Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation in 213 - review and swatches


I've owned and loved this product for almost a year now so it's high time I reviewed it: it's my HG foundation for day-use and I honestly can't imagine that anything will ever beat it.

Yes of course, it's the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation. If you're a beauty-lover then you'll likely have heard about this product because it's been raved about by every man and his dog, and I'm here to add my rave review to the mix. It really is that good.

Indeed, there are only two things that I don't like about this foundation: first, it's expensive; and second, the shade-range is rather limited.

I have to say, though, that it's not the most expensive foundation on the market and also that the shade range has been expanded in the last couple of years. If we're lucky, the brand may continue to expand the available range as the years pass. Fingers crossed.

Koh Gen Do claims/product details:

  • The coveted Aqua Foundation, known for giving skin the same youthful glow you experience right after a facial
  • Redesigned for increased coverage, radiance, hydration and longevity
  • Formulated with our signature Gloss Film Powder, the light-diffusing minerals brighten and minimise 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
  • RRP $72 AUD for 30ml

There's a heavy and a light swatch, indirect sunlight: 

And direct sunlight: 


This foundation is absolutely brilliant and I honestly couldn't imagine life without it. If you have dry skin like I do and prefer a more natural coverage, I urge you to grab a sample of this if you can: it's one of the nicest things I've ever put on my face.

It's a runny product that feels like a serum in texture. It spreads and applies well, and it merges beautifully with the skin so it looks incredibly natural. Indeed, it might be the most natural-looking foundation that I've ever worn.

One thing to note with this product is that the coverage isn't great and it also doesn't build that well on itself, so if I've tried to add more of it for a big event or whatever, applying more hasn't resulted in more coverage - it's just meant wasted product. So if you want something with medium-plus coverage, this mightn't be for you.

But this is my HG foundation for day use because it gives a light-medium coverage that looks like skin. If we're going to an event in the day and I don't want to look made up, I'll always opt for this because it evens out imperfections but doesn't announce itself as makeup. If however we're going out at night and I want to look a little more groomed, I'll usually opt for something else.

Another thing to note about this product is that it doesn't last that well on me. It doesn't matter what primer I use or how much I set it, I'll never get more than five or six hours' wear from it. While that's fine for me because it's unusual for me to be out that long anyway (the perils of having young children), it's certainly something to keep in mind. Again, if I need my makeup to last all day, I'll usually opt for something else.

Shade 213 is a little pale for me and it's also not yellow enough - it's the shade you'll often hear described as having an olive undertone, which isn't easy to find in a foundation - but it's very close to my skintone and all I need to do is add a drop of a yellow-based darkener and I can get a reasonable match from that. Mind you, I would still like to try shade 123 to see if that's closer so I don't need to mix it. Fingers crossed.

Overall I love this product and I really can't fault it. It's one of the best foundations I've ever used and I have a feeling that it will always have a place in my collection. It's natural, it's hydrating, it doesn't sit in pores and I can always rely on it to look good.


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