I don’t want to assume anything, but I’m going to take a guess and say that if you’re reading this, you probably have your foundation routine set. You know which product(s) you like, which formulations you prefer, which finishes look flattering on you, and how you like to apply your foundation. If all of the above is true, that’s great—congrats! While I’m in the same boat as you, being the beauty editor that I am, I’m always exploring new and new-to-me formulas.
One type of new-to-me product that’s been intriguing me? Cushion foundation. I don’t know where I’ve been, but I’m glad I’ve finally discovered it. Cushion foundations originated in Korea, which also blessed us with BB creams, so you already know this product is going to be a game changer. “Cushion compacts are inspired by rubber stamps in that you use a sponge to tap lightweight hydrating foundation formulas onto the skin,” explains Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam and founder of Then I Met You. “They’re convenient to carry around and great for reapplication because [they create] an airbrushed look of even, glowing skin tone.” And beauty influencer and content creator Sandy Lin loves using a cushion foundation for natural, dewy skin looks, aka, the skincare-and-makeup look of the moment.
If you need more convincing, I asked the experts for their favorite things about cushion foundations, so consider these reasons below.
1. They’re lightweight: “In terms of pros, a cushion foundation is more easily absorbed and tends to feel very light on the skin,” celebrity makeup artist Valeria Ferreira says.
2. They’re convenient: Lin says they’re good to bring with you on the go for touch-ups.
3. They have buildable coverage: Cushion foundations are sheer, so they don’t feel too cakey or heavy. “Another added bonus of cushion compacts is their ability to provide buildable coverage. Simply apply however many layers you’re feeling that day,” Cho says.
4. They have skincare properties: “A lot of cushion foundations I’ve used also double up as a skincare product and have ingredients that are hydrating and good for your skin,” Lin says.
5. They’re easy to apply: Lin adds that they’re easy to apply, and you don’t have to worry so much about blending.
6. They’re gentle on the skin: “The formula and application process [are] so gentle on the skin,” Lin says. “Even the nicest bristle brushes can be a little rough on my skin sometimes, but I don’t have that issue with the sponge applicators.”
7. It’s beneficial for dry skin: “It is a great foundation for mature skin types, as it is extremely moisturizing and light,” Ferreira says. The formulation also makes it perfect for people with dry and dehydrated skin.
When it comes to shopping for a cushion foundation, it’s important to note that some of the shade ranges are not extensive. This is because they’re fairly new to the U.S. beauty market, but Cho says that brands are quickly expanding their shade offerings.
To find your perfect shade match, Ferreira recommends trying the product on the jawline near the neck. “As the finish is quite sheer, you will often find that a shade can cater to quite a few tones,” she says. “The shades are much more adaptable than full-coverage foundations.”
And as for application, there are a couple of ways to do it. Ferreira likes using her fingertips or a sponge. “You can easily work the product into the skin, achieving a flawless and ultra-natural look,” she explains. “The fingers warm up the product, helping the texture to become airbrushed.”
Cho recommends stippling and stamping the foundation on the face with the pre-soaked cushion. And don’t forget to wash the sponge. “Although their packaging makes them a great option for a quick and simple application, you should take time and care to wash the sponge every week with an oil cleanser and water, and then air-dry before using it again,” Cho says. “Although this is additional work, any makeup tools like sponges or brushes are recommended to be washed and air-dried before use.”