Your Guide To BB Cushions — Because Korean Beauty Products Are Simply Awesome
If you don’t know what BB Cushions are by now, I would advise you to step up your makeup-knowledge-game. You can do some preliminary studying via this list of awesome Korean beauty products. But to give you the gist, they are essentially cushions soaked in BB Cream (otherwise known as "blemish balms" or "blemish base") inside a compact, paired with an amazing applicator puff.
Last year I came across the so-called BB Cushions at a Korean beauty store near me. Thanks to the super-convincing sales lady who made me feel absolutely awful about my skin, I purchased my first ever BB Cushion. And I may sound like a total diva for saying this, but said purchase actually changed my life. I came across the little miracle in the midst of trying to graduate from my Bare Minerals beginners box in order to figure out a new makeup routine for my new grown up self. So, perfect timing.
The formula in the BB Cushion is apparently the same as that of bottled foundation — but the magic is all in the strange blue applicator puff that comes with the compact (one specially designed to be non-absorbent). Confusing, I know, a non-absorbing applicator puff? That goes against everything that a puff is supposed to be! But let's think about it: A plain old spongy puff absorbs the makeup and then expels the content onto your face when pressure is applied. You have to keep blending while your puff either sucks up the makeup or applies it unevenly. The special blue puff has minimal absorption (you still have to clean the puff), so instead it evenly distributes onto your face for a flawless, dewy glow!
So I did what I always do when I find a product I like: Buy and hoard different brands in different shades and convince all my friends to get them, too. Currently, I own three different brands of BB Cushions: Hera, Iope, and Laneige. All three are actually from the same parent company called Pacific Amore — which sells its own BB Cushion at Sephora. Whilst this could very well be a marketing strategy designed to get people to buy more of their products, I honestly believe that each is a little different (including in price tags). So without further ado, here are my reviews. Enjoy the [cushiony] exploration!
Testing three BB Cushions: Left — natural lighting. Right — flash.
Hera UV Mist Cushion (Ultra Moisture)
Coverage: Light but buildable.
Lasting Power: All day long
Where To Buy: Amazon
The Hera UV Mist Cushion Ultra has four times the moisture of the regular Hera BB Cushion. Subsequently, it leaves my skin moisturized all day without needing to reapply! And it gives off a cooling sensation during application onto my face, for a fresh and revitalized feeling to boot.
Cost: $32Coverage: Medium to full.SPF: 50Lasting Power: Lasts me all throughout work.Where To Buy: Amazon
The IOPE BB cushion offers the most coverage out of the three. If you look at the photo of my arm (with the flash) you can see that it has the most coverage. It also offers a cooling sensation, leaving your skin feeling fresh and ready to take on the world.
Cost: $32Coverage: Light but buildable.SPF: 50Lasting Power: I barely ever have to do touch ups throughout the day.Where To Buy: Amazon
Laneige's formula is super lightweight and refreshing. Because Laneige is sold in Target, they offer a wider range of colors as well.
Most BB Cushions are geared towards Asian skin tones — meaning a lot of beige with yellow undertones — but here's some good news for my fellow ladies with darker skin: Laneige makes a darker shade! Here's what it looks like (with the help of a friend who I pressured into buying one — now it's her must-have item).
Ultimately, I would have to say that I like the Hera BB Cushion the best because I prefer lighter, sheerer coverage (and it's super moisturizing for my dry/combo skin). I do, however, wish it had a higher SPF, but I guess that's the trade-off for the ultra moisture. All that being said, if this is going to be your first BB Cushion purchase, I would advise you to go with the Laneige. Laneige's BB Cushion is the most affordable and accessible one of the bunch (only $34 at Target!).
Images: Author's Own