Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact…in a Class by Itself

I must admit, I did not embrace the BB cream craze with reckless abandon.  Years ago, I ordered some Japanese and Korean versions; I was intrigued with the novelty but not entirely charmed by the effect.  I am a traditional foundation girl…if I am going to take the time to adeptly apply base to my face, then I prefer seamless and satin medium to full coverage rather than a tinted moisturizer with a trendy name.  
In turn, when CC creams hit the scene, I was ambivalent.  While I am always on the hunt for the latest innovation in foundation, I was skeptical that the arrival of the CC cream (which stands for “color control” and aims to meld advanced skincare with the color correcting properties of foundation) was merely an attempt to capitalize on the mass impact of BB cream. 
Although I cannot speak with authority on every CC cream on the market, I can confirm that there is one that has significantly exceeded my expectations…the Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact.  Available at NordstromNeiman MarcusSephora and Net-a-Porter and retailing for a very reasonable $60 (especially because it comes with a refill!), this alliterative base is designed to refine the skin, provide immense SPF protection (SPF 50!), encourage balanced hydration, and give buildable coverage that reduces the look of pores, hyper pigmentation and unevenness.
According to Amore Pacific (sister company to the lovely Sulwhasoo line…home to one of my favorite powders), the CCC Compact offers…
  • Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ protects against both harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • Dynamic Fluid Capture System Technology transforms liquid into a refined emulsion. Non-absorbing ruby-cell puff applicator cools and soothes the skin.
  • The Exclusive Long-Lasting Complex™ proprietary skin technology fills micro lines and ensures color builds into fine even layers.
  • Green Tea Treatment Complex™ brightens and prevents skin irritation while providing superior antioxidant protection.
  • Hydrating Bamboo Sap Formula replaces traditional water in oil base for deep moisturization.

Above: The packaging details and, most importantly, the ingredients (also listed below).
Above: The generous refill package…I cannot ever remember a time when a foundation I’ve bought comes with a refill (except the extremely diminutive vials of Ellis Faas Skin Veil that come with the bullet pen).
Above: I selected #104 Tan Blush as my winter shade…this color seems to be an excellent match for NC 20-25 skin.
I have been very impressed with this foundation so far…after applying my Peau Vierge #2 as a base, I use the puff to soak up the product and gently press it into my skin.  It takes me about 60 seconds to fully apply this to my entire face using this process.  I don’t recommend using a brush or your fingers…the puff is specially-designed to work best with the CC cream-drenched sponge and I have found my best results come from honoring this intended pairing.  The CC cream feels cool to the touch and instantly becomes one with my face, literally rendering itself undetectable upon application.  The formula is very thin, but somehow miraculously covers hyperpigmentation with a few effortless pats of the puff.  I would deem this a medium (and perhaps buildable just to the cusp of “full”) coverage foundation.
The finish is slightly dewy and very skin like (on a day when your skin is on its best behavior!), but it doesn’t degrade to an unpleasantly oily situation, even after hours of wear.  It is important to note that this does contain a rather strong fragrance…”perfumy” is the best way I can describe it…but my nose is not offended nor is my sensitive skin irritated by this addition (I’ve tried this for nearly a week without incident, but will definitely amend this post should I notice an adverse reaction).
With a light dusting of powder (in my case Serge Lutens Teint Si Fin in O40…review soon!), this lasts the entire day without shifting or pooling…I believe that it might even be waterproof, because it does not come off in the shower (in fact, it remains perfectly in place…I’ve checked in the mirror!) until I use soap and my wash cloth or exfoliating gloves to cleanse.  This indomitable spirit is sure to be an asset in the summertime heat that this just around the corner!
Kindly scroll on for a plethora of images and the bottom line…
Above:  No, you are not seeing things…when pressed with the applicator, this spongey material releases the “CC cream” housed within the porous crevices of the sponge.
Above:  I appreciate the space age presentation of the compact…very sleek and modern with a generous mirror and separate compartment on which the antimicrobial puff applicator rests.
Above:  The specially-designed sponge puff applicator works harmoniously with the foundation-soaked sponge to absorb just the right amount of product with each dab.  Somehow, this extremely thin concoction manages to cover a multitude of sins!
There are four shades in this formula, which are suitable for NC/NW 15 to NC/NW 40 skin tones:
  • 104 Tan Blush…light neutral to yellow beige closest to NC 20 (what I am wearing now in the dead of winter) but those a bit lighter could also likely get away with this shade.
  • 106 Almond Blush…light neutral to rosy beige for skin in the NW 20-25 range.  More of a “true beige”
  • 204 Tan Gold…neutral to yellow beige in the NC 25-30 range.  I will likely wear this shade once summer arrives.  
  • 208 Amber Gold…warm medium to dark beige in the NC 35 plus range.  
I have heard that they will be releasing darker shades in the American market in the coming months…this intent to account for skin tones of every shade on the spectrum is promising and necessary!

**UPDATE 7/2/14: Recent articles on this formula in Seventeen, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar have prompted many inquiries regarding swatches of all four shades, which I was able to procure last month…enjoy!

Above: Swatches of all four shades in natural light.
Amore pacific color control cushion compact swatches
Above: Swatches with a flash. 
Amore pacific color control cushion compact swatches
Above: Swatches of 104 and 204 in direct sunlight.  
Amore pacific color control cushion compact swatches
Above: Swatches of 104 and 204 in the shade.  
Amore pacific color control cushion compact swatches
Above: Even after vigorously rubbing my wrist, the color and slight sheen remains!
The next four images illustrate the how Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact performs on the face…

Above: All I am wearing here is a bit of LMdB Peau Vierge #2, Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact in #104 and a touch of Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzing Powder in At Goldcombe Bay.  Sorry for the morose expression…I was just getting over the 24 hour flu, but really wanted to give this a try, even without a fully done face.
Above:  This was taken in my car away from direct light.
Above: This was taken first thing in the morning, facing the sunlight through a tinted car window.
Above: This picture was taken outdoors in natural sunlight and best reflects what this product looks like (in terms of texture, glow and color) on my skin.
 Bottom Line: The Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact, available at NordstromNeiman MarcusSephora and Net-a-Porter is truly in a class by itself.  Its extreme SPF protection, whisper light texture, an undetectable and lasting finish and the ability to thoroughly refine and perfect the skin while looking incredibly natural make it a remarkable find…the fact that it contains skincare benefits further enhances its worth.  I have only used this for a week thus far, and am excited to see how it performs over time (especially as the weather gets warmer); I’ll make sure to update this post with any changes or news. In this meanwhile, this compact has found a new home, comfortably nestled in the inner pocket of my purse!
What is your experience with CC creams?  Will you be giving the Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact a spin?  Thoughts?  My video on application can be found HERE!
**This post contains affiliate links; my disclosure policy contains additional details on how these work.

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Comments (42)

  • indie Reply

    Thank you for such a comprehensive review. I'm definitely intrigued.

    April 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      My pleasure…it is a fascinating product on all accounts! Hope your week is going well!


      –The Beauty Professor

      April 9, 2013 at 8:43 pm
  • She Reply

    Dear BP,
    Thanks for another super review. I fear reading your wonderful blog is getting to be quite an expensive habit since I want to purchase everything you review favorably. A cursory accounting of my recent beauty-related purchases are all Beauty Professor endorsed, and I have enjoyed each and every item so far. Incidentally, I have just ordered this CC cream and can't wait till its arrival at my door. You know how I just can't resist a foundation/base product in my quest for that ultimate Holy Grail.

    April 11, 2013 at 12:08 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello dear She's Chic!

      So happy you enjoyed the review…there seems to be very little about this product in terms of swatches and details so I was eager to post this quickly! I am honored that you take my reviews to heart and am thrilled that you are happy with your purchase…it brings a smile to my face, indeed ; ) You must tell me what you think of this wild product…I've used it every day since getting it and marvel at the coverage it gives…it just doesn't seem that opaque but somehow it covers like a dream!

      Take care, have a lovely weekend and do keep me posted!


      –The Beauty Professor

      April 12, 2013 at 6:01 am
  • WQ Reply

    Looks lovely on you! Thanks for the great review and swatches, BP.


    April 11, 2013 at 12:49 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thank you so much, WQ!! You are too sweet ; )


      –The Beauty Professor

      April 12, 2013 at 6:02 am
  • LipstickBoulevards Reply

    this looks lovely . Sadly , too dark for me ugh:(

    April 11, 2013 at 1:43 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hi Lipstick Boulevards…good to hear from you! The formula is lovely–sorry to hear you think it would be too dark ; (

      Onward to the next release!


      –The Beauty Professor

      April 12, 2013 at 6:11 am
  • Lynn127 Reply

    It looks amazing. I haven't jumped on the c.c bandwagon yet either but with your endorsment, I may take the plunge. Not sure what color to order as I am nc25 but will selftan soon. Thanku again. I love your blog so much. Congrats on the Beauty blogger to know but we already knew how valuable you are!

    April 12, 2013 at 2:47 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hi Lynn,

      This is an incredible little compact! I am guessing that you could be the #204 and you could add a bit of bronzer after self tanning. If you do end up getting it, Nordstrom or Sephora are the way to go since their return/exchange policy is so reasonable, especially if you are ordering sight unseen ; )

      Thanks for your sweet words…I love writing about makeup I adore and my readers (like YOU!) make it such a blessing for me!

      Have a wonderful weekend and talk soon…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      April 12, 2013 at 6:15 am
  • lov2read68 Reply

    This looks fantastic on you BP! I too, like the space-age appearance of the compact. And gasp, a refill?!?!?! I think this is the only face product I've ever heard of that comes with a refill. Some face products don't even come with a pump *cough*NARS*cough* For a foundation that is medium coverage that sidles up next to full coverage, this does not look heavy or cakey on your face at all. I appreciate that you include pictures in a variety of light settings! Doing so gives me a better idea of how a product will look IRL. I also appreciate knowing how it holds up on you throughout the course of the day & that it requires cleanser & a face cloth to remove. This definitely would make it one to consider once the weather warms up if there was a suitable color match. I would love to see a shade lighter than 104. Perhaps a lighter sister to 106 that leans rosy for those of us that are cool.

    I've tried some BB creams, both US formulations & Asian ones. I have found a Missha one that I like & that the color works on my cool toned skin. However, I don't find them to be the end all of face products. IMO, BB creams are just another option for foundation. I still do all of my regular skin care underneath before applying. But that's just me. And I haven't tried any of the CC creams.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend…xoxo

    April 14, 2013 at 5:16 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thank you, Love2Read68!! I know…I was utterly floored at the notion of a product containing a refill…it is such a generous gesture and oh, so rare in this mass consumption society in which we live! Thanks for noticing my attempt to show how it looks in different lighting…sometimes it's hard to pull that off, but I know that is what I like to see when deciding on a product, especially foundation!

      For being a line that caters to Asian skin (which typically embraces all attempts to keep the skin gloriously untouched by the sun), I am surprised that the lightest shade is not that light (since I am a tad lighter than NC 25 and the lightest one matches me). I agree, a lighter version of #106 should be created for those lighter than NC/NW 20-25! Hopefully, that is one the horizon ; )

      Your thoughts about BB creams resonate with my thinking as well…I don't think I would ever let a foundation formula (no matter how advanced) super cede my need for a layer of basic skincare (e.g., moisturizer, primer and SPF).

      Hope all is well…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      April 15, 2013 at 2:18 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    great review thank you! just bought this and i'm wondering, do you press this on to your skin or swipe/blend..??

    April 18, 2013 at 1:28 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Anon,

      Thank you! I press this onto my skin with a light patting motion (rather than swipe or blend)…this seems to provide the best coverage and lasting power!

      Hope you love it ; )


      –The Beauty Professor

      April 19, 2013 at 1:29 am
  • nona Reply

    Rachel omggggg got it lol i love it so much even though tiny bit darker than my skin i have hourglass lightning powder u think good choice over it and i dont know should i use primer ? and guess what i got the face altier which i adore so much but u know what when i use primer it felt wired just by itself better i think , lets swee whats next lol
    you look great by the way

    April 19, 2013 at 11:41 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Nona,

      I am thrilled that you love the Amore Pacific (and Face Atelier!)…if it is a tiny bit dark, I do suggest setting it with the Hourglass Ambient Light Powder in Diffused Light (if you have it). I don't think you need a primer with this…I wear my LMdB Peau Vierge, under any foundation, but that is not a necessary step for everyone ; )

      Thanks for your sweet words and have a wonderful weekend!


      –The Beauty Professor

      April 20, 2013 at 12:56 am
  • Sandra Reply

    This looks intriguing. Where can I purchase it? I'd love to try it on first. I like the idea that it comes in acompact and I can appy it later in the day if need be.

    Good review. Thanks.

    April 20, 2013 at 6:50 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hi Sandra,

      This can be purchased at Sephora, Nordstrom (online) and Neiman Marcus (to name a few retailers!)…the compact packaging does indeed make it really handy for touchups throughout the day!

      Hope that helps…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      April 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm
  • Rola Reply

    I am going to take advantage of the Sephora discount and pick this up. I am excited to try it. I tried a drugstore version of CC cream and I am not too impressed. Wonderful review!

    April 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Rola…that's right, the discount is good through Monday! I might be going back for a few additional items (a new Guerlain bronzer and some KGD Spa Water…almost out!). I agree, with the exception of this, the CC cream (like BB cream) on the market hasn't been particularly impressive to me ; )

      So glad you liked my review!

      xoxo and enjoy the weekend,

      –The Beauty Professor

      April 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm
  • Anonymous Reply

    Great review again…very intrigued by this product and love their skincare line. How does it compare finish and coverage-wise to By Terry Cover and/or Sheer Expert (which I love; thank you for the rec!)?

    April 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thanks, Melinda! So glad you enjoyed ; ) I would say that it is medium coverage (less than By Terry Cover Expert and more than By Terry Sheer Expert) and is more on the glowing side, like the finish of the Sheer Expert.

      Hope that helps!


      –The Beauty Professor

      April 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm
  • Lynn127 Reply

    Hi B.P, I want to order this so bad but sephora is out of 104. I am a 30 in chanel lift foundation. I dont like too yellow tones, more neutral. should I order the 204 or 106? I saw some reviews that said 106 is darker than 204! I'm really confused now. It's hard to find a color description. Yours says 106 is a true beige but some sites show it darker than 204. HELP PLEASE. thanks 🙂

    April 27, 2013 at 4:37 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for your question…I wish I could help you with complete certainty but didn't get a great swatch of 106 (but I can confirm that #106 is a bit darker than #104)! #204 definitely has yellow tones so I don't think it will be the best match for you. Have you looked into ordering #104 online at Nordstrom instead of Sephora…I just checked and #104 is still in stock!

      I hope that helps…xoxo and keep me posted!

      –The Beauty Professor

      April 27, 2013 at 6:13 am
  • Lynn127 Reply

    Hi again, thanks so much for your timely response. Thankyou for the update, I went on to Nordstrom and the advisor said to try 106 so I ordered it. Can't wait for it to arrive and I will let u know how ot works. I do have a nordsrom close by so if it doesnt work out I can easily bring it back. THANKS AGAIN!

    April 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      My pleasure, Lynn! I am so happy you were able to find some success at Nordstrom (the return policy cannot be beat!) and hope the shade is just right for you! xoxo and keep me posted ; )

      –The Beauty Professor

      April 30, 2013 at 5:12 am
  • Lynn127 Reply

    Hi, got my c.c cream today by Amore Pacific. Sadly, 106 is a bit too dark. However, it is amazing like you said. I can't get over how thin it is but what a beautiful glow it gives. It feels as if your wearing nothing which a lot of reviewers on Sephora said as well as you. I can definitely see myself enjoying this in the heat of the summer. I may try the 204 even though you said it may be a bit yellow. It's very forgiving & might work. I may self-tan & try 106 again. I love that I'll be getting skincare benefits as well. I can't thank you enough again for allowing me to discover amazing products I would never have known about if it was'nt for your blog. Have a great weekend & keep finding these beauty treasures for us! coco Lynn

    May 4, 2013 at 3:09 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Lynn…good to hear from you! Thanks for the update…I am bummed that #106 is a bit dark for you (I have a hunch that #104 quite possibly could be perfect) but am glad you are pleased with the overall texture and glow. It is so very light yet the coverage is significant! You are a true joy to communicate with…take are and have a lovely weekend!


      –The Beauty Professor

      May 4, 2013 at 5:40 am
  • Lynn127 Reply

    Hello again! I think you are right..I'm starting to think the 104 may be perfect. I had a wedding this wkend in N.Y so did'nt have a chance to take it back to Nordstrom. Will do that tomorow. However, I did recieve a sample of the Jouer luminzing tint in the shade pearl & loved it. I've been wanting to order it for a while but always seem to forget. It has an amazing texture & I've tried ALOT of tinted moisturizers. I think it's spf 20. I mixed it with my foundation & it looked amazing. On it's own, it evened out my skin perfectly! Can see that on a day at the beach perhaps. Loved your tutorial of Hourglass foundation as well. I love that we are on a quest for the Holy Grail. Like you, I never get tired of trying new ones. Hope your wkend was great & that you had fun at the LMDB counter. Lynn

    May 6, 2013 at 12:36 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hi Lynn…good to hear from you! Yes, if you are getting to exchange, #104 might be worth a try! Can't wait to hear your thoughts. I have seen the Jouer line and it is beautiful…I've read a plethora of positive reviews on the luminizing tint but haven't yet had a chance to try it. I will forever be on the quest for the perfect foundation and love the journey…too much fun ; ) I am currently trying the Kanebo Sensai Cream Foundation and am really impressed thus far…great staying power for a cream!

      The LMdB counter this weekend was a lot of fun…thank you! I hope your weekend was restful and enjoyable as well.

      xoxo and talk soon,

      –The Beauty Professor

      May 7, 2013 at 1:00 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    This didn't work for me as it has alcohol in it and it aggravated my skin. I'm thinking I might try the new Dr.Jart CC Essence Balm and it seems to be in a similar packaging too! Have you heard anything about it? thanks again for your wonderful review

    May 10, 2013 at 12:07 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      So sorry to hear that! I still haven't experienced any irritation after nearly a month of intermittent use, but everyone's skin is different! I have tried samples of the Dr. Jart BB Cream in the past (it was much too light) but haven't experienced the Dr. Jart CC cream as of yet…wish I could give you some concrete info, but alas, I cannot : (

      Have a beautiful weekend and do keep in touch…xo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      May 11, 2013 at 6:29 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    Nice review. It looks really great on you!
    I really like this product myself. I love how this evens out my face…almost magically. When I put it on, I think it's not doing anything and then when I'm done…my face is subtly transformed. It's a light coverage but corrects very well. I think it's great for everyday. I do set it a bit of powder-either Prescriptives Mineral Powder or MAC Mineralize. I'm planning on getting the Tom Ford Transluscent Finishing powder so I'll see how it works with this. For special events, I do use Hourglass primer and a different foundation. But, it's so worth it for daily use when you're on the go.

    My only issue is the color selection. I originally got the 204 and it was waaay too light. I then got the 208. It was a bit dark at first but then I went to Hawaii and now it's a little too light and even though it's supposed to be more yellow, it's still a bit pink on me. But, that's OK with me since my neck is lighter than my face and I set with powder with a bit more yellow.

    Overall, not a HG but a very close 2nd. I'm oily but dry. And this stays dewy all day. I don't look "made-up" I just look like me…but better.

    May 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thank you for your comment! You explain the effects of this foundation so well…it truly doesn't feel like it is providing coverage when I am applying it because it is so thin. However, by the time I am finished, my skin is perfected…excellent! Thanks also for sharing the products that you like to use with this…I have experimented with both the NARS Light Reflecting Powder and my beloved Serge Lutens Teint Si Fin and both add a lovely layer of setting power.

      The color selection definitely has room for improvement…specifically more options with yellow (rather than neutral to rosy) undertones! I hope that the success of the release of this product prompts the company to create more shades soon!

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend…xoxo and keep in touch,

      –The Beauty Professor

      May 25, 2013 at 1:39 am
  • Shoshana/Strongestrose Reply

    Hi! I hope I am not too late in asking a question about this product, but I just got a sample from a Nordstrom GWP (cutest little thing ever!), and am in LOVE with it. It was just a tad too light (they sent me 104 which is perfect for winter), so I ordered 204. I am wondering what powder you would recommend to go along with this. I can't do the Serge at the moment (can't justify it until I am working again lol), and the Hourglass Ambient's are nice but I find they alter the texture of my foundation a bit too much. I really love the look of the Amore! Do you think the Sulwhasoo would be too light for finishing with if I am more of NC30-33? What might you use with this when you go up in shade? I might try asking on youtube also in case that is easier for you to get to 🙂 Thanks a million!! Shoshana 🙂

    June 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello dear Shoshana!

      You are never too late to ask a question here ; ) I love that they made sample sizes of this…I bet it is adorable. If you are looking for a perfect finishing powder that adds no color but refines the skin and removes excess shine, then I suggest the NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Powder (review soon!). I featured it in a recent video and absolutely love the fact that it makes your skin look better without disrupting the texture or color of foundation. I think you'll love it!!

      Let me know your thoughts…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      June 21, 2013 at 3:12 am
  • Kittycat Reply

    This was a fantastic review! Tell me, would 208 work for an NC42?

    May 10, 2014 at 10:34 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Kittycat,

      Thank you! I do think it would likely work!


      –The Beauty Professor

      May 11, 2014 at 7:19 am
  • Stephanie Reply

    So I'm just discovering this product and mulling over whether or not to purchase sight unseen. I'm curious, how long has each cushion lasted for you? Coming with a replacement is great since it's just a bit pricey, unless combined both cushions end up lasting as long as typical foundation. And how did it do in the summer? Thanks!

    May 4, 2015 at 1:08 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for the question. Each cushion lasted me 2-3 months of daily use and, while it holds up in the summer, the formula can look quite glowy without some powder on top.

      I hope that helps…xx,

      –The Beauty Professor

      May 6, 2015 at 1:15 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    Hi BP, I'm responding to this thread really late but have a question for you:

    I really want to order this cushion but am unsure what my color would be. I guess I could always order 2 from Nordstrom and keep whichever seems to match more.
    I use Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in 5.75/Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Fawn (I guess I'm somewhere in b/w NC25-30) and think I have yellow-tone skin (I'm Indian) – do you think I should try 204? Is 208 much darker?

    May 9, 2015 at 9:51 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Anon,

      I would suggest #204 as #208 is much darker and beyond NC 30.

      Hope that helps…xx,

      –The Beauty Professor

      May 18, 2015 at 1:53 am

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