Introducing Butter Bronzer by Physicians Formula

Annie’s back and she’s found a bronzer she actually likes.

I don’t think I really “get” bronzer. I can sort of see the appeal of looking healthy and glowy and like you’ve been on holiday, or are in a music video. But I prefer a slightly unhealthy, alien-y, otherworldly look on myself. Lots of iridescence and pastels, less so on the warm, sunny browns.


However I feel like I should at least own a bronzer, for times when the dead-alien look isn’t going to be quite appropriate. I am, after all, a ‘makeup writer.’ As I don’t really like bronzer, I obviously have bizarre and innumerate specifications. Firstly, no red. Red is the colour of sunburn and embarrassment: do not want. Secondly, no shimmer. Shimmer in bronzer is so makeupy looking, and if I want to look makeupy, I’ll wear proper glitter and seven eyeshadows thank you. Thirdly, it must offer me more than a standard brown pan of powder. Am I expecting too much? Maybe. But I’m allowed.

Well, the Butter Bronzer by Physicians Formula fulfilled all my criteria. The colour is everything I would hope for. I’m pale and wan, and this colour looks superbly natural. I would even perhaps describe it as a cool bronzer. If anything, it is yellow (as opposed to orange or red) based, which looks much better on my, frankly yellowish, skin tone. However, I can’t see this working for anyone deeper than a light-medium skin tone, which clearly sucks. Oh, by the way, this is the shade Bronzer, as opposed to Light Bronzer. Light Bronzer looked a bit more orange to me, whereas this one is pretty perfect.


While there are no shimmery particles here, it isn’t totally flat and matte, either. It has dimension without being frosty or weird and blends seamlessly into the skin, which isn’t totally matte either. It’s a powder, but an exceptionally soft and creamy powder. When rubbed down with a brush, no dusty bits come loose and fly everywhere and it feels almost melty.

I cannot decide if the packaging is totally heinous, or totally genius. It’s a metallic tropical print, with ombred shades of green, yellow and blue, plus bonus palm fronds. I mean, I guess it does look summery? In a world of black compacts, maybe it’s a breath of fresh air. Practicality-wise, it comes with a flip up mirror (useful) and a weird spongey applicator (not).


Now for the clincher: this bronzer smells. And it actually smells really nice. It’s confusing, like, why do I need my cheeks to smell like pineapple and coconut? But also, they do, and that’s actually adding a fun and different element to my boring day. The smell is strong – so strong you can smell it through the closed compact, but it is a great smell. And it hasn’t irritated my sometimes sensitive skin, which is a bonus.

I’m actually quite amazed that I have love in my heart for a bronzer after all these years. I guess one of the best things about makeup is that sometimes it can surprise you, and thus you can surprise yourself. In a world of monotony, you can ascertain new aspects of your personality; discover a whole new lease of life. Or just put some brown powder on your cheeks and like it. Whichever.

Annie x


Fashion Journalist and Beauty Blogger from London

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