I was so excited when Koh Gen Do finally opened a counter in Singapore last July. I have an incredible soft spot for foundations, and Koh Gen Do foundations have been so highly raved. So when I finally plucked up the courage to venture to Takashimaya, I already had resigned to bringing something home with me.
Unfortunately, my initial experience at the counter was less than desirable. There was nobody on duty when I was there (1pm on a weekday), and another sales person from another department wandered over to offer assistance instead. However, despite her best efforts, she was clearly not trained in makeup, and persistently picked the wrong shades for me to try. Finally, I was so frustrated, I just left without picking up anything, and they did not have any samples available either.
Fast forward a few months, I was able to get some samples from a friend who picked up not just 1, but both the Koh Gen Do foundations, and so I am able to experience the products properly for myself, and formulate my opinions below.
Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation
“Aqua Foundation is made with the deep sea waters of Rausu, Japan. It balances the conditions of ions on the skin surface with rich minerals and nutrients. These minerals are close in composition of the human body which makes it easier to absorb and moisturize efficiently.”
Koh Gen Do’s Aqua Foundation is the brand’s first product, and the one that shot it to fame. It contains natural oil extracted from jojoba seeds to soften and protect skin; natural oil extracted from olive berries to soften skin and retain moisture; and natural oil extract from the seeds of the shea tree to soften skin and retain moisture. The combination of water and finely refined oil creates a perfect balance for a smooth foundation application. Designed to mimic the optical reflectance of a post facial treatment, the Aqua Foundation is infused with a RGB powder that enhances the natural tone of the complexion for a brighter and poreless skin texture.
In terms of coverage, KGD Aqua Foundation is really sheer, akin to what you would get from typical BB creams. However, unlike BB creams, KGD Aqua Foundation feels much lighter and non-greasy on the skin. It has a watery, runny texture, and is easy to blend. The finish is dewy, in that fresh-from-spa glowy way. On my combination-oily skin and our humid climate, KGD Aqua Foundation only lasts about 4-5 hours (even with primer and setting powder on) before getting shiny around the T-zone. On the other hand, it doesn’t oxidize much, nor does it fade or crease by the end of the day.
The way I like to wear this, is as a base for my powder foundation. It provides sufficient moisture barrier, preventing my powder foundation from drying out my skin. Also, it is lightweight enough that it doesn’t feel like too much on my skin, nor does the combination with powder foundation turn out cakey. With a good powder foundation on top, I can go through the day without touch-ups!
Ko Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
“Natural matte finish that minimizes flaws and imperfections. No artificial colors, fragrance, petroleum based mineral oil or paraben.”
Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Moisture Foundation reminds me of the children’s book “The Little Engine The Could”. When I first read about this, I had thought it would be super sheer, just like a BB cream. Instead, it surprised me as being the stronger of the 2 Koh Gen Do foundations!
KGD Moisture Foundation contains vegetable collagen to maintain the balance of water in the skin and gives it vitality and elasticity; Jojoba oil to allow the foundation to spread easily and prevents water from evaporating from your skin; and squalane to prevent skin dryness and keep it moist and elastic. It uses the “Golden Ratio” – 60% water, 30% emollients, 10% mineral powder – keeps this foundation from drying out the skin, allowing it to look fresh all day.
Touted as the next-generation HD foundation the KGD Moisture Foundation uses 4 colors of mineral powders, consisting of 2 shades of red, to ensure a natural healthy look when photographed. The powder is specially formulated to fit onto the varying contours of the skin, diffusing sharp lines and evenness to give an optical smoothing effect.
I didn’t actually try doing a photo-experiment to compare and contrast, because my pathetic iPhone camera can’t handle it, and to be honest, it never even occurred to me til now! But based on what I could see, the KGD Moisture Foundation gave a velvety matte, luminous finish that blew my socks off (it helped that I had really low expectations thinking it was BB cream-ish)! More importantly, it lasted well through most of my day without turning too shiny. The only problem is the coverage is still somewhat sheer, although perhaps slightly better than KGD Aqua Foundation. I tried this during my “good skin” day, and it sufficed on its own. However, for most other average-joe days, it is slightly buildable, and is better paired with concealor.
Both foundations are lovely, and surpassed my expectations. Personally, I prefer Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation for the better coverage, more matte finish, and longevity. However, Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation is equally lovely for casual days, and for layering with powder foundations. The only problem I had with both of these foundations was in finding my perfect shade. There seems to be quite a gap between the shades, and I find myself having to go either a bit too dark or too light.
Both retail for SGD80 in Singapore. The Aqua Foundation comes in a glass bottle with pump, and contains 30ml of product. The Moisture Foundation comes in a squeeze tube and contains 20gm of product.