When I discovered cushion compacts, I just had to try out the IOPE Air Cushion XP because IOPE were the original innovators of this cushion concept that has helped simplify the makeup process and successfully combined foundation coverage with high UV protection in a unique sponge ‘stamping’ design. They launched the first cushion product in the South Korean beauty market in 2008, have won many beauty awards since and sold over 20 million units – with 1 product sold every 4 seconds. Impressive. Of course, with those accolades, I was curious to try it for myself.
IOPE Air Cushion XP
IOPE is a high-end cosmetic brand (although lower than Hera), under the Amore Pacific umbrella and their cushion compacts are available in 3 shades and 5 different finishes.
- No.13 – Light Vanilla
- No.21 – Vanilla
- No.23 – Natural Beige
To be honest there is very little difference between the shades as they all are typically for pale/light-medium skin tones.
They also currently come in 5 different finishes which are identified with a letter that precedes the colour shade:
- Natural (N) – light coverage
- Coverage (C) – provides a fuller coverage than Natural
- Shimmer (C) – only comes in one shade – 22 – for vibrant luminous skin
- Intense Cover (I) – more oil control and higher coverage than Coverage
- Matte Finish (M) – less of a dewy finish than the original
I have this in the shade C21 (cover 21 vanilla) which runs lighter than some other cushions in 21, like the Hera UV Ultra Moisture cushion, but still fits me quite well once I’ve applied all the rest of my makeup (I do think 23 is a better match for me though in terms of IOPE cushions).
I bought this last year during my trip to Korea and it retails for KRW 40,000 which is approximately £24/$35.
- High broad spectrum protection with SPF 50+/PA+++
- Moisturises skin, giving it a healthy glow
- Improves the condition of the pores for flawless skin
- Reduces fine lines with additional active ingredients
- Long-lasting without darkening side effects
This also contains more than 30% of mineral-rich mineral water which maintains the optimum water-to-oil balance of the skin so it stays moist and nourished.
The formula also consists of Vitamin B5, E and P and plant peptide which is an ingredient developed by Amore Pacific and naturally found in the cell walls of plants. This helps to rejuvenate skin around the pores and restore its elasticity.
This cushion is pretty much identical to other cushions made by Hera, Laneige etc. in terms of size, shape and weight. Its light, portable but sturdy enough to carry around. The refills between these brands are all interchangeable and can fit into each other’s cases.
This is not the most exciting looking cushion compact but has a shiny white top with tiny specks of glitter in it. My only issue is that the lid hinge gets quite loose and floppy after awhile so the mirror can’t be angled and keep itself up as it flops backwards.
So the first month or so that I got this cushion, I had a love-hate relationship with it and couldn’t really decide what I thought of it. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I didn’t. After trying more cushions, I’ve definitely come to appreciate this more and have found ways to make it work but it does have its pros and cons.
To start off with the cons – it is soo dewy! I typically always prefer a dewy or satin finish because it makes the skin look more young and youthful and doesn’t emphasise flaws like a dry matte finish can. This however is on the opposite end of the spectrum and just makes you look like an oil slick. It has a really tacky, sticky finish too so if your hair gets in your face, strands can annoyingly stick to your cheek. Many cushions do have that initial tacky feeling but then set and blend into the skin over time but this just stays dewy and you can feel it sitting on top of your skin and transfers easily at the slightest touch.
Whenever I use this cushion now, I always have to apply a translucent powder over the top of it, focusing particularly on my forehead, nose and chin where the shine is more obvious. I use the Innisfree no sebum mineral powder and this is so effective in combating the shine and tackiness. When I use this cushion I always have to be careful with my skincare prior to it and have a minimal skincare base with light layers otherwise it makes the dewiness worse. With a light moisturiser underneath, it is definitely less dewy but still too much for my liking.
Another downside is that due to its highly moisturising formula, it isn’t as long-lasting as some other high-end cushions and by the end of my day the finish doesn’t look as smooth, it has faded a lot and my redness is showing through.
I’m also not too keen on how long-lasting the actual cushion itself is. It seems to become drier and much harder to press out product onto the puff after only a few uses so I don’t feel its AS good value. I’ve used the Hera cushion triple the amount of times of this IOPE XP, and the latter is finished but I’m still going strong with the Hera. (This is despite flipping both cushions upside down to get more product that has settled at the bottom).
The upside however, is that when you initially apply and for the first 4 or 5 hours the finish is so beautiful and brightens up your complexion which is the main reason I continue to use it. Even with powder applied over it, the finish still retains the perfect amount of dewiness and isn’t completely matte. Due to its fine pigments, the finish is so smooth and flawless looking and is even better than the Hera UV ultra moisture cushion. Even when it fades, it doesn’t become patchy. Like the Hera it is a light to medium buildable coverage and for blemishes or very dark circles you will need an additional concealer.
The finish is so smooth and flawless, my camera had a hard time focusing on my skin after I had applied it and kept giving me a really nice blurred effect haha. Managed to capture this one clear shot. No powder is applied and looks much more dewy/shiny in person.
I do like this cushion despite the fact it’s very dewy because this makes a great winter cushion to combat the cold dry air as it is so moisturising and this has never made my skin feel tight or dry or become patchy. I have normal to oily skin so my t-zone does get slightly oily in the middle of the day even with powder but that is preferable to a formula that is too dry and settles into fine lines. I wouldn’t really recommend this to oily skin people for obvious reasons but people with dry skin, this is a fantastic cushion to keep your skin hydrated and looking smooth. I personally would avoid this cushion in summer and in humid climates though because it would just slip and slide and it’s not a reliable long-lasting cushion. I usually wear this when I don’t need to be out all day. I have tried the matte version and I do prefer it over this one, especially for the warmer weather at the moment, but when winter comes around, I will be whipping out the IOPE Air Cushion XP again.