Physician’s Formula pH Powered Lip Gloss review, photos, swatches | We found love in a… pH-balanced place?

The product: Physician’s Formula “pH Matchmaker” pH Powered Lip Gloss in Light Pink

(We’re three lines in, and already this post has an overabundance of pHs. Oh dear.)

So, basically: this is the most unexpected have-to-have-it product that I’ve come across all year. Possibly in the last few years, to be frank; my expectations were low at best (er, sorry, Physician’s Formula), but the product inside knocked my socks right off.

Let’s start by talking about the packaging, shall we? Because it’s the little miscreant that set said expectations so low.

The packaging: Lots of pink, a mirror, and a light-up applicator. It’s… well, it’s a lot of things, and not one of them is up my alley. Pink? LED lighting? It all seems rather tacky, to me, and it turned me off this product in the beginning.

Admittedly, people who are less picky about their products are going to find the mirror quite handy, but I carry a mirror in my purse anyways – I’d rather ditch the bells and whistles, if it means a lighter, sleeker product. And the LED is useful, if you’re standing in a completely dark room, but if you’re standing in a completely dark room, no one can see your lipgloss anyways.

(I’ve never really understood the need for light-up beauty products in this regard.)

The formula: Okay, so here’s where things start looking up! Fluorescein-based dyes, photochromic powders, and a pH “Power Complex” – honestly, those all sound Very Not Good, and very much not the sort of chemicals I’d be excited about putting on my lips (or anywhere near my person.)

In execution, though, all this pH business is brilliant. Do I buy into the hype? Not for a second – the gloss turns pink on a piece of bloody paper, which last I checked, didn’t need any help in the beauty department. Still, though, it’s an extremely glossy sort of gloss, with really fine silver and pink shimmer, and I think a lot of gloss lovers are going to like it.

Edited to add: See a full-face swatch of Light Pink here.

bare lips

Physician’s Formula pH Powered Lip Gloss swatch – Light Pink

Physician’s Formula pH Matchmaker Lip Gloss – removed (stain left behind)

Why it’s all that and the kitchen sink: What I really love about the Matchmaster gloss, though, is the pigments. The gloss goes from clear to a vibrant, blue-based pink as it “pH adjusts,” and it’s the easiest stain you’ve ever worn – you have plenty of time to clean up your lipline before they’re tinted, and a smooth, thick gloss is so, so much easier to spread out evenly than a fast-drying liquid.

Also – did I mention that it’s paraben-free and completely scentless? Because it is, and that’s awesome.

Physician’s Formula pH gloss (Light Pink) swatch after 60 seconds (L) and 10 seconds (R)

The verdict?

If you’ve been looking for a smooth, comfortable, scent-free, and/or colour-adjusting (because let’s be honest, who hasn’t been curious about clear-to-coloured products?) gloss or stain, then this is The One. No settling into lines, no funny taste, no uneven wear – it’s fabulous, all wrapped up in a little pink package, and I’m willing to forgive any and all packaging faux-pas for the formula inside.

(I didn’t think I could fit any more positive adjectives into the paragraph above.

But if I could have, I would have.)

At $12.79 for 0.13oz, PF’s pH Powered Lip Gloss is definitely at the high end of the drugstore – but it’s definitely worth it. (Also, some of them come with a $9 mail-in rebate, so keep your eye out for those!) I just have Light Pink, the shade here, and I’m already thinking about scouring drugstores for the other shade (Pink) on rebate… and maybe sending Physican’s Formula HQ relentless fanmail begging for more shades.

It’s that good.

The ingredients:

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ozokerite, Propylene Glycol Ricinoleate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, BHT, Citric Acid, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol. +/- pigments (full list on PF site.)

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  • eight

    I wish PF would get rid of the bells and whistles of their products if it meant they were priced lower. I love the products I've tried by them (gel eyeliners and Happy Booster blush), but including things like lights and low-quality brushes just seems superfluous to me. I should try this gloss at some point though, especially if I can get the rebate from it!

    • I have to agree with you on this one – I'd exchange the bells & whistles for a lower price point in a heartbeat. As it is, the brushes, mirrors etc. just make everything too clunky! *disgruntled*

  • Interesting! I think my little niece would have fun with the LED part!
    My recent post Loudmouth Orange with Milani Mandarina

  • Great review, Rae! Love the colour on your lips.

    I've tried this too and agree it is nice… now when I can get a review up, I have no idea. -_- Blogger fail.
    My recent post From Scherbie’s Desk: Be Right Back…

    • Thanks, lovely ;o) We miss you on the interwebs! :( Hope you haven't been too stressed out with real life stuff.

  • I think…the packaging turns me off. Hahaha. I mean, sure, it glows pink, but…why????? I could buy a glowstick and a gloss if I were really all that concerned, but it's fun, I guess.

    The photo with the two different swatches is quite helpful, though. Thank you for that. And for the glow-in-the-dark photo which made me laugh.
    My recent post The Beauty No-buy: Update #3

    • LOL! Nah, it just glows pink as an unfortunate side-effect :P LED + translucent pink plastic = hot pink glow!

      And you're very welcome. I'm always curious as to how glosses look matted down (I very, very rarely wear them glossy-glossy), so I'm glad it's helpful for you, too ;)

  • great post! i've been really intrigued by this gloss and every time i pass by it in the drugstore i wanna try it out but have been afraid to be disappointed. well now i'm definitely going to go try it. =)
    My recent post Healthy Eats : Peach + Radish Salad

  • It sounds like a very gimmicky product, but I do love the stain it leaves!

    • Gimmicks galore with this one! It's absolutely lovely if you gloss over the gimmicks (I'm sorry, the pun was just too obvious to skip over :p) and get down to the product inside, though.

  • cclarebear

    Loving the colour – it looks super cute. I'm with you though on the light-up weirdness. What is that? There's no need for the gimmicks…

    • I know! *throws hands up in the air* With a product this good, there is absolutely NO need to muddle everything up with LEDs and pH nonsense.

  • dani@callitbeauty

    Looks lovely on you, Rae-Rae! Also, little ol sight-challenged me could actually find the LED light useful in a low-light setting. :p
    My recent post All About Eyes – Mermaid

    • Haha, okay – I'll concede that point :P

      And the fact that you call me Rae-Rae! *squishes cheeks*

  • mostlysunnybunny

    I thought this product screams gimmicks, but on you it looks great (let's face it though: on you everything looks great)!
    My recent post Swatch & Review: ICI PARIS XL ONLY YOU Spring/Summer Limited Edition 113 Banana Split, 178 Acid Love, 213 Pink Kiss, 313 Miss Bikini, & 383 Wasabi

    • *blushes* Thank you!! But I could totally say the same of you ;)

  • toyarosie

    Wooo! This sounds all sorts of awesome! I think I'll be giving this a look, stat! Although I hope it's pH match on my lips doesn't turn too pink, I dunno if I'd love that on me.

    I'm with you about the unnecessary extras that really don't have a true ~helpful~ purpose – and glosses with lights just don't make sense to me!! It normally would turn me off purchasing the product in the first place (but with your fantastic review, I'll give it a pass this time :P).
    My recent post Playtime!! Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipsticks

    • I hope you LOVE it! :D Honestly, even with all the annoying bells and whistles, the product's good enough to make up for it. (Or at least I think so!)

  • Ciambella

    I love this gloss but I am all kinds of sad that I lost it! :( I know it's in my house somewhere, I just have no clue where. Sad! Looks beautiful on you!

  • Sounds like a great gloss and looks great on you, but why the light up packaging? Without that I bet it would cost half the price. I'd have bought it then!
    My recent post Great Nail TIps From Dana Caruso, Sally Hansen Beauty Expert

    • Keep an eye out for the $9 mail-in rebate, Tracy! Or a 40% off sale. I'd definitely recommend it, then ;)

  • I just got the regular pink one and I LOVE it. The pink is so nice and pigmented. I still have to get used to the little tingling feeling though

    • Hm – I'll have to pay more attention the next time I put this on. Can't say I've noticed any tingling (and my lips are pretty sensitive!)

  • Ugh light up packaging *headdesk* I just don't get it! Unless I'm taking this lip gloss to the club where there's poor, poor lighting, I don't see the point in the built in light. Plus, it's not like I'm going to turn off all the lights JUST to use the built in flashlight.
    On a nicer note, I do like how the lip gloss stained your lips all prettily!
    My recent post Review: Bison Wakilala Clear Wash & Bright Up Essence

    • Is this the part where I pretend that I *didn't* turn off all the lights just to try the LED?

  • paola

    WOW! this baby looks VERY interesting!!! *.* looks like I have to start another hunt for PF here in Italy ;)

  • Ashlee

    I bought this for $4.99 plus a $9 mail in rebate last month at Shoppers Drug Mart and I love it!!!!!!! And the cool thing is I get a much darker pink on my lips than what is swatted in your pictures! I'm starting to believe all their PH stuff!!

  • Daena – brightlycoloredperson

    I just tried and reviewed one of the pH Matchmaker blushes and my complaints there were similar to yours — nix the bells and whistles and focus on the product (which I thought was pretty nice). The darn light sort of blinded me! I do like the small mirror on this gloss but the light? Nuh uh. I might have to try this gloss, though..!

  • Joline Melina

    That is soooooo cool!