Cushion compacts are as light as air and dreamy to use. This innovative makeup delivery system hails from South Korea, where it has become the go-to way of packaging all kinds of cream makeup products.
Iope, one of the first brands to introduce cushion compact foundations onto the market, claims to sell a cushion foundation every 6 seconds! Nowadays cushion foundations are easy to find, from both Asian and Western brands. This is no surprise since cushion compacts give unparalleled natural coverage and are super convenient to carry.
So if you have made up your mind to give this magical product a try, check out our definitive list of the best cushion foundation compacts you can easily purchase. We’ll also help you figure out which cushion foundation compacts will be best for you based on your skin and preferences.
In this article:
- Our Picks of the Best Cushion Foundation Compacts
- How to Choose the Perfect Cushion Foundation Compact for You?
Our Picks of the Best Cushion Foundation Compacts
Make sure to pick the best cushion compact foundation for your skin type, as recommended below!
Best Cushion Foundations for Dry Skin with Dewy Finish
1. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Cushion Compact Foundation
This Western take on cushion foundations gives as dewy and glowy a coverage as any Korean cushion, but with a buildable coverage that would be more popular with most in the West. This formula doesn’t boast an SPF, unfortunately, but it does possess many skin care properties. If you want to try one of these 8 shades, you can find them at YSL Beauty.
2. Laneige BB Cushion Hydra Radiance
The name of this cushion BB compact makes it clear: this is a hydrating, skin-brightening formula that gives a luminous finish to the skin. It’s got some serious skin care ingredients in it to improve the look of all skin types, and a 50 SPF. It’s a perfect choice for dry and normal skin types, so pick up one of the 6 available shades at Amazon.
3. Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Foundation Compact
This cushion foundation does exactly what it needs to: it nourishes the skin with botanicals, and provides a buildable dewy coverage that is perfect for dry and normal skin. It is more foundation-y than other cushion compact on this list, that’s for sure. There are six shades to choose from, which tend to run light. You can purchase this cushion foundation from Nordstrom.
Best Cushion Foundations For Normal Skin Types with Natural Finish
4. Physicians Formula Mineral Wear All-in-One ABC Cushion Foundation
This mineral makeup cushion foundation has a gentle formula and lots of skin benefits. It provides a light coverage that is as natural as any Korean cushion offering. Its velvety finish would work for all skin types, and a 50 SPF is commendable. You can buy one of the 6 shades at Amazon.
5. Amore Pacific Age Correcting Foundation Cushion
This is the brand that started the cushion craze (and is also the parent brand of other contenders like Laneige and Sulwhasoo), and this is one of the best cushion compacts, especially if you like a slightly fuller coverage. It has a 25 SPF, and a coverage that hides wrinkles and blemishes alike. This nourishing formula is ideal for mature skin, but it can work for those with younger, normal skin as well. You can find this cushion, with 5 color options, at Nordstrom.
6. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Cushion Compact
This is a perfect middle of the road cushion compact with lots of skin benefits. It brightens the skin and staves away premature aging. It has a natural skin, but it is quite moisturizing. If you have skin that leans towards oily, you can wear it without moisturizer, although it’ll generally work best for normal skin. As with many other Western cushion compacts, you can build up the coverage to about medium. You can purchase it at Amazon.
7. Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Perfect Skin Cushion
This take on cushion foundations from Dior perfectly captures the essence of what cushion compacts should be, with a ton of skin-loving botanicals, a high SPF, and a luminiscent coverage that isn’t too shiny. The coverage this cushion gives is somewhere between light and medium, and there are 4 colors to choose from. It is available for sale at Amazon.
Best Cushion Foundations for Oily Skin with Matte/ Semi-Matte Finish
8. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Cushion Foundation
After years of cushion compacts being available outside Korea, color selection still leaves something to be desired. That’s why Lancome deserves its place on this list of the best cushion foundations – their 17 shades mean almost anyone can find a match.
This is essentially a lighter reformulation of the Teint Idole foundation, and it is certainly one of the best cushions available, especially for those with oily/ combination skin. While the finish on this cushion is natural, it is still able to keep oils in check. It provides light to medium coverage, and is available at Lancome.
9. Clinique Super City Block BB Cushion Compact
As always, Clinique delivers a wonderful take on a makeup product that is simple, elegant, and effective. This cushion compact provides a matte coverage that never feels heavy or cakey – just smooth and light, yet matte. It is perfect for oily and combination skin, and it provides a 50 SPF that is rare to find in products for these skin types. The only drawback is a 4-shade color selection. If you would like to give it a try, you can find it at Ulta.
Best Non-Foundation Cushion Compacts
10. Lancome Cushion Blush Subtil
Cushion compacts are a great way of getting a sheer look, and in this case, this is the dewy-est, subtlest, and most natural blush possible. Tap a little bit on with the included sponge, perhaps after you’ve applied your cushion compact foundation, for a really lovely natural flush. This formula comes in three colors that are available at Amazon.
11. Philosophy Take a Deep Breath Cushion Color for Cheeks
While Philosophy’s cushion foundation didn’t merit a place as one of the best cushion compacts, its blush certainly did. There are 4 shades to choose from, that are all beautifully blendable and lightweight. They give a delicate wash of color across the cheeks, and are simply lovely. They are available for sale at Ulta.
12. First Aid Beauty 3-in-1 Superfruit Color Correcting Cushion
Think of this as a primer that both color corrects and brightens, as opposed to a color correcting concealer. This cushion compact boasts beautiful skin-nourishing and smoothing ingredients like niacinamide and superfruit extracts, so you’ll have no qualms applying it to your skin before your cushion foundation. It’ll give your skin added coverage and a natural glow. Pick one of these cushion compacts up for yourself at Sephora.
How to Choose the Perfect Cushion Foundation Compact for You?
With more cushion foundations now available on the market, finding one that will suit your needs is becoming easier! While cushion foundations normally provide a sheer, moist coverage, there are variations out there that buck the trend with more coverage or with matte finishes.
In order to find the right one for you, first take stock of the things that matter, like skin type, skin tone, favorite finish, and the level of coverage you want.
Choosing the Best Cushion Foundations by Skin Type
To start off, make sure you can correctly assess what your skin type is. Most of us sit somewhere in between the two extremes, so you can try and figure out which one you are closest to.
- Those with oily skin tend to have larger pores (especially in the T-zone), and their skin becomes shiny and oily throughout the day.
- Those with dry skin will normally (though not always) have smaller, nearly invisible pores, and their skin will never get shiny of its own accord.
- Those in the middle can have combination skin leaning either in one direction or the other.
Most cushion compact foundations are made for skin that leans towards dry, with a lot of emollient ingredients. You will see lots of creamy ingredients in their formulas, and they’ll be advertised as having moisturizing, conditioning, or hydrating properties. Some will give your skin a dewy finish that looks very healthy and bright, although options with normal finishes exist as well.
For those with skin that leans towards oily, we are starting to see more matte and semi-matte options. Usually you can figure this out from the name (names like pore-blurring, mattifying, or oil-control, for example), although reading reviews (or my list of the best cushion foundations) will also give you a lot of information!
If you end up opting for just a regular cushion foundation, you can make it look more matte (and get it to last longer) by powdering it.
Choosing the Best Cushion Foundations by Skin Tone
Cushion foundations, especially from Korea, usually only come in 4-6 shades, and unfortunately they often leave out those who have darker skin. Western brands tend to have a better shade selection, so bare this in mind if you have darker skin.
In general, the smaller shade range is not the end of the world since the coverage is light, and one shade will fit a wide range of skin tones. Even so, the lack of cushion foundations for darker skin tones is certainly shameful in this day and age.
Start off by determining your undertones – does your skin lean towards cool (i.e. pinkish or blue-ish), neutral (beige or olive), or warm (yellow or golden)? You can figure it out by the color of your veins (purple means cool, blue means neutral, and green means warm).
Buying in store is always the easiest way to find the best cushion compact foundation for your skin tone, because you can test the color on your skin. Swipe a few colors along your jawline – the color that blends best into both your neck and face (to the point that it seems invisible) is your perfect match!
If you are buying online, look up shade descriptions and swatches! Buying cushion foundations online is more forgiving, because their light coverage means a small color mismatch will not be noticeable. Most brands will describe the shade’s undertone on their website – especially in the case of Sephora or Ulta.
Choosing the Best Cushion Foundations by Finish Preference
Cushion compacts come in three types of finishes, and it’s simply a question of taste when deciding which one you want to try. Your options are dewy, natural, and matte.
- A dewy skin finish is super popular in K-beauty these days. The skin looks moist, hydrated, and youthful. For those with larger pores, unfortunately, it can also look greasy, so those with oily skin are usually not fans. For dry skin this looks healthy and radiant.
- A natural or semi-matte finish will work for almost anyone. The skin simply looks smooth and only slightly illuminated. This is a great choice for those with normal and combination skin.
- Lastly, matte finish cushion compacts are the perfect choice for anyone who likes to avoid a shiny or greasy look. They tend to last longer, and give the skin a velvety look. These are best for those with oily skin, whereas for dry skin they might emphasize patches of flakey skin.
Choosing the Best Cushion Foundations by Level of Coverage
If you are looking for a foundation that will hide all kinds of discolorations of blemishes, and give you that perfect, porcelain skin, must-have-been-photoshopped effect… then cushion compact foundations are probably not for you.
Cushion foundations usually come in two levels of coverage: light and medium-light yet buildable.
- If you normally hate foundations, and you want something that will look as natural as possible, and will just slightly even out your skin tone, then cushion compacts with light coverage will suit you just fine.
- If you are looking for something that will cover some slight discolorations, and give you a more “made-up” look that is not too heavy or obvious, or if you usually wear a medium or full-coverage foundation and want a slightly light option for good skin days, then chances are a cushion foundation with buildable coverage will be the best choice for you.
You can go over my list of the best cushion foundations to see which gives what kind of coverage, and find the perfect option for you.
Photos via Sephora, Nordstrom