I picked up the new Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Highlight & Contour Palette in Matte Sculpting over the weekend. With its hefty $16.29 (9 g/0.30 oz) price tag at CVS, it’s perhaps the single most expensive makeup item I’ve every purchased from the drugstore. Thankfully, I was able to use coupons and store rewards to bring the cost down to something I could more easily stomach.
Unsurprisingly, if you’re at all familiar with Physicians Formula products, the new Matte Sculpting palette comes in a bulky plastic compact. The topmost level of the compact holds the trio of powders while the lower compartment houses a brush and mirror. I personally never use the brushes or sponge applicators that Physicians Formula includes with their compacts, so I wish they’d do away with them entirely and give us slimmer, sleeker packaging instead.
One pet peeve of mine is the compact’s lid doesn’t open all the way. It only opens up slightly less than 90 degrees which is problematic if you want to use a larger bronzer brush because it’ll be difficult to fit it through the opening.
The brush that’s included is soft and serviceable but a bit flimsy. For contouring and maybe highlighting it’ll do the job but I think most people will probably want to use their own brushes especially with the bronzing shade.
All three powders are fragrance-free with smooth, soft, if somewhat powdery textures. Do be sure to tap your brush off when you dip your brush into the powders because more likely than not you’ll end up picking up excess. This is especially important with the bronzing powder if you have light skin because it’s super duper pigmented. I recommend using a stippling brush or a big fluffy brush with the bronzer to help sheer out and diffuse the color.
Although it’s marketed as a face highlighting and contouring trio, I bought the Matte Sculpting palette with the intention of using the powders as eye shadows. I bronze and highlight but I never ever contour because I have very pronounced cheekbones already. If I contoured I’d end up with some crazy ass cheekbones that could cut a bitch (think Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent).
The color payoff is all right but I would say that compared to the other powders in the palette the taupe shade isn’t quite as pigmented and you’ll probably have to build it up if you want to really chisel your cheekbones. As an eye shadow, though, I think it works perfectly fine as a crease shade.
The cream colored highlight shade was a pleasant surprise. Usually light colored matte powders tend to be chalky and sheer but the color payoff is actually really good here. This shade all over the eyelids with some of the contour and/or bronzer shade in the outer corner and crease make for a quick and easy, eye brightening combo.
All in all I’m satisfied with my purchase. I might use the bronzing shade every once in awhile with an extremely light hand on my cheeks but I think the trio may become my new go to, everyday neutral eye shadow palette. If you’ve ever used Physicians Formula’s matte eye shadow quad in Canyon Classics, I think these powders are a huge improvement. I know that quad has its fans but I thought those shadows were sheer and chalky. I have to note, however, that because my skin is so dry naturally that I need to lay some sort of sticky base down first for the trio to work their best. The powders apply and blend well without a base but I need some sort of binding agent to help with longevity or else the powders just blow away in the wind. But I find that to be the case with me and most talc-based eye shadows, not just Physicians Formula.
I pulled out a couple of other powders from my makeup stash to compare with the Matte Sculpting palette.
Although they look like similar taupe shades in their pans, Get Ahead from the bareMinerals The Overachiever duo is a lot grayer compared to the middle shade from the Matte Sculpting palette. The latter is a lot more mauve/purple which becomes even more apparent as I blend and sheer the powder out on my skin. Honestly, when I tried contouring my nose with it, it made me look bruised.
I only have one other bronzer in my stash currently and that’s the Faux Tan All-Over Face Color by bareMinerals. Compared to that, the bronzing shade from the Physicians Formula Matte Sculpting palette is a lot warmer and red toned. The bareMinerals powder is more neutral with a noticeable sheen. I like both bronzers but I have to be far more careful with the Physicians Formula powder because it’s just so pigmented.