Cushion Compact Showdown: Which of these six bases perform best?
ICYMI: skin is in! The current makeup trend has swung towards face bases that are lighter and more natural-looking. And if you’re looking for that #WokeUpLikeThis no-makeup makeup look, one of your best options it to get yourself a cushion compact. You get good coverage, SPF, and the compact makes it easy slip into your purse for touchups. You can DIY your own cushion, too, but sometimes it’s hard to beat formulas developed by established brands.
Luckily, so many brands are getting into the cushion makeup craze, with Western ones starting to compete with the OG Asian releases. We’re not complaining though - we’re definitely spoilt for choice, and it now poses the new problem of narrowing down which ones to consider for your selection. To help you decide, we shopped our stash and picked out a mix of old faves and new finds to battle it out!
Skin notes: I have dry skin that’s prone to redness, and I get a little shiny on my T-zone after a few hours. My shade is somewhere between NC15 and NC20.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Cushion BB in 2W0 Warm Vanilla SPF 50/PA+++ (P2,400 at Estée Lauder)
Among the cushions I tried for this challenge, this has the lightest formula and the sheerest coverage. It mildly corrects discolorations but doesn’t do much for blemishes or hyperpigmentation. I felt that the lightweight formula may have contributed to it fading at the three-hour mark. Warm Vanilla is an excellent match for my skin tone, though, and gives it a healthy, slightly sun-kissed coloring! I like that it didn’t make me look like I had a white cast, even with the impressively high SPF. This cushion is ideal for those with dry to normal skin who have lots of good skin days because it looks more like a tinted moisturizer.
Laneige BB Cushion Whitening in 21 Beige SPF 50+/PA+++ (P1,320 at Althea Korea)
Another cushion that toes on the sheer side, Laneige’s offering doesn’t do much for redness and blemishes. Compared to the Estee Lauder cushion, the formula feels drier and more foundation-like with a dewy finish. Longevity is at two to three hours before a touch-up becomes necessary. The shade made my skin look slightly paler, which might be due to the whitening/brightening effect it claims to have. Plus, I've been a little more tan these past few months and I bought the cushion when I was at my palest. It's still wearable for me though, and I can just top it with a powder foundation closer to my current skin tone.
W.Lab W-Snow CC Cushion in #21 S.L SPF 50+/PA+++ (P1,050 at Althea Korea)
This also has a dewy finish and provides light color correction and blemish cover, just like the first two. The shade, insta-bright effect, and coverage level is similar to Laneige but I liked this formula better! It’s more lightweight and runny so it instantly got absorbed by my skin. Zero tackiness and stickiness, too, so I hardly felt that I had any base makeup on. It also lasts a bit better, with touch-ups needed after a good four hours.
Iope Air Cushion Moisture Lasting in N23 SPF 50+/PA+++ (P1,520 at Althea Korea)
True to its name, the formula feels a little richer, with a certain heaviness that reminds me of sunblock. It’s this thickness that causes it to stay put, even when in a humid, sweaty environment. On the flip side, it's also what makes this base prone to caking on pores and clinging to dry patches. The finish is dewy but looks like I have a thick layer of translucent powder on, which is unable to hide redness and hyperpigmentation. The shade may just be too light for me, which is odd considering that this is already the darkest shade available. Longevity is at four hours.
April Skin Magic Snow Cushion in 23 SPF 50+/PA+++ (P650 at Althea Korea)
Medium to full coverage with a satin finish, this evens out my complexion and deals with hyperpigmentation without much effort. It mattifies without looking too flat, and lasts four hours. Though the finish is more matte, I still recommend using a setting powder afterwards as the formula tends to look cakey (as opposed to fading) when the skin starts to get oily. The shade is on the yellow side, giving my skin a lightly tanned look.
Chica Y Chico Matt Cushion in No. 23 Medium Beige SPF 35/PA++ (P610 at Althea Korea)
While most of the other cushions gave a dewy glow, this is gives a truly flat matte finish. It almost feels like actual medium to full coverage foundation, too, as a few pats is all I needed to neutralize redness and lighten hyperpigmentation. No need to set with powder! As with typical mattifying liquid foundations, it can be a little drying, so make sure to moisturize well beforehand. Medium Beige is on the yellowish side, making it a good match for my skin tone. Without setting powder, my nose starts to get shiny after three hours. It fades around three hours.
Verdict: I can’t pick just one winner because the formulas of the six cushion compacts varied quite a bit! Instead, I have my Top 3 to will address various skin type and coverage requirements.
Best lightweight formula and sheer coverage: Go for Estee Lauder Double Wear Cushion BB if you want that woke-up-like-this, dewy, healthy look and have minimal skin issues. This also feels like nothing on the face, and it fades evenly throughout the day.
Most comfortable to wear: W.Lab W-Snow CC Cushion helps me achieve that luminous K-idol look without feeling dry or sticky. When using cushions in humid weather, its lightweight formula makes a huge difference to my comfort levels.
For oily skin and matte lovers: Chica Y Chico Matt Cushion is a clear winner. And if you have normal or dry skin, you can already skip the setting powder and use this as a one-step base.
It bears mentioning that while Korean cushion compacts are worthy products, you'd be hard-pressed to find a good shade match if you're NC35 upwards. Medium-toned ladies will rarely catch a break in that regard! Laneige does offer a wide shade selection; Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown makes good shades for darker skin too.
Do you use cushion face bases? Which one is your fave? Whatever you do end up using, don’t forget to keep the sponge clean to avoid breakouts and general grossness!