A couple of years ago, cushion foundations were the beauty buzz items. In fact, you couldn't open a magazine or walk past a Boots without the latest cushion foundation innovation slapping you in the face. Promising the coverage of a liquid foundation with the convenience of a powder compact, cushion foundations are a Korean beauty creation that promised to make it easy to achieve that glass-skin effect that's so popular in Asia.
Of course, I was into the idea. Anything offering coverage and convenience is right up my street, so I got to work testing and trialling pretty much all of the cushion foundations out there. I have to say I was mightily disappointed: Most of the cushion foundations I tried offered the kind of coverage I'd expect from a tinted moisturiser (that is, not much), were messy to apply using the flat applicator, and dried out insanely fast.
Suffice to say, my predicted love affair with this cult K-beauty product didn't even get off the ground and I quickly added cushion foundations to my list of beauty products that just don't work for me. But a few weeks ago, a newly launched one landed on my desk and totally transformed the way that I thought about cushion foundations (in fact, all foundations—for good)…
Honestly, I only decided to give it a go when the lovely PR for Nars was raving so much about the brand's Natural Radiant Longwear Cushion Foundation (£25) that when she handed it over. Usually cushion foundations go straight to the office "grab pile," or to friends and family members who prefer that lightweight coverage life. However, while I was off work last week, I decided to give it a whirl, and I'm officially obsessed.
So much so that I've worn it every single day since, which never happens with makeup. I'm famously fickle when it comes to products. Promising a medium to full coverage, 16-hour wear and SPF 50 protection, this little compact certainly had bold claims. However, I took the photo above after five hours of de-weeding my jungle of a garden (yes, I'm officially old) because I was so damn impressed with how glowy and even my skin still looked.
In fact, Nars says this foundation "wears longer, stays stronger and looks better with each hour." While I'd normally dismiss that as marketing spiel, in the case of this cushion foundation, I'd be inclined to agree. While it looks beautiful when first applied, it also looks great towards the end of the day when you've got a bit of natural shine and dewiness on the skin.
"When we develop new foundation at Nars, I task the chemists to create formulas that are so lightweight they appear invisible on the skin," explained François Nars, the founder of the brand. "They provide coverage without looking too heavy or masking the skin."
Mr. Nars, I have to agree. Best of all, you can press it on lightly for a natural skin look on days that you're chilling out at home, or you can layer it up and team with red lipstick for a day of meetings in the office or a night out.
Of course, Nars is renowned for having some of the best foundations in the business, so I probably shouldn't have been surprised it could convert cushion-foundation sceptics to the cause. Beyoncé's makeup artist, Sir John, previously revealed how he swears by Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (£35) for Queen Bey. And even Zendaya is obsessed with the cult Nars Sheer Glow Foundation (£34) for its lightweight, skin-like finish.
Keep scrolling to shop my new favourite cushion foundation and the new launches that even I'm tempted to try now.
The cushion foundation that totally changed my mind about this type of formula. It provides coverage, protects your skin from pollution and sun damage, and genuinely looks better with wear.
A luxurious option enriched with glycerine and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin while offering lightweight coverage.
I'm a big fan of Bobbi Brown foundations, and this promises the same finish as its classic liquid foundation but in a portable compact.
This does-it-all cushion foundation protects skin from the outside world. It reduces fine lines and the appearance of spots while minimizing pores and redness. Plus, that packaging is dreamy.
A genuine K-beauty cushion foundation that absorbs excess oil, and conceals breakouts and pigmentation.