Ahhhhh. Now this is a cushion compact I just had to have as soon as I laid eyes on it. There’s some products you own because it’s well known, you’ve researched it, has a lot of rave reviews etc, and then there’s some products you know nothing about but the packaging just screams buy me! This Isa Knox special edition cushion, is the latter for me.
I wasn’t familiar with Isa Knox as a brand before I bought this, other than knowing that they are under the umbrella brand LG Household and Healthcare (a subsidiary of the LG group), along with VDL. They’re considered a mid-range brand that I would put on par with the likes of Hanyul and are loved particularly for their anti-aging skincare lines.
A lot of the Korean brands I use are under Amore Pacific but I’m really digging LG at the moment because of how they’re successfully utilising the 2016 Pantone Color of the Year for special limited edition products across their brands. (If you’re unfamiliar with Pantone, they are the global authority on colour, and provide the colour system that is used across different industries).
If you’ve read my previous review of the VDL + Pantone Expert Color Lip Cube, you know how much I loooove the combination of rose quartz and serenity. Paired with my love of cushion foundations, there was no way I was not getting this!
ISA Knox Micro Foam Cushion Silk Cover
So for the start of Spring and the cherry blossom season in South Korea, Isa Knox have cleverly combined the Pantone colours with a cherry blossom design to release a special edition cushion compact, and it works so well together, given that the flowers are also pink. The design is absolutely stunning in my opinion, and I can’t take my eyes off it.
The compact itself has a double-layered design – with the coloured design set underneath the surface and the white cherry blossoms and name embossed on the top of the plastic casing. My worry is that the embossed cherry blossoms will fade and scratch off over time but for now it looks perfect. The rest of the compact has a light rose gold finish.
This Micro Foam Cushion retails in Korea for KRW 38,000 which is approximately £23/$33 and comes with the compact containing 15g of product and also a 15g refill. The puff applicator provided is the standard blue puff that is used for most cushions, but when you purchase this, they also throw in 2 free peach coloured puffs with the cherry blossom design. These feel fluffier and more flexible than the blue one.
It comes in 2 shades only: No.21 Light Beige and No.23 Natural Beige, of which I have the latter. There is no instruction booklet provided and all the information on the box is provided in Korean only.
Even the box design is so beautiful, I can’t bear to throw it away.
From the back of the box, it states this is a high density, fine micro foam cushion containing a blend of moist cream and long-lasting foundation that will give you a very fine, beautiful silk finish (hence the ‘silk cover’ in the name). It also claims to have anti-ageing and skin whitening properties, as well as broad spectrum sun protection with SPF 50+/PA+++.
Some notable ingredients include niacinamide, adenosine, rose extract, tangerine peel extract and edelweiss.
This Micro Foam cushion compact is also interchangeable with most Amore Pacific brand refills (except Innisfree), so you can put Hera, Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Etude House, IOPE, Mamonde etc into this case. This is quite fortunate as Isa Knox refills are quite hard to come by outside of Korea, so you can keep using this beautiful compact case long after you’ve finished your Isa Knox refill.
Inside, the puff sits on a plastic divider to which you open out to reveal the cushion. Make sure to close it tight after each use to prevent it from drying out. It initially comes sealed with a sticker but I tend to throw it away once I start using it.
I find this cushion is definitely more high density than other cushions from Hera, IOPE, Laneige etc. This one has a slight resistance when you press down on it and feels less ‘spongey’ and bouncy. I feel like this is able to contain product better and won’t dry up as quick because of its density. You only need to press down very lightly to pick up product so make sure not to overdo it like you would an IOPE cushion.
After all my skincare, I apply in a patting and tapping motion rather than dragging and sliding the puff across my face as this allows for a smoother and more even application of the foundation. It does have a light perfume scent to it, which isn’t as nice as the Hera/IOPE scent, but isn’t very noticeable unless you’re sniffing at it.
So first off, and to get the negative out the way – I really wish I had gone for the shade No.21. I usually am No.21 in Korean foundations and BB creams but I find there are some brands where I’m better matched for No.23 because the 21 runs too light (e.g, IOPE, Missha, TonyMoly BCDation, cushions to name a few). As the weather is gradually getting warmer, I figured No.23 for Isa Knox would be better because I saw a No.21 swatch somewhere and figured it’d be too light.
But the first time I applied this cushion in no.23, I was horrified at the colour! It actually made me look like an oompa loompa! >< I’m naturally pale with neutral undertones that lean a bit cooler, although as an Asian, I do have surface yellow skin. So usually I can pull off both cool and warm shades. This however, leans extremely yellow, to the point of being orange. It’s also so much darker than any other 23 I’ve encountered with a Korean brand. Even with the summer sunshine, I don’t usually get much darker than I currently am, so there’s no hope of me ever matching this shade perfectly unless I wanted to apply fake orange tan.
Though interestingly, I have found that as the day wears on, the colour seems to very subtly match my skin and thus becomes less yellow looking than when initially applied. Perhaps that is the whitening effect of this cushion. (Although under fluorescent light, the yellowness comes out in full force). But I’ve also ironically found a way to put the Innisfree Mineral Makeup Base to good use (which I hated for giving my skin a white cast), as it helps counteract the yellowness of this foundation.
However, what I do absolutely LOVE about this cushion and why I’ve been determined to make this colour work, is that the finish is gorgeous. It gives a flawless airbrushed look to the skin and is true to its claim of giving ‘silk cover’. This is definitely my favourite finish out of ALL my current cushion compacts. My bf was filming the other day and I noticed on playback that my skin looked so much smoother than with any other cushion I’ve tried. (Also surprisingly, the yellow doesn’t look as obvious on camera/film and actually looks like my natural skin tone). I wouldn’t say this is full on coverage, but it is a good buildable medium to high coverage.
L to R: bare face, cushion applied, cushion with rest of makeup
This cushion is also very long-lasting because even while some other cushions have a really beautiful finish, it can’t be sustained for more than a few hours before it starts fading, creasing or looking patchy. This has amazing lasting power and looks just as good after 8 hours wear. I wore this for 14/15 hours one day and I was still happy with how it held up and adhered to the skin.
This micro foam cushion has a dewy finish which is more apparent the thicker you layer this on. The first time I tested this, I applied more product than I needed so I looked really shiny and had to apply powder. I’ve since realised that 1 thin layer not only makes me look less yellow, it is also less dewy and looks more natural. I still powder my forehead just to take away that middle bit of shine but I like the subtle dewy effect that highlights my cheekbones and creates an overall youthful, fresh look. It does also feel slightly tacky after you first apply (like with most cushions due to their moisturising formula) and will transfer to the touch, but it does set to a non-sticky finish within twenty minutes or so.
The oil control is also very impressive. For some of my cushions, with and without powder, the shine usually starts coming through after 5 or 6 hours but for this Isa Knox cushion, although my forehead and nose may start looking slightly oily, there isn’t actually any oil when I touch it. The foundation doesn’t even slip and slide or crease; it still feels matte after several hours. It gets more dewy in appearance throughout the day but there is minimal increase in oil production. And with my normal-oily skin type (especially my oily t-zone) this is such a great cushion to have!
After only a week, I’m already in love with this cushion. If only the shade was a better fit, this would literally be my holy grail. Although it is unfortunate Isa Knox is not as widely known outside of Korea so it’s hard to come by refills for this.
It has great coverage that provides an airbrushed look without having a heavy or sticky consistency. It has a dewy finish but a matte feel to it. It’s easy to pat on and blend and is not a cushion I have to worry about touching up or reapplying if I’m going to be out the whole day. The oil control despite having a dewy finish will make this a great cushion for warmer weather, and with a light dusting of powder, you can achieve a semi-dewy, satin finish. I’m not quite sure if this would be suitable for more dry skin types in colder weather, because I find if I wear this for about 11 hours or longer it does start emphasising my fine lines more and isn’t as moisturising as some other cushion options on the market but with the initial dewy finish, perhaps it can work if you’re not going to wear it for that long.
Overall, I highly recommend this cushion because it is long-lasting, has a great finish and coverage, and most of all, this is the most beautiful cushion I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s so great when you impulse buy something just for how it looks but then it actually turns out to be an awesome product. My only advice: be careful about what shade you pick, even if there is only 2 options.