cushion foundation

The Best Cushion Foundations in Canada 

If you apply liquid foundation daily, or at least a few times a week, you probably have wished for it to be less messy. Surely, there are brushes and sponges, yet the product might end up on your fingers or even clothes. A cushion foundation packed in a compact form is a cleaner solution to daily makeup. It is typically stored in a tube or a powder-like container. However, unlike a pressed powder, a cushion foundation comes out when you press on the sponge with an applicator. You would not only avoid any spills, but also easily touch up your makeup throughout the day whether you are travelling or going to work.  

One main difference between a liquid and a cushion foundation is their formula. The former one offers a higher pigment amount and fuller coverage, while cushion foundation delivers a lighter, satin-like finish.  Whether you are looking to switch to a lightweight coverage for hotter months, or simply want a foundation that offers a neater application, we selected the best cushion foundations for dry, oily or combination skin types, including luxury and drug store products. 

Why Trust Us

We do not want you to be disappointed with your makeup products whether you spend $20 or $200 on them. Moreover, when you are satisfied with your reflection in the mirror, your day goes better. That is why we spent numerous hours researching and selecting the best cushion compact foundations on the market.  

We also analyzed customers’ reviews about every selected product and compared our list to other buying guides (Allure, Byrdie, ELLE) top picks.

What to Look For in Cushion Foundation

Just like with choosing a powder or liquid foundation, there are three main factors you need to consider when buying a cushion compact.   

First, find the right shade. Although a cushion compact provides lightweight coverage, you still want to look for a perfect match between your skin tone and foundation. More, when you use a cushion compact for a quick touch-up at work or on the road it should not differ from your previously applied makeup. Fortunately, most brands offer a wide range of shades for both cold and warm skin undertones.     

Second, consider how much coverage you want on your face. Cushion compacts range from sheer to full coverage, (although full coverage is not as dense as you would expect from a liquid foundation). If you want a more natural, glowing look choose a light-to-medium coverage level. To smooth skin tone and conceal blemishes in a single swipe, go for fuller coverage.   

Third, select a finish type. That will depend on the look you are planning to achieve. Among the available opinions are matte, natural, dewy and glowing finishes. What you want, no matter the finish type, is to avoid the cakey texture on your face. Moisturizing, dewy finish suits dry skin, while a matte finish can manage oil discharge on oily skin.   

The Best Cushion Contour and Highlighter Duo

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Contour and Highlighter Wands

Before we discuss cushion compact foundations, we want you to take a quick look at this Charlotte Tilbury duo. The set features a creamy formula of contour and highlighter wands with cushion tips that make blending flawless and easy. Hollywood highlighter offers a slight shimmer for dewy, healthy-looking skin, while contour wand (comes in two natural shades from light-medium, medium-dark), can be used for contouring and accentuating cheekbones.   

One user of the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood set noted that all it takes is small amount of product, use your fingers or brush to smudge it, and love your face in the mirror. It stays true all day and does not sit in pores and wrinkles which makes it suitable for mature skin, she added.   

Another reviewer noted that she has dark Asian skin, hence finding the right contour shade and highlighter in one package was never an easy task. “This new Hollywood contour duo gives me the best of both worlds,” she said, “fantastic shades, creamy consistency and just the glow I need with or without foundation.” She continued saying that she has so many Charlotte Tilbury products, but this is the first one she is obsessed with.  

  • Complete kit for contouring.  
  • Non-greasy texture.  
  • Easy to use cushion tips.  
  • The price is too high for such small wands.  

The Best Affordable Cushion Compact Foundation

Maybelline New York Age Rewind Concealer

Maybelline New York Age Rewind is a classic and budget-friendly (compared to Charlotte Tilbury’s) concealer. It comes with a sponge tip that allows clean and easy application for a smooth finish, and blemishes and dark circles correction.  

Moreover, the Maybelline cushion concealer is infused with Haloxyl which offers an anti-aging treatment. That ingredient is responsible for smoothing and reducing the look of redness, dark circles, and fine lines.   

As one satisfied reviewer noted, she had dark rings around her eyes. So much that people asked if she was tired all the time. She has tried endless concealers, used foundation tricks, and even the red lipstick trend under the eye. Everything always ended up looking caked on or emphasizing the rings even more. The Maybelline New York Age Rewind concealer did not create cakey texture and surprised her with the results.  

  • Budget-friendly.  
  • Anti-aging ingredients.  
  • Easy to use sponge tip.  
  • Might not stay on skin as long as previously mentioned CT set.  

The Best Hydrating/Dewy Cushion Foundation

Essence Moonlighter Cushion

If you want glowing dewy skin with as little effort as possible, check out this Cle Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion. The product is infused with pearl extract and moisturizing essence that nourishes skin, leaving it shimmering and silky-smooth.    

However, keep in mind that the result will depend on the type of your skin. As one reviewer noted, she had to experiment with applying Cle Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion. From a brush to a sponge and enclosed applicator, she found out that a brush works best on her dry skin. Brush did not pick up as much product as a sponge did and made blending smoother. She added that the highlighter is very strong and might create a glass-like effect if overly used.  

Additionally, you can use Cle Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion on your eyelids and lips for a natural-looking, healthy glow.   

  • Infused with pearl extract.  
  • Creates a glowing look.  
  • Effortless application.  
  • Long-lasting formula.  
  • Might look too glossy on skin if overused.  

The Best Luxury Cushion Compact Foundation

Shiseido Synchro Self-Refreshing Cushion Compact Foundation

A reviewer who is obsessed with the Shiseido cushion compact foundation said that it is one of the best foundations she has ever used. She continued that this foundation is a radiant matte, not dewy-shiny, but not a full matte on her dry skin. Moreover, it lasted through the whole workday and a workout.  

Shiseido Skin Self-Refreshing cushion compact is a medium-coverage foundation that is a water-resistant formula that controls facial oil all day long while offering hydration and seamless application.   

However, based on other reviews, created with ActiveForce technology, this cushion compact stays on the skin for at least sixteen hours, and does not require constant touchups. Besides, this technology provides weightless coverage that adapts to your skin type. (The only downside is that it is available in eight shades.) 

  • Weightless coverage.  
  • Long-lasting formula. 
  • Creates a radiant finish.  
  • ActiveForce technology. 
  • Expensive.  

The Best Drugstore Light-Coverage Cushion Compact

Wet’n Wild MegaCushion Foundation SPF 15

Wet’n Wild cushion foundation is a lightweight, cruelty-free, water-based formula that is also infused with a Broad-Spectrum SPF 15 protection. A reviewer noted that this foundation is like a perfect hug to the skin. It gives skin a very light coverage with an absolute soft focus, soft glow and rested skin, she added.  

Although it is a lightweight formula, you can still achieve desired coverage by tapping with a sponge and swiping it over your face. Repeat a few more times to cover blemishes and smooth your skin tone.   

Finally, Wet’n Wild Mega cushion foundation contains coconut derivative that helps to boost hydration.   

  • Luminous and lightweight formula.  
  • Creates hydrating and natural look.  
  • Vegan. 
  • Budget-friendly.  
  • Would not work if you are looking for full coverage foundation.  

The Best Flawless Cushion Compact Foundation

Dior Capture Dreamskin Fresh & Perfect Cushion

Another luxurious cushion compact foundation that is versatile, works on any skin type and minimizes signs of aging. Dior Capture Dreamskin cushion is a reinvented formula that comes with increased hydrating ingredients and correcting power.  

A portable, compact case contains a foundation that besides its silky texture, promises to conceal redness, manage oily shine and minimize the appearance of pores. With the first application, you get a sheer, dewy look, and the more product you apply, the fuller coverage you will build up.  

As one reviewer noted Dior Capture Dreamskin is the best foundation she has ever used. It leaves the skin feeling as if you do not have makeup on because of all the skincare infused in it. It blurs your pores and blemishes and makes you look completely natural with flawless skin, she continued.  

Among other benefits is extra refill that comes with the cushion foundation. The only complaint that users had about Dior Capture Dreamskin is that there are not many colours available for dark skin tones.   

  • Hydrating and correcting formula.  
  • Blur pores and blemishes.  
  • Comes with extra refill.  
  • Expensive.  

The Best Cushion Compact Foundation for Dry Skin

Yves Saint Laurent Le Cushion Encre de Peau Foundation

If you ever were frustrated with the limited time a foundation stays on your face (after paying a high price), consider YSL Le Cushion Encre de Peau. Couture packaging contains a formula that offers medium coverage and a natural finish and lasts all day just after one application. The foundation melts into the skin but feels lightweight while protecting and hydrating.   

One reviewer noted that besides a sophisticated-looking package, the coverage is not matte or dewy, but gives her a nice natural glow. Her only complaint is the shade. “It’s difficult to figure out what shade I am, especially since some stores do not carry all samples and you have to rely on the online description,” the reviewer added.  

Another one observed that YSL Le Cushion Encre de Peau covers all skin problems and still makes you look very natural. “This is one of the best makeup products I have ever tried.”  

  • Long-lasting formula.  
  • Lightweight on skin.  
  • Hydrating and protecting.  
  • Expensive for a small amount of foundation.  

The Best Drugstore Cushion Compact Foundation for Dry Skin

Maybelline New York Dream Cushion Fresh Face Liquid Foundation

Another Maybelline cushion foundation and this one is an innovative product with luminous coverage. Maybelline New York Dream Cushion Fresh Face foundation contains pigments with shimmer that create a fresh glow and healthier-looking skin.   

Using this cushion compact could not be simpler. Press the applicator onto the cushion and distribute the product over your face. In case you have redness and blemishes, you can always repeat the application and build up more coverage.   

A satisfied user of Maybelline New York Dream Cushion Fresh Face does not go on heavily but evens out skin tones. It is light and does not look like it is caked on. Because it has a puff pad, you are in control of it. “I just love it and am not interested in any other type of foundation,” she concluded.  

Other reviewers noted that while running out of your favourite product is frustrating, this cushion foundation lasts for some time depending on how much product you use daily.  

  • Budget-friendly.  
  • Shimmering pigments for healthy looking skin. 
  • Lightweight on skin.  
  • Might not stay on skin as long as luxury foundations do.  

The Best Cushion Compact Foundation with SPF

LANEIGE Neo Cushion Matte with Refill

Laneige is known not only for their effective skincare but also cosmetics. For instance, Neo Cushion Matte is a long-lasting foundation infused with SPF 42 PA+++. The coverage you get is matte, natural looking and sweatproof. In fact, many reviewers choose this foundation to wear during outdoor activities or workouts.   

As one of them noted the Neo Cushion Matte works better on oily skin. If applied on dry skin without proper moisturizing it might create cakey texture. Otherwise, the cushion foundation makes it easy to achieve a flawless complexion to wear throughout the whole day.   

Another factor that separates this particular cushion foundation is that Laneige Neo Cushion Matte can be replaced with a refill container. 

  • Refill is available.  
  • Infused with SPF.  
  • Suits oily skin best.  
  • Matte and natural looking finish.  
  • Not the best choice for dry skin.

The Best Cushion Compact Foundation for Combination Skin

NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Cushion Foundation SPF 50

Another cushion foundation that protects your skin from UV rays (SPF 50), rapid aging and promises long wear is the NARS Natural Radiant foundation. The formula is lightweight, and easily melts on your skin while covering imperfections and staying on throughout the day. As per many reviewers, the foundation stays on the skin for at least sixteen hours.   

Besides, it is infused with a blend of fruit extracts that smooth skin and improve its overall appearance. Many women also found their skin looking more vibrant, with pores and redness evenly covered.   

Moreover, NARS Natural Radiant foundation resists oxidation which means the colour will stay through no matter daily activity and won’t turn orange or create a cakey texture. It does not settle in pores or fine lines, which makes the cushion foundation suitable for mature skin.  

  • SPF 50 protection.  
  • Infused with fruit extracts.  
  • Long-lasting formula.  
  • Might not be suitable for oily skin.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cushion foundation?

A cushion compact is a liquid foundation packed in a compact container, that comes with a sponge. Using a sponge allows mess-free application whether at home or on the go.   

How to refill the cushion foundation?

Most cushion foundations are not refillable; however, some brands offer a refill. Moreover, you could try pulling out a cushion, washing it and then soaking it in liquid foundation mixed with the moisturizer you have at home.   

How to apply cushion foundation?

Use provided applicator/sponge to tap on the cushion and extract some foundation. Then swipe it over your face and repeat if you want to build up fuller coverage.  

How long does cushion compact last?

Generally, if using a cushion compact foundation, it lasts about two-to-three months depending on the level of coverage you are trying to achieve. Also, keep in mind to check if your cushion compact is closed tightly to avoid drying out.   

Are cushion foundations worth it?

The short answer is yes. Cushion foundations are easy to use, offer mess-free application and are lighter than liquid foundations. Moreover, if you are travelling, and want to keep an extra touch-up product in your work bag or a car, a cushion foundation is a useful makeup product to have.   

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Updated date

May 23rd, 2023

About the author

Maria Kossman

Maria Kossman is an essayist, and content specialist at Her writing appeared in a variety of fashion magazines. When she is not focused on reviewing and writing, she spends time exploring coffee shops, English literature and antique malls.
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