Monday, March 21, 2016

Yves Saint Laurent Le Cushion Encre De Peau - Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation

Yes, this is indeed my review of the long awaited and much praised Yves Saint Laurent cushion foundation.

If you are new to cushion foundations, please start by clicking on the "cushion foundations" tab in the top menu, though I'm assuming that by now most beauty fans around the world are already familiar with the concept.

Please, don't ask. I don't know how it happened. I guess I secretly must enjoy the feelings of pain and disappointment, because despite my previous experiences with cushions from the house of L'Oreal, I keep buying the damn things.

You know, it's like when people slow down to watch car wrecks, they are both drawn and repelled by the gory mayhem. I'm like that with cushion foundations from the many L'Oreal brands.

Yet, of course, all these cushions (I mean high end, let's pretend that L'Oreal and Maybelline never happened) got glowing reviews by sponsored and pro bloggers, who were literally bending over backwards to please the brands' PR overlords.

And then there was Yves Saint Laurent and its magical Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation.
Like a good lemming that I am, I obediently marched to the nearest YSL counter (which just happened to be at Tobu department store) on March 18th (the release date in Japan) and got me one.

The L'Oreal Inc beancounters in Paris must be laughing all the way to the bank. They know they have me by the balls. Or cushion puffs. Or both.

I had a chance to play with this cushion a couple of weeks before the launch day and I was very cautiously optimistic. The color seemed all right. The staying power was fine, too. The finish was acceptable. Only the price wasn't.
Holymotherofbatman, that thing was bloody expensive! Breathtakingly expensive. Stroke-inducingly expensive. 7500 yen plus tax.

Yet in the end the pros outweighed the cons, and even though initially I was saying I'd rather chew my leg off and bleed to death than buy another L'Oreal branded cushion, it turns out that I am glad I did. (Yes, in case you've been living under a rock in cyberspace - Yves Saint Laurent is a L'Oreal brand).

And here I should just collapse and self-combust, or something, because it seems that I just said that I actually like a western, L'Oreal branded cushion foundation.


Don't worry! No one is shocked more than me.

Basically, you could just stop reading right here, right now and go and buy yourself your own Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Cushion (you still here? what are you waiting for? go on and buy one already! and no, this is not a sponsored review), but if you want to stick around for the details, here they come!

So, let's get this YSL cushion party started, shall we?

The goods come packaged in a shiny, gold box. I suppose it meant to evoke the feelings of luxury, but instead made me think of old ladies who try too hard. Real luxury doesn't need to show off.

As you can see, I bought color number 10, or rather B10, as they call it in Asia.
Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation comes in 6 shades in most Asian countries, though only 5 are available for purchase in Japan.

The compact is black and gold. Again, I guess Yves Saint Laurent was going for rich and fancy, but instead ended up with high-end hooker esthetics.

On the back of the box it tells us that:

Yep, this cushion is supposed to perform all kinds of makeup sorcery:
  • long lasting
  • all-day wear
  • shine-free (calling all nearly-matte finish lovers!!!)
  • flawless coverage
  • ultra-smooth texture
  • weightless feel
  • protection, hydration, blah blah blah...
In other words, pretty standard claims of just about any base makeup product out there.

The cushion is made in Korea:

There are 14 grams of product packed inside.
The YSL cushion compact is interchangeable with other L'Oreal branded cushions and with some Korean cushions (most those manufactured by Cosmax).

Oh yes, the compact.
It's black. Nearly all black. Which makes me want to get a silver fern decal on the case and force my guy to do the haka every time I apply makeup.

The puff is average. Rubycell it ain't, that's for sure.
And pity that the application side is nearly white. Buuu... So much for my All Blacks fantasy.

In Japan the bottom of the case has a Japanese-language sticker. I was too lazy to try to peel it off.

And speaking of cushion cases, Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Cushion came fully assembled. The refill was pre-loaded in the case. When I asked to purchase just the refill, I was told that wasn't possible. There was no option to buy the case separately, either. How very unjapanese, YSL!!! What were you thinking???

So let's open this baby, ok?

White sticker? How anti-climactic.
But yeah, if your cushion is brand new, the surface of the sponge should be protected by a sticker with the YSL logo. Any other generic sticker means that your cushion is no longer a virgin.

And under the sticker?

The cushion in all its glory.

Yes, this is why a cushion foundation is called that. It's basically a chunk of sponge saturated in foundation and placed in a compact. It combines the benefits of liquid foundation with the ease of powder application. And that's it, in a nutshell.

Ah yes, the same type of low-grade, extremely porous sponge that L'Oreal wants to be famous for.

I'll be the first to complain that it's really pathetic that a cushion with such a high price tag has something resembling a kitchen sponge inside. I b*tched and moaned about it last year when writing about the Lancome cushions, so I am not going to repeat myself this time around.

However, it was interesting to read the sponsored apologists explanations as to why L'Oreal brands use such crappy sponges in their products.

One of my favorite bloggers, normally a very level-headed and to-the-point reviewer - Musical Houses, while talking about Biotherm Evermoist CC Cushion (Biotherm is also a L'Oreal brand) totally drank the PR kool-aid and said that the porous sponge was one of the "features" of the Biotherm cushion.
As we can see, that is patently not true, regardless of what Biotherm PR spin machine claims. All L'Oreal cushions are stuffed with the same kind of porous pseudo-features.

In her review, she goes on to quote Biotherm that the bigger pores "are able to trap more air, moisture and formula for a light, breathable texture". Her guess was that "because the sponge is more porous, you pick up less (foundation) during application".

Unfortunately, the laws of physics don't quite work like that, no matter what them crafty PR folks tell us.

This is what bigger pores mean for your cushion foundation:

  • Bigger pores mean more foundation is picked up during the application process. 
  • That means you waste too much foundation with each application.
  • That means you end up overapplying the product.
  • Bigger pores mean more air gets trapped inside the cushion causing the product to dry out much faster.
  • Bigger pores are more suitable for thicker, heavier textures (but then so are metal plate cushions).
  • Sponges with bigger pores are also cheaper. 

This actually explains the infamous bit when the Lancome makeup guru, Lisa Eldridge, was seen applying the Lancome Miracle cushion while bending the applicator puff in half.
It took me nearly a year and a YSL cushion to finally understand why.

The puff picks up waaaay too much foundation and stamping it onto your face is an exercise in futility. To not waste all this already-picked up product, you gotta smear it the traditional way, which is damn hard to do with a cushion puff. So you gently bend it in half and start smearing. I actually caught myself doing that.

Anyway, where was I?

Ah, yes... The YSL Fusion Ink cushion surface.

I pressed it with my finger ever so gently. This is what happened:

See what I mean?
This is too much product for a gentle press. This is what big pores will do.

The color looks light enough, right?
It's B10, let's see how it stacks up next to MAC NC15 and MAC NW10.

Taken in natural light, no filters.

The foundation inside YSL Le Cushion Encre De Peau sets awfully fast, you gotta spread it out ASAP, otherwise you're gonna end up with a mask.
Here is a more blended shot:

I see pink undertones in there, but then again, that's me.

And because I am awesome like that, I also swatched for you shades B10, B20, B30, B40 and B50. B60 is not available in Japan.

(click on the image for larger view)

I also did an oxidation test.
Here are the results after one hour:

Right - freshly applied (artificial light, no filters)
Center - after setting (natural light, no filters)
Left - after one hour (natural light, no filters)

So, what do you think?
Not so bad, I'd say!

Now let's talk about the very misleading name - Yves Saint Laurent Le Cushion Encre De Peau, or YSL Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation.

You might be excused for believing that the cushion contains the iconic Fusion Ink product. In fact YSL makes us believe it actually does.
But does it?

Well... A quick look at the ingredients tells us otherwise.
Despite the Fusion Ink name, the product inside is something else.

Don't believe me?

Here's a screenshot of what's inside the Fusion Ink Foundation:

From YSL's official page.

And here is what's inside the cushion:

Yves Saint Laurent Le Cushion Encre De Peau ingredients:
Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation ingredients:

Quite different, wouldn't you say?
Here, I even entered it into CosDNA for you - link.

So yeah, whatever it is, it sure as heck ain't the original Fusion Ink. Nice try YSL! Next time try harder.

What else?

Just like Lancome Miracle Cushion and Biotherm Evermoist CC Cushion, YSL Fusion Ink Cushion also has SPF 23/PA++.

Of course, as with most SPF equipped base makeup, this is just a vanity selling point.
Do NOT, and let me repeat it once again, DO NOT rely on makeup as your sole source of sun protection. Unless, of course, you want to age in a hurry and entertain the possibility of skin cancer in the future. Then, by all means, feel free to listen to idiots, who tell you that SPF 23/PA++ rating provides "an ample dose of sun protection".

What else else?

YSL is touting the "rolling ink gel system" that this foundation supposedly has, and which provides superior spreadability and color delivery, as well as a soft focus effect cover.
Whatever that means...

What else else else?
  • It's a liquid-to-powder formula.
  • The "innovative structure" of the liquid forms an ultra-thin veil on the skin.
  • .... zonk.

Oh, what the heck... I'm too lazy to translate the official blurbs from the webpage.
This is what the very multi-lingual leaflet in the box says:

Yada yada yada...

My thoughts on YSL Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation.

Guess what???
Their promises are TRUE!!! Well, nearly all true.

  • - natural looking effect? YES.
  • - long lasting? - YES.
  • - lightweight? -Yeah.
  • - matte finish? - Kinda.
  • - coverage? - Sufficient.
  • - moisturizing? - NO!!! Absolutely no!!!
  • - comfortable to wear? - Yes.
  • - light-diffusing? - How the hell am I supposed to know?
  • - shine-free? - Absofreakinlutely.

And some additional thoughts:
  • Did it break me out? - Too soon to judge, but so far so good.
  • Accentuates fine lines? - At my age anything accentuates fine lines and wrinkles. But this foundation did not make me look 10 years older, so I'm quite pleased.
  • Emphasizes pores? - Well, not in my case.
  • Scent? - Minimal and non-offensive.

And now, excuse me while I collapse to the floor and self-combust.
I've gone and done it.
I'm liking this cushion. A lot.

Final verdict?

Yves Saint Laurent Le Cushion Encre De Peau (a.k.a. YSL Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation) is a great cushion, western or otherwise. Few Korean cushions come even close.

The next sound you hear is me fainting and hitting the floor...



  1. Your reviews are so fun, can be harsh but hey, honesty is needed in stuff like this, please do more XD, I love seeing these cushion foundations so much.

  2. Are you going to review some sleeping packs or that blue Tatcha cream anytime soon? No pressure.

  3. I've read a handful of your cushion reviews and I love all the detail you include! Also, the swatches are great for when I'm making purchases online. Do you know if this YSL cushion is only available in Asia? Have they starting shipping them to the US yet?

  4. Hay I'm tosseling between suqqu foundation and ysl foundation cushion!!! Which one would you go for?? And I love ur blog it defs made me laugh

  5. OOO!! This is exciting news!! So many of the European cushions have flopped so I had given up hope...but .... but this is such good news! *runs out to buy ysl cushion*. The case is so pretty and sleek. I love it.

  6. Love your review! You're too funny! Hope you're off the floor by now! 😜 Now I need to ask this: Have your tried the Fusion ink foundation and if so, which one of the foundation or cushion is best?

  7. Nice review! Cant wait to get mine soon! One point to mention please bear with me, Physics tell us the bigger the pore, the lesser the pore surface area. You can understand easily if you use sugar cube and coarsed sugar, the bigger one dissolved slower as its surface area is smaller.

    1. You're only halfway there though. Nobody's pressing on sugar cubes. And pressing on sponges is the whole point of cushions.
      The easiest way to see it is when you saturate a very porous sponge in ink. Try it, see what happens ;-)

  8. LOVED this review!!! I bought it and was so excited about it. BUT the moment of glory (of the first press) made me gasp in horror. SO MUCH product came out!! Now I'm not really sure how to go about with my trauma...

  9. hell yeah you cant buy the reffil separately. What the heck is this? I just finished mine finally after 6 months. So youre saying that any loreal brand refill cushion could fit into this thing?

  10. Thanks for the very detailed review. I'm almost sad because you like it. Now I really want this expensive ysl cushion. Have you heard of the Korean cushion called Moonshot? It's from the same manufacturers as this one I believe and I heard it could be a good dupe. I hope curiosity gets to you and you review it :)

  11. Hi, very detailed review. Does it sink into fine lines or fill in the fine lines perfectly? I've been getting rid of any face make up because anything accentuante my smile lines

  12. Have u ever tried sulwhasoo's cushion foundation?


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