I first heard of Koh Gen Do many years ago, but I never tried it. I guess because at the time, I wasn't having any foundation issues! Back then, most of the ladies I heard talking about it were using it because they were able to get such pale shades. Koh Gen Do is a company based in Japan, which explains why there are so many beautiful light shades of foundation available in their line. Their products are often used by the film industry (in fact, that is why they were developed). Since I'd heard a lot of wonderful things about it, and I need a really light-colored foundation when I'm not using a sunless tanner, I decided to order some samples.
YES! You can order samples! Isn't that fabulous? More companies need to do this. They sell Koh Gen Do at Sephora, but I believe they only sell it online - at least I've never seen it in any of my local stores. But if you go to the Koh Gen Do website, you can order sets of the light-medium, or medium-tan Aqua Foundation for just $3.75 per set (5 shades per set) or light, medium, or tan Moisture Foundation for just $4 per set (4 shades per set). So you get all of the colors instead of just one, and the shipping is free if you're only ordering samples.
When I first ordered, I wasn't using sunless tanner yet, so I ordered the light samples of both the Aqua and Moisture Foundations. The set of light-medium Aqua Foundation includes the colors:
- 012 (cool)
- 002 (cool)
- 013 (cool)
- 113 (warm)
- 213 (warm)
I usually wear warm colors, even when I'm fairest, but I will say that I was able to wear a couple of these colors that were labeled as cool. As a matter of fact, I used 012 as the best color match to my natural color. The "cool" colors look a little pink when first applied to the skin, but I felt like once applied, they "warmed" up and almost took on the tone of my skin. Shade 013 is perfect for when I have just a hint of color.
UPDATE 8/19/16: When I originally posted this review, I accidentally used all of the 113 sample before I swatched it. So I'm going to add a couple of new photos of all five light-medium foundations - including 113. As a matter of fact, the 113, has become my favorite shade when I have a sunless tan!
This first photo was taken inside, in natural indirect light, no flash:
This second photo was taken outside in bright, direct sunlight - and you can see that there appears to be quite a difference. In my opinion, the actual color is closer to what you see in the sunlight.
The full line is available in seven shades - 3 cool, 4 warm - and some of them are very light, so if you're a porcelain princess, they've got you covered. If you're very dark-skinned, you're probably not going to find a shade that works for you in this line.
Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Titanium Dioxide, Diphenysiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone, Zinc Oxide, HDI/Trimethyol Hexyl-Lactone Crosspolymer, Isononylisononanoate, Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Mica, Diglycerin, Sorbitan Sesqullsostarate, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Glycerin, Squalane, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Sea Salt, Aluminum Hydroxide, Acrylates/Polytrimethyl Siloxymethacrylate Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, Silica, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Stearic Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil) Seed Oil, Aluminum Dimyristate, Nylon-12, Talc, Zirconium Dioxide, Tocopherol, Lauroyl Lysine, Polymethysilsesquioxane, Isostearyl Sebacate, Zinc Myristate, Alumina, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Disodium Stearoyl, Glutamate, Glycrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Glucosyl Herperidin, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Betula Alba Bark Extract, Kjellmaniella Gyrata Extract, Alpha-Glucan, Algae Extract, Alpinia Speciosa Leaf Extract, Glucosyl Ceramide, Hydrolyzd Conchiolin Protein, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Iron Oxides.
The website recommended applying over the proper type of primer for your skin. The first day, I used Makeup For Ever Smoothing Primer - just on my forehead between my eyes, cheeks right by my nose, and the sides of my nose. After letting it set, I applied a light layer of the foundation using a foundation brush - smoothing it with my fingers. Immediately, I could see it adhering to every pore and line where I had used the primer. However, on the skin that didn't have the primer, it looked great. So I used a washcloth to remove it from the "spotty" areas and just reapplied to bare skin in those areas with my fingers.
The next day, I tried applying it directly over my sunscreen, which is Paula's Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 . It contains antioxidants, zinc oxide, silicones, and is a moisturizer as well as a sunscreen. I applied the foundation with a foundation brush, and smoothed it by patting with my fingers. The only place I noticed it trying to pool in my pores was on the sides of my nose, and I was able to eventually smooth most of that away. This area is where I always have the most trouble with foundation pooling in my pores, so it is not just an issue with this foundation.
I had a couple of slightly reddened areas on one cheek from old clogged pores, so once the first thin layer of foundation had set, I applied another thin layer over the reddened areas. Once that set, I dusted lightly with Aromaleigh Gossamer powder using a dual fiber brush, and finished the rest of my makeup. Once everything was applied, I spritzed my face with Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray.
The finished look was very nice! My pores were definitely less noticeable but I didn't look like I was wearing a lot of makeup. And it doesn't feel like you're wearing makeup! I also didn't need concealer - although I think if you had darker areas to cover, you would need a concealer. The finish is what I would call semi-matte - it doesn't look dry, but it doesn't look shiny - it just looks natural. After 12 hours, everything was pretty much the way it started out, too! The only thing I noticed was that I was starting to get a little creasing around the sides of my nose, but that's normal for me. Nothing had settled into other lines or pores, and the makeup hadn't separated, so that is a big win in my book.
I'm super-impressed with this foundation. So much so that I just ordered a couple of the Aqua Foundation sample sets in medium-tan, as well as one of the Moisture Foundation samples in medium for summer. I'm starting to use sunless tanner now, and while I think that the 213 shade might be a match, I'd like to see the other colors, too. (I'll be reviewing the Moisture Foundation soon, too - and probably a quick post with the color swatches for the darker Aqua Foundation colors!)
The one drawback is that this foundation is a bit pricey at $62 for a 1.01 oz. bottle. However, I do feel like it would last awhile, because it didn't seem to take much for an application. This one is definitely a contender for my holy grail foundation, and that goes a long way in making me feel better about paying more for it as well. I also like the fact that unless I have some really dark areas to cover, I won't need to use a concealer with it.
I highly recommend this one! The samples are so reasonable, there's no reason not to give it a try!
Have you tried Koh Gen Do foundation? Thoughts?
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