonnie: Thanks so much! Unfortunately, I didn't memorize the other shades in this range, so my best advice to you is, since you're an NC30, try the next darkest shade from the one I got (Translucent Medium). I can't say for sure it will work, but hopefully it will be pretty close to your skin tone. Hope that helps, and be sure to keep your receipt in case you need to exchange it! :)

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  17. this is the BEST pressed powder foundation EVER! Initially, I was attracted to it because of the high SPF with physical ingredients (I stopped using chemically based sunblock all together).
    When you need to reapply sun screen through out the day, the only form of sunscreen that works for women who wear makeup is either powder version or pressed powder foundation that contains sunscreen.
    The drawback is, if you reapply pressed powder foundation multiple times a day, it can get really cakey by the end of the day.
    WOW, this is the ONLY pressed powder foundation that I tried (and I tried MANY) that did NOT become cakey after multiple reapplications at the end of the day. And, SPF 50 with 21% of Titanium Dioxide is truly awesome.

    I am so glad that I found this. I will never use anything else. I hope they don't ever discontinue this line.

    Until I found this, I used Jane Iredale pressed power foundation with screen of Titanium Dioxide (17%) and Zinc Oxide (4%) as a way to replenish sun screen throughout the way. However, Jane Iredale became cakey after I reapply a couple of times, and its sun protection, while good, is not as good as PF's Healthy Wear (note higher % of T.D. in Healthy Wear). Plus, Jane Iredale is THREE TIMES or more expensive than PF. No brainer - this new baby from PF is a clear winner.

    I read reviews of this product that say, it's not giving enough coverage or it's drying. Well, you can wear multiple layers for a perfect, yet natural looking, coverage without ever looking cakey, and you need to wear good moisturizer if your skin runs dry.

    There are three things I want changed in this product.

    (1) I would like to see the balance of Titanium Dioxide (21%) and Zinc Oxide (3%) reversed. I am a sunscreen fanatic, and everything I read told me that Zinc Oxide is much better at screening out harmful UVA than Titanium Dioxide. Note that it's UVA that does most of the sun-exposure related skin aging.

    Because this product's suncreen is mostly based on Titanium Dioxide, I am still wearing a liquid form of physical sun screen with Zinc Oxide as a main active ingredient underneath it.

    (2) the applicator is terrible. It's a rather inflexible, hard sponge. It does not go smoothly over non flat surface. I immediately discarded the sponge that came with the product, and replaced it with a soft, flexible cosmetic puff.

    (3) BE AWARE OF the color. On skin, it's actually MUCH DARKER than it seems. I bought creamy beige because it most closely resembled the color of other pressed powder foundation I used to use. It was SO dark on my skin!!! In the end, I had to go for the lightest one they have: translucent light, and I am an Asian with a fair/medium skin tone. I don't know how the really light skinned Caucasian women can find the right one.

  18. Wow, I really want to try this now! I love powdered products because of the convenience.


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