When I discovered Asian beauty, there was an entire world of trends that were completely alien to me as a consumer in the West. One of these was the cushion foundation. The terminology was totally new to me at the time, and it took me a while to actually figure out what a ‘cushion’ was in the beauty product sense. It’s a light, liquid foundation that comes suspended within a sponge inside a compact. You dispense the product by pressing down on the sponge with a puff applicator and then pat the product into your skin. The benefits are that they can achieve good coverage with a very even, sheer application, leaving a fresh and often dewy finish.
I was extremely interested in trying this novel method of makeup application, though a lot of the hype about cushions has come down since I first heard about them. After some research, I decided on the IOPE Air Cushion to be my first cushion experience as it is extremely well reviewed.
Full Disclosure: This review contains no affiliate links, and the product was purchased by me. All opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal use and testing of the product.
What is it?
The IOPE Air Cushion is a cushion foundation that promises to provide natural looking and long lasting coverage. The cushion comes with one empty compact and 2 cushion refills.
These 2016 Air Cushions come in four finishes: Intense Cover, Matte Longwear, Moisture Lasting, and Natural Glow. They also have two shades, 21 and 23, which come in three tones, W for warm, N for neutral, and C for cool.
This review is for the Matte Longwear in N21.
- Size: 15g per cushion refill
- Price: $36.74 CAD +shipping from RoseRoseShop.com
- SPF/PA: SPF 50+/PA+++
- Texture: Like a very thin foundation, applies in a sheer layer
- Scent: Light, clean, powdery and almost floral scent
- Packaging: Typical cushion compact, clean shimmery white with silver accents
Purified Water, Titanium Dioxide, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexylmethoxycinnamate, Methyltrimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Niacinamide, Hexyl Laurate, Zinc Oxide, Acrylate/Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Glycine, Glucose, Glutamic Acid, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Lysine, Lactic Acid, Lecithin, Leucine, Lipase, Magnesium Gluconate, Methionine, Valine, Boron Nitride, Butylene Glycol, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Serine, Sodium Glycerophosphate, Sodium Chloride, Sorbitan Isostearate, Stearic Acid, Cysteine, Citric Acid, Silica, Adenosine, Acetylglucosamine, Aspartic Acid, Acrylate/Stearyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Alanine, Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide, Arginine, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Urea, Uric Acid, Isoleucine, Isostearic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Caprylyl Glycol, Calcium Gluconate, Creatine, Chitosan, Tyrosine, Threonine, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Phenylalanine, Potassium Magnesium Aspartate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polysilicone-11, Polypropyl Silsesquioxane, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Proline, PCA, Histidine, Phenoxyethanol, Red Iron Oxide, Yellow Iron Oxide, Black Iron Oxide, Fragrance.
CosDNA breakdown. Zinc oxide and butylene glycol get a 1, stearic acid gets a 2, ethylhexyl palmitate and isopropyl palmitate get a 4 all for comedogenicity. Ethylhexyl palmitate and isopropyl palmitate also get a 1 for irritation.
So this was a super poor choice as my first product to manually translate from Korean! It’s a crazy long ingredient list with a ton of stuff I’ve never heard of before, so it took me a couple of hours to do the whole list. Thankfully it got easier as I went, and now I can be sure I’m putting the correct information out there.
Maybe I haven’t looked at enough ingredient lists for foundations, but this seems like a ton of stuff in a product that only contains 15g, and is being applied in such a sheer layer. For example, there are sunscreen ingredients here (since this does advertise SPF 50+/PA+++), but I guarantee you will never apply anywhere close to enough product to get that amount of sun protection.
A lot of these ingredients are labeled in CosDNA as ‘antistatic agents’. From my poking around in Google, an antistatic is used to reduce a buildup of static electricity. I can’t for the life of me imagine why a cushion foundation would need so many of those. If anyone is smarter/more knowledgeable than me, I’d love to know the answer!
The 2016 version of the cushion comes in an elegant white compact with light silver shimmer. The lettering and edging are also in silver. The cushion does have a scent, and it smells fresh and slightly sweet while still smelling like makeup. I find it quite pleasing. The cushion puff is the typical rubycell blue puff that is included with all Amore Pacific-owned cushions.
This cushion applies in a very sheer layer while still giving coverage. It evens out my complexion very beautifully while not looking like caked-on makeup. It doesn’t cover my more intense patches of hyperpigmentation, but I prefer having some of those skin features show through. When I swatch it on my wrist, it looks almost to be the perfect match for my skin tone. However when I apply it on my face, I find that it whites me out a bit and can turn my redness a bit ashy. I end up looking a little bit ghosty without adding some blush overtop. When applying with the cushion puff I always find I have difficulty around the corners of my nose, so I usually end up blending around there with my ring finger.
I don’t usually wear any primer with this cushion and I’ve had no issues with it’s longevity, which has been great. Part of that I credit to my skincare routine, since my foundations in the past had a habit of breaking up and settling on my skin, which wasn’t a great look. The whiteness of the coverage is mostly resolved with a bit of blush or bronzer, so it ends up looking like I’ve just got nice, glowy skin.
The Matte Longwear cushion is the least dewy of this cushion range, but it still does not have a matte finish according to what most people in the west would expect. It definitely does have a bit of a dewy glow, but not to the point of making my look shiny or oily.
Overall I’ve been very happy with my experience using this cushion. When I do work up the energy to do my makeup, this cushion has given my a very natural, beautiful coverage that makes my skin look just about flawless. It looks like what my skin would be if I didn’t have an uneven blotchy complexion from my rosacea. And that’s exactly what I want out of a foundation product.
Would I Repurchase?
I might consider purchasing the more recent versions of this cushion in the future, but this has been the only cushion I’ve ever tried. It’s a great product that has worked well for me, but I’d like to try out more cushions before making a commitment to any single one.