Cushion and Playtime

The terms cushion and playtime are commonly used to describe the feel of ingredients and formulations on the skin. If one places a compound or formulation on their index finger and rubs it onto the forearm, both cushion and playtime can be evaluated.

Cushion refers to the amount of compound that persists between the finger and forearm—i.e., the greater the “distance” between the finger and the forearm, the greater the cushion. Playtime refers to the length of time that cushion persists. If the cushion is felt for a long period of time, the playtime is said to be long. If the cushion collapses rapidly, the playtime is said to be short.

In most compounds, the cushion and playtime are directly related. Honey, for example, has both a high cushion and a high playtime. There are also materials that have good cushion but a low playtime, such as the multi-domain alkyl silicone compounds described. Many applications require a high level of cushion and a short playtime, such as lipsticks, sun products and lotions. The reason for this is to impart an initial feel that is highly desirable that quickly changes to the final desired property, i.e., a dry, non-greasy feel.