I Bought the IOPE Air Cushion XP and I’m Really Excited About it

Hi there!

If you haven’t heard, cushions are all the rage in Korea. No, I’m not talking about those plush, comfy things you throw on your couch (although I am a huge fan of those too). Instead, I am referring to possibly the biggest Korean beauty trend since the BB cream (and subsequently the CC cream). Cushions are compacts which house your CC cream (usually), BB cream or foundation in a sponge-type ‘cushion’. You use a special puff to gently press on the cushion, which releases the product and then dab it onto your face in a gentle, doll-like manner. The big benefit of these products is that they allow you to easily apply your base makeup without the usual fuss involved. No blending and smearing makeup all over your fingers or worse, your outfit. Just one quick puff and you’re done.

Don’t you just love Korean beauty?!

The original cushion was created by IOPE, and their new (and supposedly improved) product is the IOPE Air Cushion XP. And I may have just purchased it for myself. Yep, this happened. Have a look at it in all its beauty here:

The IOPE Air Cushion XP <3
The IOPE Air Cushion XP <3

Amazing, no?

Let me take you back a little bit. When I first heard about these things, I was a little unsure. Especially living in a country that is so concerned with hygiene, I had hesitations about the cleanliness of this product. Having the product housed in a sponge-like environment did not seem to be ideal. However, after reading more about the issue, it seems to basically be an issue of keeping the puff clean and limiting the cushion’s exposure to air and basically the outside world. Having all of the product encased in a cushion also seemed like something that would run out quickly, but there actually appears to be a generous amount submerged in there. I’m still not an expert on this item, but I am willing to become one. For the sake of science, of course!

I had read a lot about this cushion before purchasing it, and I must say I was intrigued. Both Koreans and everyone else alike hold this cushion up as the gold standard for all other cushions. And believe me, there are plenty. Although IOPE was the original, they kickstarted a trend which has resulted in literally every single Korean brand having their own version of the cushion. Whether it’s The Face Shop’s Screen Cell Cushion (featuring a special ‘screen’ over the cushion to create an even finer finish), Etude House’s Any Cushion (which comes in a number of shades to counteract redness, dullness or just to cover that ish up) or Hera’s UV Mist Cushion (the higher-end version featuring 5 functions in one), the cushion is everywhere. Also, I may or may not own all of the aforementioned cushions. But let’s move on.

So how do cushions work? Let me show you!

I know this will come as no surprise to many of you reading this, but I like to fly in the face of discrimination and cater to all folks, beauty aficionados and amateurs alike. So glaze over this if you please, or feast your eyes and prepare to be amazed!

The creamy cushion of IOPE's Air Cushion XP
The creamy cushion of IOPE’s Air Cushion XP

The texture of this foundation (which seems more like a CC cream) feels really light and sort of sumptuous. Is it weird to say that? It’s true! This is an expensive-looking product, and while it’s not the priciest cushion out there, it’s certainly in a higher-end range. However, most Air Cushion XP’s come with a refill, so it’s really good value if you look at it this way. I purchased this at a Watson’s chemist in Anam (when I was visiting my friend Sehar) and I think I paid 32,000 won for this. It was a bit reduced and it also came with a million samples of Laneige’s Water Bank Essence. This is another product I want to try, so I was immediately sold!

I’ve only used this a couple of times so I’m not really in the position to give a detailed review – yet! The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory and I think clearly communicates that I just want to have a chat about how happy I am to finally own this product. I do feel like it is a Korean Holy Grail item, so it was inevitable this day would come! And although I’m not yet an expert on the Air Cushion XP, I do have high hopes for it.

I bought this in N21, which is the lightest shade in the Natural texture. The Air Cushion is available in Natural (a lighter, natural look) or Cover (a heavier coverage), and also in Shimmer. In terms of colour, I find N21 to be a really good match for me. Being a traditional Korean product, there is not much room to move in terms of shades, which is a shame because I think a lot of people would enjoy this product. I believe there is only 21 or 23, which is slightly darker than my shade but really isn’t that different. I have read a lot of frustrated comments (and rightly so) about the limited selection of shades in Korean BB creams/CC creams/foundations and I do think they are doing themselves a disservice. I understand different cultures have different beauty ideals (not that I agree with them whatsoever), but honestly I am super white and some of these products are too light for me. I don’t know who they think some of these products will look natural on, and unfortunately they often don’t. Plus, it’s shortsighted and discriminatory and that’s just not cool with me.

As much as I love Korean beauty, there is definitely room for improvement in my eyes!

Moving onto the texture and coverage of this baby. I would like to now present you with an image that will (hopefully) express the incredibly fine texture of the Air Cushion XP:

Look at that texture! Sa fine!
Look at that texture! Sa fine!

Ahhh, would you look at that. I must say, as much as this product has been hyped, I do now understand what all the hoopla is about. The moment I tested this on my finger, I could feel how cool, light and velvety this cream is. Something about squeezing the foundation through the cushion seems to help it become light as air – hence the name, I spose! (I promise that actually wasn’t intended, it does feel super airy!)

One of the drawbacks of having a cushion is the aforementioned hygiene issue… and that’s about it. I haven’t yet tried to clean the puff, and I’m not quite sure how you’d go about cleaning the cushion (if it’s possible). I have seen special cushion cleansers being advertised here, but I haven’t gotten that far yet! The good thing about these is that they have a separator which the puff sits on, which also helps to keep the cushion moist and prevent it from too much air exposure. No product is perfect… but this one comes pretty darn close.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend this product if you are looking for some high-coverage ish. In true Korean style, the IOPE Air Cushion XP presupposes that you have been a diligent lady and already done your 74o823493024-step cleansing routine. If so, then you will have glowing doll skin which will only require the slightest of coverage to enhance your natural radiance. Of course, if you buy the Cover option it should be heavier, but don’t expect too much from the Cushion in terms of masking pretty much anything. It is what it is, and I like the focus on skincare as opposed to encouraging girls to just do whatever and cover it up later.

My IOPE Air Cushion XP + refill + 1 million Laneige Water Bank Essence samples
My IOPE Air Cushion XP + refill + 1 million Laneige Water Bank Essence samples

All in all, I am really glad I own this Holy Grail Korean product and I look forward to becoming better acquainted with it! I am a real low-maintenance gal, and anything that can cut down my make-up application to a fraction of what it was before gets my vote. Honestly, you can get this on in about one minute flat (unless you do it Korean-style, which requires a lot more light, feminine dabbing and less slappin’ on and rubbing). It’s easy, convenient and feels amazing. Plus it looks pretty special in your handbag. Win win!

How about you? What is your Holy Grail Korean product? Or what have been your experiences with this Air Cushion XP? I would love to hear in the comments! 🙂

Thanks for reading, until next time,

Steph x

    1. Yes it really doesn’t have many options >.< It works for me because I am super light, but the whole industry really needs to lift their game and start catering to people outside of their very narrow skin colour definitions. I haven't tried the 23 but I doubt it would be much darker… It's a lovely product, but definitely has room for improvement!

  1. Great post! I finally got my a few weeks ago and I LOVE it!

    So, I ordered the S22 (shimmer) and I will say it’s a SUPER light color. The shimmer is beautifully subtle (which is what I was most worried about – I hate glittery stuff but love glow) and the coverage is fantastic. I’m very fair so it works well for me (weird reference, but I’m exactly the same color as Dita von Teese, if it helps), but I’d say to go darker if you’re not very fair. I hope they make a darker shimmer soon!

    1. Ooh this is very intriguing to me! I used to have quite oily skin so the thought off *too* much extra shimmer sort of scares me as well, although I am getting more comfortable with the ‘glowy’ Korean look. That’s good to hear that the coverage is fantastic too! Mine is quite light (which I like) but I’m glad there are actually options when it comes to coverage hehe. Also, I am super light too so this could work for me… at least when I finish my 32938337 other cushions I have stashed away lol. I think they really need to get onto making more shades too – in my opinion, the more the merrier! Thanks for your comment, really glad you’re enjoying it 🙂

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