Thursday, August 31, 2017

REVIEW: Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation

I stopped wearing a full face of makeup to class for a very specific reason: one day, when I was teaching with my usual assortment of gesticulations and hyper-active movements, I managed to swipe the sleeve of my white blouse right across my fuchsia lipstick. I didn't have time to run to the bathroom and fix the problem, so I finished class with my lipstick applied a la The Joker and a ruined shirt. After that, I decided to go to campus bare faced or barely-made-up.

But I started a second job this month, and since wildly waving your arms around medical equipment is generally frowned up, I figured it'd be a safer place to wear makeup. I'll still be waking up at 6:30am, so I wanted to try some products that promised fast and easy application. A friend recommended the Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation, a western take on Korean cushion foundations. (Sidenote: I know that Korean cushions are often similarly priced and come in cuter packaging, but every one I considered contained one of my DO NOT TOUCH ingredients or didn't have a shade match for me.)

I bought the Maybelline Dream Cushion in the lightest shade, 10 Porcelain, for $12; prices may vary in your area. Like most cushion foundations, this product comes in a plastic compact with a puff for application and an inner lid to keep the foundation drying out. It's decently sturdy packaging and, as promised, mess-free. The only issue is that the puffs are very hard to clean; I know some people just buy replacements on the regular.

There's 0.5 ounces of foundation in this product versus the standard full ounce for liquid foundations. You might want to write that off because it doesn't seem like a traditional liquid foundation, but...that's actually exactly what it is. You've just got a sponge on top of the liquid foundation to alter the application. That said, you're expected to pay a bit more per ounce for the convenience and travel-friendliness.

Flash on top, natural light on the bottom. From left to right: Maybelline Dream Cushion Foundation in 10 Porcelain, Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Pen in Ivory, NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia, MAC Full Coverage foundation in W10.

Porcelain seemed to be the lightest shade, but when I swatch it, it actually looks relatively neutral to me. It's certainly darker and less yellow than my go-to shade match NARS Siberia. I'd peg this one at roughly N15 on a MAC scale. I wish Porcelain was closer in color to the Maybelline Dream Lumi concealer in Ivory, but eh, it's doable.

As a whole, I'd say the shade range is pretty "meh." There are plenty of light and medium shades, but the deeper end of the range disappoints me. It's especially unfortunate when you consider how broad Maybelline's Fit Me range is.

I'd been told that the Maybelline Dream Cushion gave "next to no coverage," but that's not how it worked for me. In the before-and-after photos above, I dabbed the provided sponge on to the cushion, then pressed the product in to my face using quick patting motions. I'd consider this a relatively solid medium coverage: my skin tone is completely evened out, and my blemishes and redness are covered. At the very least, it's on par with my Buxom Show Some Skin Foundation.

On the other hand, applying with the sponge seemed to make the foundation a bit thicker than I wanted. It didn't look bad, per se, but it kept sliding in to and emphasizing the fine lines on my forehead and around my mouth. It could also look a bit makeup-y. So the next time I tested the foundation, I tapped a buffing brush in to the cushion, then buffed it in to my skin. This prevented the settling in to fine lines. However, it also gave me lighter coverage, streaked a bit, and still looked a little makeup-y and fake up close. Obviously, most people aren't going to get that close to me, but I noticed things like this creasing above my lip:

And that bothered me.

Another issue I experienced in person: oxidization. You can't notice it in photos like these, where I've applied the foundation less than an hour ago and it's photographing beautifully, but this foundation definitely went orange on me. Halfway through the day, I was practically a kumquat. A glowy kumquat, but a kumquat, nonetheless. While it's relatively rare for a foundation to oxidize like that on me, I noticed a decent number of "this got really dark on my face" comments in other reviews.

In terms of staying power, I got some shine throughout the day on several parts of my face, and there was no product on my oily nose by the 6 hour mark. That's an average performance from a satin-finish foundation, but if you're oily skinned, you'll definitely want to take a pass on this one. I also had some trouble with this foundation transferring throughout the day, though only if a decent amount of pressure was involved. The nosepads of my glasses and the inside of my hoodie, for instance, had tiny swipes of foundation on them, but my cellphone and my cat were fine.

Overall, the Maybelline Dream Cushion foundation didn't live up to my expectations. It photographs well, no doubt, but the oxidization is a deal breaker for me. More importantly, this is not as fuss-free to apply as a cushion should be. Add the mediocre shade range in to the mix, and I'll take Maybelline's Fit Me Foundation over this lackluster cushion any day.

RATING: 3 out of 5.
You can purchase Maybelline products at Ulta.


  1. Oh god, that teaching experience is my worst nightmare. D: I've definitely managed to spill a full cup of water across the table in front of my students, so a lipstick-related mishap can't be far away. Congrats on the new job!

  2. Okay, so two hours after I posted that comment, I ran into my advisor in a coffee shop. We talked for a few minutes, and after he left, I looked in a mirror and realized I had a smear of MAC Rebel just above my eyebrow. WHYYYY

    1. You'll never feel safe again, I tell you. I've spilled beverages and rubbed dry erase marker all over myself whilst teaching, but the smeared lipstick was the greatest betrayal.

  3. For some reason I had a feeling that this one would oxidize, so it'll be a pass for me. I can't believe how expensive it is, either: here it's twice the price of Fit Me for half the product. I really like the idea of this one, but the price combined with oxidization puts me off it.

    1. Yeesh. Yeah, the oxidization is the biggest bummer for me; I think I could've finished this one otherwise.

  4. I still vividly remember the day I decided to try Revlon Nearly Naked. I wore it to work (a job that was customer facing) and, when I finally had time to look at myself in a mirror hours later, I was so orange. I was fairly mortified. I just wanted you to know that I feel your pain. Oompa Loompa solidarity.