A few days later, I received a package from them that contained literature about their products, makeup samples (they wanted to make sure I received the perfect foundation shade) and samples of their skin care. I went online to research their products and was immediately shocked at the prices. This was much more than I usually spend on skin care. Believe me when I say that I'm no stranger to forking over too much money at Sephora, but had always tried to avoid the products that promote said sticker shock. I tried the samples anyway, hoping that I wouldn't love them! ha ha!
The first product I tried was the Cleansing Spa Water. It costs $39.00 for 10.15 oz or you can get a small 3.38 oz bottle online at Sephora for $13.00. I tried it with some Equate cotton pads and they fell apart when I used them, making it very difficult to use. Aside from my lack of quality cotton, the product still performed amazingly well. It removes every trace of makeup without a hint of irritation. I recently purchased some of the Koh Gen Do online at Sephora and it makes a big difference. It still falls apart when I use it, but not as bad. It says you don't have to rinse this product, but I have oily skin and it was too much moisture for me. I always use a cleanser afterward.
After makeup removal, I used the Oriental Plants Facial Wash. I made the mistake of using WAY too much product on my first go. I didn't realize how effective these products are, even when using a tiny amount of product. I thought this product was extremely pricey until I calculated the cost per usage. The cleanser I normally use is Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash. It costs $24 for 6.7 oz of product. I've had my current bottle for 3 months now and it's half empty, so I've used about 3.35 oz of product in three months. The KGD is $45 for 3.53 oz of product. I use approximately half the amount of KGD as Bliss, so in 3 months' time, I would still have over half the bottle of KGD facial wash left and used approximately $23 worth of product. In this rough calculation, the price for the Bliss and KD are about the same, so it's actually about the same amount I pay for my usual cleanser! Not too bad. The cleanser cleanses deeply and thoroughly, but I feel like it might ultimately be a bit too harsh for my sensitive skin.
The third product I tried was the Soft Gommage Spa Gel. After you wash and dry your face, you apply a glob of this gel to DRY skin, rub it around a little and it removes dead skin without any scrubbing or peeling. Exfoliation is really difficult with my rosacea. It usually leaves my skin raw and red, even after a light exfoliation. I've used scrubs, peels and brushes everywhere from generic facial brushes to Clarisonic knock-offs (Olay, Pretika, etc.) to the actual Clarisonic. I've also used oils, acids, home remedies like baking soda and sugar and everything in between, but I've never tried a product like this! It's pretty effective at removing dead skin and also not irritating. The price is $45 for 2.12 oz
The Oriental Plants Essence was one of my favorite, and most expensive, products I tried. It is a weightless, colorless, liquidy gel that moisturizes and soothes the skin. My biggest obstacle in skin care is finding a moisturizer that doesn't clog my pores or make me red. Even the products that are supposedly made just for my skin type and have tons of positive reviews usually let me down. I didn't think this would be enough moisture, but it actually moisturized pretty well on its own. I have to say that the price is a bit shocking at $85 for only 1.01 oz. Most reviewers of this product state that they go through a bottle in 3 months, so this would cost around $28 per month. That's a bit out of my budget, so I can't say that I'll purchase anytime soon.
When I ran out of the Essence, I started experimenting with the other moisturizer samples. I expected the Lotion I to actually be a lotion, but it's a liquid! I was surprised when it poured out of the packet, but I still applied with my hands as I would a moisturizer. I can see someone with really oily skin getting away with using just this as a moisturizer, but I felt like I needed something on top to lock in moisture. I read that makeup artists put this in spray bottles and use it right before applying foundation, afterwards as a setting spray and throughout the day as a refresher. It's a nice multipurpose product and a pure luxury, not a necessity, thank goodness! It was $54 for 5.07 oz or $99 for 10.15 oz.
The next moisturizer I tried was the All in One Moisture Gel. I thought I would really like this since it's a gel consistency like the Essence, but it was actually my least favorite moisturizer. It felt a bit heavy on my skin and didn't provide enough moisture for me. It costs $62 for 3.53 oz.
My second favorite moisture product from this brand was the Oriental Plants Cream. It's a very light cream that just melts into the skin. My skin felt very comfortable under this and I preferred the texture to that of the All in One. No irritation at all and no clogs. I still prefer the Essence to this, but I would use this from time to time. Again, my skin has chosen to love one of the most expensive products they offer. This product has two choices of $68 for 0.71 oz or $120 for 1.41 oz.
They sent a second cleanser called Oriental Plants cleansing cream which has a nice, light lotion-cream texture. It is pleasurable to smooth onto the skin and doesn't cause any dryness, tightness or irritation. This would be incredible for those with normal-to-dry skin. My skin is a bit oilier, so I prefer the cleansing power of the Facial Wash that foams. The price is $51 for 4.23 oz.
And the last skin care product I tried was the moisture mask. The texture reminded me a lot of the Essence. It's a very light gel, but this one contains tiny moisture beads.
So as I mentioned before, I actually won a free bottle of foundation from the Koh Gen Do Facebook page. I was just beyond excited when I found out I'd won and I actually jumped up and down a few times, scaring my husband and my dogs. KGD is well-known in the world of professional Makeup Artists who do film and theater. The quality of their foundations is amazing and they contain the same amazing ingredients and skin benefits of the skin care! They sent generous sample sizes of the shades 012 (pale, porcelain pink), 002 (pale yellow), 013 (light neutral) and 213 (medium with slight yellow tones). 012 was definitely the closest match to my skin and I'm quite happy with it. The coverage is very nice and buildable. The cost of this foundation is $62 for 1.01 oz. I'm guessing it will last for a really long time, as I don't use much at all, even if building up layers. Along with the foundation samples, they also included sample of the Makeup Color Base in Lavender Pink and Base Yellow and their Loose powder in Natural Lighting. I tried the Lavender Pink with one of the foundation samples that was a bit too dark and yellow and it did a really good job of lightening and brightening it up. My skin looked really awake and fresh that day. I actually wore the Base Yellow all by itself on a few days where I was just hanging out at home and didn't feel like applying makeup. The bases all contain sunscreen, so they all protect your skin as well. The yellow shade isn't overly yellow and it kind of just blends into your skin and cancels out any redness you may have.These bases cost $48 for 0.88 oz. It's pricey, but as with all Koh Gen Do products, a little goes a looooong way. I can see this bottle lasting for a long time.
The picture below has a swatch of all 4 foundations (they have a total of 7 shades, I think) and the two color bases. As you can see, my skin is super pale, so all of the shades really pop against the white background!
Lastly, I set my foundation with the Natural Lighting Powder, a universal shade that would work for any skin color. It's very sheer and doesn't alter your foundation shade at all. It reminds me very much of bareMinerals Mineral Veil, but the Koh Gen Do contains even better ingredients. It costs $42 for 0.42 oz. I have a ton of the aforementioned mineral veil left, but if I ever run out, I will definitely consider purchasing a full size of this.
This is a picture of me wearing the foundation and powder. As you can see, the finish is definitely not matte. I would classify it as a satin finish. It looks a bit too pink in the photo, but I think that was my camera misbehaving! ;)
All in all, this brand is just lovely. I would recommend it to anyone looking for high quality skin care that doesn't contain concerning or irritating ingredients. If you suffer from rosacea, as I do, or another skin condition like eczema and just can't seem to get it controlled, I recommend this even more! From the entire line, I am purchasing full sizes of the Cleansing Spa Water (actually already have!), the Oriental Plants Facial Wash, the Soft Gommage Spa Gel and the Oriental Plants Essence. Those are the 4 necessities I've chosen for my own arsenal. After I try the bazillion skin care samples I have (and save some money!), I will be returning to this line with arms open wide!