KOH GEN DO Aqua Foundation Review


If you haven’t heard of KOH GEN DO, I don’t blame you as it’s not widely marketed internationally and I only came to know about this brand due to many, many dedicated hours online reading beauty blogs, going through online beauty stores and the brands they carry and watching a heck of a lot of YouTube. This a brand that was developed by a Japanese skincare-conscious actress about 30 years ago who wanted to make sure that long hours of wearing makeup under hot lights wouldn’t take a toll on her skin. What I love about this brand is that it promises no petroleum-based mineral oils, nor are synthetic pigments used in developing their range and they also don’t test on animals. After meticulous research using Japanese technologies, coupled with “minerals from the deep waters of Bretagne, France” (I’m not even going to pretend to know what this does, but it sounds hard to get to so that must mean it is exclusive and very special), the KOH GEN DO Maifanshi Aqua Foundation was developed.

KOH GEN DO Maifanshi Aqua Foundation is, in my opinion, the Japanese reflection of the famed Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. The finish of the foundation and even the colour is a very close match to the G.A Luminous Silk. So let’s break it down.


Koh Gen Do Aqua foundation gives off a sophisticated, satin luminosity without being shiny and delivers a flawless complexion. It is a medium, but buildable coverage foundation which would perform and hold up well on normal or slightly dry skin types. Once applied, it is very smoothing, looks dewy, masks pores and photographs beautifully. You can apply this foundation by pressing it into the skin with your fingertips (clean hands please!). Applying this liquid foundation by pressing and dabbing with your fingers can be a bit time-consuming but will make this foundation appear very skin-like and blend incredibly well. I prefer bouncing a beauty blender on my face to apply this foundation or using buffing brush works well too as I don’t seem to have the patience for a hand-application.

So which performs better? Giorgio Luminous Silk or Koh Gen Do Aqua? This is a tough question and a fantastic position to be in because they are both pretty amazing. They are so similar to me that they are really interchangeable with one another. I would say that the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk is better for really dry/combination skin as it tends to appear more hydrated on the skin after many hours of wear, whereas I found the Koh Gen Do Aqua did leave my face drier towards the end of the day. But having said that, the Koh Gen Do Aqua still looks lovely after long wear without separating on the skin by the end of the day, which I have experienced with other formulations. It’s like choosing your favourite twin. They kind of look the same, but have different personalities — both are great and you can’t go wrong with either! The G.A Luminous Silk has been my holy grail foundation for the longest time and the Koh Gen Do certainly comes close to make a case for sharing the HG title.

[UPDATE AS OF MARCH 2017: It’s funny how opinions can change over time. It has been about a year since I wrote the initial post and in that year, my skin has changed quite a bit. My skin is still on the dry side but not chronic-dry as it was previously, thanks to a some Vitamin B Serum. The Koh Gen Do has been a slight preference over the G.A for my skin as it currently stands. When my skin was super dry, the G.A performed a tiny bit better. But now that it’s not as dry, the GA is looking drier on my skin than the KGD. Not sure why, but that’s totally ok. People’s skin changes and preferences change, so I just wanted to add another few cents worth of my opinion between these 2.]


The colour I ended up getting was shade #113, which is a great match for me. It’s not easy picking the right foundation shade at the best of times, but even more difficult doing so virtually. I wanted to send a big shout out to Melanie from Beautylish for all her excellent advice on the colour range. She was able to pick out the best shade for me by me listing out which shades I currently wear in other foundations. In case you were wondering, they are:

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation -4
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser SPF20 -Nude
Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder-2 Fair
CHANEL Vitalumiere Aqua – 10 Beige
… Just to name a few.

In natural light, the G.A Luminous Silk Foundation is a fraction more yellow and the Koh Gen Do Aqua is a fraction more beige, but once applied, they really look incredibly similar.

Let’s have a quick word on the packaging. I absolutely love the bottle, it has a sturdy pump where you can control the amount of product dispensed so you don’t over-pump and over-use. Because The Koh Gen Do is ever so slightly runnier and thinner than the Armani, I find that I need to use a little more product to cover my face. The bottle is clear glass so you can see how much has been used and know when to repurchase. I particularly love the design with the red accent on the bottom of the packaging — it looks so chic, yet edgy and so cool. If you can’t tell already, I’m loving this foundation and everything it stands for.


Oh, and did I mention that the shipping from Beautylish was ridic!!! I’m talking from placing my order to receiving it in my hands, in Australia only took 2 days. I have ordered from shops down the road from me that have taken longer to ship the goods. I am really impressed with the service.

30ml is roughly $87AUD for the Koh Gen Do Foundation. The Armani comes in at a fraction more, hitting the $95 AUD mark.

If the rest of the range is as high quality as this foundation, I would be very interested in trying more of these products.

Have you tried any Koh Gen Do products that you would recommend? Let me know down below 🙂


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all products mentioned are purchased by me with my own coin and all opinions are my own.

8 thoughts on “KOH GEN DO Aqua Foundation Review

  1. Great review! Very informative. I was looking at the GA foundation, but decided on Bobbi Brown’s Even Finish instead. Is this closer to Bobbi Brown’s formula since it isn’t as dewy? The Bobbi Brown is a new HG for me. It’ll be in my favorites this month (post coming this weekend). The Ko Gen Do looks like a foundation I would love! 🌸💙🌸💙


    1. The KGD is still quite a luminous foundation and is definitely dewy but slightly less hydrating than the Armani in my opinion. Will have to check out the BB Even Finish formula, as I am a big fan of the BB Skin Foundation so I am sure I will love it too! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It will be in my favorite’s this month. A full blog post ablut it is coming! The BB Even Finish is more of a satiny finish. I think the Armani is much more dewy and provides a lot less coverage than this one. The BB is a foundation for days that you want too look flawless. I would love to compare the KGD and the BB. I wish it was sold where I live. Great review! Looking forward to reading more of your posts! ★:)

        Liked by 1 person

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