Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation


64 reviews

73% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.4

Price: $$$$

Package Quality: 4.4

Price: $$$$


(BE-1, PK-1, 0C-1, 0C-2): Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Sea Water, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Mica, Glycerin, Phytosteryl / Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Sodium Chloride. Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Acrylates Polytrimethyl Siloxymethacrylate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol. Dimethicone. Phenoxyethanol, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Dimyristate, Silica, Zirconium Dioxide. Talc, Isostearyl Sebacate, Alumina, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Squalane, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Betula Alba Juice, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Betula Alba Bark Extract, Kjellmaniella Gyrate Extract, Algae Extract, Alpinia Speciosa Leaf Extract, Iron Oxides

on 8/27/2015 3:07:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Oily, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

After reading all the great reviews, I was excited to try this foundation. I'm nc 20 and chose shade 213 which is perfect.
The liquid's consistency is great, the shade is great, but I was sadly disappointed when I got very shiny in an hour or two.
If your t-zone is oily like mine, you will shine quickly if you don't have some miracle anti-shine primer underneath.

on 7/21/2015 5:30:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Oily, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Just buy it! Trust me! Don't hesitate. I can't believe I hesitated so long because I was so blown off by reviews that this was a dewy foundation and that didn't have a very long wear time. I am an oily girl and I kid you not, this sets matte and slowly becomes glowy throughout the day. The only foundation that came this close was the Estée Lauder double wear but that broke me out. So did the double wear light. The tone of the shades is amazing for my Mediterranean skin. I'm about an NC30 and wear the darkest which is 143. Very disappointing that the shade range doesn't go further than that... I actually find it a bit rude of the brand to be honest! My skin looks healthy and if I need to build it up I can. It's just amazing. I've tried every brand out there and they all have something wrong. Either don't last long or don't have the perfect shade. My quest is over... For now

on 6/17/2015 2:24:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I've been a fan of mineral makeup for years, but when I read the great reviews for Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation I decided to splurge. My one gripe with mineral foundations is their texture; as the day progresses, they can look "thick" on my skin. Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation looks like the texture of my skin and doesn't cleave around fine lines. It wears beautifully and doesn't oxidize, but I did notice that the color of my powder bronzer got a bit darker as the day went on. I have medium olive skin (NC 25-30) and couldn't decide between 123 and 143 (the latter being the darkest shade KGD offers in this foundation), so I went with both. It turns out that a blend of the two is ideal for me. It's now summer so I expect I'll fall back on 123 by itself in the winter. I apply with a slightly damp Beautyblender and the finish is a bit more matte than satin on me, but I wear waterproof sunblock beneath. Coverage is medium. I have a blue vein by one eye and I can still see it if I look closely. Texture-wise it's a definite improvement over my mineral makeup (IT Cosmetics Illuminating in Medium), but price-wise it's nuts, so I *think* I'll repurchase but who knows? Someone might have created an affordable dupe by the time I run out.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 6/17/2015 1:27:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

I LOVE the texture of this foundation. It feels like you're applying water to your skin and nothing more. It also blends like a dream, however.... It provides almost NO coverage on me. Applying layer after layer makes no difference. 3 layers looks exactly like 1 layer. It also doesn't last long and seems to accentuate flaws instead of hiding them, clinging to little dry patches and pooling around tiny scars, making them look 10x bigger. If you have absolutely perfect, makeup-optional skin, you will love this foundation. If you're like me and need a little help hiding flaws and just generally evening out your skin, this won't do it. Even with their primers, it just never looks good enough to justify the high price tag.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 6/15/2015 9:55:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I tried this product for a few weeks before eventually returning it.

This product is notoriously rare outside of NYC and LA (if you're in America), so it made finding a color match very tricky. After reading reviews on several websites, I wound up going with 113 per the Beauty Professor's recommendation on her blog. I now know that the best course of action would be to contact Koh Gen Do's customer service directly as they do send out samples. The color offerings are very limited, so this in combination with not being common makes for a guessing game. if you are outside the medium range, you are pretty SOL (sorry ladies on both ends of the spectrum).

Allegedly, 113 is a yellow undertone according to several sources on the internet, but I didn't really find this to be the case. It made my face look much more pink and clashed with the undertones in my neck.

The formula itself is OK. It does wear pretty light, but it does not need a primer under it (even with my chronically dry skin, it does better without a primer than with.) I experimented with this product several ways: "Wayne Goss method" (powder under foundation), primer, without primer, powder on top. It looked fine each way, so it plays fairly nice. Powder under gives a slight boost to coverage, though. I found using my fingers and a brush was the best way to apply as the Beautyblender sucks up too much product and leaves with a very, very sheer amount on your skin.

It builds slightly well, but don't expect full coverage out of this formula, so if that's your jam, you will be disappointed. It can go to just under medium before it doesn't build further. It doesn't pill or anything like that, but it just doesn't add coverage. Therefore, it isn't really the best for concealing blemishes as well. If you don't mind those things, it is a fairly nice formula. Very lightweight and it doesn't transfer. It does really give a nice, natural, skin-like appearance without looking greasy.

For the price and the limited resources in finding it, I don't think I'd bother with this again. I prefer a little more coverage than what it offers.


- Lightweight formula that does not transfer
- Light coverage (for those that like that)
- Does not transfer
- Glowy without greasy
- Abundant in pink undertones (for those that are)
- Customer service will provide samples (allegedly)


- 113 is definitely not a yellow undertone contrary to their website
- Difficult to build
- Expensive
- Does not conceal blemishes

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

My 3-star rating is for the new formulation with the three digit shade numbers; the OLD formulation in BE-1 was my absolute, hands-down, HG favorite foundation, repurchased multiple times, but the new formulation doesn't even compare. It's average at best.

Foundations are my makeup addiction; I buy foundations like most girls I know buy eye shadow (I usually prefer liquids but have also bought cream and powder on occasion, in addition to TMs, BBs and CCs). Any time I see a new foundation I have to try it because my skin tone is hard to match: "fair beige" is the best description I can come up with, but most foundations tend to lean heavily on the pink end of the spectrum for fair gals, although lately I've noticed more yellow options (I know MAC has options for Warm, Cool, Neutral, and various combinations of those, but I've never found a MAC liquid foundation that's worked for me). After I found BE-1, I thought I was set for life... and then of course they reformulated. It was hard to find a new color match so I bought both 002 (fair/pink) and 113 (light/yellow), neither being a perfect BE-1, but 113 being closer. I read that 213 is actually the most "beige" in the line and was supposed to be the closest to BE-1, but that it was darker than BE-1 so I didn't buy it because I really couldn't go any darker! 113 is okay, but it's just not quite right. I'm probably the only person to notice that it isn't perfect, but it's hard to compete with BE-1 ranking so highly in my regard.

However, even outside of the color change, I really dislike the new formulation. BE-1 was lightweight but also highly pigmented, never settled into lines or emphasized my pores, and had just the right amount of moisture without turning my face into a shiny mess halfway through the day (also I wear glasses so even though I don't have oily skin in general, oils always separate on my nose, but it was hardly noticeable when wearing BE-1). The new formulation (in both 002 and 113) is thicker but has less pigmentation, and also feels drier; it's missing that moisturizing feel, and the dryness settles into and accentuates my pores (even when worn over moisturizer). It also separates pretty badly on my nose.

I should note that I still have about 1/4 of a bottle of BE-1, so I was able to compare it to the new formulation without being nostalgic and looking back on the old formula with rose-colored glasses. I wore all 3 shades (BE-1, 002, and 113) on 3 consecutive days and both of the new bottles felt/wore the same as each other so the new formula is consistent, but the new stuff just doesn't hold a candle to my BE-1.

Overall, if you've tried and loved the old formulation, I wouldn't bother with this one - it just doesn't compare. If you've never tried it, I'd say it's not worth the money so again, don't bother (even if you find it half-price on Hautelook, unless you're reeeeeally curious, I'd skip it).

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 3/26/2015 9:08:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Black

This is a performance based foundation, meaning that you don't expect it to perform for like 11 hours and get away with it, no. It photographs beautifully, no flashbacks (at least from what I experienced). The shade it has is mostly very limited. I have dry-ish patches on my face and this does eccentuate that, if you have dry skin, try the HD Foundation by MUFE, that caters more for dry-normal skin types. Will I buy it again, yes, basically because this is so nice on the skin, easy to blend, has my perfect shade match.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 2/22/2015 7:45:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Silver, Other, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

Upon email request, Koh Gen Do sent me samples of this foundation based on the color swatches I viewed from on their website. This is a lovely foundation but not for mature, dry skin in the winter. The best color match for me was the 113 but slightly too yellow for my medium, fair skin with cool undertones. This foundation did emphasize several dry patches and pores but I assume was caused by not wearing a good moisturizer under the foundation. Thus, one should definitely prep with good moisturizer. A bit overpriced too!

On the up side. The foundation did stay on the entire day over 8 hours and has a good SPF. The sample powder blush in PK was awesome as well as their cleansing water. Will order those two items for sure.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 2/14/2015 2:54:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

In 2013, I purchased the old formulation of the Maifanshi Aqua Foundation in OC-2 from Sephora. I found this the best for my combination, hormonal acneic skin as it did not break me out, nor make me too oily in the summer. I liked that the finish in natural light was radiant but not oily. However, in flash photography this made me look too white, where my face did not match the color of my body. I assume the white color could be due to the SPF 15/PA++ in the formulation.

To rectify this, I mixed my existing OC-2 with the Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation in #123 in the winters and in the summer with the Moisture Foundation shade #301 to deepen the color from a tan. In addition, I made sure not to use a brightening primer or HD powder and I also used a bit of Aqua Illuminator in IL01 to deflect that white cast in photos.

I know this foundation has since been reformulated but curious to follow up if other users have had problems with the white cast?

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 1/29/2015 4:08:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I am surprised that this is the first review for this product. So much buzz about it and it is not available in many places. It is described as a liquid mineral foundation and I can only say this is in no way in the same camp as a bareminerals product. Far, far more elegant than that. The most natural looking foundation I have ever used: medium coverage which appears as though there was nothing on your skin, smooths over pores, great shade (113 - I am fair/neutral and this is a real neutral shade), even application with brush or fingers, rather long lasting for a foundation. It is a semi-matte finish but it is not flat and it brings a luminosity to my skin without relying on shimmer. I have good skin and I take very good care of it (guided by Beautypedia advice) but this makes the most of everything by making my skin look very youthful. I can get away with hardly any other makeup. $62 and that's not cheap but I'd rather spend it on a great foundation than eyeshadow any day. What ever age you are if you can present a great complexion that is the best thing you can do - fancy contouring, shadows, lining and blush can't make up for this.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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