Holika Holika's Cushion Compact is Unlike Any Foundation You've Tried

My test-drive of the Holika Holika Face 2 Change White Cushion BB.
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Michelle Villett
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My test-drive of the Holika Holika Face 2 Change White Cushion BB.
Holika Holika Cushion Compact

Have you been hearing the buzz about cushion compacts?

They're like a next-generation BB cream, and are slowly making their way to North America via Korea (the same place where the original BBs were first created). Some folks even predict they'll gain the same extreme level of popularity... which is saying something!

So what's a cushion compact? Basically, it's a BB cream in compact form—except the product itself is dispensed through a springy, saturated sponge. Instead of putting it on with your fingers, you use a special pressed puff. So it makes it a little easier to apply (and then build up) your coverage—which, thanks to the lightweight formula, never looks cakey.

It all sounded pretty awesome to me, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the Holika Holika Face 2 Change White Cushion BB. I thought it made sense for Holika Holika to be my first cushion compact experience, since they're South Korea's number one celebrity-endorsed beauty brand, and recently opened two stores (plus online shopping!) in Canada. 

Here's the outer packaging:

Holika Holika cushion compact

Holika Holika Face 2 Change White Cushion BB

Holika Holika cushion compact

Anyone know what this says?!

As per usual with these Korean beauty products, it can be tough to figure out who the product is for and what it actually does. Luckily there's more info on their website. This cushion compact isn't geared to any specific skin type, although it is safe for sensitive skin and does claim to absorb oil and give a matte finish. 

As you might guess from the "white" in the product name, it's meant to have a slight whitening/brightening benefit. The formula contains niacinamide, which is a great ingredient for skin, as well as soothing tea tree extract, cooling menthol and SPF 50. (Note that the niacinamide has a distinctive smell that you'll notice here. It's not bad, but it's unusual.)

Holika Holika cushion compact

It gets more exciting on the inside, I promise.

Here's what happens when you open up the compact:

Holika Holika cushion compact

The little sponge on top is how you apply it to your face.

Holika Holika cushion compact

The product itself is sealed up and who knows what the label is telling us?

Holika Holika cushion compact

Peel off the seal and voilà!

I've honestly never seen anything like this before. It totally reminds me of an ink pad.

Holika Holika cushion compact

Behold the spongey BB goodness.

After my first thought (which was, "wow!"), my second thought was, "it's going to be too dark for me." 

But that wasn't the case. It's actually much lighter when you get the product away from the sponge:

Holika Holika cushion compact (swatch)

Swatch of 21 Light Beige.

Note that there are two shades, 21 Light Beige (which is what I tested) and 23 Natural Beige. 

(I feel like a 22 is missing, and would probably be perfect for my skin tone. Ah well, maybe if you fly to Korea, they have an even broader selection.)

The texture itself is light yet also creamier and more pigmented than normal BB creams. I think the other factor here is that it goes on your face more thickly, since you're applying it with the pressed puff. Personally, I do appreciate the convenience factor of the puff, but I'm more comfortable with the finish I get using a traditional liquid foundation and foundation brush.

Here's my "before" no-makeup shot (except for mascara and a lil' eye concealer):

Holika Holika cushion compact (before)

Blotchy City, population one.

And here's my "after":

Holika Holika cushion compact (after)

Better, but not Holy Grail or anything.

I think it does a great job of covering up my redness in one swoop... but I'm still not 100 percent sold. 

First, I look like an Eagle Face. The formula seemed like the right shade when I swatched it, but on my face, it's a bit too light. Which is crazy for a BB, as I'm already very fair. In fact, after I'd put it all over my face—but of course, not on my eyelids—I had to whip out my trusty Pixi Correction Concentrate to fix the colour discrepancy between the two. It was THAT noticeable. So it's not exactly instant convenience, where you can just put this on and go... 

Besides the lightness, I also felt the colour had a slightly greyish cast, which isn't showing up in the photos, but is a common issue with Korean BB formulas. Probably I could get away with it more in the winter, as I still have the remnants of my summer cottage tan right now.

The last thing to know is that it's EXTRA-hydrating. I quote from the website: "It contains air-light powder which absorb sebum and have a refreshing matte finish." In my experience, nothing about this statement is true. I found it looked very dewy—borderline greasy—on my combination skin, and this is before it even had the chance to produce its own oil. I would definitely have to set this well with powder, which ain't my thang... but it would probably be perfect for someone with dry skin. 

I'll give it another whirl in the winter and see how it goes—but for now, I'm still on a quest to find my ultimate cushion compact. Next up: 3LAB!

Where to Buy

Find the Holika Holika Face 2 Change White Cushion BB at the following retailers:

Have Your Say

Have you tried a cushion compact yet? What do you think of this one?