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It’s time to talk about the Cushion compact! With the recent addition to the Lancome line up, MAC’s version as well as the upcoming L’Oreal’s Lumi Cushion I thought I should blog about the original Korean inspiration. I’ve been using them for a few years now and they are honestly one of my favourite ways of applying foundation.

What is a Cushion Compact?

A cushion compact is a compact with a sponge saturated with a foundation (product is more like a tinted moisturiser or BB cream) and applied with a the little sponge applicator. You press lightly into the foundation sponge and then apply by tapping it on to your skin. The coverage can be light to medium.

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What are the Positives?

Perfect for quick make up application. It’s easy to ensure an even application, very build-able and moisturising.  Since you pat the product onto the skin, the effect is similar to using a beauty blender and provides almost an seamless, blurred effect. A lot of brands market them as creating a poreless finish but that’s simply because of the way you’re applying the product – so not entirely true. They are great for traveling, touch ups on the go and there is almost no chance of the product leaking. Often the refills are interchangeable with other cushion compacts, for example I’ve found that I can pop any refill into the pretty Sulwhasoo peony compact.


What are the Negatives?

They run out really fast so cost per wear is quite high. With Korean brands, they come with a refill as standard but it seems that the Western counterparts don’t come with them – which is a bit annoying as the Korean versions are all marketed at around the same price point. Top tip though, flip the sponge when you think you’re running out, there is usually enough foundation on the reverse to keep you going for a few more weeks. The sponges are also not the easiest to clean which can make them pretty unhygienic.

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I don’t have any experience with the non-Korean cushion brands so here are some mini reviews of the Korean cushion pacts that I have tried. Most of these brands are available from Yes Style which is a haven for Asian beauty products and where I purchase from if I’m not in HK or don’t have any relatives traveling there.

Iope Air Cushion XP SPF 50+ PA+++ Shade C21 (Available here)

Iope was my first ever cushion compact. I follow a few Korean bloggers and one of them really rated Iope for it’s buildable coverage. It has quite a dewy finish which is super popular in Korea but I prefer to tone this down with some powder as the dewy look isn’t really for me. I have found that towards the end of the day, my skin can look a little patchy so it definitely needs a touch up.

Hera UV Mist Cushion SPF 50+ PA +++ Shade C21 (Available here)

Hera was purchased after I finished my Iope cushion and wanted to try something new. I still use this daily and it’s starting to run out – I am pretty happy with it. It’s similar to the Iope, a little bit more moisturising and the one I reach for the most often. It’s also not as dewy as Iope and brightens the complexion.

Hera UV Mist Cushion Ultra Moisture SPF 34 PA++ Shade C21 (Available here)

I purchased this one at Hong Kong duty free. As I have been loving Hera products, I bought the duty free duo pack with the last of my HK dollars. I have only just opened this pack but as the name suggests, it’s more moisturising than the Hera Mist cushion. I really like it and since it’s a duo pack and each one comes with a refill, I’m all set until my return to HK this Summer!
cushion compact-6Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion SPF 50+ PA+++ Medium Pink 21 (Available here US Site only)

This was a gift from my aunt who travelled to Korea and in a Limited edition peony design. It’s gorgeous and the most high coverage out of the other compacts. It is a slightly pinker shade but still works for my complexion. It’s also the most moisturising and long lasting compared to the other compact shades. It’s not too dewy either but the original price point is a lot higher than Hera. So in terms of purchasing, I think Hera is a decent alternative.

What is PA+++ 
A Japanese/Korean rating system to show how much protection you’re getting from UVA Rays. The more + signs, the better the level of UVA Protection. UVA are the long waves (affects deeper layers of the skin) associated with premature aging as opposed to UVB rays which are associated with Sunburn (superficial layers of the skin) and which most sun creams claims to protect you from.

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I really like cushion compacts and I rarely opt to use any other kind of foundations at the moment. Since I’m more of a tinted moisturiser/BB cream kind of girl and hate the feeling of heavier foundations, I have been loving these. They’re a quick, easy and convenient method way of applying make up which is great for someone like me who doesn’t always have that much time in the morning. Being a Korean concept, the original compacts are limited to 1, 2 and if you’re lucky, 3 shades so it’s great that Western brands are jumping on to the trend which means a much broader range of colors to suit skin tones.

Have you tried a cushion compact? Let me know if you have in the comments and if there are any others that I should try. I’m keen to try out more matte versions and I’ve heard a lot about April Skin cosmetics which is really popular in Hong Kong at the moment, so I’m planning to check out that brand soon…