Last year Lancôme launched Miracle Cushion, inspired by K-beauty brands that have been housing liquid foundation in cushion compacts for a while. The beauty addict inside me was seriously excited. You see, I love wearing liquid foundation but also do my makeup on the go, and these cushion compacts make liquid foundation portable. They tend to house product that has a consistency akin to a BB cream that’s buildable (so better coverage for problem skins) and has the high SPF we’ve come to expect from a traditional liquid base.
The idea is that you press the applicator into the sponge and then tap it lightly onto your skin for sheer coverage or press it more firmly for a flawless finish. But something didn’t feel right. Keep scrolling to find out why I was skeptical of 2015’s biggest beauty launch that just keeps getting bigger.
For years I have suffered from problem skin, cystic, hormonal acne and redness at its worst; even at its best, I’ll be struck by the odd hormonal spot. Temperamental skin teaches you that you have to be consistent with cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges. Every Sunday I clean my tools using Laura Mercier Bruch Cleanser (£15), to help prevent a buildup of bacteria that could worsen my complexion. But looking at this little compact, I realised I could wash the applicator sponge but not the one embedded in the compact that’s holding the product.
I put the question to a dermatologist to see whether I was fussing over nothing, but Dr Stefanie Williams agrees: “I am not a big fan of cushion compact foundations, as the cushion will accumulate dirt and bacteria quickly. I certainly would not recommend them for somebody prone to breakouts.”
So should you forgo beauty’s biggest trend? Not so fast. The beauty brands are offering hygienic solutions for these cushion compacts. All of them tend to come housed in an airtight compact, which will certainly help to limit any bacteria growth. Lancôme sells refills, which are cheaper than buying the whole compact again, while L’Oréal has just launched Lumi Magique, which boasts an antimicrobial applicator sponge (something tells me I’m not the only one concerned about the hygiene side of things). Lynnette Cole, Global Education Director at Pür Minerals explains that the sponge in their cushion foundation, "goes through a sterilisation process in a vacuum chamber. In addition, the preservative system in the formula helps to prevent the growth of bacteria on the sponge after being saturated with the foundation."
Luckily I’ve discovered another solution that allows me to enjoy using my cushion compact completely carefree: The Pro Hygiene Collection Antibacterial Makeup Spray (£15). Mist it over any makeup (except lip gloss), and it kills 99.99% of germs. I mist it over the sponge holding the formula and the applicator sponge a couple of times a week. Now I can enjoy cushion compacts. Check out my edit of the best below.
Pricier than the rest, but this comes with a refill bottle, so you’re getting a lot more product. Plus, it has an impressive SPF 50.
In a mousse-like texture, this offers buildable coverage, SPF 50 and a free refill too.
This comes in 12 shades, so you’re bound to find a good match. It has SPF 25 and a lightweight texture, with a good level of pigment to blur and conceal imperfections.
The product that started it all. This doesn’t come with a refill (those will set you back a further £20). This will leave your skin seriously healthy and glowy; plus the SPF 23 may not be as high as some of the others, but it’s a good level for a typical day in Britain.
At just £10, this is a good entry product if you’re not sure cushion compacts are for you but you want to see what all the fuss is about. A buildable formula from sheer to medium coverage (depending on the force of your tapping motion), this has SPF 25.
Are you a cushion-compact convert? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comment box below.