Is Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Tinted Moisturizer Drugstore Duping Laura Mercier?

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Product Reviews

Well, you made it to Friday, love. ๐Ÿ™‚ Isn’t it grand? Now all we have to do is hold on for a few more hours before … FREEDOM!


This morning I’d like to start with a quick look at Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Tinted Moisturizer SPF 50 ($15, available in four shades). Since I had such a good experience with their Healthy Wear Bronzer last week, I was hoping for more of that same luck this time around.

Sometimes I just want a product to work out so badly that I’ll overlook almost any flaw. This could have been one of those times. I mean, look at that cheery tube. So cute, right? With packaging this hawt, Healthy Wear Tinted Moisturizer sure gets off to a good start.

It also reminds me of Laura Mercier’s Oil Free tinted moisturizer — my fave tinted moisturizer of all time — because it rocks a similar buildable medium-to-full coverage that doesn’t look heavy or feel greasy on my face. Also like Laura’s, it applies and blends easily without leaving streaks, and despite containing a lot of pigment for a tinted moisturizer, it still looks natural on the face.

Other stuff I like about it…

  • Lightly hydrating
  • Has a matte finish that still looks natural
  • The water-resistant formula handles perspiration like a champ
  • It’s a little pricey for a drugstore product, but $15 is A LOT cheaper than Laura’s $42 Tinted Moisturizer
  • That it’s SPF 50

Now for the catch… ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, so it only comes in four shades, and I think the darkest one, Natural to Tan, is still a touch too light and too pink for my NC35 skin (gives my face a grayish cast). Pale beauties are in luck, but dark-skinned lovelies may want to pass.


One last caveat: my oversensitive schnoz detects a sunscreen-ish scent (not exactly my favorite fragrance), but it’s faint and fades in a flash.

I like what Physicians Formula has done with Healthy Wear Tinted Moisturizer and sure hope they roll it out in more shades. I think you’re in luck if one of them works for you. Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B+

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 41 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Rachael says:

    Us Porcelain Princesses are in luck you say?! When I find a way to save some makeup money I’ll give these a try and let ya know for the palest of the pales.

    Happy almost weekend Karen (and Tabs)!

  2. heyhey says:

    DAMN. I am close to your skintone (and um, too n00b to know what NC35 is. That a MAC thing?), and I was initially excited about picking up another drugstore find. Booooo. Disappointment.

    On the upside, wintsonthecat is on twitter. Fur reals.

  3. Salvinia says:

    Ahhh! I LOVE Physician’s Formula, AND I’m super pale! Unfortunately I live in Australia and it seems to take an unreasonably long time for new Physician’s Formula products to find their way here. Hopefully I’ll be able to try this out sometime in the next decade or so!

  4. CourtneyMakenzie says:

    I want to try this really bad! Would you recommend this for oily-skin? I never wear moisturizer because my skin is super, mega-ultra oily, but I think I may try this! ๐Ÿ™‚ What do you think Karen?

  5. Glosslizard says:

    Hmm, worth checking out, I think, I’ve been looking for a tinted moisturizer that’s less expensive than LM (and I do loves me some SPF 50)! Bummer about the limited color range, though, I can’t believe that’s the darkest tone!

  6. Lindsay says:

    That’s pretty sad that that’s their darkest tone.
    .-= Lindsay’s last blog post… Purse Lust =-.

  7. Tiffany Q. says:

    I use their organic tinted moisturizer in natural to tan but it’s a little too pink. I just use a mineral makeup with my undertones and I’m good to go! It’s fantastic! Not to mention I picked up 2 of ’em and they each came with a free mascara at Walgreens for like 4 dollars. I love clearance items <3
    .-= Tiffany Q.'s last blog post… The End of a Giveaway… =-.

  8. Celine says:

    I’ve been wanting to try the Laura Mercier, but I don’t want to shell out $42 for it! Maybe this one is worth a shot!

    Two questions:
    Is it oil-free?
    Is there SPF?

    I hope you have a great Friday, Karen!

  9. Amber says:

    Ohhh now I want to try this. I have been thinking a tinted moisturizer/sunblock would be great for the beach and summer weekends.
    .-= Amber’s last blog post… Good night, little girl =-.

  10. Meghan says:

    ooo i have been looking for a tinted moisturizer and bought the laura mercier one that i am in LOVE with. i think i’m gonna stick with that but might try this next time i run out of LM

  11. Anna says:

    Whee that’s so funny, I just showered and put this on my face. I use the light to natural, and warning that the colors actually go darker than you would think, so the range (in 4 shades) is quite small and limited… so yeah, I agree with everything you said. It looks very natural and is super easy to slap on my face, but there is a strong sunscreen scent for the first 5 seconds, and then it’s gone.

    Yay thanks for reviewing. =)

  12. Hyzenthlay says:

    I picked up LM TM last weekend, and it’s AMAZING! I definitely see why everyone raves about it ๐Ÿ™‚ It was painful to pay for though. It would be WONDERFUL to find a drugstore dupe with a higher SPF . . . I am wearing Porcelain (I think), the second lightest shade (Nude is a bit lighter, right?). Which PF TM should I look at, do you think?


    • Meghan says:

      hi! porcelin is the lightest shade and nude is the second lightest shade. they also have a fairly new shade called bisque which works if you have yellow undertones i believe…karen is prob more qualified than i am to answer this tho!

  13. Jackie says:

    I almost bought this today! I was a little hesitant since afterall it is a drugstore brand and a little pricey. But, after your review, I just may have to get it afterall =) I’m an NC25 so it should work perfectly for me. Thanks for the awesome review, Karen!
    .-= Jackie’s last blog post… NARS Summer 2010 Collection releases tomorrow! =-.

  14. Sara says:

    that’s funny, cause i’ve heard that the lightest shade is even a little to dark for NC15’s. what’s going on, PF?
    .-= Sara’s last blog post… Firefox is the shiz =-.

  15. nikita says:

    I just don’t understand why PF won’t release darker shades for their products. I’m NC40 and I basically can’t use that tinted moisturizer and I really want to! I’ve complained directly to the company and no surprise, they didn’t even bother to send a reply back.

  16. Tiera says:

    I’m pretty fair, so I think I’ll give it a try! The water-resistant element is a BIG draw for me, especially now that I’m walking and riding the bus, so I’ll have to give it a try!
    .-= Tiera’s last blog post… Bookworming: 10 Favorite Childhood Series =-.

  17. evilcharity says:

    Hmmm…I may give this a try as I’ve wanted to find something with a high SPF. I’ve been using Sonia Kashuk’s tinted moisturizer for years; it’s inexpensive and works great (I’m a bit lighter than you and use medium…the darkest shade might work for you). Probably my only complaint is that my local Target is horrible at stocking it so I buy multiples when I can find it.

    I like the LM version too, but I just can’t rationalize spending upwards of $40 on tinted moisturizer.

  18. Sylvia says:

    Fair skinned gals are definitely in luck. I use the lightest one religiously and it has performed (and matched me) perfectly! I do wish that it had a little more of the subtle sheen that Laura Mercier (another personal favorite) does, but for the cost, I’m willing to just mix in a little luminizer!

    • Moran says:

      I just ordered this in Ivory to Light, and I was worried that this might be too dark. How fair are you? I’m between NW15 to NW 20 in MAC.


  19. Toni says:

    I tried samples of LM in both the oil-free and regular version and wear different colors in each (nude in regular, porcelain in oil-free). If I recall, the sample of LM oil-free smelled a little like sunscreen as well. I am headed to Sephora tonight, so I’ll give it a good whiff while I am there. I really liked the LM and how well it did, but I have a really hard time spending $42 for a foundation. I’ll have to see if the PF might have a color for me (NW20-25).

    Thanks for the review, Karen! Happy weekend to you, your hubby, and of course, the fabulous Tabs!

  20. Natalie says:

    lol this looks like my solution for makeup i can wear during hockey

  21. Lauren Sutherland says:

    Hold up people! no one lighter than NC20 can wear this cause the lightest shade (Ivory to fair) is at least Nc20 is not a tad darker. I absolutely adore this, but true porcelain girls this is NOT for.

  22. Tracy says:

    I hope I can find this in Canada. It sounds pretty promising!
    .-= Tracy’s last blog post… Laura Mercier MIneral Powder Foundation is a No No For Me =-.

  23. Nina says:

    I checked this out after I got out of work today and … it is too dark for me! Im an NC30-35 and the darkest shade made me look like a mime! Srsly, PF???

    But I did get the Sonia Kashuk TM and its working out for me. The shade is still off – im like an in between and it takes a bit of building to make it the exact shade for me. But coverage is pretty awesome!

    It IS Friday — yayyyy!!! We did groceries and had a quick dinner out. Just chillaxin’ now and might go to bed and read soon.

    How you doin? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. I’m looking for something with a high spf for the summer – this might work as I’m NW25. I picked up Clinique City Sheer Block this week as well to try out. We shall see!
    .-= scarlettholly’s last blog post… Everyone Loves a MAC Dupe: Hello Milani Liquid Liners =-.

  25. pica says:

    Laura Mercier’s TM did not work for me. It clogged my pores and gave me cysts by the end of 1 day, but I’m glad Physician’s Formula came out with a version with high SPF. After using TM or foundation, I need to use products to keep myself clog and pimple-free. I feel medications/exfoliants expose my skin, and are not worth any SPF. I thought regular sunscreens were oily or too drying, but TMs wreck my skin, (as do all foundations as I later learned).

  26. Mommy2Maya says:

    I picked this up today at my local CVS. I am fair and the lightest shade melted right into my skin perfectly. Ohhhh…and all PF products are 40% off this week AND get this…my CVS had a display that had 2 bottles packaged for the price of 1! So, I scored 2 bottles for $9! Gonna see how my oily skin reacts the next few days and then I might head back to get a few backups :). Thanks so much for reviewing this product!

  27. Elaine says:

    I tried the PF today in Fair to Ivory, and it worked perfectly with my NW20 skin! Plus it was on sale for $7.95 ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Scientific Housewife says:

    That doesn’t seem bad at all, awesome!

  29. jessica says:

    I’m also a NC35 in MAC…I use Physicians formula tinted moisturizer in Natural to Tan EVERYDAY…but let me tell you how. I also noticed the grayish tint I’d end up with when I first purchased the product. I use Sephora’s powder foundation in ummm… something “toast” ( I can’t remember right now!) over it with a Kabuki brush. It’s super quick…tinted moisturizer with the fingers, then hit it with the kabuki and powder foundation and its the perfect color and coverage EVERYTIME. It hardly needs a touch up throughout the entire day and keeps my oily t-zone under control. I already had the powder foundation and on a fluke tried it one day and haven’t stopped since. I don’t ever use foundation anymore because this is just too perfect.

  30. sara says:

    Dear karen please please help me with this ilive in sweden and im gonna order this product
    im nw20
    which shade should i order

  31. Deb says:

    I picked this up yesterday and tried it out – it was awful. It was thick, sticky, and basically a liquid foundation. It felt horribly oily (and that’s saying a lot, since I use pure sunflower oil as a moisturizer most days). I let it sit on my face for a couple minutes, thinking it would soak in and dry a bit, but it just sat there. I couldn’t put blush or anything on. Just awful. I had to wash it off and re-moisturize before I could put my makeup on and go out.

  32. Hailey says:

    I have been reading your blog for very long time. I always get confused when you say you are NC35…I am almost a shade or two lighter than you and MAC matches me as NC42…I have pretty much the same undertone as you…Can you please give an idea how you color match…

  33. Marica says:

    Does anyone know if their darkest shade is good for nc30?

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