Review: Yves Saint Laurent Beauté Le Cushion Encre de Peau Luminous Matte Cushion (2020 New Formula)

Described as a ‘nomad cushion compact’—perhaps to reflect the wanderlust of Yves Saint Laurent himself—Le Cushion Encre de Peau has become a best-selling foundation for the brand since its launch in 2016.

I remember being impressed by its texture and finish while on holiday in Melbourne that year, and how well it held up in the city’s mercurial weather. From then on, this convenient compact has been a constant in my makeup repertoire. It’s also one that I mention often when asked for a cushion recommendation.

The brand cleverly connects its form to its function: As part of the YSL Encre de Peau (‘skin ink’ in French) makeup range, the cushion is compared to an inkwell.

Reformulated this year with jasmine petals from the YSL Ourika Gardens in Morocco  (the same botanical backdrop for the new YSL Pure Shots skincare collection), this iteration comes ensconced in a chevron-quilted couture compact clad in black faux leather.

Studded with the iconic YSL monogram designed by Cassandre, the luxe-looking exterior calls to mind Saint Laurent bags with this distinctive pattern.

Besides jasmine petal extracts that imbue the liquid with antioxidant and anti-dullness properties, the revamped formula includes neo skin powder, a lightweight sebum-absorbing high-tech powder inspired by space science, which minimises shine without being drying.

Like the original formulation, the new cushion is made in Korea and promises a luminous matte finish. To me, this means a healthy radiance that doesn’t cross into the dewy milieu. The lightweight liquid provides buildable light-to-medium coverage, and is able to cover less-prominent blemishes (faint age and sun spots) on my skin.

This foundation performs much like its predecessor, giving my face a natural my-skin-but-clearly-better appearance. It instantly smooths out unevenness, and my pores are less visible. It’s also good for on-the-go touch-ups without caking. I like to think of it as the portable—lighter—version of YSL All Hours Fluid Foundation (Le Teint Encre de Peau).

It continues to carry the same fresh, almost-green, scent laced with a softly-sweet note. However, it has a discernibly cooler sensation than before, which surprised me when I first tried it. I do enjoy the freshness of feel; a soothing touch for a face product.

Above are swatches of the original cushion (top/2 layers for opacity) and the new one (middle/2–3 layers), together with a swatch of the fluid foundation (bottom/1 layer), in shade Nº 30. The revamped cushion has a fairer tone than the first, perhaps as a result of the sunscreen. It is also slightly lighter in coverage. For a more accurate comparison, I’d opened the two cushion products at the same time.

There’s a noteworthy name change: Where previously it carried the label ‘Fusion Ink Cushion’, it is now known as ‘Luminous Matte Cushion’.

Another clear difference is the sunscreen content: It has increased significantly to SPF50+ PA+++ from SPF23 PA++ (which I’ve always thought to be an odd number but had been told it was for formula balance).

Available in eight shades ranging from 05 to 40, the cushion’s shade spectrum has been tweaked a bit too, to suit a few more skin tones.

If you’re persnickety, you’ll notice a subtle adjustment to the weight of the new product: It is 4.9oz, down from 5.1oz, but there’s no disparity in grams as both figures are rounded off to 14g.

Alas, with these changes comes a new price tag: Priced at S$92 previously, it now costs S$10 more.


It promises all-day long-wear and though it holds up for about 3 to 4 hours on me, it can fade a little on its own. For a true lasting finish, I always pair it with Le Compact Encre de Peau (All Hours Compact Foundation) which I’ve mentioned in an earlier YSL review.


When touching up outdoors, do blot your face first, and ideally, try not to double-dip. Remember to wash the applicator after each day’s use. The puff is sold on its own, so you can buy one more to use on alternate days.


In Singapore, this coveted compact retails at S$102 (case + insert + puff) and is refillable. The insert (+ puff) is priced at S$62 and fits earlier editions of the compact—something I appreciate as I have my favourites, namely the Monogram and Sparkle Clash collector cases. The applicator is S$15 when purchased separately.

They are available at all YSL Beauté stores and online.


PS: If you prefer something flashier, the Sequin edition is still available. :)

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