We put the Japanese cult favorite to the test
We’ve heard it over and over: skincare first, makeup second. Beauty brands have built entire empires around this philosophy and with good reason. It’s like how those pre-take off instructional videos in airplanes tell us to fit our own oxygen masks over our faces before attempting to help others or how a sound lifestyle follows a sound mind. It’s logic, really.
But who is to say you can’t work the benefits of skincare into makeup, too?
Japanese beauty brand Koh Gen Do prides itself in the understanding that healthy skin doesn’t stop at skincare: high quality makeup is just as important. After all, if something is going to slathered, patted and spread across your skin all day, its effects are going to be just as drastic as your nightly creams and holy grail face masks.
With this in mind, Koh Gen Do works the different properties of skincare––the hydration, the brightening, the all-around protection––into their best-selling Maifanshi Aqua Foundation. Formulated with Gloss Film Powder, it stays in place even longer than the well-loved formulation used by celebrity A-listers and women across the globe alike. Along with their remastered foundation, Koh Gen Do launches its Herbal Mist and Cleansing Water (with a brand-new pump-release for quicker clean-up at that).
Ahead, we put this trifecta of products to the test. See how they fare against 12 hours in the real world (read: a hectic work day in Manila’s sun, sizzle and occasional drizzle).
Maifanshi Aqua Foundation
KOH GEN DO 2018 Maifanshi Aqua Foundation, P2,750
Claim to Fame: “Reformulated for improved radiance, increased coverage, and longer wear. It helps you achieve the same flawless, glowing result after getting a facial treatment with a new weightless, budge-proof formulation, all while reducing discoloration, dullness, and enlarged pores.”
The Application: I put this on before I started getting any work done at the office. I applied a half pump of this all across my face and neck before building another half pump over the first layer. Hello, reinforced coverage! Thanks to the thin, watery consistency, a little goes a long way with this product. Oh, here’s a tip: moisten your Beauty Blender or foundation sponge with the Koh Gen Do Herbal Mist before blending!
Applying the first layer
One pump’s worth
Mid-day check-in: still intact!
Thoughts: Okay, I’ll be honest. This product makes a lot of promises, but believe me when I say it keeps them, too. It stayed in place all day (budge-proof, check!), concealed the scar from last week’s post-period breakout (improved coverage, check!) and left me with a natural-looking, velvety matte finish.
The Verdict: In case the previous paragraph didn’t make it clear enough, I’m all over this product. That’s coming from someone who normally dislikes liquid foundation, mind you. Taking everything into account––the price, the amount of product in the bottle and how little you actually need––this practically screams “I’m an investment piece! Buy me!” I mean, who am I to resist?
KOH GEN DO Herbal Mist, P1,595
Claim to Fame: “This multi-functional face mist helps relieve 5 skin challenges––dehydration, enlarged pores, oiliness, makeup creases and redness––with Spa Blend Water, made of Japan’s deep thermal spring water which contains eight anti-aging botanical extracts.”
The Application: I went in with a couple of spritzes in the middle of the day, shortly after my mid-day foundation check-in.
Thoughts: This product delivers on its promise of being cooling on the skin. The first spritz feels like instant relief from the heat (especially with our weather!). It didn’t cause my makeup to smudge like some other mists that I’ve tried do, but I can’t say much about it keeping redness and pores at bay. I think I owe the lack of both to the foundation. That stuff truly won me over.
The Verdict: I like it, but do I love it? Not really. I’m not big on mist anyway, if we’re being completely honest. Out of 5 stars, this earns 3.
KOH GEN DO Cleansing Water 380mL, P1,995
Claim to Fame: “This gentle water makeup remover doesn’t require rinsing; all you need is to moderately saturate a cotton pad with it and gently swipe on skin to effectively remove dirt, excess oil and other impurities, even waterproof makeup.”
The Application: This is Koh Gen Do’s hero product and despite being loved across continents before, they made it even better with a convenient pump dispenser. I completely removed my everyday makeup––a light layer of foundation, eyebrows, eyeshadow, liquid liner, mascara, blush and velvet lip tint––with a single pump on a cotton pad.
Thoughts: My usual cleansing water takes about 4 squeezes of product across 3 bunched-up cotton balls to get the job done. Even then, it usually leaves telltale signs that I wore waterproof eyeliner or used mascara earlier in the day. Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Water got the job done––cleanly and without leaving a trace––in a couple of swipes. As it moves across the skin, it feels cooling and honest-to-god amazing. I don’t easily give skincare praise, but I’m a sucker for generously portioned products that deliver. I’m telling you, there’s some kind of magic in the Japanese hot spring water that they infuse into this stuff.
The Verdict: This is the kind of product I’m going to spend months talking about to anyone who’ll listen. Need I say more?
Want to get in on the Japanese beauty train? Koh Gen Do is stocked at all Beauty Bar branches nationwide and on Beauty Bar’s official website.
Art Alexandra Lara