K-beauty is downright fascinating. From BB and CC creams to 10-step skincare routines, essences, and cushion compacts, we owe so much to Korean innovation. But sometimes, with innovation comes unfamiliarity. If you're not brushed up on the best Korean brands and ingredients, how can you know what to shop for? Or, quite frankly, what purpose each product serves?
Take CC cushion compacts, for example. They can be confusing: How do they differ from BB creams, and what's the purpose of the cushion applicator? We have the answers for you: While they're similar to BB formulas, CC formulas are focused on color-correcting (that's what the CC stands for). Many have peachy and yellow undertones to correct dark spots and sallowness. They also do a number on dullness, redness, all without laying atop your skin with a heavy texture. That's thanks to the cushion applicator, which provides an airbrushed, buildable finish. Honey Artists makeup artist Daniela Gozlan loves CC cushion compacts because they don't "settle in wrinkles or lines. Skin is like satin, and it gives a lovely, healthy glow."
Keep reading to see which CC cushion compacts experts recommend.
Gozlan calls this cult-classic compact from Korean beauty powerhouse AmorePacific a favorite. She likes it since it "brightens and prevents skin irritation," all the while hydrating and moisturizing the skin for a "flawless glow."
Makeup artist at Antonio Prieto Salon in NYC Kristine Cruz agrees. "It corrects the skin tone, [offers] protection from the sun, and has green tea polysaccharides antioxidant," she says. Did we mention that it's also a longtime Byrdie favorite? Basically what we're saying is you have to try it.
According to Gozlan, this formula is incredibly long-lasting; she says it stays put for up to 12 hours of wear (um, we're sold on that alone). It has a "dewy, satin finish with medium to full coverage. As a bonus, it comes with a full-size refill," Gozlan says.
Although this isn't technically a cushion compact, it might as well be. This under-the-radar foundation applies in an airbrushed and flawless way. "It has a unique oil-free creme-to-powder formula with light to medium coverage. It feels like second skin and it has a very smooth and delicate finish," Gozlan says.
It's hydrating and brightening, perfect for those who have uneven tone or dry skin, but according to Cruz, this Lancôme compact is particularly special since it comes in a wide variety of shades. (Since most CC cushion compacts are marketed specifically in K-beauty circles, it can be frustratingly difficult to find those suited for darker complexions.)
You would never know this cushion compact was from the drugstore based on the formula alone. Not only is it cruelty-free, talc-free, and fragrance-free, it's also noncomedogenic and hypoallergenic. SPF 50 will keep you skin protected from the sun while the lightweight minerals will keep blemishes and imperfections from seeing the light of day.
Another Byrdie favorite, this cushion foundation has double-coated mineral pigments that accomplish the impossible: veiling discoloration and unevenness with a lightweight finish. It's also infused with moisturizer and micro pearls for an ultra-glowy effect.
We also like this compact from Korean beauty brand Peripera. It's infused with mint extracts to soothe and invigorate the skin while the soft-blurring minerals are especially good for covering redness. In other words, this is the CC cushion we'll reach for when cold weather causes our cheeks and noses to turn bright red.
Next up, read inside the mind-blowing skincare routine of a Korean model.
Opening Image: SeoulSync