For a while, it was tough to find a quality highlighter at the drugstore. Nowadays, there are plenty to choose from. A recent one to join the highlighter game is the Physician’s Formula Butter Highlighter. If you’ve been following along on the Prudence Profile, you know that my absolute favorite bronzer is the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer (case in point, here and here); it’s smooth, the perfect shade to warm up and contour the face, is relatively affordable, and can be found at the drugstore. When I found out that PF was releasing highlighters, I had to give them a try. I am pretty picky when it comes to highlighters (…and makeup in general) so read along to see how they stack up against my other favorites.
Packaging & Price
First, the packaging is reminiscent of the Butter Bronzer and Butter Blush with the palm leaf motif and typography. However, the highlighters are smaller in size with a twist-off cap versus the flip-up compact and bulky mirrored compact of the bronzer. Personally, I prefer to have a lid that is attached so it’s less likely to get lost, however, this decision is due to the formula of the highlighter (more later). The silver exterior has a holographic shift. Overall, it’s nice for drugstore packaging. They retail for $11 and can be found at drugstores, Ulta, Amazon, and the Physician’s Formula website.
Formula & Application
The formula of these highlighters are completely different than the bronzer. The highlighters have a cream-to-powder formula and are infused with Murumuru Butter, Cupuacu Butter, and Tucuma Butter from the Amazon. When this claims to be buttery soft, there is no doubt about that. With one touch, the highlighters are incredibly creamy and swatches smoothly onto the skin. They contain a similar coconut scent as the bronzer. They are slightly cool to the touch and do not seem to fully become “powder,” but retains its creamy properties when applied on the skin.
The most comparable highlighter I can think of are the ColourPop Super Shock Highlighters, although there are noticeable differences. The ColourPop ones transform to more of a powder formula when applied, unlike the Physician’s Formula ones that are wetter and creamier. Due to the creamy formula, the screw lids are important to retain moisture. Make sure to close the lids completely; if you leave them off for extended periods of time, they will dry out.
These highlighters have fine shimmer (noticeable with close examination or under natural lighting) with buildable shine. I wouldn’t call this a “natural” highlight; even with a light application, it provides a beaming glow.
Due to this unique formula, finger application will result in the most coverage and shine. If you prefer to use a brush, choose a flat synthetic or dense duo fiber face/foundation brush. The flat synthetic brush will lay down more product than a duo fiber brush.
Next, I break down the color selection from fairest to deepest.
Pearl is the lightest shade, which is an icy tone with a subtle pink-purple shift. This color would look wonderful on fair skin tone. It is almost too pale for my light-medium complexion, but I can pull it off with either a light application or by mixing in the next shade (Champagne) to get the perfect beam. It’s nice to find a drugstore highlighter that has a slight duo-chrome finish.
This color looks more like light gold, packing a lot of shine. It is almost too dark for me by itself so I mix in a bit of Pearl. I like the warmth of this shade. It would suit light-medium to medium skin tones.
This is my least favorite shade in the collection, because I personally am not a big fan of pink highlighters. On the skin, it has a cool undertone. This is suitable for medium-tan skin tone. Because of the strong shimmer and fine glitter, it would not be a good blush topper.
I wish I could rock this one! This is the color I look for in my one-shadow eye looks. Rose Gold is a warm, bronze gold. It would look great on medium-tan to tan skin. For those seeking an alternative use, much like the Pink/Rose shade, this is too shimmery to double as a bronzer.
Final Thoughts (longevity, multi-purpose, shade selection, etc.)
These highlighters are not multi-purposeful. They creased on my eyelids after 3-4 hours, because of its extremely wet and oily formula. I cannot use them as blush or bronzer toppers. Like many companies, shade range can always be expanded. However, I feel like Physician’s Formula considered a broader range with this initial release.
Overall, they fall into the “okay/good” category, not great. I love how creamy they are, which helps it glide over the skin without emphasizing texture. The emollient formula is nice, especially during the fall/winter months when skin can experience dryness. However, the highlighters are prone to moving around a little bit throughout the day, because of its creamy formula. A very notable and surprising benefit of these Butter Highlighters is that they have great longevity; they lasted through a 10-hour workday with minimal fading. However, they will last shorter periods for those with oily skin. I’m a natural highlighter type of girl. If you’re looking for a buttery formula with glossy shine at a drugstore price, these are definitely for you.
Which shade do you like best? Will you be trying these Physician’s Formula Butter Highlighters?