Monday, April 23, 2012

Physicians Formula pH Matchmaker pH Powered Lip Gloss in Light Pink Review and Swatches

I first saw a review of this on theNotice, who described it as a nice pink gloss that also stains (along with her trademark wittiness!). I'm always looking for some way to achieve a lip stain that doesn't require actually using a lip stain, since my experience with those so far has been exquisitely terrible, so needless to say my interest was piqued! When I was in New York, CVS was having 40% off Physicians Formula, and I snagged one. It comes in two colors, Light Pink and Pink, and it took me a good 5 minutes to decide between them (fortunately, my friends have the patience of saints). I ended up opting for the Light Pink, since I figured it was less likely to turn hot pink on me.
pH Matchmaker Lip Gloss in Light Pink

A couple things must be addressed before I get to the actual performance of the gloss. One, the whole pH match concept is bullshit. It changes the same color on everyone, but it's sheer enough that it should, in theory, work on a wide range of skin tones. Two, the packaging is ridiculous, and probably accounts for a good 1/3 of the price.
Here it is in all its mirrored and glowy glory
It's got a small mirror along one side, and it lights up. There is really no time when you should find yourself needing a light-up lip gloss wand, but it is rather fun to play with.
And this is what happens when you turn the light on when the wand is still in the tube. Looks like a delicious lightsaber!
On the upside, the applicator is a small brush which is the perfect size for precise application while still being big enough to cover easily. Packaging and overhyped claims aside, I find myself actually really loving this gloss, and not just as a stain!

Regular readers know my aversion to lip gloss. I almost always find them too sticky (Le Métier de Beauté Fraise Crème is the most notable exception), so I didn't have high hopes for this. My friend L, who likes gloss much more than I do, tried it on and said she was surprised it didn't bother me, because it's definitely not a lightweight gloss. I think the difference between this and other glosses I've tried is that this one is thick and cushy, but not sticky, so it stays in place really well but doesn't make me feel like my lips are trying to glue themselves together. It also has really good wear for a gloss; I can get a good 2 hours of solid shine, with another one or two of tint, and while it doesn't live up to its 8 hour wear/moisture claims (puh-leeze), it does leave my lips feeling quite happy after it wears off, and a couple hours of wear on my lips (she of the constant lip smooshing) is pretty darn impressive!

Arm swatch, 2 minutes after application
As for the color, it starts out a very pale pink with shimmers and gradually darkens into a medium-light pink. You can see the shimmer really well in the arm swatch, but I can't detect it on my lips at all (visually or tactilely), which is a bonus for me.

On lips, about a minute after application
If I let it develop for a couple minutes and then blot it off, I'm left with a slight pink stain, enough to make my lips not corpsey but still very natural.

And here it is blotted after another couple minutes. I wasn't as dedicated about blotting as I could have been, which is why it's still quite glossy, but the color remains the same regardless
It's a great natural glossy lip, and I think it would pair really well with smokey eyes, and is a great option for those people (myself included) who find themselves unable to pull off a traditional "nude" lip.

So, bottom line, I really like it and definitely recommend it, even if you don't usually like lip gloss. I haven't tried the Pink version so I can't say how it compares, but I think the Light Pink should be workable for most people.

$9.95 for 0.13 oz, available from drugstores

Quality: 9
Effectiveness: 3.5 (doesn't match to your own special snowflake skin tone, doesn't last 8 hours)
Ease of Use: 5
Senses: 5 (no taste or smell that I can detect, and it feels quite plush and lovely on)
Pigmentation: 5
Duration: 4 (not as long as they claim, but quite long for me!)
Consistency: 4.75
Price: 3.5 (almost $10 for a drugstore lip gloss?! Wait until it's on sale, definitely)
Value: 3.75 (only 0.13 oz?! That's, like, half the size of many lip glosses, tsk tsk)
Packaging: +0.25 (I've actually found the mirror to be useful a few times, the brush is really nice, but the light and rather cheap and gimmicky look and feel overall keeps me from giving more of a bonus)
Grade: B+

Have you tried any pH "matching" products? What did you think?
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