I've Gone Through 10 of These $12 Bronzers


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If you've ever wondered how long it takes to go through 10 bronzers, the answer is six years. That is if you use the formula (almost) every day. I'm aware that in the beauty world, using up any product until its last speck (or hitting pan) is a moment to celebrate, so I'll back up. Even on days I'm going for a natural makeup look, bronzer is the one part of my makeup routine I will not skip. Beyond the fact that it provides dimension to my face, bronzer provides a warmth to my skin that feels and looks great. With that said, finding a bronzer with the right finish and undertone has always been a challenge—matte ones tend to be chalky, shimmers are too glittery, cool-toned ones look gray, and warm-toned formulas look too orange. Plus, my dry skin is picky AF when it comes to finishes (we're working on it).

Then there's the Physicians Formula's Bronze Booster Pressed Bronzer: the mother of all bronzers, IMO. It offers the perfect finish and undertone for my skin. Its finish is on the satin end of the spectrum, and its undertone is warm, but not offensively so. For over six years, this has been the one bronzer that's been my tried and true, the one I always revert to no matter how many new products I test out. And, the one that, without fail, yields a flawless finish no matter the condition of my skin.

Pros + Cons


  • Long-lasting glow
  • Lightweight feel
  • Hydrating benefits


  • Only two shade options

Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer

Best for: All day natural glow

Star Rating: 4.3/5

Active ingredients: Talc, Mica, Nylon-12

Clean?: No, contains methylparaben

Potential allergens: None

Price: $15

Shade Range: Light to medium and medium to dark shade options

What's Included: Mini brush and compact mirror

About the brand: Physicians Formula was created to provide beauty products for those with sensitive skin.

Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer
Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer $14.00

About My Skin

A typical makeup day for me includes the following steps: a sweep-through of tinted brow gel, a few layers of concealer, a dusting of bronzer, a quick coat of eyeliner and mascara, and a highlighter if I'm feeling fancy. While I tend to switch up things like my mascara and concealer, the Bronze Booster is the one product that remains a constant in my routine. And because I have ultra-dry skin, a moisturizing bronzer that can be built up without appearing cake-y is important to me. It has a formula that layers beautifully without ever looking muddy.


For years I was convinced there must be magical beauty dust in this bronzer, but apparently, it's the brand's proprietary blend of "glow activators"—a custom blend of vitamins C and E, moisturizers (phospholipids), and antioxidants, as well as micro-pearls for luminosity and skin clarity.

How to Apply

If there's one thing my dry skin has done for me, it has made me a tough critic. It takes a lot for me to refer to something as "blendable," so when I list this as a feature of the Bronze Booster, among all of the other rave adjectives I've used in this review, you can rest assured I mean it. A light dusting results in an overall natural warmth while a heavier application gives me chiseled cheekbones. And no matter how much I apply, it feels extremely lightweight, even with the addition of other powder products. While other bronzers would typically cling to my dry patches and give a gray cast, this one makes my skin glow and masks the fact that it's constantly in a state of dehydration.

Apply your bronzer where the sun naturally hits your face, including your cheeks, temples, nose, and chin. Start by applying it to your cheeks, and then move to a “C” formation as you brush it along your temples. Finish it off by dusting it on your nose and chin.

The bronzer comes with a mini brush that oily skin types would find ideal for touch-ups, but for everyday application, my preferred choice of brush is either with Morphe's E4 Angled Contour Brush ($14), or M527 Deluxe Pointed Powder Brush. The former gives me a more defined look on more dramatic makeup days (thanks to its concentrated angle), while the latter is what I use on a more regular basis due to its fluffy nature.

Morphe Powder Brush
Morphe M527 Deluxe Pointed Powder Brush $20.00

The Results

Longevity-wise, I typically don't have an issue with bronzers fading, and this one truly stays put until the moment I remove it. In fact, when I was on bridesmaid duty for my best friend's wedding (aka I had to arrive with hair and makeup done well before the ceremony), this bronzer stayed on for over 10 hours without fading. Granted, I wasn't shy with layering it, but alas, its performance rating is always an A+ for me.

After speaking with the brand directly, it seems like I'm not the only beauty buff who finds this product to be a staple. "For years, the Bronze Booster line was the number one bronzer franchise for Physicians Formula," says Amanda Goodhue, the brand's Communications Manager. "While we're currently focusing on the Murumuru Butter Collection, the Bronze Booster Glow-Boosting Pressed Bronzer continues to be a fan favorite and ranks within our top 100 products."

The Value

For a bronzer with an under $15 price tag, this one undoubtedly rivals high-end brands. Not only does it come complete with a brush and compact mirror, but it's versatile for all skin types. It's the ideal option for sensitive skin that gets irritated by chemical-laden products, dry skin that needs a bronzer with hydrating benefits, and oily skin that seeks a product that blurs pores rather than enhances them.

Similar Products: You have options

L'Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Bronze It Bronzer: For $8, another option is this bronzer that gives off a sun-kissed glow all day long.

Clinique Powder Pop Flower Bronzer: At $35, this Clinique bronzer is silky smooth and can be used on all skin types. It leaves skin with a natural glow and a matte finish.

Our Verdict

This is a product I think deserves a spot on everyone's makeup vanity, and it's one I've healthily stocked up on in case it ever gets discontinued (though I sincerely hope that day never comes). Its formula is unique in that it nourishes the skin with vitamins as it bronzes (not many other bronzers can say the same), plus it delivers a sun-kissed glow—without the sun. My only gripe? I wish it were available in more shades to suit a wider variety of skin tones.

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