The First Drugstore Cushion Foundation Is Finally On The Shelves And My Face

How do I know this? Because I am a beauty oracle.
Publish date:
January 9, 2016
shoppables, foundation, L'oreal, drugstore makeup, beauty trends, Korean Skincare

ALERT ALERT ALERT The first drugstore cushion foundation has just hit shelves. Mark the time, because they’re about to be everywhere. Remember when BB creams showed up and after what felt like just a few days, they completely took over? We’re about to experience the same thing with cushions. How do I know this? Because I am a beauty oracle. Didn’t you know?

Cushion foundations, like BB creams, actually, are massive in the Korean beauty market right now (though as Ratzilla, a Japanese beauty blog points out, Almay had almost the exact same idea 15 years ago and y’all were not having it.)

The OG cushion foundation is by Laneige, the company credited for putting these products on again. At the end of April 2015, Lancome released their own Miracle Cushion Foundation which was very well received. IT Cosmetics has their CC+ Veil Beauty Fluid Foundation which also dropped this year. It's beginning.

L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation

The foundation of the moment is L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation, and it’s being rolled out right now at your local drugstore. If you're not yet a Korean beauty expert, let me give you a quick rundown on cushion foundations. A cushion foundation is a compact that houses a sponge soaked in liquid foundation.

The foundation is typically very light and sheer, but build-able, with just a tint of color with your first layer, and fuller coverage by your third. Build-able, dewy, everything you’ve come to expect from Korean beauty products. They also are known for a very amped SPF, most of them promising SPF 50, which is awesome. (Remember, this does not mean that you can go without sunscreen, because one thin layer of foundation is not going to protect you all day.)

Korean beauty is all about clean dewy skin with barely there foundation. Cushion foundations are a great way to achieve just that, but they don’t come without their faults. The reason people are all over these little guys is that they are, in some ways, a more sophisticated version of a BB cream.

Can I just say something? I never found a BB that I really loved. I felt that across the board, they were too streaky, they never came in enough shades to really match my skintone and undertone, and they wouldn’t ever really set. I would have rather just worn a damn foundation and gotten on with my life, but that's just me.

The foundation within this cushion compact is very thin and takes your skin flawlessly, allowing you to build it the in areas you where need more coverage. For me, that’s under my eyes. See? Here's a before:

Here's one layer, which doesn't look or feel like much when you first put it on, but it does a nice job of subtly evening things out.

It still lets your natural coloring show through where you don’t need full coverage. The consistency is sheer enough that it won’t streak, and you won’t look caked in makeup when you build it. The finish is gorgeous as well. You look like you’re healthy, well rested, and getting it in.

This is two layers:

Now we're getting somewhere.

Lately I’ve gone from preferring medium-full coverage foundations to lighter, light to medium coverage. This is all the way over on the “light coverage” end of the spectrum, so for me, this wouldn’t be my go to. However, I have to say that after applying and wearing it a couple of times, I really am impressed with how well it layers, and the finish has the perfect K Beauty dewy look without ever looking slick.

This is three layers:

Finally, L’Oreal’s cushion is available in twelve shades from light to deep, so everyone can have a go with this foundation. It’s good to see the drugstore brands releasing shades for everyone.

So that’s the good.

The glaring issue here is the germ factor. I’m not exactly the first person to talk to about being a germaphobe (I did just wash my brushes though!), but even I raised an eyebrow at these products. The problem is that the sponge is constantly wet and stored in darkness, making it a perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria.

If you’re using the puff applicator that it comes with (no shade to L’Oreal here, they all come with a puff just like this one) you’re repeatedly dipping the same applicator into the same wet sponge, and then putting it all over your face, and then back into the sponge. It’s not exactly the most sanitary.

Even if you prefer to use a different applicator with the foundation, you’re still dipping it into the same wet sponge repeatedly, onto your face, and back again, which is no good. We’ve all seen how being careless with the cleanliness of our makeup can have some pretty serious consequences, so by now, we should at least be aware of how sterile our beauty routine is.

I’m such a buzzkill! I’m not trying to ruin the fun or steer you away from these products because I do think there’s a lot of great things about them. I’m just saying.

Oh, back to the puff. Aside from the fact that it’s mad nasty, I’m just not about it. I feel like these products would work best with a beauty blender. When I applied, I dipped my (germy) finger into the sponge, dotted the product around my face, and then buffed it out with a foundation brush. The foundation behaved really well with the brush, but the choreography of dipping my finger in the sponge then dotting it around my face then reaching for the brush then buffing it out got a little old after a while. I guess I would use the puff for touchups throughout the day, but it doesn’t play well with the contours of my face, like getting in under my eyes, where I need coverage the most. Plus the seams that connect the little ribbon handle to the back of the puff got a little scratchy on my face and I was like “do you mind?”

Last, this foundation has no SPF, and the sun protection is a big part of what makes these such a cult product so hmmm.

So in short, the foundation is foolproof, the finish is beautiful, and they're a great way to carry liquid foundation around with you, BUT, the applicator sucks, they're don't all include sun protection, and they're a perfect breeding ground for germs.

So, what do you guys think of cushion foundations? Are you using them? If so, what kind? Are you freaked out by bacteria in your makeup? Talk to me in the comments because I'm genuinely curious.

Follow Tynan on Twitter goddamn it @TynanBuck.