Cushions aren't exactly new, as they use the same general concept as a pressed powder + puff compact, but the difference is that the product is liquid and is suspended in a sponge much like an inkpad for a handheld stamp, and they also have an ingenious little puff that repels product instead of absorbing it. The combination of the two allows for an ultra thin, even layer of product to be picked up and applied to your face.
|Laneige Cushion $34 at Target|
Plus, cushions are expensive! Cushions are commonly between $30-$40 or more, whereas you can get a good BB cream for $10-$20. They are new, which means they come in fewer shades and you can't get samples to colourmatch, you just have to bite the bullet and fork over your money while praying.
I was intrigued by the idea of cushions, especially since there were so many rave reviews about them, but I wasn't willing to plunk down that much cash for something that was inherently unsanitary and very likely to be the wrong shade. Enter today's Beauty Tool to rescue- a DIY cushion case that lets you transform your favorite BB cream into a cushion BB, and allows you to tinker with the product, adding in foundation, pigment, skincare, and sunscreen to whip up your own custom blend.
And it's pretty:
I love gold, and red. Ergo, I loved this cushion case before I ever saw it in person. I couldn't resist the concept of being able test out the cushion craze without ending up with yet another unusable BB cream rattling around in my collection. Does it work, though?
Full Product Name: Missha Special Edition Magic Cushion Case
Purpose: An empty cushion case, cushion sponge, and air puff. Intended for you to add in your own product instead of the usual pre-saturated sponge already containing the BB cream/CC cream/foundation.
Quantity: Comes with 2 sponges and 1 air puff, I purchased an extra to allow me to keep one in rotation while I washed the other.
Availability: Unfortunately this was Limited Edition, although it was a second run, so it may come out again. You can find the regular white one online, I found one for $14 from missha.ca and one for $10 from testerkorea.com (both before shipping) and there are other companies offering DIY cushion cases as well if you don't like the look of the white Missha.
Price: The LE one was quite expensive, because even though the case was only $17 and the spare puff was $3, shipping was a whopping $9! Ridiculous.
Rating: 3/5 It works perfectly fine for what it is, and I think the concept is sound, but part of the 'fuss' about cushions is the unique product it contains, and it just doesn't work with just any old product tossed in there.
Repurchase: Well, it's something you only need one of so I can't see myself needing another one.
Full Review and Demo:
The case is very easy to use and set up for the first time. As the instructions show on the box (and even the box is gorgeous, all metallic cranberry with gold foil in the same ornate pattern as the case) depict, you just apply your product into the empty case, insert the sponge, tamp down the sponge a bit to soak up product, then apply a bit on the top part to ensure the sponge is saturated from the top and bottom.
I didn't do the top-down application because I wanted to see how easy it was to draw up the product into the sponge.
It's so hard to photograph this case. The gold foil areas are so highly reflective that they show up dark in most shots, and when they do show up, somehow the rest of the case has turned super dark and I can't capture the gorgeous cranberry red of this case. Mmm.
As I mentioned, I purchased a spare air puff ($3.00) which has an interesting, almost rubberized texture that prevents it from soaking the product into the sponge and wasting it. The kit comes with two sponges, which are on the right.
Assemble your mise en place, in my case my favourite BB cream, the Mizon Multi Function Formula Snail Repair Blemish Balm SPF 32/PA++ (reviewed here), the case, and the sponge. The case opens up to reveal an inner lid which not only provides a snug spot for your puff to sit in, but it also keeps air and dirt out of your product.
It's recommended to only fill the product 1/3rd of the way, which is surprisingly difficult to judge. Now is the time where you can add in extra sunscreen, a lighter or darker pigment, foundation, or BB cream if you want to adjust the shade, and any skincare products you feel inclined to.
Lastly, tuck in the sponge on top of the product, and push it down to both settle the sponge under the inner rim, and also to push the product up through the sponge. I used the air puff to kill two birds with one stone and settle the sponge while checking how the puff picks up product.
As you can see, the puff has a very even yet thin coat of product. That's supposed to be the beauty of cushions, but it's also where it falls short, at least in the DIY version.
Reviewers have said that the cushion product is actually different than your usual BB cream or foundation; it's highly pigmented and seems to have great adhesion. I have also heard that cushions go extremely cakey if you try to build up coverage, so it's best to stick with minimal layers which are very thin.
Quite frankly, combining this BB cream (which is sheer-to-medium coverage with lots of skincare ingredients and a thinner texture than many BB creams) with the cushion application method was a hot mess. The BB cream went on too thin for any kind of coverage and sure enough, attempts to built up coverage resulted in a cakey, patchy mess that just made me want to wipe it all off and reapply with my fingers + damp blender sponge like I usually do. I could see myself using just the puff in lieu of my usual blender sponge but I am really not a fan of suspending this BB in the case.
I can see how great this would be for travel, if I wasn't worried about scratching the gorgeous case, because you could easily throw this into your purse no matter how liquid the product was with which you filled it; between the sponge suspension and the tight seal on the inner lid, your bag would be safe from leakage and available for touch-ups.
I think it would also be great for someone who either has a lot of BB creams that are not quite right; too light, too dark, to drying, not enough sunscreen, too thick, too twisty, too topsy, too turvy. (Berenstain Bears shout out wut wut!) Add in whatever you need to to mix up a custom shade or blend that suits you, and away you go.
If you have a very highly pigmented, heavy-coverage BB cream or foundation that tends to go on thickly and is tough to keep the finish looking natural, trying it out in a cushion may really work for you. This would also be great for people who get tired of DIY mixing their base products daily because they can't find a BB or CC cream that gives them everything they want, because you can just mix up a week's worth of product, stick in the case, and away you go.
What I really dislike, though, is how unhygienic the whole concept is. You need a significant amount of product to saturate the sponge properly, but then you're looking at trashing all of it when you dig out and then wash out the sponge, sanitize everything, and then put in fresh product. You're likely to go through product really quickly that way, or leave it and the microorganisms you infused it with every time you patted the puff back onto the sponge hanging out in there ... breeding. Uh, no thanks.
The puff is very easy to clean though, as this video demonstrates:
Also a great way to use up old oil cleansers! I use my old Holika Holika Soda Pore Cleansing BB Deep Cleansing Oil since it's now too harsh for my face, and it works perfectly.
If you are into mixing up your own DIY BB cream blends on a daily basis, need to touch up a lot during the day, or otherwise match one of the specific needs I mentioned above, this may work great for you.
Otherwise, keep on keepin' on with your regular BB cream and application method. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. I look forward to the next craze that comes out of Korea, because the contamination risks of cushions makes me shiver.
Do you have a cushion and love it? What are your thoughts on the cushion trend? Drop me a comment below or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter!