Lancome's Miracle Cushion Liquid Cushion Compact isn't quite a miracle, but absolutely makes good on its claims of providing a fresh glow, hydration, and "weightless buildable coverage"—though coverage stays within the light range no matter how much you apply. The hydration and glow this provides are wonderful for normal to dry skin!
Instead of being housed in a bottle, this lightweight, moisturizing liquid foundation with a satin finish is saturated onto a built-in sponge that sits inside a compact. Lancome refers to the sponge as a "liquid cushion" and it's said to have 800,000 "pores" to deliver the perfect amount of foundation per use. The "pores" do make it easier to use this foundation, either with clean fingers, a brush, or the sponge applicator Lancome includes, but how much you use depends on your personal preference rather than how many "pores" the sponge has.
Applied with fingers to prepped skin, you get light coverage that can be sheered out a bit. When used with the included sponge, coverage is sheer to light. A pat-and-blend method works best because with sponge application because it keeps the thin-textured product from streaking and also feels refreshing.
Brush application is trickiest due to potential issues with streaking as this sets, so we don't recommend this method unless you're really experienced with foundation brushes and happen to prefer them to the exclusion of all other options. With a brush, you can get sheer to light coverage; this is not the foundation to choose if you have more significant flaws to hide or a noticeably uneven skin tone.
The sponge Lancome includes is well suited for the job, but you'll want to wash it between uses (very easy to do) because what remains on the sponge will feel moist and can quickly build up, which gets kind of gross. This hygiene tip would apply to any sponge you opt to use with this foundation.
Miracle Cushion looks very natural and its smooth, hydrating (yet surprisingly light) finish is a boon for normal to dry skin. The formula is suitable for breakout-prone skin that's also dry, as it doesn't contain heavier emollients or waxes, but bear in mind the coverage isn't enough to hide breakouts or red marks left in their wake. Of course, you can solve this dilemma with a good concealer applied over top.
The sleek, mirrored compact houses the foundation-soaked sponge. There are two covers: The main mirrored silver cap and a secondary hinged cover that holds the applicator sponge and serves to protect the foundation from drying out. All told, it's a clean, functional design most will find convenient to use.
As usual per Lancome's foundations, the shade range, while a bit smaller than what they normally offer, is exemplary. The shades, even those marked with a "C" for "cool" (pink) tones tend to skew slightly warmer (yellow to peach) but almost all of them have a workable, neutral overtone that looks like real skin. There are no shades for very light skin tones, but those with fair to dark (even very dark) skin tones should find a suitable match—and the formula is sheer enough that getting a precise match isn't as critical. The only shade to consider carefully is 310 Bisque C, which dries slightly too peach.
We really liked this foundation and wanted to award it four stars, but the fragrance ingredients it contains held it back from being among the best. Although the amounts are low and this certainly isn't knock-your-socks-off fragrant, several of the fragrance ingredients are capable of causing irritation, something you may notice more if you apply this foundation around your eyes.
In summation, although not a miracle or quite as innovative as it seems (Lancome wasn't first to market with this type of foundation), Miracle Cushion is easy to apply, looks natural, hydrates without feeling heavy, is packaged well, and the shades are great. Were it not for the inclusion of several potentially irritating fragrance ingredients, this would earn our highest recommendation for normal to dry skin, even if it's also prone to breakouts.
Note: Lancome sells refills of each shade for $39.
Strengths: Some good cleansers; well-formulated scrubs; foundations with beautiful shades for almost every skin color; great concealers; several outstanding mascaras; the Artliner liquid eyeliners perform well; impressive powder eyeshadows; some fantastic lipsticks and automatic lipliner.
Weaknesses: Expensive for what amounts to mostly mediocre to below-average skincare products; lacking in effective treatments for blemishes or lightening skin discolorations; average toners; moisturizers that are short on including state-of-the-art ingredients; jar packaging; some foundations with sunscreen do not provide complete UVA protection.
French flair, free gifts with purchase, constant magazine ads, and attractive packaging impel women to seek out the Lancome counter. Once you're there, though, unless you're captured by the enticing claims, the skin-care products are resoundingly dull, and we mean really, really dull (the makeup is a different story). With new research and developments in skin care many cosmetics companies typically improve their formulas, even if just in a small way. That’s not the case with Lancome, which tends to raise their prices while producing lackluster, ordinary formulas with little benefit for skin.
Even more shocking is that their most expensive skin-care items tend to be the most disappointing, usually for what they lack rather than for what they contain. It's startling to realize that their priciest moisturizer is remarkably similar to dozens of other Lancome creams priced more reasonably (but still too high when you consider what you're getting for the money). It seems that all it takes to justify the excessive prices is a good story based around a rare ingredient and claims of delivering a younger look. What a shame so many consumers are taken in by this kind of marketing mumbo jumbo.
L'Oreal-owned Lancome, along with L'Oreal's own skin-care products sold at the drugstore, has fallen well behind their competition. For all their lofty claims and beautiful models, many other companies leave them in the dust. Most of the Lauder companies (Clinique, Estee Lauder), along with Dove, and Olay have skin-care formularies that consistently outperform those of Lancome and L'Oreal in terms of what substantiated research has shown is necessary to have healthy, more wrinkle- and age-resistant skin. Lancome claims to understand women, and they certainly know how to entice them with pretty packaging and scientific-sounding claims. It would be far better if they had an intimate understanding of what it really takes for skin to look its best and function optimally.
The biggest improvement Lancome has made is that almost all of their sunscreens now include the right UVA-protecting ingredients. Who knows why it took them so long to get this straightened out (L'Oreal is no stranger to this issue, as they have developed and patented new UVA filters throughout the years), but it is now easier than ever to find a reliable sunscreen from Lancome. Given their prominence and presence in department stores around the world, Lancome isn't easy to ignore. Our suggestion is to look beyond most of the skin care and focus on what they do best: makeup (especially foundations and mascaras).
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all Lancome products contain fragrance.
For more information about Lancome, owned by L'Oreal, call (800) 526-2663 or visit www.lancome.com.
L'Oreal-owned Lancome is a stellar, French-bred collection of makeup that remains the best reason to shop this line. Because most of Lancome's skin-care products have problematic elements (be it jar packaging, insufficient sun protection, or dated formulas), it is a relief to find that, for the most part, the colorful side of their business has more than its share of innovative products. We enjoyed the fact that no matter where we shopped, Lancome's counter personnel were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. There's a lot to keep track of, and Lancome deserves credit for keeping their salespeople so well informed.
If you're looking for a force to reckon with for foundations, Lancome is a must-see. They continue to offer some of the most elegant, silky formulas anywhere and in a color range that is overwhelmingly neutral, whether your skin is porcelain or ebony. The only troubling aspect is that most of Lancome's foundations with sunscreen do not contain adequate UVA protection or the SPF rating is too low. Lancome obviously knows about the risks with these issues (after all, they market ecamsule, their version of the UVA-protecting ingredient Mexoryl SX, and brag about its UVA range). And considering that, we are not recommending as many of their foundations as we have in previously have. Beyond this major gripe, you will discover that Lancome has a well-deserved reputation for their fantastic mascaras, and that their latest powders and eyeshadows apply with a silkiness that makes them gratifying to work with. The rest of the makeup encompasses many valid choices, but before you commit to Lancome, consider the similar options available for less from sister companies L'Oreal and Maybelline New York. Striking a balance among the best of each of these lines will give you first-class makeup that beautifies without breaking the bank.
Note: Lancome is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Lancome does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.
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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