I was at ULTA, and these new Physicians Formula Bronze Booster palettes caught my eye. Physicians Formula is just one of those brands whose presentation I think is amazing, but I’m never tempted to buy their products. They are famous for their powders and bronzers, two makeup items I’m not too excited about. But because I’ve been into contouring lately and I always want new highlighters, I figure these palettes could be a good investment.
These Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Highlight + Contour Palettes retail for $15 USD each. The matte version is called Matte Sculpting, and the shimmer/highlighter palette is called Shimmer Strobing. They come with 0.3 oz of product each (presumably 0.1 oz per color). It’s expensive for drugstore, but it’s Physicians Formula. They’ve always been more on the pricier side of drugstore.
The gold and dark bronze packaging is gorgeous. You’re paying more, but you get a nicer looking product. The palettes come with a mirror and a brush. Unfortunately, these extra goodies make the packaging bulky. For some reason, the rounded corners at the bottom are off-putting to me. I wish they had stuck with the sharper corners for the entire box.
Where to buy: ULTA
Let’s some swatches. All the powders have a nice sun imprint.
For the most part, I like the shade selections of both palettes. The only color I’m not too crazy about is in the matte palette, and it’s the bronzer shade. For reference, I’m around an NC 20. I don’t wear bronzer ever, but I can tell that this bronzer would be too orange and pigmented for my skintone. Deeper skintones might appreciate how pigmented this shade is.
The setting and contour colors are great. I especially love the contour. It’s cool-toned but not so cool-toned that it looks grey on my warm skintone. I usually set my face with loose powder, but the pressed setting powder in the matte palette is good.
Highlighters are my weakness, and I was super stoked for the white highlight in this palette. These highlighters are definitely pigmented, and give that soft, metallic glow like Physicians Formula’s other highlighters. I’ve been mixing the white and yellow-champagne colors all week, and I love the combination.
The last shade, a gorgeous bronze, would be a great eyeshadow on me or a shimmery bronzer on deeper skintones. It’s also the most pigmented.
I tested these palettes for the past week, and I’m impressed. Honestly, I don’t want to reach for my other contouring products. The contour shade in the Matte Sculpting palette is everything to me.
The pigmentation of these products is impressive. In fact, the Matte Sculpting palette is almost too pigmented for my light skin tone, so I have to be careful not to overdo it. Luckily, the formula blends well into the skin. I’m not too impressed with the bronzer shade, since I can’t really use it. It’s just too orange and pigmented.
But with this kind of pigmentation, I’m wondering if Physicians Formula is considering releasing more matte formulas for eyeshadows or blush. Many of their products are ultra-shimmery, and while they’re very pretty to look at, shimmery products aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.
The Shimmer Strobing palette is equally pigmented. I like mixing the white and champagne shades to highlight, because the white highlighter on its own is too chalky on me if I try to build it up by itself. The product is a nice soft glow, like Physicians Formula Shimmer Bricks or Becca highlighters. You can make it subtle or full-on Instaworthy strobing. PF highlighters are perhaps my favorite highlighters found at the drugstore.
Contouring powders usually disappear off my face in photos, but I managed to snap some good pictures of me “demoing” the products.
Probably the downside to the intense pigmentation is how powdery these palettes are. As you can see from the swatches, there’s a light dusting of powder on the packaging. That’s just from me swatching the products for the first time. After a week of use, the Shimmer Strobing palette looks like an explosion happened. The Matte Sculpting fared a little better in terms of fallout.
Overall, I don’t have much to complain about it. It gets the job done and is good quality. I think the name is a little misleading. The palettes are both called Highlight + Contour Palette, but you kind of need both palettes to do both? I wouldn’t be able to highlight with just the Matte Sculpting or contour with just the Shimmer Strobing. Some people might be able to pull those feats off, but I’m not one of them.
I wish they would’ve curated shades so that each palette has a highlight, contour, and bronzer/blush. Then, makeup hobbyists like me could buy only one palette for everything. Or PF could release the shades as singles.
Now, for my sad #firstworldproblems story. Last week, I dropped the Shimmer Strobing palette three feet onto my hardwood floor, and the white highlighter shattered. Luckily, I was able to salvage most of the product, but it’ll never be pretty again. So sad.
Cue world’s tiniest violin.
You can’t go wrong with these Bronze Booster palettes. The matte colors are pigmented and blendable. The shimmers deliver that same soft, metallic glow reminiscent of Physicians Formula’s other highlighters. If the colors are calling to you, I’d say go for it. However, considering you have to use both palettes to highlight and contour (if that is your routine), shelling out $30+ for drugstore palettes is a lot. You don’t even get a blush shade. If you have either really dark skin or really pale skin, you won’t be able to use all the colors. It’s up to you whether the price of the product is worth the amount of product you see yourself using.