You know how it is, when you’ve had one of those weeks – you’ve spend three days wondering if you might, in fact, actually bleed to death, and when it’s finally over and you’re in the clear, it’s the day before New Year’s Eve and you need to get yourself into a Festive Mood. So you take your (admittedly still dragging) self down to Sephora, thinking a bit of new makeup will fix you up – something you can wear out tomorrow night…

And there it is.

The most beautiful red lipstick you’ve ever seen, since Chanel’s ubiquitous Dragon Red. It’s sitting there, practically glowing from the display, over on the – of course – Mother Pat McGrath section. Oh, but she’s such a lovely shade of red! You MUST try her on, gross Sephora lights and all…

 

Those fluorescent light under-eye shadows, tho…

But the lipstick! It’s perfect! It’s a gorgeous, blue-red that makes your teeth whiter, your skin brighter, and the world somehow less boring. It’s just the thing for New Year’s Eve!  So you run back to the display, scan for the name of the lipstick…it must be something fabulous…wait…“Elson”? Ok, well, whatever. Elson, come to me!

But…it’s…it’s not there. It’s all gone! Curses!!!

Bereft. It’s the worst feeling, that feeling of finding THE ONE – that perfect red lipstick, and having it snatched out from under you. I half-heartedly asked the green-haired giantess in a Sephora apron-thingy if they might not have any hidden in back, and she stifled a laugh. “Oh, no, honey – Elson? That’s been sold out for like…weeks! We’ll get more, though…”

Ugh. Well, a quick search at the Pat Mcgrath Labs website tells me the wonderful Holy Grail Red is still available online, so i’m going to snap it up while i can. Elson, darling, you WILL be in my clutches…soon.

Deprived of my lipstick prey, i forlornly wander the store, wondering what else i might be in need of for the night out/in general. It’s true, i do have other reds that will do in a pinch – so as per usual, my thoughts turn to skincare. It occurs to me that lately, i’ve been running into a lot of articles and buzz about cushion compacts.  As you will know, if you’ve been reading, i loathe and despise foundation, and only wore it when my skin was looking terrible. I was going through a particularly rough time, but really don’t care to go back to wearing it. I do, however, wear a yellow-based, sheer, brightening primer/base thingy by Chanel to help cancel out some redness, especially in the Wintertime, as my skin is very touchy and sensitive and gets red if a butterfly flaps its wings in Uruguay. My skin is very pale, but yellow-based – despite the propensity to get pink from irritation.

ANYWAY, i was looking more into this whole cushion compact thing, which is very big in K-Beauty, and apparently it’s a newer take on the whole BB/CC cream thing, only in a compact form.  I’m editing this beginning bit for a friend who on Facebook who was like “WTF is this cushion thing tho? Like basically?” for those of you who don’t know;  a cushion compact is basically a compact of liquid BB/CC – like cream that seeps up through a sponge-thingy, which you apply with an antibacterial puff. It’s a hybrid between skincare and a lightly tinted moisturizer.  It’s all chock full of essences and hydrators and other good stuff, and with a sunscreen to protect your skin. So it’s like you are whipping out a compact full of skin treatment whenever you want it, that just happens to add a little color correction while you’re at it (at least the ones I read about – the Amore-Pacifc and Sulwhasoo, which both skew towards pink or yellow to cancel out red or sallowness in skin).  Most of these aren’t going to give you any major coverage, so if you’re needing to hide some serious skin issues, this probably isn’t going to be your cup of tea. They are, however, buildable, somewhat, and some more than others.  Of all the ones i’ve researched, it seems Sulwhasoo’s line has the most coverage, and is the most buildable. It’s also the most expensive, from between $60 – $80 a pop (they have three different kinds, depending on your skincare needs). They come with a refill, however – and that takes the sting out, quite a bit. So let’s take a look, shall we?

For reference, I’m an NC 15 by Mac’s foundation scale – which means i’m the lightest possible shade, and have slightly yellow undertones.

There are many cushion compacts out there, for different skin concerns…

Oily/Normal: Some cushions will help control oil and diminish pore size, like:

  • Laneige BB Cushion Pore Blur: A cooling formula that has pine needle and mint water to help refresh skin, as well as oil-absorbing powders.
  • Missha M Magic Cushion SPF 50This formula has silica-bead powder to help absorb oil, as well as bamboo water to help keep skin hydrated. It also contains witch hazel, which helps fight breakouts.

Sensitive Skin: Generally, if you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to avoid ingredients that can aggravate your condition, like certain occlusive oils, and alcohol. I’m finding, as i’m using so many Asian products these days, and Asian companies seem to love to sneak alcohol into EVERYTHING, that i’m not terribly sensitive to it – i just worry about it drying out my skin in the long run – although apparently it’s used to help the penetration of other ingredients. IDK.

  • Laniege Cushion Hydra Radiance: This is made for sensitive skin, with no alcohol; however, i don’t see anything in it that is particularly good for sensitive skin, and it does have fragrance added. I tried this on, and the #11 Porcelain was actually a bit too light, amazingly enough. The #21 was a better match.
  • Missha’s Signature Essence Cushion:  This has birch sap, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid in it to help sooth and moisturize skin.
  • Erborian Liquid BB Creme au Ginseng Cushion Compact: Now y’all know how much i LOVE topical ginseng, and swear by it to calm down my weird auto-immune related hives. So i’ll just leave it at that. The only caveat is that this only seems to come in one colour. So, like, you better be that rather homogenous shade of medium-beige.

Dry/Aging Skin: Ah, my forte. Yeah, my skin is sensitive, but to weird stuff, and at weird times. Sometimes only when i’m riding the Crimson Wave. My real, utmost concern is dryness and anti-aging. And when you get to this level of cushion compacts, you can start to expect to pay for what you get as well. The nice thing, however, is that most of these compacts come with a refill – so even if you’re shelling out 80 bucks, you’re getting two-for-one. Which ain’t half bad. There are several excellent (cough…expensive…cough) choices for us Ladies of a Certain Age if we want a nice cushion compact, and i, of course, intend to try them all.

Perhaps one of the most talked-about cushions of the moment in this category is the –

  • Hera UV Mist Cushion: It gives you that ultra-dewy look that’s so popular in Korea, and it’s actually used by transatlantic stewardesses from Korea to keep their skin fresh and hydrated. WANT. I’m really dying to get my hands on this puppy.  Next, we’ve got the luxe and coveted…
  • Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense: This stuff is well known for being a very good choice for aging/dry skin. It’s got all kinds of goodies in it, including niacinamide, licorice, honey, and castor seed oil. Plus, they regularly come out with these gorgeous limited edition compacts that are like little pieces of portable art.
  • Klavuu High Coverage Marine Collagen Aqua Cushion: This cushion has pearl and sea whip extract plus, niacinamide, adenosine, and hydrolyzed collagen – it’s like skincare and foundation in one – i haven’t had a chance to test it, but it may offer as much coverage as the Sulwhasoo cushion.  And finally, there’s the cushion i chose:

 

My Preciousssss…

My method of choosing today’s compact was highly scientific –  i just went around Sephora, and stuck my finger in a bunch of different ones that actually matched my weird, ultra-pale yellowish skin tone, and went with the one that felt the most moisturizing and serum-like. The selection in-store was actually woefully limited, but i ended up with one that’s quite well-known, and is the same company that makes the Hera UV Mist.  I give you, the Amore-Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50 in #102.

 

Yeah, yeah…it’s backwards. But in the mirror it’s right!

 

Ooh, pretty…

Now, first off, the colour 102 is the palest possible shade, and is called “Light Pink”; let me assure you, my little Kumquats, that it is NOT a light pink by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t know if they have colour-blind Oompa-Loompas mixing their shades over there at Amore-Pacific, but #102 is most definitely a neutral-yellow shade. It matches my skin exactly, and i have been matched until the cows come home, frequently and repeatedly – and again just last week as a matter of fact. So. But i did go for the “Light Yellow” shade first…and it was, indeed, the skin-tone of an Oompa-Loompa. I had Jaundice once, and i would have been able to wear this shade then, maybe. So…i went with the “Light Pink #102”.

 

Dude. SO not-pink.

Anyway, the compact is nice and sturdy, and it comes with an extra refill, which is fabulous. I didn’t take a pic – i’ll do that later because it’s late now, i’m drinking wine, and LAZY. I patted some on in the store, along with the one from Laneige, once i’d narrowed it down to those two, and this one just felt better. I actually has the consistency of a serum, and feels really nice on the skin. The coverage is quite light, but gives me this dewy, perfect glow that sort of just blurs everything perfectly.

 

Unblended…

 

…blended – so glowy!

Now, because i’m blind as a naked mole rat and wear contacts, i should have brought my old-lady reading glasses so i could read the teeny-tiny ingredients-list on the box – i tried, and saw a bunch of stuff, including my favourite thing in the world – camellia sinesis leaf. Hooray! What i didn’t see was…le sigh…alcohol.

At this point, i’m ready to dedicate a post to this whole alcohol in Asian skincare debate. I actually did a bunch of reading up on it last night (yes, this is what i do at like, 2:36 am), and there are two schools of thought on it – in fact two papers are often referred to – one written by the Paula’s Choice chick, and the other by the skincare company Futurederm. Now, they are both skincare companies with vested interests in their own opinions, and they both are obviously biased – other than the obvious information on different kinds of alcohol – because some of them are emollients. But i’m talking about straight up alcohol, period.  MY opinion is that it probably depends upon your own skin, how dry and sensitive it is, how high on the ingredients list it is, and what other ingredients it is activating/synergizing with. I’m going to see how this product works out; i mean it sure doesn’t FEEL drying! And, it  does actually say it’s for dry, sensitive skin. So, i guess i’ll see how it goes and i will, of course, post about my progress and how i like it here. Meanwhile, here’s a photo of me wearing it – i think it looks pretty great! It makes my skin look glowy, but not greasy – and very even-toned without looking like i’m wearing makeup. It’s extremely comfortable on the skin, and i was walking around in -5 windchill for a couple of hours today! I mean, if my face was going to be dried out, this would have been the time. I’m not saying my face didn’t suffer in that dismal crap – but i was prepared with my insane amounts of toner/essence/serum/snail-goo/moisturizer/sunscreen/cushion when i went out. So…it could have been worse.

 

My face isn’t falling off yet…

Wearing in this post:

So, there we have it, my Darlings. I’m still figuring out just HOW i will survive New Year’s Eve without my Elson lipstick – but i’m sure i’ll manage somehow.

I hope you all have a great night tomorrow – don’t kiss any toads, they never turn into princes, i promise you! Hell, princes never turn into princes…anyway, if you kiss anyone, make sure they’re worth your fabulousness!

I’ll probably kiss my cats, i have notoriously bad taste in men

XO – Monday