Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation {Review}

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Rating: 4/5 stars
Price Tag: ~$17 USD
Shades Available: 3 shades
Weight: 0.46 fl oz / 14 mL
Where to Buy: In drugstores and mass market retailers; online at

Cushion cosmetics originated in South Korea and has slowly been making inroads in the US. The Mineral Wear Talc-Free All-in-1 ABC Cushion Foundation SPF 50 version by Physicians Formula is the first vegan-friendly version of cushion foundation that I’ve personally seen.

At $17, this is a pricier cosmetic than I typically purchase. I don’t usually spend so much on face products, but the compact I found at Target came with an instant $3 off coupon—that I forgot to redeem and customer service was helpful enough to refund me. I found out later that some stores had up to $9 off rebates.

Physician Formula is a cruelty-free makeup brand with some vegan options. While unconfirmed, the ingredients for this Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation looked vegan-friendly.

Box packaging of the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation.


The cushion foundation is packaged in a blue metallic compact topped with a rubbery, quilted design. While cute, I personally find the packaging bulky. On the other hand, the basic packaging shape and size is identical to most of PF’s face products.

A mirror is located underneath the lid. The bottom of the compact contains the sponge and a well for the foundation, as well as a lid that snaps over the product to prevent it from drying out. The foam sponge sits between these two layers.

The top of the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation compact.

One drawback I’ve seen repeatedly mentioned online is the lack of product, especially considering the price tag. I don’t expect to get a lot of use out of the Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation, but I already have a lot of face products and I don’t need it to last forever. It also seems that it’s possible to refill the compact with your own face products, if you’re feeling especially daring. Don’t forget about turning over the sponge when it seems to be getting low in order to prolong the life of the product.

The packaging does make this a very travel friendly product. I don’t really want to take liquid makeup with when I travel because of the risk of leakage, and I also have issues with powders because they end up all over my makeup bag. This cushion foundation takes care of both issues as it is not prone to leaking.

Inside the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation compact.

There’s been some comments regarding the hygiene of this product. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but if you consider that hygiene is also a concern with makeup products like mascara, lip pencils and lip glosses, I’m not convinced cushion foundations are that much worse.


While I had first learned about cushion makeup last year, I completely misunderstood how the product worked. I had understood that cushion makeup was some sort of a poufy powder product. I was very, very mistaken. It’s a sponge soaked with liquid makeup.

I had originally gone to Target in search of the PF cushion makeup thinking it was a powder product. While I have tons of liquid face products, I don’t have many powders that work for my face (e.g. powders that don’t have a high silicone/dimethicone content). It wasn’t until I got home and pulled it out of the packaging that I realized this was a foundation, not a powder.

The cushion of the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation.

The general consensus online is that the Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation is more of a serum than a foundation. I also agree with this assessment.

While I was initially searching for a powder product, I lucked out that this cushion foundation dries down to a powdery finish. I don’t feel the need to add an additional layer of powder to set it, a welcome relief for my dry skin in winter. However, if you have oily spots on your face, you may feel the need to top off with powder.

The product has a very high sun protection rating at 50 SPF, about as high as you ever need to go. Anything higher is completely unnecessary. The SPF protection is derived from the old standbys, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.


From the Physicians Formula website:

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
Inactive Ingredients: Mineral Water, Ethyl Macadamiate, Cyclopentasiloxane, ,Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Mica, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Polyethylene, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Water, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Smithsonite Extract, Malachite Extract, Rhodochrosite Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Alpha-Arbutin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Alumina, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Disodium EDTA, Dimethicone/Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer, Hexyl Laurate, Magnesium Sulfate, Malic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Sodium Citrate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, PEG-32, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Silica, Hexylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol

Coverage & Finish

The reviews I read online all wrote about how light the coverage is, but I was surprised at how well it covered. I don’t need much coverage—my skin can’t handle anything beyond light-medium coverage anyway—so it works just right for me. The finish is slightly dewy without added shimmer, and my face does look sort of airbrushed, as promised by the packaging.

All in all I was very impressed. The product has a ton of dimethicones in the ingredients and I worried that it would be too drying for my skin. I haven’t really had any issues, even though we’re in the worst part of winter here in Iowa with dry, frigid temps. Not having to use powder also helps.

Closeup of the cushion in the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation.

The product has excellent wear time as well, lasting most of the day without needing touch-ups.

Though I’m happy with the amount of coverage, there’s very little on my makeup remover wipes at the end of the day. I’m amazed at how well my skin looks with so little product.


Unfortunately, this product is only available in three shades: Light, Light/Medium, and Medium. PF doesn’t even try to offer any darker shades. This is a common problem with PF products—and the makeup industry in general—and I don’t understand what they’re thinking. Cosmetics companies really need to get their act together and start offering shades for everyone. Due to the lack of shades I have docked off an entire star from the rating.

Swatch of the Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation in Light.


I have very pale skin with yellowish undertones and find this shade works very well. For reference, I use the e.l.f. shade Porcelain in the Studio line and 1.0 in Urban Decay Naked Skin Liquid Makeup.

I have not noticed much severe oxidation, even considering the high SPF, or any pronounced orangeness. However, if you have cooler undertones, you will likely have issues with this shade being too warm and yellow.

How to Apply

It seems the best way to apply the cushion foundation is to use the accompanying sponge applicator. Dab the applicator over the sponge, then dab/press onto the face.

I have also used a flat top, synthetic brush with success.


Final Thoughts

Pros: Cute packaging, travel friendly, great finish
Cons: Not enough shades, zero dark shades, lack of product, lots of dimethicone

After I realized that the Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation was just a liquid foundation product with a different delivery system, I was immediately leery of the claims I’d seen since I’m normally suspicious of gimmicky beauty trends. How good could the product be when it’s just a cushion soaked in liquid foundation? I already have a ton of other liquid face products and none do what the cushions foundations claimed.

Since trying the Mineral Wear Cushion Foundation, I have been so pleased with it. It really lives up to the hype. I love how little product it takes to make my face look airbrushed. I think I may be a convert to cushion makeup after all.

The lack of shades by Physicians Formula, especially for those with darker skin tones, is a serious issue for a face product. As I mentioned earlier, I have removed a star from an otherwise awesome product.