Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation – Review

If you have read my Sephora VIB Sale Haul post, you’ll have noticed I picked up three (yes! three!) new foundations. I had been really keen on trying the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation as I had read and watched many rave reviews about it. Luckily I managed to colour match myself correctly – side note – does anyone else do a little happy dance when they manage to guess the right shade? No? Just me? Anyway, I got shade 123 which is a very decent match to my skin tone.

Onto a few details. Packaged in a glass jar with a pump this bottle looks sleek & minimalistic. The black lid that slides over the pump is  a little useless as it doesn’t really click on properly so DO NOT pick said bottle up by the lid or you will end up with a huge mess. Or a broken foot. The actual foundation when pumped out is what seems to me a very traditional “liquid” it is neither super runny nor thick. There is no fragrance to the foundation at all. SPF 15+ is included and according to Sephora this product is cruelty free and does not contain artificial colors, fragrance, or mineral oil. It has been described as light-medium coverage and I would agree that light to light-med is where its at. It cancels out redness and evens my skin tone beautifully but you’ll need a concealer if you wish to cover any imperfections.

I decided to actually give this one a thorough road test and take note of what I applied with it (from primers, powders, concealers), my skin condition (which was going through some changes this week) and how it fared throughout each day. Ready? Most of the below photos are from my Instagram (hint hint – go follow me!) So, here’s four days with Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation.

Day one – No primer. I had cleansed, moisturised & applied Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream 30+. Applied KGD with Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush and set with Laura Mercier Translucent Powder. Photo was taken at 10 hours post application and although it had worn well there is some fading on forehead where I play with my hair and a small amount of separation on the chin and around nostrils. No touch ups at all.

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation at 10 hours with no touch ups.

Day two – Dior Glow Maximizer Primer. Starting with cleansed & moisturised skin & an application of Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream. Day two I applied the Dior Glow Maximizer Primer and then applied KGD again with the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush. Set the foundation with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light. My facial skin is having a freak out today, it feels really dry and tight. It could be either the retinol used the night before but more likely the change in weather as my skin as been feeling consistently drier over the past few days. My makeup was washed off at the 8.5 hour mark as it was feeling tight & flaky. I believe this had more to do with my skin than the foundation or perhaps not the right primer?

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation – taken mid-morning

Day Three – Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer. Spent the previous night upping my skins hydration, applying moisturiser and oil when I cleansed my face and also another layer of each right before bed. I awoke with skin that was feeling a little happier. I did however use some more hydrating products this morning most notably samples of the Chanel micro hydra serum (love, had a few samples of this and will purchase full size I think) and sample of hydra beauty crème. Liberally sprayed with Kosmea Rosewater Hydrating Mist both before moisturiser, before SPF and before applying the Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer. I applied KGD with a damp Beauty Blender and set the foundation with Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Foundation as the Beauty Blender does do a decent job of sheering the (already sheer/light) formula out and also I went with no concealer on this day, so I wanted just a little extra coverage. Photo taken at the 7 hour mark with no touch ups. I did add a little powder to my chin at around the 8 hour mark as I have noticed the coverage on my chin was separating a little.

Day Four – Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer. Still keeping my skin well hydrated, after morning skincare and SPF I applied a small amount of the Clarins Primer which has a more siliconey feel to it. I then applied KGD with a damp Beauty Blender and set with Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder. Photo taken just after application. It has worn well through the day, again a little separation around the chin and nose at the 7-8 hour mark and some fading on cheeks. Still looks decent when standing back in the mirror but up close these details become more apparent.

Koh Gen Do Foundation – taken not long after application

Verdict – I really enjoyed this little experiment, mixing up primers & powders and taking note of what works and what doesn’t.  Previous to this four day stretch I had worn the foundation twice, both times, no primer and applied only with fingers. I much prefer application with fingers or Beauty Blender over a foundation brush. I actually prefer the foundation with no primer, but would also consider using a hydrating primer if I felt my skin needed it. But because it was more my skin freaking out than the primer, I may try the Dior Glow Primer underneath again. Powders…. hmm, I mainly only set the foundation in my t-zone area and all combos of application had a little separation toward the end of the day, so I would probably use any of the above again. i don’t feel it made a massive difference either way.

All in all I really like this foundation. It has a natural skin like finish with some luminosity, it is in no way matte or flat. I would probably go for something with higher coverage if I had blemishes to cover, but the KGD and a little spot concealing worked fine for me this week. I would avoid if you had quite oily skin as I could imagine it would be sliding off before midday.

As much as I had fun with this I am looking forward to using a different foundation come tomorrow morning! I very rarely wear the same one even two days in a row but I will be more than happy to come back and play with KGD again in a few days.

Buy Koh Gen Doh in US or Buy Koh Gen Doh in Australia


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