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NOW READING Why These K-Beauty Cult Makeup Products Didn’t Make The Cut for Me
September 3, 2018

Why These K-Beauty Cult Makeup Products Didn’t Make The Cut for Me

If there’s one thing that the breadth and depth of Korean beauty teaches us, it’s that your mileage may vary (or YMMV) — what works for one person may not work for another person. After all, K-beauty is all about customization and personalization to fit what works for your skin, your taste, your lifestyle. Here, one K-beauty enthusiast shares what K-beauty cult makeup products definitely didn’t work for her.


As a beauty writer and full-blown makeup enthusiast, I don’t think there’s anything I enjoy more than trying cult faves. More specifically, products within Korean beauty circles — with constant releases and trends to keep up with, it’s rare to see products stand the test of time amongst K-beauty fans. K-beauty fans are all about quality and performance, so it’s no surprise when I fall in love with them.


That doesn’t always happen, however; sometimes I’m left puzzled as to how a product is so popular with so many people. Whether it’s due to different skin types or basic preferences, no product is a one-size-fits-all situation, no matter how incredibly it works on the masses.




These are the K-beauty cult makeup products that didn’t make the cut for me (and why).


CLIO Nudism Water-Grip Cushion


This has been wildly popular in Korea for a hot minute now, which is saying a lot for an industry that is constantly pushing out products claiming to be the latest and greatest. As one of the brands’ best-selling complexion products, I was beyond excited to give this a try. I’m already a massive fan of the Kill Cover Highest Wear Foundation and am very much aware of Clio’s capabilities in the complexion department. When I learned that its Nudism Water-Grip Cushion claimed to be lightweight and moisturizing with a natural-looking coverage that doesn’t transfer, I was beyond ready to slap this on my face.


cult makeup products


The claim of transfer-free wear is totally true; I truly had zero smudging or collar stains when I used this, even without a powder. This came at a cost, as this has to be the most drying, least moisturizing cushion I’ve ever tried. Sure, my skin is relatively dry naturally, but it doesn’t take much for a complexion product to keep it hydrated, especially when it’s the main claim. Even with “water” literally in the name, my skin looked especially crepe-y and dry throughout the day.


The CLIO Nudism Water-Grip Cushion not only excludes those with skin tones deeper than an NW25 but those with trypophobia (a.k.a. fear of clusters or holes — do NOT Google it; you’ve been forewarned). I have a pretty strong stomach and even I can’t take it.


cult makeup products


I promise I’m not being petty. For some reason, I’m positively disgusted at how this looks. It doesn’t help that the honeycomb pattern will dry on your face if you don’t blend quickly enough, either.


I can see this working for oily skin, as it seems to have sebum-controlling properties. I gave the cushion and refill to my acne-prone, oily-skinned roommate and she absolutely adores it.


Unfortunately, though, this is not the moisturizing, transfer-free cushion of my dry-skinned dreams. It’s a “yikes!” from me.


Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder


I know, I know. I may get some hate for this one, but hear me out: I’m not usually a powder girl, and when I am I have some serious expectations. Basically, I want my powder to not look like powder at all.


Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder 5g cult makeup products


This doesn’t do that; Innisfree claims that this will leave the skin looking refreshed and soft, all while balancing oil. A supposed replacement for blotting paper (and Coco Park’s fave), I couldn’t wait to see how this transformed my makeup midday when I got oily.


Well, transform it did — into a cakey and dry AF mess. I tried so many methods to make this work but to zero avail. Puff, brush, beauty sponge … nothing prevented this from accentuating everything I didn’t want it to. As I’m one of the lucky few that has dry skin and large pores (note the intense sarcasm), this managed to suck out any kind of moisture I had while highlighting not just my pores but fine lines and dry patches.


I don’t HATE this, I just think it’s fairly safe to say that looking like the Crypt Keeper isn’t anyone’s idea of looking “refreshed.” You may adore this if you have mega-oily skin and smaller pores, though. Dry-skinned friends, beware!


Etude House Lash Perm Volume Mascara


I love Korean mascaras. Like, really love them. I don’t think I’ve used a non-Korean mascara in years, and for excellent reason: they’re black as hell and hold a curl like no other.


When Etude House claimed this mascara gives “thick lashes with superior volume,” I was immediately intrigued. I’m obsessed with their waterproof version, so I figured this one would be just as good, if not better.

cult makeup products


Wrong. Just so, so wrong.


First off, SO MUCH comes off on the brush; even with my typical wipe-the-wand-down-completely-before-application trick (trust me, it works), I felt like I was putting acrylic paint onto my lashes. It’s hard for me to not make a mascara work — this, at best, gives me the creepiest, spideriest lashes that would make even a Younique rep cringe. The formula is so heavy that I can’t possibly imagine how this could work for the straight, downward-facing lashes it’s intended for.


Aside from that, it transfers onto my brow bone like crazy! Even if it did work, I wouldn’t be able to recommend this to anyone with any sort of hooded eyelid. I still stand by the greatness that is the waterproof version, but the non-waterproof is just a no.


Do you have any cult makeup products that you hate? If you like any of the above products, how do you make them work for you?



Miranda is a 20-something writer who enjoys spending any and all of her disposable income (and time) on traveling to hunt for undiscovered beauty gems. When she’s not on the search for beauty products, Miranda can be found binge watching Law and Order: SVU and drinking copious amounts of iced tea. You can find her excessive selfie collection, travel diary, and other musings around her hometown of Los Angeles on Instagram @armbar.



"at best, gives me the creepiest, spideriest lashes that would make even a Younique rep cringe" hahaha, they really look horrible.
I want to try the powder of innisfree, my skin is oily, so I suppose it will be good for me.

....Excuse my English

I think I have trypophobia! I HATE, with a fiery passion, lotus seed pods! They give me the heebie jeebies. This cushion is only a little bit better than that. >_<

OMG we all have that phobia!!! @ruth kim told me not to google it and I did and I regret it to this day. The cushion didn't freak me out until she told me it freaked her out hahahaha

Yeah, I only found it a little questionable until trypophobia came up.

I have trypophobia so I too hate the cushion. Just looking at it I don't want to try ever!

I want to try to innisfree no sebum powder!! Ha. And it wasn’t for you. Makes sense with drier skin, though. Hopefully for oilier skin like my normal/oily it will be okay. Are there other powders you do like?

I love Skinfood's buckwheat powder, but that's probably because it doesn't do much mattifying 😝

I actually like the Innisfree No Sebum powder, but I only use it on my oily T-zone and very sparingly. I basically lightly pat it on over oily areas with a very fluffy brush.