Beauty & Style

Cushion foundations? Here's how to use them the right way

Cushion foundations are the big trend in makeup now - here's how to master using them


A cushion foundation gives your skin a dewy veil, making it look fresh and supple.

The foundation, which is soaked into a sponge, is more lightweight and watery than a liquid foundation. It comes in a compact case with a puff sponge applicator, making it more convenient to take along in your handbag.


Makeup artist Larry Yeo says: “A cushion foundation gives you more control during application.” However, it can be tricky to use as there’s a tendency to pick up too much product with the applicator. Here’s how to apply it perfectly:

Gently soak the applicator

“Insert your index, middle and ring fingers under the ribbon of the puff applicator. Gently soak the middle part of the puff to pick up foundation,” says Chaven Lee, field trainer of Korean cosmetic brand, Sulwhasoo. Don’t press too hard into the foundation-soaked cushion – it’ll cause an overload and spillage.

Swipe over skin, then dab

“To apply, first swipe the puff across the skin to spread the product, then gently dab your face to blend,” says Larry.

Reach corners

For hard-to-reach areas like under the eyes or around the nose, fold the puff in half and dab foundation on gently, says Laneige trainer Tina Oh.



If you’d like a more matte finish, lightly dust on loose powder after. You can also brush loose powder along the hairline and at the sides of the nose to absorb excess sebum, says Chaven.



“When using moist bases like liquid, cream or cushion foundations, apply concealer after foundation,” says makeup artist Clarence Lee. Applying concealer before cushion foundation can make your skin appear uneven and patchy.



If you find that you get through a cushion foundation really quickly, you are not alone. Here’s how you can extend its lifespan.

1) Use your fingers: Instead of picking up foundation with the puff applicator, pat your fingers against the cushion, and dab and spread it over your skin, recommends Clarence. He adds that you can use the puff applicator for blending and a foundation brush to get to hard-to-reach areas.

2) Touch up with the puff: “Use an angled kabuki brush to apply cushion foundation at home – it picks up less product. Use the puff for touch-ups on the go,” says Larry.

3) Flip it over: Foundation gets pushed to the bottom of the cushion as you press on it every day. When you find foundation running low, use a clean pair of tweezers to flip the cushion over so you can continue using it to the last drop, says Chaven.


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Here’s how a cushion foundation stacks up against other makeup bases.

- Compact foundation

Offers a semi-matte to matte finish, which may emphasise wrinkles and dehydration lines. What’s more, under flash photography, your compact foundation can make your skin look less natural or dusty with a whitish cast, says Larry. A cushion foundation makes your skin look more dewy and supple.

- Cream foundation

A cream formula conceals imperfections but can make you look like you have too much foundation on. A cushion foundation, on the other hand, is lighter and gives you a more natural-looking finish, says Clarence.

- Liquid foundation

A liquid foundation formulated to give you a dewy finish and a cushion foundation will give you the same results. But a liquid foundation wins hand-down for hygiene. Clarence says: “Liquid foundation is usually poured or pumped out, and there is minimal contact with the contents.” With a cushion foundation, you’d need to regularly handle the product – either with your fingers, brush or sponge, which maximises the transfer of sebum, dirt and bacteria to the foundation.


This article was originally published in Simply Her January 2015.