A week of Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation

The sample packs of Light and medium shades

This week’s foundation was one I have been wanting to try for a long time.  I finally ended up going on the Koh Gen Do website and ordering two sample packets.  I ordered both the light and the medium shade packets of their Aqua Foundation.

One of the packet samples broken out, There are two of each shade (I dropped one before I took the pic), so I ended up with 20 sample packets

The packets are $8 each and they have shade ranges from light to dark.  What I like is that the shades overlap on the ends.  For example the darkest shade in the light packet is also the lightest shade in the medium packet.  Which was a bonus for me because that happens to be my shade.  I am the darkest of the light and the lightest of the medium.  And there is some flexibility in their colors so I think this shade will match me for a long stretch of the year.

Open and poured into a lidded jar kept things from getting messy

In each of these $8 packets there are two packets of each shade.  Because I prefer light to medium coverage from my foundation, I found that each packet covered me for two uses. Rather than have an open packet around the sink where the product could dry out, I pressed the empty Ursa Major Flash Mask container into use.  I squeezed the entire packet into the little container and found it kept it nicely and neatly ready for use. Having a place to put the remainder also kept me from applying too much product in an attempt to not waste the remainder. 

I learned that lesson from the last foil packet I tried.  I am especially glad that the Koh Gen Do company offers samples of their foundation for sale as a full sized bottle costs $77. While I don’t mind occasionally splurging on a pricey item, if I do I want to make certain I get the correct shade. I feel much more confident in choosing my foundation now that I’ve tried a sample.  But before we get into my trial for the foundation, let’s look at the product info.

Born in Tokyo and raised on movie sets around the world, Koh Gen Do combines the planet’s most precious botanicals with Japanese skincare technology to nourish and protect your complexion’s natural ability to regenerate and thrive. Over thirty years later, Koh Gen Do remains a favorite among professional makeup artists and can be found regularly on the sets of blockbuster movies. Our secret to success on screen and off is simple: healthy, dewy skin enriched with natural essences looks as fresh on camera as it does in life.

At the heart of Koh Gen Do is the belief that everything you apply on your skin should nurture its radiant vitality. Whether you’re using one of our cleansers or cult-favorite powders, every Koh Gen Do elixir nourishes and enhances the luminosity of your complexion. Our products enrich the skin’s natural healing abilities, leaving your complexion soft, firm, smooth and flourishing. Backed by cutting edge Japanese skincare technology and healing plant-based ingredients, our gentle formulations feed and repair skin for a fresh, dewy complexion that glows even without a single drop of makeup.

The coveted Aqua Foundation, known for giving skin the same youthful glow you experience right after a facial, is redesigned for increased coverage, radiance, hydration and longevity. Formulated with our signature Gloss Film Powder, the light-diffusing minerals brighten and minimize pores, while resisting sweat and oiliness. This breathable serum foundation contains weightless skin-conditioning emollients that improve the hydration and health of skin for a flawless and comfortable complexion all day.

With the Decorte Liposome Serum on Monday and this foundation, it seems to be the week of Japanese beauty. Now I am generally not one for a dewy look and I am happy to say, I didn’t get it with this one.  As with all my foundations I applied it first on bare skin with no primer underneath.  These are the pictures I’m using in this post so there is no confusion about what was primer and what was foundation.  After, I tried it with my Touch in Sol No Poreblem primer and then with the Primer and powder under the foundation.

Putting on the foundation. I dot it into place and then use my foundation brush to smooth it into place and then touch up the corners with a makeup sponge.

While I don’t go for the dewy look, I also don’t go for full coverage either.  This meant I needed very little product to cover my face (hence the two uses per packet). Putting the foundation on felt like applying a light weight moisturizer.  It smoothed quickly and easily over my skin and felt absolutely weightless.  Honestly it really did feel like I was putting on a light weight moisturizer.  There was no cakiness and the product didn’t settle into any of my fine lines. 

I applied the foundation after my massive sweatfest of a walk in the mornings, when I walk, it is me and my sunscreen.  All makeup comes later. I did move around in the garden a bit so there was regular sweat throughout the trial of this foundation and I have to say, it performed beautifully.  The Aqua Foundation stayed in place until the cleansing oil took it off. I have to say it did a fair job with my pores.  I liked my skin texture better with a primer underneath, because it gave me an extra smooth look, but I didn’t feel like I had to wear a primer underneath.  This foundation wasn’t really pore filling, but it didn’t emphasize my pores either.

Before is clearly on the left and the after on the right. I really liked the way this felt on my skin and even without primer I loved it. With primer I was over the moon.

To be honest, I was kind of hoping that I wasn’t going to like this product.   I was kind of hoping that it was over hyped and not something I loved.  Because quite frankly I didn’t need to fall in love with a $77 foundation. But alas, I seem to have done just that.

This Aqua Foundation was kind of amazing.

It’s the kind of product I can very easily see myself putting a few dollars away for each month until I have used up enough of my other foundations to justify the purchase.  Luckily, it will take me a while to work down through my stockpile because I know when I go to order the foundation there are going to be other products I want to pick up as well.

Starting the day

My goal this year was to try out many different types of foundations, looking for the few foundations that I could keep as my go to foundations.  At the moment Kristofer Buckle Triplicity Foundation Stick, Pretty Vulgar Lava Water Foundation, and ELF top the list. 

End of the day

These three are now joined by Koh Gen Do. It is the most expensive on the list at the moment, but I have to say, it is also at the very top of that list. I don’t know if it will maintain its king of the hill status, but because I needed to use so little of it, I have several extra packets left so I will continue to test them against other products (and use the different shades as my skin loses its summer tan).

Even if it does end up getting knocked down a peg by another product, it is still in the top tier of products and will eventually make a full sized appearance on my dressing table.


At the moment the Koh Gen Do Site is having a sale. The sample packets I picked up were $4 instead of $8 on their sale page. I wasn’t charged shipping for my packets as they were so light which makes it even better. There are other sales on as well. As a warning Sale items tend to go quickly. As of me writing this they had the packets in stock. The Aqua foundation itself was on sale as well, but was sold out in my shade. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a restock and will be lurking on the site to check.

Discover the cult favorite Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation. Designed to give skin the same youthful glow you experience right after a facial, Aqua Foundation’s long-wearing liquid formula instantly illuminates dull skin.

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