Just when you thought do-it-all beauty products couldn’t get any more innovative (think CC creams), the South Koreans have pushed the envelope even further with cushion compacts. Yes, they have taken a while to take off – the first cushion compact was launched by beauty brand Iope (owned by Amorepacific, the parent company of Etude House, Innisfree, Laneige and Sulwhasoo) back in 2008 – but now, almost every K-beauty brand has its own version.
What makes the cushion compact so appealing? Basically, it is a sponge soaked in liquid foundation, BB cream or CC cream and encased in a spill-proof compact. This makes application, especially touchups, fuss-free – simply press the applicator puff into the sponge, then pat foundation onto skin.
Most of these formulations offer a sheer finish so they don’t streak or appear cakey, even when reapplied throughout the day. And like other multifunctional K-beauty goodies, they boast skincare benefits (sun protection included!) for a healthy looking complexion.
Cushion compacts also one-up traditional powder compacts by giving skin a dewy, lit-from-within glow that’s so on-trend this year (powder foundations tend to mattify skin).
A SPARK OF GENIUS
It’s such a brilliant idea, so why didn’t anyone think of it sooner? Choi Yeong Jin, head of the Makeup Research Division at Amorepacific, shares that the groundbreaking technology behind the cushion compact was inspired by a parking stamp – the water-soaked sponge used to moisten stamps at post offices. Yeong Jin also reveals that Amorepacific’s multilayered applicator puffs have an antibacterial layer. That said, we’d still recommend washing the applicator puff regularly with cleansing oil and water.
With a myriad of formulas available in the market, it’s easy to find one for your skin type and finish. The Face Shop Cushion Screen Cell SPF50+/PA+++, for instance, offers dehydrated skin long-lasting moisture, while Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ uses apricot kernel oil to reportedly prevent fine lines.
However, most of these cushion compacts come in a limited range of shades for fair to medium skin tones, making it difficult for those with a tanned complexion to find a suitable match.
FOR BLEMISH PRONE SKIN:
Missha Air-fit Magic Cushion SPF50+/PA+++,
$24.90 for a case and $7.90 for two refills.
Hides imperfections, and moisturises skin to give an instant glow.
FOR DULL SKIN:
Laneige BB Cushion
SPF50+/PA+++, $59 (comes with one refill).
Gives maximum coverage and reportedly brightens skin.
FOR ROUGH SKIN:
Innisfree Water Glow Cushion
SPF50+/ PA+++, $34.
Plies skin with moisture for a smooth, luminous complexion.
FOR OILY SKIN:
Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion
Gives skin a healthy glow while keeping sebum production under control.
FOR MATURE SKIN:
Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion
SPF50+/PA+++, $74 (comes with one refill).
Blurs out and supposedly prevents signs of ageing for a youthful-looking complexion.
FOR DEHYDRATED SKIN:
The Face Shop Cushion Screen Cell
SPF50+/ PA+++, $49.90.
Offers a natural finish while keeping skin hydrated for up to 25 hours.
This story was first published in Her World magazine, November 2014 issue.
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