I’ve never been a bronzer girl, primarily because I have such pale, cool-toned skin. I’ve always been so frightened it would turn my complexion orange or yellow. But anyone who knows makeup knows that not every bronzer is created equal. Some are cool, some are warm, some are matte, while others are sparkling. In 2018 when there’s so much variation and choice in beauty, I had a feeling deep down that despite my fear of being a walking & talking Cheeto, I could find at least one bronzer that worked for my skin tone.
It’s not that I’ve never experimented with bronzer before. I remember my mother giving me her Tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer to try years and years ago, but to be honest I barely used it. I just didn’t know how to apply it properly. I’d been hearing the hype surrounding the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer for ages, but not really listening. Remember, I’m not a bronzer person by nature. But when I found myself in Ulta a few weeks ago (as you do), I passed the Physician’s Formula section and the Butter Bronzer was staring back at me. I remembered reading that it was particularly good for those with lighter skin, so in that moment I decided to snatch it and see if I could make it work.
So like with my other product reviews, let’s get into the product description and benefits. Unfortunately I don’t have any other powder bronzer to compare this to in my collection. But I have been trying out some cream bronzers this year, particularly the one that’s packaged in the duo called Bronzed Pink Beige from e.l.f. (I spoke about the blush in the duo in my top 5 cream blush post here), and the NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer.
(Source: all quoted text is from Physician’s Formula official website.)
Available in 4 shades; $14.95 for 0.38 oz. of product
Hypoallergenic; paraben-free; cruelty-free; oil-free; non-comedogenic; dermatologist-approved.
Ultra-luxurious bronzer, infused with Murumuru Butter, delivers a radiant Brazilian goddess glow! Incredibly creamy and soft texture combines the best features of a powder and cream bronzer, to deliver a lit-from-within tropical glow unlike any other.
Infused with a powerful blend of Murumuru Butter, Cupuacu Butter and Tucuma Butter, from the lush and nutrient-rich Amazon.
Packed with essential fatty acids and pro-vitamins that soften, condition and moisturize skin, leaving it silky soft. Ultra-rich bronzer formula instantly melts into skin, sealing-in moisture to deliver instant and lasting hydration. Features ultra-refined pearl and soft-focus pigments that smooth skin texture, brighten skin tone and deliver a gorgeous bronze finish.
How to officially use the product
Mirror & applicator included. May be worn alone or over makeup. Using sponge applicator, glide over face and neck for a natural-looking tan glow. To accentuate and contour, apply more over cheekbones.
How I use the product
I use my MUA Pro Stippling 015 duo-fiber brush (which might have been discontinued?) to apply this across my cheekbones, around my hairline & chin, and a little across my nose; all the obvious places for bronzing. I also used this as a soft brown wash on my eyelids one day.
My thoughts on…
Packaging/scent: It’s pretty standard Physician’s Formula packaging in that the product acts as the first layer when you open the compact. You then click up the product layer to reveal the mirror and applicator underneath. The applicator is made out of a very strange foam or rubber-like material. It seems completely useless to be honest; I’d say just forget it altogether. The mirror could be useful for on-the-go application. There’s a definite vacation/holiday theme with this product. There are palm leaves on the outside of the packaging, plus it has this textured appearance that I assume is supposed to mimic sand on a beach. It also has this intoxicating scent that’s a cross between coconut & SPF. I absolutely love it. I wouldn’t call the scent particularly strong or offensive and you really can’t smell it once it’s on your face.
Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️ (due to the applicator misfire)
Colors/texture: As mentioned earlier in the post, there are 4 shades available in this bronzer collection. The shades are Light Bronzer, Bronzer, Sunkissed Bronzer & Deep Bronzer. I bought the Bronzer shade which I’d describe as definitely more cool-toned than the Sunkissed Bronzer shade, and much lighter in tone than Deep Bronzer. It doesn’t pull orange at all on my skin, so it’s really perfect for someone with my complexion. I didn’t see the Light Bronzer shade at Ulta, so perhaps they were out of stock. Considering the second shade up in the collection is quite light & natural on me, I can’t imagine the color range goes deep enough for darker-toned complexions.
The texture is very smooth to the touch just as Physician’s Formula claims. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily adding or sealing in any hydration on my skin though, but it’s certainly not a dry-feeling powder in the slightest. I can detect very fine bits of shimmer which must be “the ultra-refined pearl”, but you really can’t see them once the product is applied to the skin. You may be able to see the teeny flecks in the photo below.
Rating: 4/5 ⭐️
Application: When I swirl my brush into the product, it creates a lot of fall-out in the pan so just be careful to tap your brush out well before applying to your face. It definitely applies very smoothly and evenly. I didn’t notice any skipping or patchiness. Believe it or not, the first time I used it I actually went so light-handed that I could barely see it! So it definitely needs building, which I like since I need to be careful with bronzer.
Rating: 5/5 ⭐️
Longevity: When I look at my face at the end of the day after wearing the bronzer for several hours, I can barely detect much color left. So this is really a product that needs refreshing throughout the day to maintain that golden bronze look. I find cream bronzers stick around for much longer than this product. The NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer (which you can see here) is probably the best I’ve tried so far in terms of longevity.
Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️
Price: For $14.95 this is not the most inexpensive bronzer at the drugstore. You can tell it’s a solid quality product for sure, but I just wish it was a few bucks cheaper for what it is. Perhaps if Physician’s Formula redid the packaging they could recover a little on the cost and pass the savings onto us. For example, dump the useless applicator and perhaps even the mirror; the product is light and goof-proof enough that you don’t really need a mirror to apply it. Just for perspective, the cream bronzer from e.l.f.’s Bronzed Pink Beige duo, which is effectively $3.00 since the duo is $6.00, goes on like a dream and keeps its color for longer at a much cheaper price than the Butter Bronzer. That all being said, the great thing about the drugstore is that makeup goes on offer quite frequently, so you may be able to get this for cheaper if your timing is right.
Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️
I am very happy I finally found a powder bronzer that suits my very pale complexion so I applaud Physician’s Formula for that. I will definitely continue to use it as both a traditional bronzer and perhaps as an eyeshadow at times. I would recommend it to those like me who have very light to light complexions who are looking for a relatively affordable powder bronzer. I’m really not sure about those with tanned or deeper skin tones using this product. However, I do think I ultimately prefer my cream bronzers to the Butter Bronzer. I just tend to lean more towards creams over powders since I enjoy the finish on my skin much more. So I’m unsure right now if I’d repurchase it.
Are you a fan of the Butter Bronzer or do you think it’s overhyped? I’d love to know!
Liz Slay says
I haven’t tried their Butter Bronzer yet, but I’m a BIG fan of Physicians Formula’s Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Airbrushing Bronzing Veil (say that 10x fast). I have cool/neutral undertones (I think) and I think it gives me a great glow without making my face look two-toned or like I have dirt right under my cheeks. I’ve been seeing a lot of hype and praise about the Butter Bronzer lately, so I think that’ll be my next purchase, but if you’re looking for another great bronzer, you can’t go wrong with the Bronze Booster, in my opinion!
Thanks so much for the recommendation! I’ll have to check that out too.