The hype on Korean cushion foundations has been steadily increasing over the past few years as consumers praised the convenience of its innovative packaging as well as the product not just being purely a foundation but with skincare benefits added to it. So what started the creation of the cushion foundation, also known as the “non-flowing liquid foundation”, and entirely changed the way we look at foundations forever? The answer lies in one of the biggest players in the beauty industry - AmorePacific.
The Story of Cushion Foundation
The conglomerate hails from South Korea and has amassed a vast portfolio of well-known Korean beauty brands such as Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Etude House and IOPE to name a few. It created the cushion foundation category through the launch of its IOPE Air Cushion back in 2008, of which the technology has become so widespread that most Korean beauty brands now have a cushion foundation as one of their product line staples.
AmorePacific’s rationale behind creating a non-flowing liquid foundation was to help women reapply and touch up their makeup and sunscreen easily, particularly for those who are constantly on the go. In fact, AmorePacific has established its own in-house research unit called Cushion Lab that is dedicated solely to developing cushion technologies to improve user experience. According to the Korean Times, the company has evolved the cushion foundation’s core technology 15 times, leading to the creation of its fourth-generation cushion. The latest cushion is characterized by “a 3D hive-shaped sponge and ultrafine dispersion technology”, which releases the liquid foundation more evenly, thereby making application of the product flawless and natural. Due to the immense success that cushion foundations have found in South Korea, and subsequently the world, other Korean brands such as Missha and KLAIRS have also joined the bandwagon in creating their own versions.
What Makes a Good Cushion Foundation?
Another key feature of this beauty game-changer is the fact that most cushion foundations are infused with plenty of skin care benefits such as high sun protection, as well as anti-aging and hydrating ingredients to protect the skin. A cushion foundation also helps to reduce the number of base products that users might use in their makeup routine since most cushion foundations are buildable in terms of coverage and can double up as a concealer too. The packaging also makes for a fuss-free application which saves time in our hectic lifestyles.
As such, without requiring any more convincing on why you should include a cushion foundation in your daily makeup essentials, let’s look at some of the top-selling cushion foundations by Korean brands to help you decide the right one for you.
Top Korean Cushion Foundations
Missha M Magic Cushion SPF 50 Foundation
A cult favourite among users for its long-wearing and buildable coverage that covers blemishes perfectly without looking cakey. Its Smooth Silica Bead Powder also absorbs sebum and sweat which helps to control shine and give you a matte but natural finish. It does not oxidise which means that you can rest assured of the foundation’s shade being exactly as it appears. Enriched with moisture-rich ingredients like Bamboo Water and Baobab Tree Fruit Extract, it ensures your skin stays hydrated all day whereas its SPF 50+ and PA+++ provides maximum sun protection.
KLAIRS Mochi BB Cushion Pact SPF 40
The well-known cruelty-free beauty brand has also hopped onto the cushion foundation bandwagon by releasing a balm-type cushion that provides a silky-smooth finish. Users commented on its ability to provide them with decent coverage which ranges from light to medium. It also gives a very natural and soft finish without being too dewy, making it perfect for those with oily skin. One drawback is that this product comes in only one shade, which makes it best suited for light and neutral skin tones.
COSRX Clear Fit Blemish Cushion
This recent launch by COSRX has gathered quite a rave among Korean beauty Youtubers as they complimented on the cushion’s great coverage for masking acne scars while containing soothing ingredients like Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract and Niacinamide to calm troubled skin. One user even commented on how she only required one layer of the foundation to cover redness and hyperpigmentation caused by cystic acne. It also settles down to a semi-matte finish which makes it perfect for individuals with combination to oily skin.
Peripera Airy Ink Cushion
Just like its name, the cushion foundation goes on smoothly to give a flawless coverage that feels weightless on the skin. It is quite different from other heavy foundations that sometimes make your skin feel stuffy and suffocated. Its unique double-layer barrier also helps to retain moisture within while preventing the foundation from fading and oxidising through the day. This will be great on days whereby you want a natural look while hiding any redness or blemishes.
TROIAREUKE Acsen A+ Cushion
The A+ cushion by TROIAREUKE is designed specially for combination to oily skin with acne problems due to its oil control feature. The brand is well-known for its products being promoted as 99% skincare and 1% makeup since most ingredients used are focused on benefiting the skin. As such, this cushion is formulated with Centella Asiatica to soothe and strengthen the skin’s barrier, Niacinamide to brighten the skin, as well as Adenosine to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Users loved the product for giving them natural-looking skin while needing only a small amount of product, making this a value-for-money purchase.
Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion SPF50+ PA+++
Reviewers praised this product for its amazing coverage that covers up imperfections perfectly and giving them the much-coveted dewy complexion that is reminiscent of Korean women. It is enriched with skin-boosting ingredients such as Apricot, Kernel Oil and Jaumdan water to provide anti-ageing and hydrating effects. It also provides superb sun protection as it is SPF 50+ and PA+++. You can also purchase the refill when the product is finished to save money and the environment.
IOPE Air Cushion
This crowd-pleaser is a moisture-rich cushion foundation that is perfect for those with normal to dry skin so that you get a dewy glow that lasts all day. It has a sheer, lightweight texture that is buildable and most suitable for the “no-makeup” look. Furthermore, the non-absorbing puff applies the product seamlessly onto your face without any wastage. Users love that the cushion is refillable and gives them enough coverage to hide blemishes without looking cakey.
HERA UV Mist Cushion
Heralded as one of the best cushion foundations by users due to its long staying power with little need for touch ups as well as providing light-to-medium coverage without causing breakouts. It gives you a well-hydrated, glowy complexion that is best suited for dry skin individuals. The density of its puff applicator also prevents too much product from being absorbed when pressed lightly into the cushion. If you are looking for a cushion foundation that looks and feels like your skin after application, this will be the perfect pick for you.
CNP Propolis Ampoule in Cushion
This unique cushion foundation is infused with Amazon Bee’s Propolis extracts that provides six skincare benefits, on top of being a makeup product. Propolis is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which soothes and heals troubled skin while the cushion’s 99.9% gold powder reflects light to give a soft, candle-lit glow for a flattering look. Another differentiating factor would be its Triple Cover Complex that is a blend of three types of foundation powder with different particle sizes to provide seamless coverage. If you are not averse to bee products, this would definitely be a must-try!
Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control
Touted as the best all-in-one base product by users, this cushion foundation have all your bases covered - from sun protection to flawless coverage to shine control. It stays on well all day without causing dry patches or looking cakey. With a medium coverage, this is great for those who wants to hide large pores or even out imperfections for an immaculate and refined look.
April Skin Magic Snow Cushion (Black)
The Black edition is designed for oily and combination skin users whereby the foundation goes on velvety-smooth to blur out pores and minimize imperfections for a natural look. Due to its water-based formulation and soothing ingredients like aloe vera extract, the foundation sits comfortably on your skin and adheres closely to mimic “a second skin” effect. If you are trying to avoid the “made-up look” that is commonly experienced with most Western foundations, give this a try as it will leave you with a matte finish without any dry patches.
AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
One of the best cushion foundations on the market as mentioned by reviewers, the formula is enriched with bamboo sap instead of traditional water to deeply hydrate your skin while having a light, airy finish. The cushion allows you to build fine, even layers for exceptional coverage that stays on all day while its high SPF 50+ / PA+++ protects your skin from sun damage. This has become a must to repurchase among its cult following.
Moonshot Face Perfection Balm Cushion
The cushion has a dewy finish to give you a glass skin effect which makes it perfect for normal to dry skin. Moreover, users commended its medium to high coverage which makes it perfect for concealing stubborn flaws and fine lines while giving a natural look that is great for everyday wear.
TROIAREUKE H+ Healing Cushion
Another best-seller from TROIAREUKE is its H+ Cushion that is targeted for those with dry and troubled skin as its Water Wrapping System forms a thin moisturizing layer on the skin to prevent water loss. It not only acts as a foundation, but also multitasks as a skincare product through its anti-ageing effect, whitening effect and UV protection (SPF50+/PA+++). Users recommended this as the miracle foundation for acne-prone or sensitive skin types for covering up redness due to acne scarring as well as smoothing out uneven skin tone for an unblemished complexion that is slightly dewy.
Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion
This cushion is a cult favourite for numerous reasons as users vouched for its amazing coverage that is buildable to hide imperfections while still looking natural and flawless without looking like you had foundation on. It is also long-wearing as users reported only needing minimal touch-ups throughout the day. Due to its matte finish, it is best suited for those with combination to oily skin. The applicator also picks up the product well which means you only need to dab a few times to cover your whole face, making it worth your money. Use this if you want a brightening and impeccably natural look!
Korean cushion foundations are definitely worth a try given their fantastic product quality as well as offering additional skincare benefits that protect your skin. It is time to put your best face forward with one of these beauties.
Korean Cushion Foundations - A Makeup Essential
Now that we have went through the various best-selling Korean cushions on the market, it seems almost a crime if you do not have one in your makeup pouch! Besides its natural-looking finish and skincare benefits, the compact fits easily inside your handbag or makeup pouch so that you can carry it with you everywhere. To keep everything clean, most cushion foundations comes in a packaging form that has a plastic separator inside to keep the puff from touching the cushion. This prevents the foundation from seeping inside the puff which reduces product wastage while ensuring that your puff will not become too muddy with the liquid foundation. Normally, a mirror is also fitted on the inner side of the compact lid so you can conveniently touch up on the go without having to find the nearest washroom. Lastly, many of the cushion foundations mentioned here are refillable which makes it more value-for-money while helping to save the earth by reducing plastic packaging. Doesn’t all these make you want to purchase one right now?
How to Use A Cushion Foundation
When you first purchase a cushion foundation, you are probably most excited to start using it to recreate the flawless, natural look that Korean superstars always seem to have. Yet, while the cushion might seem intuitively easy to use, the wrong application method can actually result in an uneven coverage or depositing too much product on your face. To help you get the most out of using a cushion foundation, we have some tips to share with you:
Tips for a natural look:
- Gently Press the Puff Into the Cushion: avoid pushing the applicator puff right to the bottom of the cushion as you may end up with excess product that will make blending messy while increasing the chances of having a cakey texture. The trick is to press gently and make sure a small amount of product is picked up and spread evenly onto the puff.
- Tap Onto Your Skin: to achieve a natural look, resist swiping the product on your face. Instead, try tapping the foundation all over your face. For hard-to-reach areas like the sides of your nose, you can mould the puff to adhere to your finger for easier application.
- Use Fingers or Other Tools: if necessary, you can choose to use your fingers or a makeup brush to blend out the edges for a more refined and even finish.
- Layer It On: for areas that require more coverage such as blemishes or uneven skin texture, you can layer on the product to produce a flawless finish.
- Powdering for A Matte Look: certain cushion foundations offer a dewy finish which may not be what oily skin users want. However, that does not mean you cannot use the product if you have already purchased it. Instead, you can remedy the dewiness by lightly brushing on a thin layer of finishing/setting powder for enhanced shine control and matteness.
If you are looking to achieve the natural “no makeup” look, it is important to always start with a light hand. Cushion foundations are normally buildable in coverage so never fear about having your blemishes still being visible after one application. Layering also ensures that the foundation adheres to the skin closely which extends its wear throughout the day. So remember, less is more!
What is the right way to clean your cushion foundation puff?
Even though most of the puffs in cushion foundations are made of antimicrobial material to reduce the risk of bacteria growing inside the compact, it will still be a good idea to wash the puff at least once every week to keep it hygienic. After all, the last thing you want is to have breakouts or skin issues due to the dirt and bacteria accumulated on the puff.
- Oil Cleanser or Miceller Cleansing Water: squeeze out a liberal amount of the oil cleanser or cleansing water to soak the puff entirely. Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure all the makeup gunk are broken down. After that, run the puff under water to wash out all the residue until the liquid is clear.
- Dry Overnight: you can leave the puff out overnight for it to dry completely before placing it back into the compact.
If you feel that washing your puff might be a tedious method, you may also opt to buy replacement puffs instead at your nearest drugstore. Make sure that they are of a similar size to the original puff so that they can still fit inside the compact.
In addition, it is important to replace the cushion foundation every six months to ensure that contamination is kept to a minimal. Do remember to always keep the lid of the compact fully closed to prevent bacteria from entering and accumulating inside the enclosed space. Lastly, to minimize the chances of bacteria growing inside the compact, always keep your cushion foundation in a cool and dry place.
All in all, Korean cushion foundations are a worthwhile investment given the numerous benefits they offer to enhance the ease of putting on makeup amidst a busy lifestyle. With so many options catered to different skin types, you will be sure to find the perfect match for you!