IOPE Air Cushion XP Compact in #N23 (Review)

I don't think I have ever tried a Korean foundation or bb cream that I actually like so I was really not expecting to fall completely in love with the latest trend in Korean/asian beauty - "Cushion Compacts" (CC). If you don't know what CCs are, I'll sum it up for you. Basically they function like a wet compact, housing a makeup base-soaked sponge (with foundation or BB cream) and a non-absorbing puff to use with it. The applicator has a velvety texture to it so it doesn't soak up any product. When you dip it into the compact, air is pumped into the foundation-soaked sponge to release and press the thinnest layer of foundation onto the puff. The key to application is to tap the product in lightly so all the product transfers and melts into your skin, leaving it with a seamless finish. The foundation formula and sponge collectively work to give you with the much-coveted dewy no-makeup makeup look that you see on many Korean celebrities. You can also carry it with you on the go for touch-ups and it wouldn't cake up (much like powder foundations do). Most of the CCs on the market have a high SPF and many beneficial ingredients for your skin as well. 
IOPE is a high-end Korean beauty brand and was one of the first brands in Asia to launch the Cushion Compact. My mum purchased one when she went to Korea and after trying hers, I had to buy one for myself.

The IOPE Air Cushion XP Compact is a lightweight foundation that can be built up to a medium coverage. You get 15g of product in the compact but it comes with a refill (and a replacement sponge) so 30g in total.
When I first tried this, I had no idea that there was so much innovation behind the mere little applicator - which I often make a point to not use whenever it is provided because I just assume it will be crap regardless, but how wrong I was about this one! I hated how this applied with a brush and it felt like I wasted heaps of product too.
The second time I used the puff. With only 3-4 dips into the pan, it literally took me seconds to blend the product, even out my complexion and blur out any imperfections. I also love patting in my concealer with the sponge too. I was so impressed that it looked so natural, my skin but wayyy better and it also left me with a really dewy glow. Putting on foundation has never been quicker or easier and the best part? I didn't have to get my hands dirty at all.
After purchasing this in HK, I actually ended up taking this with me on holidays to the States instead of a bottle of liquid foundation which was really convenient. It saved me so much time getting ready and my application tool was part of the compact. This meant I didn't have to bring an extra foundation brush/sponge and I didn't have to worry about a bottle breaking in my luggage. I used it everyday for 6 weeks straight and I still haven’t had the need to replace the pan yet. When it started to feel more dry though, I used a pair of tweezers to flip the cushion over so I can use every last drop.
I have normal skin and I found the foundation to be quite long-lasting. Most days we were out for 10-12 hours each day and my foundation still looked fine at the end of it with only fading around the nose but that can't really be avoided. I'm usually too lazy to touch up my makeup once I'm out the door anyway.
As always, the shade range available is really limited as with most Korean makeup bases. It's also not the most accessible brand which can make it difficult to determine what shade you might be. 
The IOPE Air Cushion Compact comes in 3 lines: N (Natural), C (Coverage) and S (Shimmer); and in 3 shades: 21(lightest), 22 and 23 (darkest). The colour I use is N23. I was surprised to find that the shade matched me at all, I'm an NC 25 for reference.
This cushion compact also has a SPF 50 and promises a range of other skin benefits such as whitening, brightening and wrinkle care. I can't really comment on these claims though.
Here I am, with a Korean inspired makeup look, which I never usually do. I kind of like it though so I might start wearing it more.
I seriously didn’t expect to like the IOPE Air Cushion XP Compact as much as I do. It’s so different to any other foundations I own both in its application and formula. It's extremely handy especially for those mornings before work and errand days when I need to look "put together" quickly. 
My only qualm with the sponge is that it is very hard to wash/you can't really wash it? The SA told me that because the puff applicator was specially formulated to be used with CCs, it prevents bacteria from entering and it's pretty much germ-proof. I don’t know how I feel about that, it seems unhygienic and too good to be true. However, so far I haven't broken out or experienced any skin problems from it. I also trust Korean beauty experts to know a thing or two about skincare. If it is bad for your skin, I'm sure it wouldn't be this popular. I think as long as you don't use it sporadically and leave it to infest for months in between, it should be fine. Each pan and sponge has a suggested shelf life of 2 months.

Overall - love, love, LOVE but a few things to note. On bad skin days, I definitely didn't like this as much. Your skin has to be in relatively good condition for it to look good. I probably wouldn't recommend this product to those with oily skin either, just because the finish is on the very dewy side. Other Korean brands also have a bunch of CCs with different formulas such as hydrating or matte ones and even Cushion Compact blushes so they might be more suitable.
If you are darker than NC25, you will have trouble finding a shade that matches you. I know IOPE's mother company, Amore Pacific, is breaking into the US market and they have the same product with a larger range of shades. Lately I've seen a few more western brands jump on the bandwagon as well - such as Lancome, L'Oreal and Physicians Formula. I wonder how they compare!

Have you tried any Cushion Compacts? What are your thoughts?


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