Though more cosmetics companies are coming out with cushion compact foundations, AmorePacific was among the first to embrace the trend. Its Color Control Cushion Compact SPF 50+ has a large following and we can see why, as there are a lot of things to love about it! Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks that keep it out of striking range for our top tier of products (details on that in just a moment).
Like other cushion foundations, AmorePacific's version features a mirrored compact with two covers: The main lid that closes over product and a second, hinged plastic cover that holds the applicator sponge and keeps the liquid foundation-steeped cushion from drying out.
Color Control Cushion Compact SPF 50+ is a lightweight fluid that initially goes on quite sheer, but can be built up to provide medium coverage of minor discolorations and imperfections. It looks remarkably natural and slightly dewy without appearing greasy. This dewy finish makes it best for those with normal to dry skin, including the breakout-prone.
As far as wear time goes, this does the job and does it well—it lasts through an entire workday without emphasizing pores, lines, or dry spots, and doesn't crease or fade. As advertised, it also provides broad-spectrum sun protection with a formula that includes the mineral sunscreen actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide along with ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. So why doesn't it earn higher marks?
The reason is apparent as soon as you open the compact, as it has a very strong, perfume-like fragrance. Though fragrance is actually listed toward the end of the ingredient list, it's still quite potent, to the point that it lingers for several hours after initial application. In an unusual twist, we found that the smell migrates onto clothing and hair, which is something to consider especially if you have sensitive skin, plan to apply this around the eyes, or are sensitive to smells. Even if sensitive skin isn't your concern, a lingering fragrance like this poses a risk of irritation, which we explain in the More Info section below.
This also contains alcohol that, while not a high amount, could be potentially drying and irritating to those with drier skin, especially given this foundation's lack of richer emollient ingredients.
Were it not for those two caveats, AmorePacific's Color Control Cushion Compact SPF 50+ would easily earn our top rating! As it stands though, it's not an option we can recommend with the same level of enthusiasm you may have heard about. For those that do fall into that category, see our list of Best Foundations.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Active Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate 7%, Titanium Dioxide 4.15%, Zinc Oxide 9.8%. Inactive Ingredients: Phyllostachis Bambusoides Juice, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Alcohol, Arbutin, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Aluminium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Isostearic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Acrylates/Stearyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Ethylhexyglycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aqua/Water/Eau, Silica, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Camillia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Parfum/Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides (CI 77492, CI 77491, CI77499).
Strengths: A very good lip balm; antioxidant-rich facial oil.
Weaknesses: Some products use jar packaging, which weakens the stability of beneficial ingredients; toner with plant irritants; some formulas contain high amounts of skin-ravaging alcohol.
AmorePacific is a popular South Korean cosmetics line established in 1945, whose skincare products made their way to U.S. Sephora stores in 2009. At its core, AmorePacific claims to be all about “beauty secrets found in nature.” Some of those highly touted ingredients like antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a polyphenol found in green tea) really are great for skin, whereas others (like bamboo sap and red ginseng) don’t have solid research backing their benefits for skin—but at least they’re not hurting it.
Either way, good skincare comes down to the formula as a whole, not just a “superstar” ingredient here or there, so how does AmorePacific rank in that regard? Like many brands, it varies product by product. Some products in the AmorePacific line offer a broad range of plant-based antioxidants and various skin-beneficial ingredients, while other formulas fall into the lackluster category due to overly basic formulas that can’t make good on their anti-aging claims.
Many of the products contain potentially irritating fragrance (which is never good news, particularly for sensitive skin), and worse yet, a handful are plagued by high concentrations of skin-ravaging alcohol which can increase inflammation in skin, provoke breakouts, and accelerate the signs of aging in the long term. In short, these can leave skin worse for the wear when they’re part of your daily skincare routine.
Well also have to point out that the use of jar packaging for some of the products is an ill-fated choice. Plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and most other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Not only that, but dipping your fingers into them can add bacteria, which further deteriorates beneficial ingredients. That’s disappointing at any price point, but since some of these products cost between $100-$450, that’s a major waste of money.
Standing back and looking at specific products, even though there are a few good options, the prices aren’t justified and you can find better products for far less in each category. However, if you choose to shop this line and are OK with spending more than necessary, at least you’ll know from our reviews which products are worthy of a purchase.
For more information about AmorePacific, visit us.amorepacific.com.
Note: The AmorePacific products reviewed on Beautypedia include those that are currently sold at Sephora in the U.S. The company offers an even pricier range of products at upscale department stores such as Neiman Marcus. We may review those in the future; for now, the demand from our readers simply isn’t there—likely because many of them have gotten the message that in the world of skincare, hyper-expensive doesn’t mean better products or better results!
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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