Inspired by a rubber stamp ink pad, the cushion compact is neither a traditional powder foundation compact nor cream foundation compact.

It is essentially a sponge soaked in liquid foundation, or BB or CC cream, and the liquid is picked up with a rubbery sponge.

The cushion compact was launched by South Korean beauty conglomerate Amorepacific in South Korea in 2008 to fill a gap in the market for a no-spill and convenient liquid foundation for on-the-go touch-ups.

It is now one of the best-selling products for the company; apparently one was sold every second last year. Amorepacific owns brands such as Etude House, Innisfree, Laneige and Sulwhasoo.

To ride on its success, many other brands now offer similar products.


Etude House Mineral Any Cushion 6 cushion compacts for every budget.jpg

Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion SPF50+/ PA+++
$32, from Etude House stores

Made to control sebum, brighten, correct skin tone, moisturise and smoothen wrinkles.

Review: I liked how this product left a cool sensation on the skin; perfect for the sweltering weather. It gives the skin a semi-matte texture with medium coverage.



Innisfree Water Glow Cushion SPF50+/ PA+++Innisfree Water Glow Cushion 6 cushion compacts for every budget.jpg
$34, from Innisfree stores

Contains green tea essence to moisturise and energise skin, and give it a dewy finish.

Review: Go for this if you prefer light to medium coverage with a semi-matte finish. Perfect for correcting the skin tone when you want to wear minimal make-up during the weekend.



The Face Shop Cushion Screen Cell SPF50+/ PA+++The Face Shop Cushion Screen Cell Natural 6 cushion compacts for every budget.jpg
$42.90, from The Face Shop stores

An HD blurring powder is added to hide blemishes and lighten skin, as well as lily sap extract to moisturise. The formula promises to smoothen the appearance of wrinkles too.

Review: Gives skin light coverage with a glossy finish. The cushion is covered with a flexible fabric net that seems able to keep the sponge cleaner, for longer.



Pure Heal’s Ginseng Berry 27 Cover Cushion SPF50+/ PA+++Pure Heal's Ginseng Berry 27 Cover Cushion 6 cushion compacts for every budget.jpg
$43, from Sephora stores

This cushion supposedly boosts skin elasticity; ginseng berry extract makes up 27 per cent of the formula.

Review: A watery and moisturising formula that provides medium coverage with a dewy glow.




Laneige BB Cushion SPF50+/PA+++Laneige BB Cushion 6 cushion compacts for every budget.jpg
$59 with one extra refill, from Laneige counters

A global bestseller, this cushion promises to moisturise with mineral water and brighten with Bead Tree extract. It also claims to soothe and cool skin heated by the sun, by four degrees.

Review: Provides light to medium coverage with a dewy and bright finish. Makes skin feel refreshed and supple too. One of my all-time favourites.



Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion SPF50+/PA+++Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion 6 cushion compacts for every budget.jpg
$74 with one extra refill, from Sulwhasoo counters

This premium cushion promises to brighten skin with arbutin, smoothen wrinkles with adenosine, and firm with apricot kernel oil.

It also contains the hydrating herbs white lily, peony, lotus, solomon’s seal plant and the adhesive rehmannia root.

It supposedly lasts up to 12 hours too.

Review: A relatively rich formula best used on mature or dry skin. If you have combination skin, just apply a thinner layer.

It provides medium to full coverage that is buildable, gives skin a glow and a flawless porcelain finish. This cushion has a pleasant herbal scent too.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on March 13, 2015. For similar stories, go to You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.