Beauty Battle: Boots No 7 vs. Physician’s Formula Bronzers

Maybe I’m feeling a bit feisty, but the idea of a beauty battle just sounds awesome.

Summer may be fading but we all want to go back to school or work looking like we gave summer our all. So which of these drugstore bronzers would be your best bet? Let’s battle it out!

How adorable is this packaging?

How adorable is this packaging?

In this corner…Physician’s Formula Happy Boosting Glow and Mood Boosting Bronze Illuminating Veil in the shade Light Bronzer $13.99 (I bought mine during one of Ulta’s bogos so I’d hold out for that deal.)

Who wouldn’t want a product with the phrase “happy boosting” in the title? It’s been a long while since I’ve tried any PF products. Some of their packaging has changed but the brand is  just as charming  and quirky as I remember. The pink plastic twist-top container is rather cheery looking and comes with not only a brush but a pink powder puff so you can choose which method you want to use. There is also a mirror inside the compact top, which is always nice. I think the slight bump in price for this product comes from the fancy packaging add-ons.

Hearts of gold and bronze.

Hearts of gold and bronze.

One of the first things you notice about this product is the light scent. I think a lot of PF products have a perfume-y note to them, which doesn’t bother me but it often takes me off guard. The scent of the Happy Booster though is light and pleasant and vaguely floral. The bronzer itself is shimmery and I was afraid it was going to look like a craft project exploded on my face. But the shimmer blends out well and is not too obvious. The heart-shaped beads are in light tones and the color does not build that well. A light glow is as good as it is going to get.  And for some, that might be enough. I will say it’s great for adding subtle dimension to your foundation but I would not call this a contouring friendly product. Unless you bought the other shade, which is Bronzer. Haven’t tried it, but maybe it would work better for a more chiseled cheek look.

This half of my face brought to you by Happy Booster

This half of my face brought to you by Happy Booster.

Expectations are everything when trying a new product. The packaging promised me a glow, and that’s exactly what I get out of this Happy Booster–something subtle. I like this for a quick swish over my cheeks so that I don’t look washed out.


And now in this corner…Boots No. 7 Perfectly Bronzed Pearls are $11.99 at Ulta

Simple but chic design.

Simple but chic design.

I first encountered the Boots brand in England when I was studying abroad in Cambridge, but this is my first Boots No. 7 purchase. Right away, I would say the Boots bronzer has a more high-end appearance though it costs less. The container is clear with a metallic-bronze lid that would look quite pretty sitting out on your vanity. The  pearls don’t come with a puff, but there is a foam circlet when you first open the packaging to prevent the beads from breaking. I’ve kept the circlet so that I don’t break the pearls during travel. Also I love that they’re called pearls because it just sounds so classy.

I've always loved a pretty pearl.

I’ve always loved a pretty pearl.

Formula wise, the pearls are in deeper tones and possibly more universally flattering for that reason. (To be fair to PF they also offer a product called Sun Stones that more closely resemble this pigmentation, but I was more attracted to the Happy Booster Packaging.) There is a hint of shimmer but the pearls are much more pigmented. I would say Boots is better for full contour. I only needed a light swirl in the pan to get good color over my cheeks, but if you have darker skin tones, this product also builds up nicely. I even contoured the sides of my nose with this product. At the same time, I don’t feel like the color is too dark for my skin tone.

The Boot-iful other half of my face.

The Boot-iful other half of my face.

I didn’t have a set level of expectations going into using this product and was pleasantly surprised by how well the Bronzed Pearls worked for me.


The reason I wanted to compare these two products is they have a similar price range and are a similar style of product. Each is a small compact-sized container that has shaped bronzed pearls, or in the case of the Physician’s Formula, hearts. The PF also comes with a pink puff and a flat narrow pink brush, both of which are cute but not altogether helpful in makeup application.You swirl your brush over both pearls for a light dusting of bronzer. I use what I call the E&3 method for my bronzer, which is to sweep my brush in an E or 3 shape down my face depending on what side you’re on. If I want to contour any further than that I do so with the E&3 as a base.

The picture here is just a light application in the E&3 style.

Serious face for a serious beauty battle. Right half, Happy Booster. Left Half, Boots Pearls.

Serious face for a serious beauty battle. Right half, Happy Booster. Left Half, Boots Pearls.

So after a grueling beauty battle a victor has emerged…

And the winner is Boots No. 7 Perfectly Bronzed Pearls!

The price is right and the Boots bronzer is going to be a more versatile product for a variety of skin tones. I like the Physician’s Formula Happy Booster and will continue to use it, but I tend to lean towards the Boots.

So what do you think? Did the referee (a.k.a me) make the right call? What’s your favorite bronzer for the end of summer?

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