Physicians Formula 24-Karat Gold Collagen Serum

I can imagine the Physican’s Formula marketing round-table at the Markwins Beauty Brands HQ for this serum, scrolling through Instagram, watching the myriad of videos of girls applying shimmery-colored serums out of droppers onto their face before they accomplish some glorious feat of makeup. “We’ll make a shiny serum with absolutely no benefit at all!”, said the marketers. “But we’ll say it boosts collagen and make them think it’s doing something.”

For $14, it’s a really cute and boujie-looking gold and glittery bottle, although the bottle itself is way too big for the amount of product it’s actually holding, 1 fl. oz. Points off for wasteful packaging. The pump itself is pretty efficient though, and gives you a consistent helping of the amount of product you’ll actually need to apply on your face. I’m not going to say “a little goes a long way” with this product, since it tends to dry up really quickly, but two full pumps should get you exactly what you’ll need.

Application of this is… smooth, but as I mentioned before, it dries up pretty fast. Ok, not dries up. It transfers immediately from your fingers to your face, and leaves a super tacky residue behind. But it doesn’t feel like you’ve delivered any moisture to your skin, so that’s… not great. And that tacky residue is uncomfortably long-lasting.

As you probably guessed, this contains gold. Not sure what I was expecting that to do — like, I’d apply it and it would make my skin like… automatic highlighter? Realistically, I’d get one giant chunk of a gold flake in the serum, and it would wind up somewhere inconvenient on my face.

Eh, ok, this has niacinamide in it, which is always good. Fine. That’s one redeeming quality. Collagen does make it’s way as well. But for short-term and long-term effects, this product doesn’t do much for me. My skin doesn’t feel hydrated — it just feels sticky. I don’t experience any collagen-boosting effect. Heck, I don’t even see any niacinamide pore-shrinking benefits, in fact, I’m pretty sure this serum breaks me out! Although I can’t pinpoint the exact ingredient that would cause that.

This is a lose for me, but a win for the Physicians Formula marketing team. I definitely judged a book by it’s cover in this case, and bought the sparkly thing instead of the plain-looking thing that actually worked. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 2/5

How much I actually like this product: 1/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: No

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Bright Booster Oil Elixir

Physician’s Formula has been pushing their oil-based skincare line lately and I’ve been excited to try it, since I generally like their brand. Ugh, and the packaging — please tell me that’s not the cutest little decanter you’ve ever seen, with all the flowers printed on it!

For $13 you get 1 fl oz of this lavender-scented oil. This is a dropper bottle, and you can pull the liquid up from the base by pressing the button on top to bring the liquid into the dropper. Then, put the dropper somewhere on your face, and push to get the oil out. This dropper won’t overdo it, it tends to take in too little product for what you actually need, so you might have to repeat the process. The consistency of the oil is very thin (although not watery).

I keep reading instructions on Ulta and Amazon about how you can use this under your makeup, or for mixing with your foundation. I personally don’t understand that at all. This oil does not dry down remotely fast enough to be used as a primer, and will 100% pill any subsequent makeup. As far as mixing it into your makeup, well… usually oil tends to break makeup down, so while the application might be, at first, brighter and shinier than usual, you may notice your foundation disappears pretty rapidly afterwards. I tend to only use oils at night, either as a standalone product, in conjunction with other moisturizers, or well after the initial moisturizers have dried down.

This certainly will make your face “brighter”, but even with minimal product usage, the overall effect is more “sweaty” than bright. IE: I wouldn’t wear this out in public.

I do like the completely plant-based ingredient listing. This product has both argan and jojoba oil, which are touted as being good for skin repair. But I haven’t seen any huge leaps in my skin condition after using this, particularly with scar healing. On the plus side, it hasn’t broken me out, so this might be worth a shot for a sensitive skin user looking to try an oil.

This product reminds me a lot of Bio-Oil, except I felt like Bio-Oil delivers more results in the way of scar-healing. I probably won’t ever re-buy this product, but I am going to use the entire bottle if not for the AMAZING lavender scent. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 2.5/5

Longevity: n/a

How much I actually like this product: 3/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Fake Out

Physicians Formula got it right on their eyeliners for me, so I was hoping I could say the same for their mascaras. In general I get sucked in by PF products because they’re hypoallergenic, but this time around I will admit, it was DEFINITELY the cool packaging. I mean, look at that mascara. That is a cool looking mascara. (turns out though, it doesn’t make it any easier to hold).

But this $14 mascara really missed the mark for me. The implication of the name “Fake Out” is that this will mimic false lashes, but this mascara accomplishes the farthest thing from that. The overall effect is that lashes will be combed into pin-straight (but not elongated), separated lines, with minimal color to boost them. I’m not saying we should be buying mascaras that purposely turn our lashes into clumpy spider legs, but false eyelashes should add volume, and fan outward.

I guess if you were looking for minimal boost and an extremely low-effort look, this might be the way to go. But even the longevity is terrible. Within an HOUR, I found debris of the mascara under my eye. By hour three, the mascara was entirely gone from my lashes, and it looked as though I had applied nothing at all.

Now I’m no packaging expert, but it seems to me that the wand itself is just not conducive to picking up product in the tube — either that or the product itself is very dry. And it’s kind of a pain to go back into the tube to get more product, since the cap of the wand is really annoying to hold, and there’s a “suction” going into the actual tube that you have to push a little harder to break through. Not that getting more product is going to make too much of a difference anyway — it simply doesn’t stack, and you won’t notice a difference in the overall effect by adding an extra coat or two.

Big time “no thanks” to this mascara. It’s definitely not worth $14. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 1/5

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Eyeliner

Physicians Formula Shimmer

I am not yet well-practiced at applying liquid eyeliner — in the meantime, I’ve been on the hunt for a non-irritating, long-staying pencil eyeliner. I picked up the pictured trio of light brown, dark brown and black for $7. There’s a couple other shade ranges, most of which revolve around particular eye colors. It’s also worth noting that these do not sell individually, only in packs of three.

This comes in a twist up plastic tube, so there’s no need to sharpen a dulling pencil. Packaging is visually basic, twist up is fine, amount of product is standard.

Application is DIFFICULT! I was scared I’d somehow cut my eyelids open getting this on! You have to press down REALLY hard. The pigment on the lighter shade of brown is non-existent. Even the dark brown needs several — no, MANY, layers of product to “show up”. The black is a little bit better than the dark brown, but not by much. In any case, if you can manage to apply this product, it will seem lightly-colored in comparison to other, same colored eyeliners. There are glitter specks in this product, but they’re very subtle.

The good aspects about these eyeliners is that they have a fantastic longevity, and minimal transfer to the upper eyelid. This stayed on me for 8+ hours with only a very faint trace of the pigment going where it wasn’t supposed to be. Maybe that’s the trick to a long-staying product: near-impossible application.

Another positive about this eyeliner is that it didn’t cause any irritation for me at all. My eyes are very sensitive, and I didn’t experience any burning or itching on or around my eyelids throughout the day.

The good parts about this product make me really want to give this product a positive review since it’s so hard for me to find non-transferring and non-irritating eyeliners. But the application is just… unbelievably difficult. You’ll need more time than usual to apply the product if you want any pigment at all. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

Physicians Formula Powder Palette Mineral Glow Pearls

Powder Palette Mineral Glow

This is technically a powder, of which there are four different shades. As far as using this as a powder, this is not great since my experience is that it doesn’t have phenomenal staying power (I tried both translucent, and beige when summer rolled around), and I did notice some oil breakthrough.

But as a bronzer? If you pick up a shade darker than you’re supposed to be, this is actually great. The coloration on light bronze is awesome — not TOO dark, but dark enough to create a good contour. No orange skewing, either! I love the extra “shiny” boost it gives you. Now granted, the longevity issue still remains — if you don’t use a setting spray, the color will begin to slide off around hour four, and disappear completely or shift, uh, downwards onto your skin where it wasn’t before.

This is a $12 grab at Ulta, true to Physicians Formula higher-than-usual drugstore pricepoint, but it’s well worth it as the product lasts quite a long time in the compact (the one I’m using now is going on a year. Is that bad?) I’ve seen some Ulta reviews citing that people use it as a highlighter. I personally can’t see it. It is glittery, but not THAT glittery, so even with translucent or beige, I didn’t feel like it really stood out. As for people complaining that the glitter is only on the top, well, I personally disagree – I feel that it lasts through the whole container.

In the end, this is good looking as a bronzer, not a powder. In fact, it might be a holy grail bronzer for me. I do recommend that it gets used with a setting spray for sure, and don’t be too heavy-handed when applying since the color comes out relatively heavy. The colors also shifts over time, and sets into your skin a little peculiarly.  ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4/5 (As a bronzer)

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5