Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer, Blush and Highlighter: Are They Worth The Hype?

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Pearl Vintage Rouge drugstore makeup affordable beauty products

With Physicians Formula, it's all about butter... murumuru butter, extracted from the seeds of a palm tree from the Amazon in Brazil. The brand has a whole line of cheek products infused with this moisturizing natural ingredient: they started with the Butter Bronzer, raved about for years, then added the Butter Blush, and more recently the Butter Highlighter. I bought one of each to see what the hype was about. Are these really drugstore gems, or did they disappoint me? Keep reading to find out!

First, I think the packaging for this Butter cheek line is adorable. The Bronzer has a multi-color compact with metallic lime green, teal and purple, while the Blush is pink and yellow. The Highlighter pot is silver with a subtle holographic reflection, and all three have a palm tree print on the lid, referring to the palm that produces the murumuru butter. I'm all about the tropical vibe here this summer!

The Bronzer and Blush both have a compartment under the powder that houses a sponge applicator. Say what?! I know. Who uses a sponge to apply powder bronzer and blush? These applicators are unusable if you ask me, and I wish Physicians Formula would skip them and lower their price tags accordingly. The Highlighter doesn't have an applicator (proof PF's customers don't need one...) and it comes in the same little round box with a screw top as ColourPop's cheek products.

pearl vintage rouge bronzer

One thing that the Butter Bronzer is renowned for is its intense fragrance - the Blush is also strongly scented, but the Highlighter not so much. It's a fruity tropical scent, something like Pina Colada left in the sun too long with a hint of sunscreen and papaya. I know I'm gonna sound like a snob, but as far as tropical scents for bronzers go, I much prefer the Guerlain Terracotta. Yes, they're not at the same price point. But the fragrance in the Physicians Formula line is sweet and sharp, while Guerlain's is warm and comforting. It all comes down to personal preferences, but if you don't like heavily scented makeup, you should avoid both!

bronzer vintage rouge pearl
Swatches from bottom to top: Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer in Bronzer,
Butter Blush in Vintage Rouge and Butter Highlighter in Pearl

Now for my thoughts on each one of these products:


affordable drugstore makeup

The Butter Bronzer is what started it all. Soon after its release a few years ago, it was in everyone's favorites lists and the reviews were excellent. I have to say that in my opinion it lives up to the hype. It's definitely the best bronzer I've tried from the drugstore - so much better than any of the half dozen other Physicians Formula bronzers I had used in the past.

The texture is what makes it outstanding for a drugstore bronzer: it's buttery soft, incredibly finely milled, and feels quite luxurious. The very fine powder blends beautifully on the skin for a very natural bronzed look.

One issue people initially had was that the existing shades were too pale for anyone with a skin tone darker than light. Physicians Formula isn't known for inclusive shade ranges... But they added more shades, and you now have 4 to choose from. Mine is the original shade called Bronzer, a good match for my light complexion. It's on the lighter side which I prefer, so I can build it to the intensity I desire without risking to overdo it.

If you look at the Butter Bronzer in direct sunlight, you'll see that it has a very, very fine golden shimmer. It doesn't translate as shimmery on my cheeks however, the finish looks more like a natural satin. I find it really flattering!


affordable drugstore makeup

There are 4 shades of the Butter Blush available, and again they tend to be rather light. But my experience with the one I bought, Vintage Rouge, is that it turns darker on the skin than it looks in the pan, so if you're a medium skin tone you could still give them a try (get them from a place with a good return policy like Ulta).

I find the texture of the Butter Blush to feel similarly soft and finely milled to the Butter Bronzer, but it's also a lot more powdery. I get tons of kickback when I dip my brush in the pan - and I'm always light-handed. This powderiness causes the blush to not blend quite as well as the bronzer. It's workable, but requires a little bit more effort. I would recommend to always apply it to powdered skin, otherwise it can look patchy and be even harder to diffuse.

When I received this Butter Blush I had ordered from Ulta I scrateched my head, trying to understand why Physicians Formula would name a very light peachy nude Vintage Rouge. But surprisingly, once applied it does look a lot deeper and brighter on my cheeks. It turns into a dark peach with red undertones, and the medium pigmentation makes it very wearable. It gives me that natural "pinched cheeks" look.


affordable drugstore makeup

The Butter Highlighter comes in 5 shades that should work across skin tones. I got it in Pearl, which I expected to be a very light golden champagne based on the pictures on Ulta's website, but it turned out to have a pale pink sheen.

It has the bouncy, Play Doh-like cream to powder consistency that we've seen a lot lately. Again it feels very similar to the ColourPop Super Shock products. You can apply it with your fingers - it picks up well with its soft and creamy texture - or with a brush.

It gives a nice glow to the skin, but there are some visible glitter particles. I find it to look a little smoother when blended out well. I would say that it's a rather strong highlighter for my taste - I can't apply it super lightly for a more natural effect because it just looks like a veil of glitter. But it doesn't emphasize my skin texture and it sits pretty well on my skin, so it works for those days when I want a stronger glow.

fotd motd lotd
Wearing Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer in Bronzer,
Butter Blush in Vintage Rouge and Butter Highlighter in Pearl


For me the best product in Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter range remains the Bronzer. Its texture feels surprisingly luxurious for such an affordable bronzer and it looks very flattering on my skin. The Blush and Highlighters are both quite good as far as drugstore makeup goes, but I don't think either will ever reach the cult status that the Bronzer has achieved.


The products featured in this review were purchased by me. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links. I receive a very small commission when you shop through those links, and the money generated covers a small portion of my expenses to purchase products for review. Clicking on those links helps ensure that Beaumiroir continues to publish reviews of new and exciting high end French products - at no cost to you!

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