Update: My DIY Cushion FAIL!
One of the terrifying things about being a blogger is realizing that somewhere in your archives bad information is lurking. It’s embarrassing to see positive statements about products that burned me down the line and to have to look at my terrible old photos, but it’s important to confront and correct old, outdated info.
DIY cushions are a brilliant idea–IN THEORY. They allow beauty fans at both ends of the shade spectrum to get perfect cushion matches for their skin at last, as long as they have a matching foundation or bb cream.
The problem is that cushions are, by their very nature, nasty as hell. Think about it: sponges with all of your face germs living in a nice, warm, wet environment where they can culture filth in peace. Cosmetics companies that make cushions respond to this challenge by pumping them full of preservatives to contain the gross. Your DIY cushion doesn’t have that benefit, and that’s where things can go horribly wrong. A recent episode of The Snailcast on cushions that I recorded with my colleagues Snow, Fiddy, and Chel tackled this issue and many more.
Some time after posting this review I pulled the Missha Magic Cushion out and discovered what seemed to be mold growing on it. GROSS. I pitched the whole thing, obviously. The mess wouldn’t have gotten to that state if I had changed out the screen and puff, but instead I left it alone for awhile and…ugh, Asian Beauty Horror Story Season 1, hello.
Fellow blogger adoredee is a cushion expert and she advises “If you’re going to use DIY cushions, don’t mix your own concoction! Always make sure your cushion case is closed after use, and never keep the sponge for longer than a month. I love DIYing cushions, but people need to stop mixing like they’re inventing new cocktails, it legit scares me. It isn’t safe. Jesus, also this new ‘tip’ of washing an old cushion sponge needs to stop.” If you’re looking for deeper-toned cushions in particular, follow adoredee on her blog and Instagram. If you’re looking for sub-NC15 cushions, check out Snow White and the Asian Pear.
The good news is that plenty of companies like Missha and Innisfree are releasing affordable cushions. They stillllll don’t extend enough beyond the NC15-NC30 range, but international companies like Mac and L’Oréal are coming closer (while still failing to truly create and distribute cushions for all). Hopefully DIY cushions will soon be a shudder-worthy, forgotten memory. In the meantime, set a screen and puff replacement schedule for yours to avoid growing things and leave the dirty cushion martinis at the bar.
Original Review of the Missha Magic Cushion Case (published 19 August 2014) [present day comments in brackets]
I’m about to celebrate my ninth anniversary of moving to NYC, and I’ve picked up a few habits while living here. One is the tendency to walk with, shall we say, purpose down the street, propelled by kpop in my headphones and a general distaste for all things slow. The problem is that 1) my body doesn’t really like going as fast as my brain does, causing it to weep tears of sweat and 2) New York can be a disgusting swamp in the summer, particularly in the horribly under-ventilated underground subway stations. This basically means that my bb cream is sliding off my face in all sorts is weird and unwonderful ways by the time I set foot in my office in the morning. Gross.
The problem with on-the-go touchups while wearing bb cream is that the usual pressed powder kind of negates the dewy effect that I like and I don’t want to carry a major bb cream application kit to fix up my face. I need the look of fresh bb with the ease of pressed powder.
I looked into bb cream cushion compacts that allow one to apply bb cream on the go via a set of sponges housed in an otherwise pretty normal compact, but I was concerned about finding a match for my skin when it’s hard enough to find a reasonable regular bb cream match even after testing many foil samples. Even in NYC there aren’t a ton of Korean beauty retailers (although the list is growing! See the fan-b map here [the list has grown wildly since I first published this, it’s amazing!]), so I wouldn’t be able to test cushions in a shop before buying. I’ve only seen…maybe two cushion samples ever on TesterKorea, the place to find a huge selection of Korean beauty samples, and those two were by brands I don’t love. Plus, cushions are not cheap. Sure, they often come with a refill, but my main bb cream is $11 including shipping for a serious tube that lasts for months, so an expenditure of $40+ on a cushion that I haven’t tested on my difficult-to-match skin doesn’t seen terribly wise. [Cushions can now be found a lot cheaper and OMG that bb cream–Mizon Snail BB–makes my skin look lifeless, what was I thinking.]
All of this is to say that when I received an email from MisshaUS about their anniversary cushion that could be filled with any bb cream or cc cream or sunscreen or whatever, it felt like I had seen a heavenly vision. A cushion that could be whatever I needed it to be: what a world.
What particularly excited me about the magical cushion is that it would allow me to make a stable custom mix of bb creams that match my skin and store the mix so I’m not playing Leonardo da Vinci each morning trying to nail the right balance.
The gorgeous Missha anniversary cushion sold out before I could buy it, but I found a regular version on TesterKorea. It seems to be the same thing minus an extra application sponge. Cool, I’ll take it.
So here’s what you do:
Admire the compact (ooooh!)
Open it up. The applicator sits in the top compartment away from the makeup part.
Open the bottom part, the secret cushion part, and take out the cushion screen. My cushion screen is hidden under the applicator there. It’s basically a thick round sponge maybe…1/4 to 1/3 inch thick in diameter.
Fill with your favorite bb cream. Or a mix of your favs. [DON’T MIX SHIT TOGETHER! REGRETS! That cancels out preservatives and can allow nasty shit to grow. DON’T.] Don’t go crazy; 1/3 of the compartmentful is enough.
Replace the cushion screen sponge. Let the cushion absorb into the sponge for a few minutes.
If the bb cream isn’t coming all the way through the screen sponge, stick some bb cream on top and smush it around. I used a Q Tip to smush it. [See, this should have been a sign that cushions exist for a reason–proper cushion formula is a lot thinner, which works a lot better with the screen-sponge system.]
Smush the applicator sponge into the screen sponge and pick up some bb cream.
Apply it by pressing the applicator into your face where you want coverage. You can apply multiple layers for more coverage.
I used this on my face this weekend and it was really cool–it was a dead easy way to get some bb coverage and sunscreen on my face before venturing outdoors for a bit (the horror!). [Yes, I used to rely on bb cream for sun protection, what was I thinking, SHAME.]
For skin as troubled as mine, the cushion doesn’t provide enough coverage for daily wear, which is what I expected. BUT for seamless touchups that keep the moisturized, dewy look so many of us try to achieve, this is the product of the century. Even in the afternoon, my bb cream looks even and smooth when I use this cushion.
I adore this product and can’t recommend it enough for people who want to make a customized bb (or cc or sun block) cushion for themselves. I’m going to have to sort out the issues of how to clean this thing and keep the sponges sanitary, but I’m willing to experiment for such a product. If you need a 100% sanitary product, a cushion may not be a good bet for you. Companies claim that the bottom compartment is airtight and prevents the growth of bacteria, but that makes no sense; there’s still air in there and not all bacteria needs air to survive and grow. [Ok, see, I at least got that right.]
Overall, this is about as good as it gets in Korean beauty, in my opinion. [#REGRETS]