Liz was recently cruising the drugstore makeup aisles and came across the new Physicians Formula Natural Defense line, which includes the Sheer Line of Defense Foundation. This product, along with the others in the line, features a “360° Total Defense Complex to defend against harmful sunrays (SPF), blue light (RPF™, or Radiation Protection Filter) and pollution (PPF™, or Pollution Protection Filter)”. Okay. So this foundation is supposed to blur the skin to create a flawless complexion AND do something to shield against pollution and the blue light we experience from living our lives in front of screens? Into the shopping basket it went.
Find it HERE
Tested March 2020
I will get one thing out of the way at the very beginning of this review: I have no idea if this foundation actually does anything in terms of protecting against pollution or blue light. How does one even gauge if this is working? I spent some time thinking about whether or not it would be possible to demonstrate any real effects in this post, but without a lab, a clinical study or a fancy UV camera, I’m not going to be able to tell you anything meaningful about how this RPF™ or PPF™ supposedly protects the skin. My general perspective on products with these kinds of claims: if it does help, great! If not, it’s no big deal because I’d never know the difference anyway.
I do appreciate that this foundation has SPF 30, because it’s always an added bonus to me. For those of you that are sensitive to SPF or have SPF preferences, however, take note: there is a mix of chemical (octinoxate) and physical (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) sunscreen in this product. This foundation comes in a tube with a pump, and contains 1 oz. of product.
Honestly, when I took the tube out of the box it comes in, I was surprised because it’s way smaller than I expected. There are pros to this (carry-on friendly), and I guess having only 1 oz. of product means I’m more likely to use it up before it expires (I have a tendency to bounce around between foundations instead of sticking with one until it’s gone).
In terms of application, I only use one pump of the shade Fair on the back of my hand (any more than this and it looked too heavy), tap some on the skin with my finger, and then blend with a Beautyblender, picking up the remaining product from my hand with the sponge and giving my cheeks a little extra dose.
One layer of this really evens out my skin tone! Take a look at the scary no-makeup before photo below and compare it to the photo after applying just the foundation. It’s a pretty noticeable difference to me, especially for a foundation that claims to have only sheer-to-light coverage.
I’m really into this foundation. Not only does it cover up my redness well, I feel like it minimized the appearance of the capillaries on the sides of my nose, as well as the unfortunate blackheads that I can never get rid of. It still looks like skin, but smooths and evens everything out while maintaining a really creamy appearance. It doesn’t emphasize dryness, and in my opinion, makes my skin look super healthy.
Although I like this foundation a lot, the first time I wore it I noticed a little bit of product settling into the pores on my cheeks. It was an easy fix, however, as I started wearing it with my e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer (read my full review of this primer here) and just patted a little of this on my cheeks first and that took care of it.
I tried to take a lot of photos of my face from different angles in different light to show you how this foundation looks up close.
I think this is the drugstore foundation that has impressed me the most in the last year. I will keep wearing it because it provides my ideal amount of coverage, brightens and evens the skin and looks great in photos and in person.
Before I sign off, I want to point out that Physicians Formula has traditionally had a miserable shade range. Their complexion products used to come in two shades like Light and Light Medium. I couldn’t wear them because they were usually too dark, and I know so many other people weren’t able to use Physicians Formula complexion products because their shade didn’t exist. I want to give credit to the brand for recently expanding into a wider range of shades (there are 12 in this formula from Fair to Rich), and at the same time ask Ulta what the heck is going on because they only have the 5 lightest shades available on their website.
Definitely buy direct from Physicians Formula in order to access the full shade range and take advantage of this great foundation find under $20.