Cushion foundations are hardly a new thing in the K-beauty world, but to be honest, it took me a while to warm up to the trend. They generally contain less product per volume than traditional foundations/BB creams in tubes or bottles, so at first I was like "Why?" But once I realized how wonderfully portable they were, I was fully on board, and lately I've been in "Try All The Cushions!" mode (including some old, some new, and some DIY). Today I'll be comparing two affordable cushions, one old formula and one brand new: Etude House's Precious Mineral Any Cushion and Precious Mineral Any Cushion Pearl Aura.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Etude House, it's a Korean brand known for affordable cosmetics and cute packaging. They have physical retail stores in Korea and other parts of Asia, but if you're outside that region, you can purchase from their official global website with international shipping.
Cushion foundations are becoming more and more common these days so I'm guessing most of you reading will already know what they are, but just in case, here's a brief overview: Cushions are a foundation (or BB, CC etc.) type product with the foundation/cream/whatever suspended in a sponge situated inside a compact. Cushion pacts come with a special puff applicator that you pat on the cushion and then onto your face for a light and natural-looking finish.
Etude House's Precious Mineral Any Cushion was released in 2013, and is the "classic" version of the various Precious Mineral cushion foundations. Precious Mineral Pearl Aura Any Cushion, on the other hand, was released just last month and promises a more glowy finish.
Both varieties come housed in a basic Etude House Any Cushion case:
Etude House's Any Cushions are named as such because all the refills are interchangeable with all the different cases. Like as in any refill fits into any cushion... get it? So if you already own the classic Precious Mineral Any Cushion but want to try Pearl Aura, the refill will fit. They occasionally release limited edition cases with special designs (like the current Dreaming Swan collection), so if you love one of the LE designs you can purchase the Any Cushion cases on their own and then the refill of your choice. Flexibility is good!
As for the basic Any Cushion case design—it's basic, but I like it. It's not as luxe-feeling as some of the more premium Amore Pacific brands (like Laneige), but it's sturdy-feeling and has a good quality mirror. It also closes firmly with a click, meaning there is very little risk of it opening up by accident in your bag or whatever.
When you buy the whole cushion, you also get a puff applicator for applying the BB cushion. I like Etude House's applicator puffs a lot because they're firm and not too porous, which means they're easy to wash and apply foundation evenly. (You can buy extra puffs for $2 apiece on the Etude House site, by the way.)
Each Etude House Any Cushion contains about 15g of product and sells for $18 (or $10 if you just want the refill).
Precious Mineral Any Cushion product description:
This flawless cushion foundation creates beautiful pearly bright skin with its full coverage and smoothing effects.
The ingredients vary slightly by shade, but you can find full lists in English on the Etude House global page. I think it's worth mentioning here though that this cushion is rated SPF50+/PA+++ and contains both physical and chemical sunscreens in the form of Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, and Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate). I usually wear a dedicated sunscreen under my makeup, but I'll take extra sun protection wherever I can get it.
The original Precious Mineral Any Cushion is available in four shades: Light Beige (N02), Rosy Beige (C02), Natural Beige (W13), and Honey Beige (W24). Etude House sent me Natural Beige/W13, so that's what I'll be reviewing and swatching today.
Precious Mineral Any Cushion Pearl Aura product description:
This flawless cushion foundation with Pearl Brightener creates pearly aura skin with its full coverage and glowing effects.
The full ingredients lists can be found here. Much like the original Precious Mineral Any Cushion, Pearl Aura is rated SPF50+/PA+++ and contains Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, and Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate). It's available in two shades: Light Pearl Aura and Natural Pearl Aura. Etude House sent me Natural Pearl Aura, so that's what I'll be reviewin'.
The biggest difference between the Pearl Aura cushion and the classic Precious Mineral Any Cushion is the presence of highlighter (aka GLOW JUICE) suspended right in the cushion with the regular foundation. If you pat your puff down on the cushion sponge, it will look a little something like this:
Pretty much every set of cushion instructions I've ever seen suggests lightly patting the puff onto your face, but in this case I think a little bit of smearing is in order too to ensure that the highlighter dots get blended in properly.
Here's an arm swatch (NW15) of Precious Mineral Natural Beige next to Pearl Aura Natural:
As you can see, the classic Precious Mineral Any Cushion is slightly darker. I think the formula of the Pearl Aura cushion is also a bit sheerer once blended with the highlighter dots, so even though "Natural" is the darker of the two shades, it's still fairly light. Both creams also have a yellow undertone, though it's a lot more subtle on the Pearl Aura Cushion. The classic Precious Mineral cushion is a bit dark on me—if I had purchased it for myself I probably would have gone with Rosy Beige, but Natural Beige is still on the lighter end of the foundation spectrum. I'd say maybe it's maybe about NC25? Chime in the comments if you have this cushion and agree (or disagree!)
The Natural Pearl Aura cushion is a bit lighter, probably in the NC15-20 range. I would say that the classic Precious Mineral Any Cushion provides moderate coverage while the Pearl Aura cushion provides light to moderate coverage. Both are buildable without looking too cakey though, which is nice.
Here's what the look like on my actual face:
As you can see, I have some redness and post-acne marks, which the cushion does a pretty good job of concealing. The yellowness of W13 is also a bit more subtle once it's blended out. I'm sure I could get away with wearing this shade in public without getting stared at, but it isn't a perfect match for me.
I would describe the finish of this cushion as demi-matte. It's definitely more on the matte side, but it doesn't look totally dry or cakey. A dollop of dewy will do ya. That said, I don't think it really offers much oil control on its own—you'd definitely want to follow up with a bit of powder if you have oily skin. On my combo skin it lasted about 6 hours with powder on top before I needed a touchup, even on the oilier parts of my face. It's not totally sweat-proof though, so I'd save it for days when you're not running a marathon or doing a bike race. Just saying.
One other note: I feel like this cushion does create a very slight white cast. It's not very noticeable on me, but I can see it being more so if you have a darker, warmer skintone. I'm assuming that's a result of Titanium Dioxide being in the formula—it's great for sun protection, but definitely gives a cosmetics a whiteness that may or may not be desirable.
Slightly different lighting, but you can still see that I have some redness, post-acne marks etc. The Pearl Aura cushion also did a decent job of concealing them, though I found that I needed to pat on an extra layer around particularly affected areas. The finish of this cushion is definitely dewy with a hint of sparkle, but not disco ball sparkly or shiny. I think it actually looks pretty natural on me. The only downside is that the cushion didn't last especially long on the oilier parts of my face (maybe 3-4 hours?) even with powder. I don't think that's a dealbreaker, since the whole point of cushion foundations is that they're portable and easy to reapply, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Other thoughts: Both cushions have a noticeable scent. If you've ever tried Etude House BB creams before it will be probably be familiar, but if not, I guess I'd describe it as a slightly fresh and powdery smell. I find it pleasant, but I wouldn't say that it's subtle.
I liked both the classic Precious Mineral and Pearl Aura Any Cushions, but I think my favorite of the two is Pearl Aura. I was worried that it would be too sparkly, but once the glow juice is blended in with the rest of the cream, it gives me a healthy (and relatively natural-looking) glow. The classic Precious Mineral Any Cushion is a better choice if you have a lot of redness or marks you want to conceal though, because it does provide slightly better coverage. If you have drier skin, Etude House also makes a "moist" version of the Precious Mineral Any Cushion—I haven't tried it myself, but it might be preferable to the classic/matte version if you have issues with dry patches.
Where to buy:
- Etude House Global: $18 each (or $10 for a refill)
- Amazon: Prices vary, starting at $18.99 each
- eBay: Prices vary, starting at $14 each
What do you think of the Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion and Pearl Aura Cushion? Which of the finishes would you prefer?
Disclosure: The cushions featured in this post were provided to me by Etude House for review, however any opinions expressed above are honest and my own. I did not receive any other form of compensation. Some or all of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.