I am a huge fan of Korean beauty and skincare for a number of reasons. First of all, they aim for every skin type; their products are derived from nature, and if there is one Korean skincare product I stand by, it’s snail cream. It may sound unappealing, but the results are worth it. The cushion foundation is also a Korean creation and has quickly entered the west, and various brands have caught on. So, I will be going through some names, both Korean and Western and then determine the best cushion foundation. Out of all the brands, I did review, the IOPE Air Cushion XP (4172) retailing at $35.97 is, in my opinion, the best.
I am not fond of foundations, to be honest; they always leave your skin feeling heavy or caked in general. So, I generally opt for tinted moisturizers and/or BB creams. However, when I first came to know about cushion foundations, I was pretty confused. They sounded like the powder compacts we have all seen our mothers carry around as children.
In case you are not aware as to exactly what is cushion foundation in the first place, I will explain it to you. It is essentially a BB cream in a compact. The compact consists of a sponge that is soaked with the formula. However, it does not just end here. Like all Korean makeup, it also provides hydration, acts as a sunscreen and some brands even have anti-aging ingredients! Its aim is to give the skin a dewy, sheer finish as is the objective in all Korean skincare. It was a hit in Korea and the trend soon permeated to the rest of the world, and now various brands have come out with their own version of it.
There was a lot of confusion amongst people as to which brand they should opt for and what might work best for them, so I decided to do a review to hopefully, help make the process of finding one easier for yourself.
Since I will be reviewing both Korean and Western cushion foundations, I will talk about which foundation I preferred out of each. So, let’s begin with the best Korean foundations and then I will move on to the best western foundations.
Korean Cushion Foundations:
Clio Kill Cover Liquid Founwear Cushion:
The Clio Kill Cover founwear cushion is a semi-matte formula that is hydrating, oil-reducing and provides UV protection with SPF 50. It claims to be a cake-free product regardless of how much you touch up and retails at $31.30.
I really liked this for a number of reasons. First of all, it suited my combination skin which is such a rare feat. I only needed a small amount to cover my entire face, and it felt light throughout the whole day. The semi-matte formula can go two ways for people. I do not mind a dewy look personally, but I prefer a matte look during formal events, so to counter that you can just set it with some powder. It has a mild scent which dies down after a while which I appreciate because overpowering scents give me a headache.
However, if you want a ‘flawless’ look without any visible lines, I recommend applying a moisturizer on your face first or else it makes the lines apparent on its own. Lastly, finding a match for different skin tones can become taxing.
April Skin Magic Snow Cushion:
In case you are not aware, April Skin Cosmetics is a very prominent name in the Korean makeup scene and is known for using more ‘natural ingredients.’ I got it in the shade #23 ‘Natural Beige’ retailing at $25.99. Not only is this acting as a tinted foundation, but it is also whitening, UV protection with SPF 50 and is anti-aging as well. It is a matte-finish formula with blueberry, gooseberry, and aloe Vera extract.
This works well to cover red areas and blemishes, evening out your skin tone. The formula is water-based, so it is really light, and your skin does not feel cakey at all and is super moisturizing which my skin appreciates.
However, since it is water-based, the formula gets removed easily. So, you need to be careful and avoid touching your face or leaning against surfaces. It is more bearable after using finishing powder and setting spray, though. The brand aims for Korean skin so finding one that suited my complexion was tricky.
April Skin Magic Snow Cushion WHITE:
This formula is ‘natural mineral water’ based, making it extra-hydrating and works well for dry and combination skins. I bought it in shade #21 light beige at $16.99.
To be honest, I was surprised by how long-lasting this was. It did not flake or separate from my skin throughout the day, and it is buildable and does not cake regardless of how many layers you may apply.
However, this did not work for my skin tone at all. I used a different colored primer to match it somewhat to my skin. However, it still carried a yellow undertone.
Peripera Ink Lasting Cushion:
I got this in the shade 001 pink ivory costing me $11.19. This product is supposed to provide a smooth finish, and it makes disappear all signs of oiliness. The moist smoothing gel is meant to fill in pores and hide visible lines while the silicone gel emulsion is intended to help the skin retain its moisture, making it look fresh all day.
To be honest, this is my least favorite out of all the Korean air compacts I tried. The color did not work for me at all. It made my pores even more apparent, and it started separating from my skin after a few hours.
Rilakkuma Edition Air Fit Cushion XP (Special Package):
In case you are not aware, Rilakkuma is like the mickey mouse of Korea. It retails at $21.98 and consists of a refill bottle and an extra airfit puff which makes it durable. It is a water-based formula, and it gives off a dewy finish. It gives a light coverage which can be built up and is suitable for sensitive skin as it contains Aloe Vera and tea tree extracts.
A little goes a long way when it comes to this compact, and it applies smoothly. It does a great job hiding irritation, and the ‘dewy finish’ makes your skin look fresh, making it a great summer look. Not to mention the cute packaging.
However, since it is water-based, it is not sustainable. So, you need to rely heavily on finishing powder and setting spray.
MISSHA M Magic Cushion:
This is a long-wear and full coverage. It helps cover up blemishes and discoloration, absorbs sweat and sebum, moisturizes and provides UV protection at SPF 50. I got it in the shade no. 21 for $10.50
To be honest, given the price point, I was not expecting much, but boy was I wrong. I generally apply this after moisturizer, and it gives off an incredible finish. It stays on all day, hides visible redness and just feels so light. I finish it off with setting spray, and it sticks to my face all day. It is not affected by sebum at all, making it my recommended foundation for oily skin.
The Best Cushion Foundation:
IOPE Air Cushion XP (4172):
My top air cushion foundation is hands down the IOPE Air Cushion retailing at $35.97. The formula is whitening, hydrating, anti-aging and provides UV protection with SPF 50. The packaging also comes with a refill bottle.
I cannot begin to describe how much I love this foundation. The result is a very dewy, long-lasting finish which I can appreciate during the summers. The IOPE foundation works amazingly well on my skin tone, and there are no yellow or reddish undertones. It is hydrating and can even be applied without a moisturizer at times. It greatly minimizes the appearance of pores which I appreciate immensely and it does not weigh me down even after wearing it for an entire day. It is definitely my recommended, go-to foundation.
Western Cushion Foundations:
Etude House Precious Mineral Foundation:
I got this in the shade Honey Beige for $15. It has a matte finish and is durable. It gives my skin a nice finish and is long-lasting. However, for 1 ounce, charging $15 is a little too much. Also, I use it as a base to apply my BB cream over since it is not as pigmented on its own.
L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Foundation:
I got this in shade W2 at light ivory costing me $11.85. This is a buildable foundation that does not cake and is suitable for sensitive skin. What I will always appreciate about L’Oreal is that they keep people’s skin tones in mind allowing it to match perfectly with your skin tone.
However, $11.85 for just 0.5 ounces is charging a little too high in my opinion. Also, it does not hide blemishes or scars at all.
Maybelline New York Dream Cushion Liquid Foundation:
Weighing at 0.51 ounces, I got this in the shade Ivory, retailing at $12.34. The product claims to give a luminous glow with medium coverage.
It gives off a beautiful glow, and it looks fresh, and it did not melt off during the extreme heat which is a plus point. However, it does require touch ups if you plan to wear it throughout the day. Lastly, once again, the price point is too high given the amount of product you are getting in exchange.
Given how Koreans are the pioneers of these foundations, it is not surprising that they fare a lot better compared to the western versions. The fact that they also focus on the skin itself by hydrating, brightening, providing UV protection, etc. also makes it reign supreme in my opinion. The only problem I have with the Korean cushion foundations is the limited skin-tone range, so finding the right shade can be a bit tricky.