How to Apply Cushion Foundation the Right Way

By April 5, 2017

If you haven’t yet converted to cushion foundations, now is the time. Here’s how to apply cushion foundation the right way, in GIFs!

Beyond evening out your complexion, cushion foundations often provide additional sun protection and skin care benefits like fighting acne or preventing wrinkles. Whether you want the dewy Korean flight attendant look or some color correcting action, cushion foundations are a super convenient way to apply foundation and touch up on-the-go.

If you have already tried cushion foundations, you know that they are the easiest type of foundation to blend. But if you don’t use the cushion puff correctly, you can end up making your skin look cakey or give yourself insufficient coverage. We asked makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, a lover of Korean beauty, to show us how to correctly apply cushion foundation.   

Push the puff gently into the cushion.

You might be tempted to press your fingers all the way down until you hit the bottom of the cushion. It’s very satisfying to press down hard and see the foundation ooze out of the cushion. But whether you want light or heavy coverage, it’s best to pick up the right amount of product each time and work in layers.

Press down gently once or twice into the cushion and see how much product the puff has picked up. Then twist the cushion puff on the surface of the cushion to evenly distribute the product on the puff.

how to apply cushion foundation

To build up coverage and still get a natural-looking finish, try a BB cushion, like the Laneige BB Cushion Pore Blur, which Hughes used on my skin. (We also really like the Missha Signature Essence Cushion.)  “I like to work with a product that’s sheer but still builds, instead of something that’s opaque that you have to fight with,” says Hughes.

It’s all about how you touch the skin.

The next step is to tap the product onto your skin. But how hard should you press? “I only press until I can see it depositing,” says Hughes. Using a light tapping motion gives you control and the most natural-looking finish.

how to apply cushion foundation

Depending on personal preference, you can also use a press-and-roll motion like below:

how to apply cushion foundation

The only rule is to never swipe. You might be used to using broad swiping motions with a regular makeup sponge or your fingers when you apply foundation. But as with any product with SPF, which most Korean cushions contain, you never want to use a swiping motion.

“When you want to get in areas where there are dips [like the sides of your nose],” Hughes says, “push your finger forward and create a different shape with the puff.” Then tap gently.

how to apply cushion foundation

Don’t be afraid to use your fingers, too. 

The cushion puff is a genius invention, but your hands are still the best tools when it comes to blending. “The warmth of your finger will also take off what your skin doesn’t want to take in,” says Hughes. So don’t hesitate to use your fingers if the cushion puff is too big for the areas you want to blend, like the outer edges of your forehead.   

how to apply cushion foundation

You don’t need to apply it everywhere.

Applying cushion foundation is such a breeze, you might be tempted to excitedly stamp the cushion puff all over your face. Doing so will definitely even out your skin tone, but you’ll also end up with a one-dimensional face. Apply only on the areas you need coverage. Start on the center of your face and work your way out, blending the edges.

Another tip is to use a color one shade deeper than your skin tone and apply it where you would contour, like the outer edges of your face and the sides of your nose.

how to apply cushion foundation

“I never use just use one shade on anyone,” Hughes says. Now you might be thinking, who actually goes out and buys two different shades of the same foundation? I thought that too, until I saw that Hughes’ mix of Sand, my true color, and Cinnamon, the color that’s one shade deeper, gave me the most subtle, natural-looking contour I was never able to achieve with bronzers, contour creams, and sticks.

If you find that a typical bronzer just never looks right on you because it’s either too ashy or harsh, try using a deeper color cushion foundation instead. It’ll blend more easily and look more natural.

For extra hydration, mist the cushion puff before use.

You know that cooling feeling of a damp Beautyblender bouncing on your skin? You can hydrate your skin the same way by lightly spraying facial mist onto the cushion puff before touching the cushion and applying it on your face. Just a couple spritzes is enough. The Tonymoly Pocket Bunny Mist is perfect for this—plus it’ll infuse a nice citrus scent. If you have dry skin or you want the dewy Korean look, using this trick can keep your skin less dry and prevent the foundation from clinging on to dry patches.

Keep the cushion puff fresh.

Don’t forget to give your cushion puff a mini double cleanse regularly to keep it clean and fresh. And that’s how to apply cushion foundation!

+ What are your best tips on how to apply cushion foundation? Let us know below!

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