Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ko Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF 15 PA++

When The Non-Blonde and I were shopping at Barneys New York over Memorial Day weekend, we spent a long time at the Koh Gen Do counter. That's when I purchased the Ko Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF 15 PA++ ($62). With lots of help from the counter manager and artists there, I selected OC-1.

OC-1 is described as a natural light ochre. Ochre normally has some light yellow in it. That works nicely on my skin because it minimizes the redness that can often be seen in the mid-section of my face. The shades with pink or peachy undertones were too pink for my skin.

When I place OC-1 in my palm, I see neutral - not yellow. I think the brand representatives did a great job color-matching me. Many artists select foundation shades that are way too dark or too something, focusing on the center of my face, not the jawline. The gals at Barney's were spot-on, even in department store lighting, which is notoriously bad.

Here's how Aqua Foundation is described...

A high-definition, smooth-finish foundation with lasting coverage. Aqua Foundation hides discolorations and covers skin with a fine light-diffusing layer to minimize pores and imperfections for clear, satiny-smooth skin under any lighting. Seawater minerals and white birch sap extracts keep skin hydrated and radiant. The pH-balanced formula, ideal for all skin types, delivers a high density of minerals and nutrients for a healthy, nourished complexion.

I think that description is perfect. Key in on the term "high-definition." I'm sure you know that HD makeup is said to make your skin camera-ready - even in the harshest lights for television. Many so-called HD foundations (or other makeup products) don't live up to their claims. I often think HD is often modern buzz. This one lives up to its marketing. My skin looks fabulous after I apply it - even-toned and nearly flawless. I like the way it covers or blurs my sun spots.

The key to eliminating imperfection is through light diffusion. This unique RGB Strobe Illuminator formula with the advanced powder technology creates light that erases shadows from pores, lines, and uneven surfaces. Erasing these shadows gives the impression of a flawless smooth skin.

Ko Gen Do Aqua Foundation says the radiance provided by this foundation starts with "the purest mineral-rich deep-sea waters of Rausu, Japan, combined with superbly moisturizing white birch sap to keep your skin soft and clear. I'll buy that - even though I'm skeptical of those pure water claims from the coast of Japan. No one ever mentions radiation fallout. Nevertheless, the foundation is one of the best I've used (on par with Armani's Liquid Silk, but not as revolutionary as Armani's new Maestro). It leaves a beautifully natural finish, and it is hydrating. My skin continues to look fresh for about eight hours after application. With the UA and UVB sun protection provided, it meets all my criteria for a great foundation.

I highly recommend Ko Gen Do Aqua Foundation SPF 15 PA++. Try to get color-matched in a store, rather than online. Using the color swatches at Sephora, I could have selected four different shades, not knowing which would be perfect.

You can purchase this lovely foundation at Barneys, Sephora online (and in Meatpacking District of NYC), and at the Ko Gen Do Web site.

Photo courtesy of Sephora


Nemo said...

Which do you like better, this or the Armani Maestro?

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Nemo,

Each has its place. If you want more coverage than Maestro provides, this foundation is a fabulous option.

Marta said...

I have sensitive skin, and am constantly fighting redness and dryness. It's such a struggle to find foundations that are high performing but gentle and moisturizing. I sampled Koh Gen Do on a lark when I was picking up some Sunday Riley, and ended up going back to buy the Koh Gen Do a few hours later.

The Barneys SA matched me perfectly, and I sent me home with a bunch of samples. Their yellow primer and cleansing water are amazing and have quickly become a part of my routine.

Nemo- I have Armani Maestro as well, and the Koh Gen Do has more coverage. Both match me perfectly and give me that "my skin, but better" look.

Nemo said...

Here's my issue, Marta and Cg: I have good skin and healthy pink cheeks. I think i look better without foundation! But i love to wear it; I thank you both for your advice.

Eileen said...

I have yet to try anything by Ko Gen Do and should probably make an effort to remedy that. I've read such good things about this particular foundation. I love trying out new foundations and actually wear different ones for day or evening, warm weather or cold, etc. Since I never keep a foundation past a year, I always seem to have the opportunity to try new ones.

Hi Nemo,

I haven't tried the Ko Gen Do yet, but I can speak to the Armani.

My skin is in excellent condition so I only wear heavier foundations when I'm going for a certain effect or when I know there are going to be a lot of pictures taken. For everyday wear, I absolutely adore the Maestro Fusion. It is sheer, though, and uses the principle of light diffusion to blur imperfections rather than actually covering them. That is what seems to polarize people and cause them to either love or hate Maestro. If someone needs to do a lot of correcting, then Maestro is not the foundation to use. For those of us who only want a smooth, velvety canvas for our other products, than it is superlative. By the way, I apply the foundation with my fingers exactly as I was shown by the Armani MA and the result is a flawlessly smooth finish that lasts all day. The Armani counters seem to be very generous with samples, so give it a whirl and see what you think. If you want more coverage or your skin doesn't take well to it, you can always move on to something else. Nothing ventured, nothing gained :-)

Marta said...


I agree with Eileen. I went without foundation for more than *cough* years, and only really committed to using foundation recently when I found products that helped me with pesky dry areas and protected my skin. I suggest getting samples of not only Maestro, but other brands of light coverage foundation, and even some BBs or tinted moisturizers. I am always amazed at what works for me (often not the brand that works for everyone else).

Since you already have good skin, you are right to be picky and find something that's perfect for you! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I agree, Koh Gen Do is one of the best there is, it's just so liquid (but you have o try the RMK Liquid Foundation, that is MUCH much liquid) but covers so well and sets oh so naturally. I almost always dont need to set it with powder! I find that it is tricky to match Japanese foundations, they set to a different color when worn than from when poured out of the bottle.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Marta!

Definitely! This foundation offers more coverage than the skin-perfecting Maestro. I like the option of having both.

I totally agree with your "my skin but better" description.

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Eileen. I couldn't have said it better.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anartechoke,

I also think it's hard to color-match Asian foundations. The gals at Barneys did a great job - and I'm so glad I waited to try this one until I could do that in person.

Ava said...

Oh dear. Now I'm concerned about the Koh Gen Do cleansing water I love so much. It's the best out there. Some research on how quickly radiation dissipates from water is in order.

I'm glad your power and your mother's were restored relatively fast. There was no property damage in our neighborhood, and in fact, it barely seemed as though the storm blew through my section of Alexandria. I opened my front door several times Monday night, wondering when the worst would hit. I was stunned to learn the next morning that 100K+ people in the DC Metro area were without power. Hurricane Irene, which passed through in August, did more damage.

I'm awestruck at the damage wrecked in NJ and the City. I can't imagine losing my loved ones and everything I own, like so many have. The Boardwalk and the dunes reinforced not long ago gone, and the lower half of the City in darkness. We've got to prepare ourselves for these kinds of "once in a century events" that seem to occur every year now.

Well, enough ranting. I understand that at least Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo understand that we have to be proactive with respect to changing weather patterns. I hope our other elected officials take heed as well.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Ava,

Aren't you lucky! It was terrible over here, with one large tree falling after another. I lost my power when the initial gusts rolled in, and I'm not surprised at how long it took to get it back. The whole area west of DC inside the Beltway got creamed.

Anonymous said...

I live the maestro but have stopped using it as I am afraid of the high alcohol content. I've read that alcohol causes damage to the skin and its ability to recover collagen, short that it will make my skin old before its time. Why donyoubfhink about this? I wonder if applying cream plus sunscreen beforehand protects the skin sufficiently from the alcohol content?

EllenB said...

Now that you've given a positive review on this foundation, I must buy it! You were spot-on with the Maestro foundation. I love to try high-end foundations. That's really all I buy now. Thank you, CG, for inspiring me to try new things. Love your reviews!

so said...

I bought some samples of this to try to match the right color. It's a fabulous foundation that was recommended to me by a professional make artist. The sample kit for twenty dollars was worth it to me. The other products she recommended were Eye of Horus mascara and eye liner. I love them both. I have to pick out the foundation I want. It's difficult when you can only do it on line as there is no Koh Gen Do counters any where near by. But the makeup artist assured me this all she uses for brides and on the movie set. I liked it. I've never tried the Armani. Sounds good though

IPL said...

The foundation described here is wonderful. Know all about it