Ruth Griffin beauty - Handy handbag cushion compacts
The latest Korean beauty craze is the perfect make-up foundation for on the go
Over the last 18 months, beauty writers have been penning rave reviews about (another) Korean beauty export - the cushion compact foundation. This handy little portable fluid foundation comes in a mirrored compact form. A pre-soaked sponge holds the product in place, resulting in a no-spills or leakages foundation, perfect for slipping into your handbag.
Choosing the right foundation can be a tricky (and expensive) mistake to make - many of us have bottles of wrong-toned foundation that never see the light of day. So, to avoid this, I road tested these new foundation formats (see my top picks below).
I was surprised when I found myself a small bit underwhelmed. Yes, this is a handy little weapon to have in your make-up arsenal, but I was taken aback at how little product is actually in these compacts and how expensive they are. Yes, the formulas and textures are lovely, but my compacts all lasted less than a month. (My normal bottled foundation lasts me six to eight months.)
The best way to use these cushion foundations is as a handbag-ready skin perfector for nights out, but stick to your usual bottled foundation for everyday use.
“Use a light touch for the press and stamp palliation method. It only takes a little pressure to transfer the product onto the cushion — it doesn’t drip and it doesn’t smudge, and apply only where needed”
— Lloyd Simmons, Creative Make-up Director at YSL Beauté
6 of the best: Cushion compact foundations
Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation - Ruth's Pick Best Overall
A gorgeous foundation, especially if you're looking for a long-lasting base with sunscreen (it has SPF 50). The mesh covering the sponge, activated during the first use, filters the formula to guarantee a thin, even application.
Pharmacies and department stores nationwide, €38; refill, €26. Buy online here.
YSL Le Cushion Encre de Peau - Best For Oily Skin
This gives a matte finish and comes in six shades. A rolling gel system allows you to build the product and its hybrid hold technology keeps the base in place for hours. At department stores nationwide €45; refill, €36.
The Body Shop Nude Cushion Foundation (€25.50) - Best Natural Option
This 100pc vegan option is a blend of liquid and powder foundation formulas, and is free from mineral oil and petroleum oil. It's not drying because of the use of aloe, marula oil and rose water but has a smaller option of colours with only five shades available. Buy online here.
L'Oreal Paris Nude Magic Cushion Foundation - Best Budget
This creamy, satin finish foundation is available in seven shades. This is the softest, most hydrating cushion foundation I road tested - the best value cushion compact I found. At pharmacies nationwide, €23, or buy online here.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Cushion Stick Radiant Make-up - Best Coverage
The best selling Double Wear foundation comes in this cushion stick. If you're looking for a speedy makeover, this is your best option. Simply dot the product on your face, buff it in with the applicator sponge at the top of the stick and buff it into the skin. Department stores nationwide, €36, or buy online here.
Lancôme Cushion Blush Subtil - Best Cushion Blush
Cushion compacts are available not only for foundations, but blushers and eyeliners, too. This cushion blusher is more like a cheek tint or stain and is best applied with your fingers and dabbed onto skin. The six shades available are all gorgeous. Department stores nationwide, €38.50, or buy it online here.