This cushion caught my eye with its sassy bee-girl whose side-eye rivals only Renee’s when she’s seen bad contouring. Very Yoshitomo Nara. (<–I’m not that cultured; Renee pointed it out.)
This W-Honey Beam Cushion by W.Lab (provided by Q-depot for review) promises “celebrity’s honey skin.” Yeah, I started salivating on the spot, too. The cushion boasts SPF 50+ PA+++, honey, and honey extract.
It’s currently $29.55 at Q-depot (and 10% off with current coupon PREXMAS10), which is a little pricey given that it doesn’t come with a refill (refills are available but not on Q-depot). It’s also my first Korean cushion that’s not from one of the many brands under AmorePacific’s umbrella.
The main differences from my AmorePacific cushions (AmorePacific, Hanyul, Hera, Laneige, Innisfree, IOPE) are: (1) the puff feels a little more clammy and absorbent than a Rubycell puff and (2) the makeup isn’t evenly distributed, with some pooled on the surface and dry cushion elsewhere.
After using this for over a month, the cushion’s still not fully soaked. Those differences didn’t affect performance much, although a Rubycell puff would have helped apply this in thinner layers.
Note: The W.Lab case does not fit refills from AmorePacific, Hanyul, Hera, Laneige, Innisfree, and IOPE, and those cases don’t fit the W.Lab refill. The width of the refill hinge is just too different.
However, as soon as I applied it, I could tell that it was too pale. It’s a moist vanilla cream (not inhuman beige like it appears on the puff), but it’s 1 or 2 shades lighter than NC15/other No. 21s. I should have guessed from the demo photos in the product listing, which show No. 21 as, well, somewhat ghostly. But if you’ve had trouble finding a pale enough cushion, then this might be a match.
The paleness actually makes it great for two things:
- As a lighter shade along the cheeks and anywhere else you want to add a highlight. This also made the perfect blank canvas for cool-toned pink and lavender blushes!
- As a foundation to achieve that elusive porcelain K-drama star glow. I know my perception of normal is getting skewed by K-beauty because I spent a few days walking around with the shiny white face of a Twilight vampire on my yellow neck…and sort of liked it. But I caved to American social norms and just stick to the highlighting method now.
Review & Demo of W-Honey Beam Cushion in No. 21
Coverage is light and buildable to medium before it starts to look heavy. You can see that it can’t cover monster zits or acne marks completely and in fact makes them look a little grayish.
The finish is quite moist and dewy. In fact, the first time I used it, it smudged right off while I was resting my hand on my cheek to apply eyeliner! But it doesn’t come off easily so long as you give it a few minutes to settle in.
The difference between my face and neck make the shade mismatch apparent. But check out the glow! It’s not that visible in the winter shade, but it’s quite apparent under bright light and especially on my nose and cheeks (the high points of the face).
Also notice how it fills in and smooths over my nose pores. That’s abnormal for me, but I guess I was having a good nose day! (All cushions tend to apply patchy on my nose and sink into the pores, so I usually use mineral makeup or Hourglass Dim Light there instead.) If you normally have no issues with that area, then this cushion should work.
That said, other photos that I took at the same time reeeeeallly made me look like a floating face on someone else’s body. If you’re my shade, I recommend trying No. 23 Honey Beige instead (disclaimer: I haven’t tried it personally).
To preserve that K-drama glow, I used my DIY cushion blush (still good after 10 months!) instead of powder blush. I also attempted a gradient lip with one of my HGs (Laneige Water Drop Tint in Hot Pink), but ehh, was too lazy to blend it properly.
Normally, I powder around my nose and hairline to prevent the shine from being confused for oil/sweat and to also make everything last longer.
Now for my main complaint. Despite the promise of moisture and the superficial appearance of moist skin, it absolutely requires well prepped skin (i.e., moisturized, flake free, and smooth) like any other cushion and it doesn’t survive a full day in a dry, heated office without breaking up a little. By the end of the work day, I can see my spots and skin texture showing through.
So this fares worse than the AmorePacific Anti-Aging Cushion that I’ve been using on other days and which balances my dry skin better (review to come but in short, looooove). I’ve limited the W.Lab to weekend use, when I don’t need it to last as long or withstand office air.
The most obvious point of comparison in my stash is the Innisfree Water Glow Cushion (link to my review), which also ran light, gave a moist glow and light-medium coverage, doesn’t come with a refill, and came up short on lasting power. The Innisfree is a little cheaper than the W.Lab on Q-depot but of course lacks the spiffy packaging. Between the two, the W.Lab gives a more reliable glow–and actually a glowier glow.
Pros: K-drama-worthy glow, one of the dewiest, shiniest, and creamiest I’ve come across in a foundation.
Cons: Runs a shade or two lighter than other brands, so go a shade up. Refill not included. Not as moisture-preserving as it looks. Shorter longevity compared to many other cushions.
P.S. If you register for a free account on Q-depot (there’s an award points program), Q-depot will email a coupon code for $5 off your first order of $69 or above.