I figure it was time to get my butt into gear with this IOPE Air Cushion XP Matte Finish review because IOPE have recently released their upgraded, 4th generation air cushion in 2016 and I plan to pick up 2 of the 4 versions during my trip to Seoul this August. They are still selling the (now) old versions however, so I’m going to continue with this review as it will be a good reference point when comparing with the newer cushion formulation.
I previously reviewed the IOPE Air Cushion XP Cover version which has the same finish as the natural version, but with a bit more coverage. I loved how it looked on the skin but wasn’t too keen on just how dewy and tacky the finish was so I was keen to try the matte version. I also thought the former in shade 21 was a bit light so I opted for the darker shade this time in no.23 matte beige.
(I’ve already covered the product claims, ingredients and the different finishes available in my previous post so I won’t cover it again here because it’s all the same, but you can check it out in that post if you’re interested.)
So I didn’t buy the whole cushion again which is identical to the original – 1 cushion compact (grey case instead of white), 1 refill and a instruction booklet. I bought only the refill, because I was lucky enough to win a giveaway of the IOPE rose gold limited edition compact case, hosted by Abby from The Beauty Imprint on her Instagram. I’m not too fond of the original casing because it’s boring but the rose gold is beautiful, has more of a matte finish and seems to slightly change colour in different lighting. Like the original however, the lid does get loose on the hinge after awhile so the mirror can’t be angled as it flops fully backwards.
I bought the refill from Ebay, which is cheaper than buying the cushion compact in the box and it comes in a sealed packet with the manufacturing date. Inside is the refill that you can just pop into most Amore Pacific brand cases (except Innisfree), an air puff and the instruction booklet.
The refill easily clicks into place within the case and then you have your standard cushion foundation with the puff sitting on a plastic lid that opens out to reveal the cushion underneath. The cushion should always be sealed with a sticker when it’s brand new. I usually keep the sticker on with the first few uses to keep it extra air tight to prevent it drying out, but then I always get annoyed by it and end up binning it.
I know some people prefer using brushes and beauty blenders to apply cushion foundations but really, the best way should be with a rubycell puff that is provided because its made in a way to ensure it picks up just the right amount of product for an even application. The puff doesn’t absorb too much product so its not going to waste. Its rubycell technology is also antimicrobial which inhibits the growth of mould and bacteria so its much safer for your skin to be dipping back in and out of the cushion.
Right off the bat, I definitely prefer the finish of this matte version over the XP cover finish. You might be disappointed if you’re expecting a true matte finish because it’s not really. Not in terms of other foundations that are true matte. I do like this though, because it’s more natural, it doesn’t make your face look like like a flat canvas and it isn’t drying on your skin after applying. It is a huge improvement over the XP original cover because it sets much better on the skin and doesn’t feel like it’s just sitting on top of it. The formulation definitely feels less ‘wet’ and you don’t get the sticky, tacky feeling. This means it won’t transfer as easily and strands of hair won’t just stick to your cheek. I could never use the former without a dusting of powder on top, but I don’t need to with this. It doesn’t have a dewy finish, it’s semi-matte, with just a bit of a sheen in places like the cheekbone area.
While there is barely any difference between the shade 21 and 23, the 23 is a better fit for me. The 21 is slightly more pink based which means that it brightens up my complexion a lot more than I would like compared to my neck. (I don’t like to blend foundation down to my neck because I dislike the idea of it transferring all over my hair and clothes). The 23 however has a yellow undertone, so while still a pale shade, it fits my pale skin tone without making it look overly bright.
I would say the XP cover had ok light to low-medium coverage, but this one provides a stronger medium coverage. It still has the same beautiful finish, with a smooth and flawless look due to the fine pigments of the formulation, but this time that lasts for longer because it doesn’t transfer and fade away as easily (as it’s less tacky, it adheres better to the skin). I’d say it still looks perfect for 5-8 hours at least. Even by the 10 hour mark it is still providing more coverage than the XP cover, and my redness is still well concealed. At this point, it only appears less flawless when you look up close, but otherwise your skin still looks good and it photographs really well.
Before and after application with the rest of my makeup
The true test is my oily-prone t-zone and I find that by 4 hours my nose does feel a little more tacky to the touch but it only starts to feel and look more oily by the 5-6 hour mark. Even then, the oil doesn’t look obvious, and I could get away with not blotting it away. Around the same time, the finish starts to become more dewy as my natural face oil combines with the foundation and I really like how it looks. It’s the kind of dewy finish I wished the XP cover would have had, rather than the super oily look it gives off.
This is still a moisturising formula compared to the XP cover, but after long wear – 8+ hours – it can feel a little more dry on the skin. Not to the extent of feeling really tight but certainly less moisturising than before. Especially around my mouth area which is a little drier than the rest of my face, I can see it start to settle into dry patches (under my lip) from the 5/6 hour mark. It isn’t noticeable unless you look reaaally close at my skin so it’s not a big deal for me but something that dry skin types might want to be aware of.
Overall, I’m much more impressed by the IOPE Air Cushion XP Matte Finish than the XP Cover and this definitely relegates the former to a winter cushion for me as this is my current spring/summer cushion. IOPE still retain the moisturising formula with this version but sets better on the skin; I’d recommend this for all skin types because it is neither overly dewy nor drying.