Makeup » Cushion Foundation Guide: Benefits & Uses

Cushion Foundation Guide: Benefits & Uses

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If you think you might be into this new take on foundations and BB creams, then we can help you figure out how to make the best of cushion compacts! In this article, we explain exactly what cushion foundation compacts are and why they are so great. We’ll help you figure out how you apply it correctly. We cap everything off with some cushion compact makeup tips and tricks.

How to Apply Cushion Foundations: How to Use Cushion Compacts

In this article:

What Is a Cushion Compact?

A cushion compact is a compact makeup container that holds liquid makeup products. In this makeup delivery system, you basically have a makeup compact with two levels.

The bottom level is a sterile sponge or mesh fibers (the cushion) that is saturated with a liquid makeup formula (most frequently a BB or CC cream with light coverage). Because the makeup sits in the sponge, it is lighter and airier than it would be if it was compressed at the bottom of a bottle.

Over the cushion there is a plastic separator that prevents contaminants from getting into the makeup. On top of that sits an anti-microbial applicator sponge – so you really don’t have to worry about your sponge getting gunky and cross-contaminating your makeup. The whole compact is airtight, so you really don’t have to worry about bacteria getting it, even if you have the cushion foundation compact sitting in your purse or car.

In addition to cushion compact foundations, you can also find blushes, primers, and other cream-based makeup products in the cushion form.

Cushion Foundation Benefits

There are a few reasons why cushion foundations are the best for any makeup lover, and that you are going to fall in love with them once you try one.

Cushion Foundations Have Unparalleled Airiness

Because the makeup inside the cushion foundations sits inside the sponge, it remains liquidy, airy, and light. Once the sponge is pressed into the cushion, the amount of makeup deposited in minimal.

This means that you never end up with too much makeup on your sponge, and the texture of the makeup itself is totally dreamy. This is perfect for anyone who wants natural-looking makeup that will never look cakey.

How to Choose the Best Cushion Foundations

Convenient for Carrying

Liquid foundations and BB creams are my favorites because it’s so easy to make them look good, especially if you get dry patches when you wear cream or powder-based foundations. However, they are a pain to carry and apply throughout the day.

Cushion compacts solve the problem. They are super convenient to pop open on the go, and quickly re-apply a bit of makeup.

Waste Reduction

The other beautiful thing about cushion compact foundations is that the cushion itself is refillable! You don’t have to buy a brand new compact each time you run out, which is good for your pocket and for the environment. You simply buy a cushion refill, pop it into your compact, and you’re good to go.

Skin Care and Makeup All in One

Since cushion compacts hail from South Korea, where makeup is nice but skin care is everything, it is no surprise that these formulas almost always have some serious benefits to the skin. Frequently cushion compacts are BB or CC cream formulas with skin-nourishing, moisturizing, protecting, and anti-aging ingredients. You can think of these Korean makeup products as skin care with a tint.

Cushion Foundations Almost Always Have a Serious SPF

The other thing that makes these cushion foundations stand out is the consistently high SPF. You will frequently see formulas with 30 or 50 SPF, as well as broad spectrum protection.

If you apply liberally, the cushion foundation will be all the face sunscreen you’ll need, but usually it is better to apply a ¼ teaspoon of sunscreen first, and then use the cushion for SPF touch-ups throughout the day.

How Are Cushion Compacts Different from Foundations and BB Creams?

Here is the way to keep things straight: cushion compacts are the delivery method, while foundations and BB or CC creams are what’s inside. Most frequently cushion compacts hold an alphabet cream, but they can also hold foundations, liquid highlighters, and liquid blushes.

Alphabet creams, i.e. BB or CC creams, are products that sit somewhere between skin care and makeup. They provide coverage to the skin (normally light-to-medium coverage) in a variety of finishes, and they tend to include many skin care benefits (especially skin-brightening and anti-aging, but there are also anti-acne BB creams and more). BB and CC creams often have high sun protection factors, especially when compared to Western foundations.

I think it makes the most sense to think of BB and CC creams as a type of foundation. The big difference is that the word “foundation” makes us think of a makeup product first, and it can take the form of a liquid, balm, cream, or powder. Foundations can provide coverage anywhere between ultra-light to very full, so they really are a very broad product type!

How to Use Cushion Foundation Compacts

If you want to give the cushion foundations a try, make the most of them by using them correctly!

  • Since coverage for cushion foundations tends to be quite light, it is important that your skin is in the best condition possible. Make sure you start off with a clean canvas, so at the very least use a gentle facial cleanser and a nourishing moisturizer before you start. You can also apply a primer if you like.
  • Unlike Western brands that often sell their products with subpar applicators, the brands making cushion compacts actually craft their applicators to go perfectly with the product. You can use your own brush or sponge if you want, but many caution that the best results will come from using the special anti-microbial rubycell sponge.
  • Press your applicator lightly into the cushion, making sure not to pick up too much foundation or BB/ CC cream.
  • Begin applying the foundation to your face in downward motions, to avoid disturbing any peach fuzz and to keep the foundation looking natural. For a higher coverage, use a stippling application motion.
  • To apply cushion foundations to trickier areas like below the eyes or along the side of the nose, either fold the sponge or wrap it around your finger, and apply as you did before.
  • Once you’ve covered your whole face, see if there are any areas that require more coverage. You can either apply more foundation from your cushion to those areas, especially if all you need is medium coverage, or you can apply a concealer if you need high coverage.
  • If you are going for a very dewy, K-pop style finish, then you’re done! You can finish your look off with just a bit of makeup. However, for a longer-lasting look and a somewhat more matte finish make sure to set your makeup with a translucent powder.

Cushion Compact Makeup Tips & Tricks

  • Cushion compact technology is very clean and sterile, and the formulas themselves are well preserved. Even so, this assumes that they are used correctly. Never forget to properly close your cushion compact after using it, as leaving it open will seriously compromise its sterility.
  • Replace your cushions regularly. If you don’t use it up by the end of 6 months, toss the cushion as it is very likely to have hit its expiry date.
  • If you are relying on your cushion compacts to also double as your sunscreen, make sure to pack it on! To get the full SPF of a product you need to use at least a ¼ teaspoon.
  • If you have oily skin, a cushion compact can also double as your moisturizer! Many cushion compacts (especially Korean ones) are loaded with hydrating ingredients to keep your skin soft and supple.

Have you tried cushion compacts? What did you think? Let us know!

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