K-Beauty is known for its game-changing innovation, and one of its standout products continues to be the cushion foundation. Sleek and compact, with the ability to give your skin an airbrushed, filter IRL finish, it’s everything you want in a foundation—if you can find your shade.
For many Black and brown followers of K-beauty, cushion compacts have continued to be the one item that is just out of reach. Most brands will offer a range of three shades, max, often not deeper than a milky, light brown. That’s what Grace Okafor learned when she arrived in Seoul in the late summer of 2015 and quickly ran out of the makeup she had packed from her home in Nigeria.
Okafor went to South Korea to study the language while pursuing a master’s degree in international trade in business. “Back home in Nigeria, we had a lot of cosmetics that were made in China, but nothing related to Korean beauty or skin care,” she says. “I wanted to bridge the gap between Korean and African beauty.”
One of the complaints she constantly came across was the lack of deeper shades available for the cushion foundations on the market. “That is the first product that a lot of Black women living in Korea wanted,” says Okafor. So she set out to develop a line that was grounded in K-beauty’s philosophy of innovative science that would also be inclusive of dark skin tones.
The first product to launch from Okafor’s cruelty-free brand, Dr. Gio Cosmetics, was the long awaited Ultra 7 Brightening Foundation Cushion. Available in six shades, the formula contains shea butter, centella asiatica (which is known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties), and vitamin C. Together they deliver dewy, buildable coverage that hydrates and brightens your skin over time. There’s also tea tree oil in the mix, which targets bacteria that can build up from excessive mask wearing, as well as ample sun protection with SPF 50+.
Okafor is in the process of developing additional makeup under the brand, but for now she’s focusing on the foundation and continuing to expand the selection of shades. Eager to see how it works on melanated skin, we had four of our editors put the Ultra 7 foundation to the test. Here are our honest reviews.
Michella Oré, Beauty Assistant
I’ve been patiently waiting for a cushion foundation that would match my skin tone for years. Being a fan of K-beauty and no-makeup makeup, I love how cushion applicators melt foundation into my skin with just a few pats, creating an even base with a natural, dewy glow. Not to mention the packaging of cushion foundations—the pillowy applicator, the product, the compact mirror all built in—not only looks incredibly chic; it’s also practical. So when I heard about Dr. Gio Cosmetics, I had high hopes. Finally I too could harness the power of the cushion.