Cushion compacts have become a huge beauty staple in every Seoulite’s beauty bag and vanity table. Why? Well, it’s hard to shy away from a product that’ll give you flawless, radiant skin all day long – with SPF in it and skin-benefitting ingredients.
Before we get into whether or not the cushion compact is right for you, let’s first cover some of the bases.
What is a cushion compact?
We get tons of questions on this: Is it a BB Cream in compact form? Is it a foundation? Is the formulation totally different than anything else out there? Is it right for me?
Well, first, the cushion compact is a truly innovative product and it isn’t a BB Cream 2.0 or some iteration of the BB Cream. Even if the formulation of the actual goop inside the cushion compact is somewhat similar to a BB Cream (although, even there, there are some key differences), the main difference is in the applicator.
Ask any makeup artist and how you apply the goop to your face makes a huge difference in how the makeup looks. Case in point for why the Beauty Blender and amazing makeup brushes like Suqqu brushes is so worth the investment - the way the makeup is applied can make a face look cakey or dewey.
So what is so special about the Cushion Compact applicators? Let’s give credit where it’s due. The Cushion Compact is synonymous with the beauty conglomerate Amore Pacific that owns the brands Amore Pacific, Laneige, Hera, Innisfree, Etude House, Iope, etc. They have one of the most stellar beauty R&D teams, and the cushion compact was invented by Amore Pacific who still holds many patents on this unbelievable beauty technology.
The cushion compact applicator solves major problems that women faced in applying foundation & sunscreen. Amore Pacific noticed that women wanted several issues solved: 1) not being able reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours without messing up their makeup, 2) the lack of a super effective sunscreen that doesn’t feel heavy in texture, 3) the lack of a product on the market that allows everyday users (not super talented makeup artists) to apply foundations easily in a lightweight, non-cakey, heavy way. In short, every woman wanted that perfect natural-looking complexion filled with radiance – while having sun protection all day long.
Yes, this was a hugely demanding issue and we are so excited that Amore Pacific solved this beauty trilemma!
Without going too much into the technology, Amore Pacific did 3 amazing things to create the dream product for women:
1) Featherlight coverage - even with reapplication: inspired by the “parking stamp” that can stamp out parking fees all day long without drying up, Amore Pacific created a special sponge that holds 1.6X more water than a regular puff, which allows for layer-able application of the cushion compact. Simply put, you can “stamp” on your cushion compact which is drenched with SPF among other skin-benefitting ingredients, all day long and you won’t get a cakey finish. This type of re-layering technology is groundbreaking as far as makeup goes. No other foundation looks so featherlight no matter how many layers go on.
2) Insanely lightweight SPF: typical sunscreens are “water-in-oil” which feel really heavy and thick or “oil-in-water” which are lighter and less protective. Amore comes to the rescue again and creates a “freshwater-in-oil” formulation that provides great sun protection while feeling incredibly lightweight and not sticky. THANK YOU, AMORE PACIFIC. Seriously.
3) Ultrafine dispersion: As if the above two aren’t enough, the cushion compact also includes this cutting-edge, patented “cell trap technology” (which also won the Excellence Prize at Korea’s Technology Awards) that allows the goop inside to be released in a super fine layer so that even the most untalented makeup-applier will be able to dab on the perfect amount at a time for that perfect amount of coverage and dewiness. Thanks to Amore, now everyone can be a professional when it comes to applying foundation - easily the most transformative part of any woman’s makeup regimen.
Selecting your cushion compact:
Among the various cushion compacts out there - they’re all really great - the Hera cushion compact is one of the higher end ones in Korea (much more expensive than Iope and Laneige in Korea) and we decided to curate this one among the other ones as our first cushion compact because after extensive testing, this one seemed to be the best in lasting wear without drying or caking. Serious, serious dewiness from AM to the wee hours of the dawn. You can go from the office to partying at night with easy reapplication that still looks featherlight and look fresh-faced until bedtime. It’s no wonder they swept up so many beauty awards in Korea. Let’s just say the minute this one came out in Korea, women had to go to the store daily just to be there to get one when it was restocked. Beyond that, women in Korea will base their cushion compact selection also on price point. Laneige and Iope are more affordable options with slight differences to the Hera one.
Now, onto the more personalized questions that we’ve been getting. The main one is “is the cushion compact right for me?” The best way to answer this question is to go through this checklist:
1) Does the shade work for you? Since Amore Pacific created the cushion compact mostly at first for the domestic market in Asia, there is mainly 2 shades only. Having said that, the 2 tones match a very wide range of skin tones and colors because it’s not a concealer and meant to provide coverage through a glistening, radiant sheen, somehow the shades are much more expansive than the typical foundation. The shade comes in 21 and 23 - and then in C (for more coverage) and N (for lighter coverage).
(Sorry for the Korean, but you can see the shades listed for each one. Again, think sheer coverage vs. concealer type coverage so these 2 shades cover a huge range of skin tones.)
2) Do you have super sensitive skin? The cushion compacts do work for sensitive skin types and usually don’t cause issues. Having said that, if you are allergic to silicones or chemical sunscreens, cushion compacts may not be a good fit for you.
3) Do you like your makeup matte or dewy? Even though we think the radiantly dewy finish looks gorgeous, a matte, more powdery look is sometimes preferred by women. If you like that matte, more powdered up look, the cushion compact isn’t for you.
Here’s the Hera model Shin Min-a with the signature finish the Hera UV Mist cushion provides:
Other benefits of the Hera UV Mist?
For $45, you get the compact and a refill (this should last you ~4-6 months). The formulation will also include skin brightening (more radiance from the inside out) ingredients, hydrates with mineral clay water, helps control sebum, and cools and soothes skin. Of course, it also has SPF 50+/PA+++.
We see why Michelle Phan, Raeview, and Refinery29 are already raving about this cushion compact and including it in their makeup artistry repertoire!
We hope this entry answers your questions on the ubiquitous-in-Seoul cushion compact that is gaining a ton of popularity in the U.S. Leave us a comment if you have any other questions about cushion compacts in general and the Hera UV Mist!
-ps- more pictures below on our Hera UV Mist tests!
The pretty packaging
Super sleek and conveniently packaged with a separate section for the innovative cushion puff
Hygienic seal, when first opened, to the compact sponge where the foundation is held
Super easy to dab onto sponge in the perfect lightweight amount ready to be “stamped” onto the face
I tend to have the most issues around my eyes (bags and redness), so here’s a close-up of the coverage the Hera UV Mist Cushion provided me (using N23). Totally satisfied with the results! Also, loving how hydrated my skin looks.
Excuse the poor quality of the picture and the awkwardly-angled selfie, but here’s how the Hera UV Mist looked on me about 3 hours after application - this picture was taken during a beauty-hunting trip in Seoul in February when it was dry and frigid, and I have extremely dry skin, so the fact that my skin can look mochi-soft and radiant (vs. my usual flaky, cakey skin in the winter) in the dry, dry environment is a testament to the hydrating powers of the Hera UV Mist.