Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation | Review + Swatches 002 . 113

by Molly Gardner

The Koh Gen Do Mainfanshi Moisture Foundation is one of my all-time favorite foundations! I have countless stories about how amazing this foundation is, I actually feel guilty for not having shared it sooner.

It is an incredible foundation from Japan. The foundation has been a best seller for the company for over 20 years.  It was a total makeup artist’s secret for a long time.  When I was an actor, I could spot the little red tube on set from a mile away.

Product Info |

Fun fact:  Each tube takes over 3 times the normal length of time to make foundation because of it’s special formula.


10/10 points for packaging. The foundation comes in a red plastic tube.

I absolutely LOVE this tube, because I can shake and squish the product around inside the tube before using it, to make sure it’s really mixed up.

And if you don’t think I’m going to cut the top of the tube off at the end to get a few more wears out of it, then you don’t know me anymore.  I’m 100% going to do that.  I love plastic tubes because they do allow you to use all of a product.

They are also really lightweight, great for a makeup artist lugging around 8 tubes of them or someone who likes to travel light on vacation.


The finish is what totally sets this foundation apart for me.  It took me a few tries and combinations of amount, blending, and primers to get my perfect coverage, but once I found it: magic.

The coverage is very sheer, but give even coverage.

What I love is that it’s a very thin formula, so you can build from one layer (sheer coverage – what I use on male actors/client’s for red carpet appearances), two layers gives beautiful medium coverage, and I personally use three ultra layers to give me full coverage that never looks like a mask.

I have a lot of redness and I am very fair to light, so you can see the discoloration in my skin more easily than on a medium or deeper skin tone, which is why I prefer medium to full coverage.

This is what is so great about this foundation, when I don’t have as much redness in my skin, I use two light layers.  It’s completely customizable and never looks cakey.

The finish is phenomenal.  I do set mine with a setting spray for extra wear-time.

Related Post | The Trick To Making Your Foundation Last


I LOVE that this is a moisturizing formula.  It’s actually really hard to find a foundation that hydrates.

The formula is a concentrated cream.  You need only a very small dot to cover your entire face.  I use three small dots for full coverage.

I’ve had my tubes for-ev-er.  Forever.  This is one of those products that is initially a bit more costly, but really lasts.

As I get older, I’m finding I have to be more careful of using certain foundation formulas.  I can’t go too heavy or too matte, because they really accentuate my find lines around my eyes and forehead.

I adore this foundation for softening the look of those lines both in real life and in photographs.

Let’s talk photography.  Holy Heck.  This stuff photographs and films like a dream.  I mentioned above that this foundation was developed when high definition (HD) cameras started being used in tv and movie filming in Japan twenty years ago.

I don’t know how, I really can’t figure it out, but this just really does look like skin and not foundation on camera.  Brides, take note.


One of the things I love about the formula is how pure the ingredients are.  The makeup products are all made with skincare level ingredients, so your skin is actually improving as you wear it.

I was surprised when I found out that they use more natural ingredients, because the formula really holds up well all day!

From the Koh Gen Do website:


  • • Infused with 80% moisturizing ingredients.
  • • Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract (Collagen) and Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract hydrates and conditions the skin.
  • • Optical smoothing with the leading edge powder technology.
  • • Long-lasting, natural finish.
  • • Gentle enough for all skin types.
  • • Dermatologist Tested.
  • • T3 Oil Blend to hydrate and provide long comfortable wear.


  • • Artificial Colors, Synthetic Fragrance, Mineral Oil derived from Petroleum, Paraben.
  • • Gluten-friendly, Not Tested on Animals.


This foundation was created by a Japanese actress over 20 years ago, to wear for HD filming.  Days on set are loooong, so this foundation was developed to last.

This foundation has held up for me in humid, 100+ temps for 6-12 hour days without stopping.

Related Post | My Favorite Foundations for Dry + Mature Skin


Koh Gen Do offers 12 shades.  I can’t figure out how, but these match all my clients from fair to deep perfectly.  The undertones in this foundation are so well done that I rarely even have to mix two shades together to match a client.

I normally have to mix 2-3 foundations in other brands to match people.

Cool undertones, choose: 001, 012, 002, 013, 023, 003
Warm undertones, choose: 112, 113, 123
Neutral Warm undertones, choose: 301, 302, 303

I’m shade 112 or 113 if I have a faux tan.

Okay, Now My Makeup Stories

I have so many, but I let myself pick two.

1 | I used this makeup on set on an actress while we were shooting minimum 12 hour days.  They were mostly longer and it was around 100 degrees every day.  The makeup not only held up, but it reversed her breakouts from a drugstore foundation another artist had been using on her face.

On this same movie, I used it on an actress with more mature skin.  I just saw the cast and crew screening of this the other day, and her skin was glowing on the big screen.  It was such an awesome and satisfying work experience to see her look that great and her skin look so smooth and fresh.

2 | I brought this and ONLY this foundation with me to one of my best friend’s weddings in Miami.  In August.  I love her, but I legit thought I might be dying the entire weekend.  I’ve never felt heat like that.  How do you all in Florida do this?

I brought only this foundation, unpacked my makeup bag and thought “WHY.”  It was so hot and I brought a moisturizing foundation!?

But I swear, it held up like nothing I have ever seen before.  You know those pictures from the end of the night at a wedding?  The ones where at that point, you’ve convinced yourself that this is the best you have EVER danced and every photo comes back of you with a drink in your hand?  Yeah, those.

Well, it was a harsh reality to see that I my dancing was not at it’s peak, but I will say my skin looked great in those pics.

I had also cried several times that day/night like a giant, gushing baby.  My friend’s first dance was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen.  It honestly makes me tear up every time I think of it, it was such a beautiful moment.

Also, it was hot.  Did I mention that it was in Miami in August?  Oh I did several times?  I don’t know how this stuff stayed on my face but it did all day every day.  Which was great, being that it was literally the only foundation I packed.  Such a great choice and I would absolutely do it again for my next trip.


2019 Update: I love and have repurchased this foundation several times now.  For me, a repurchase is the biggest stamp of approval a product can get.

I’m always on the hunt for the next greatest-and-latest thing, so when I am fully ready to repurchase a product, that’s a huge deal in my world.

This foundation is such a great product and I am so happy that it is starting to get the mainstream love and recognition it deserves.



Thinking of filming a tutorial on this eye look!

Thinking of filming a tutorial on this eye look!


Shop Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation | Revolve. Barney’sNordstromBeautylish


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meganlogue81 December 31, 2015 - 1:47 pm

Definitely do the eye tutorial! Love the colors!

Girl Get Glamorous January 6, 2016 - 3:09 am

Ok, thanks, Megan! I will for sure, I’ve been wearing this look a lot lately… xo!

Kelley Pursell December 31, 2015 - 10:27 pm

Hi Molly! After reading this I rushed to my mailbox to see if my samples arrived. No such luck – darn these holiday weekends! Your experience with KGD and DHC is definitely consistent with what I have found diving into the rabbit hole that is asian beauty products. The korean beauty products in particular tend to be not only high quality, technologically advanced, and beautifully packaged, but also inexpensive:) Thanks for another great review! – Kelley


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