Finally! An East Asian Brand With Foundations That I Can Use.

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I’ve heard a lot about Koh Gen Do in the last few years since it became relatively mainstream. This should make tons of people happy, not only is the brand very skin care centric, all of it’s items are formulated using clean ingredients and is safe for super sensitive skin like my own. From the brand website;

At the heart of Koh Gen Do is the belief that everything you apply on your skin should nurture its radiant vitality. Whether you’re using one of our cleansers or cult-favourite powders, every Koh Gen Do elixir nourishes and enhances the luminosity of your complexion. Our products enrich the skin’s natural healing abilities, leaving your complexion soft, firm, smooth and flourishing. Backed by cutting edge Japanese skincare technology and healing plant-based ingredients, our gentle formulations feed and repair skin for a fresh, dewy complexion that glows even without a single drop of makeup.

Trusting the wisdom of nature to work harmoniously with the skin’s natural processes, we rely on plant-based essences and breakthrough Japanese skincare technology to create formulas rich in soothing benefits. Rooted in the belief that everything you put on your skin should contribute to its health, we avoid artificial ingredients, fragrances, synthetic pigments and petroleum-based mineral oil.

Here’s the thing, people always rave about Asian skin care, particularly Korean skin care, but my skin hates it. Korean skin care products do absolutely nothing for me, on the plus side they don’t break me out either, but they’re definitely a no for me. Japanese skin care on the other hand is something that I can get behind. The few times that I’ve used Japanese skin care, I’ve had good experiences. Even Tatcha though isn’t a true Japanese brand but rather something of a hybrid, I still love it to bits.

Asian Makeup, specifically Korean and Japanese has been a huge no for me as well, barring the fact that they rarely have foundation shades that I can use successfully, (I mean I’m light enough to be able to use some of the Filipino brand foundations) but there’s also the fact that I usually find their colour products to be rather badly pigmented with a whitish base at most of it (except for the Filipino Brands). 

And you know what? I’m not  even mad at it because it wasn’t created for me, it wasn’t geared towards a country where people my complexion make up any significant sections of the population. It’s  for the approximately 2 billion East Asians on the planet and I’m totally ok with that. 

But it was a really nice surprise for me to realise that Koh Gen Do had expanded it’s shade range to include much darker skin tones. You can find Koh Gen Do most easily at Sephora and Beautylish. One guess where I got mine? I got these in January, and it was supposed to be a birthday gift for my niece but she failed damn near every class and so her birthday was cancelled. After looking at this stuff in the box for a while I decided to go ahead and try it myself. Good thing too, cause the shade that I got would have been way too dark for her. I got the Maifanshi Natural Lighting Powder, Illuminator in 02 and the Moisture Foundation.

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The line has two foundations, the Maifanshi Aqua Foundation and the Maifanshi Moisture Foundation. I had opted for the Moisture foundation because like me she has combo skin but in the winter it peels like crazy. The Moisture foundation comes in twelve shades, divided into Cool, Warm and Dark tones. The shocking thing was that there are at least three shades from this line that I could wear, Warm 123 which is the last of the medium shades, and Dark 301 or 302 although the jump between 301 and 302 means that I could only wear 302 it in the summer, and there’s one more dark shade in 303. 

I opted for Dark 301 for my niece and I must have been having a brain fart, because it was my perfect shade which means in would have been about six shades too dark for her. It comes in a really simple squeeze tube and although it may seem as if there isn’t much in the tube, just remember that this is camera makeup so a very small amount goes a very long way. It’s also a waterproof foundation because it’s built to withstand hot studio lights and long days of filming. The only drawback to this for me in any case, and it’s something that I’ve found with the Asian foundations that I’ve tried is that it has a very very yellow undertone. This was easily corrected though by adding my Illamasqua Amber adjuster to make it more peachy. From the website;

A cult-favourite for over twenty-five years, our iconic Moisture Foundation was created in the early days of high definition filming. Decades later, it remains an insider favourite for skin-pampering ingredients that enhance the beauty and lustre of your natural skin tone. The feather-light foundation boasts the coverage of a cream with the flexible and comfortable moisture of a liquid. Light-diffusing mineral pigments visibly blur pores, fine lines and imperfections while plant-powered moisturizers contribute to lasting skin health.

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It’s a really thick, creamy foundation and like all waterproof foundations has that sticky consistency initially. But it blends in really well and as promised looks like healthy glowing skin. As someone that generally walks in the opposite direction real fast when I hear moisture or any of those related words when speaking of foundation, I was pleasantly surprised at not only the performance and longevity of this foundation, but at it’s complete refusal to transfer to anything, even when left un-powdered, and yes it can be worn un-powdered. It lasted a full day’s wear without slipping. Photos below of me wearing it in indoor lighting and full sunlight on two separate occasions. A fun little fact though, every time that I wear this foundation for at least three days straight, my skin starts to look more brightened and toned with no makeup on. 

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If you can tell, it matches my chest perfectly, not my neck although nothing ever will because my neck it just extra dark for some reason. However, I’ve tried bringing this all the way down to my neck and I was able to with no issues. Unlike the Makeup Atelier foundation that I forgot to mention sits right on top of the skin this one blends in seamlessly and just looks flawless, while managing to cover every flaw and imperfection although it does nothing for texture unless I use the Maifanshi powder in conjunction.

The Maifanshi Natural Lighting Powder is one of those I would normally be leery of just on the strength of using powders like this that always white me out. This one though, is an absolute gem, it’s translucent but it has a gold undertone that allows it to melt into my skin and become one with it, while emitting a very soft, blurring glow. I mean, it literally disappears on my skin. It’s extremely finely milled, to the point where I inhaled some of it and was a bit worried that I’d have a pneumonia scare because of my weak lungs, my throat burned for about a day, but then I was fine. I couldn’t get a good swatch because like it said, it’s pretty much a ghost of a powder, but you can tell from the picture that it’s not a white setting powder at least. Description from the website;

This lightweight setting powder prevents makeup meltdowns and enlivens skin with golden luminescence. Finely milled for the most natural finish, Natural Lighting Powder contains hydrating hyaluronic acid plus precious silk powder to give skin a soft and healthy look. Light-diffusing technology minimizes the appearance of skin imperfections and imparts a flawless glow that mimics the skin-enhancing effect of soft, natural light.

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That tag is right, you definitely need to hold the sifter lid, because it’s not tight and will come off easily which is probably why I received mine with powder all over the box.

The last thing that I got was one of the Aqua Foundation Illuminators in the shade 01 Sheer Beige, which is described as a sheer sun-kissed glow. This an illuminator that’s my speed, meaning it’s soft and low-key, if you’re looking for a beaming highlighter, this is not the one because no, it can not be built up.

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That being said, it’s a beautiful, very pigmented illuminator that can be used mixed into foundations or worn alone. It applies well but dries quickly, and it will blend away to almost nothing. It’s light as air so it feels like nothing on the skin. It will leave you with a subtle glow, but it doesn’t apply well over powders and does remove whatever powder you’re wearing so I wouldn’t recommend it over anything but liquid or cream foundations. Below I’m wearing it with the Makeup Atelier blush in Ambering Rose, it really is just a very natural looking illuminator.

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Final Thoughts.

Beautylish doesn’t carry the entire line otherwise I would have stocked up, luckily the brand website is accessible in the states and has items that aren’t available on the Sephora or Beautylish sites so I will be exploring in the future. I like this brand a lot, they’re not exactly exciting, but it’s pretty steady and reliable and I have no complaints. It is a bit on the pricey side, the foundations are $62, the powder is $42 and the illuminator is $39, but I totally think that it’s worth it. Another thing, if you’re looking for coverage, based on reviews I’d say ignore the Aqua Foundation and stick with this one, plus this has a larger shade range.

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