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Review: Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water

I am always willing to try something new, when it comes to skincare and cosmetics anyway. You never know when your "Holy Grail" item will fall into your lap, so it is good to keep your eyes peeled. One of those things that seemed to be the next big thing was Cleansing Water. 

Apparently, it has been around a while in Asia and Europe...but us slowpokes here (at least me) just heard about it a few months ago. It is supposed to be a very gentle, non-drying, superior product for removing makeup. As someone with dry skin, I was exceedingly curious about it. When I spied the travel size of Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water on Sephora's website, I decided to try it.

I read the "how to use" section thoroughly on the product page. "Place saturated cotton on area of makeup removal and hold 3-5 seconds before wiping." I can handle that. "No scrubbing necessary." Hell yeah! I hate scrubbing at my makeup! This stuff seemed like it was meant for me! So I tried it, according to the directions...and nothing. 

Well, almost nothing. I wasn't even wearing waterproof makeup that day. I could still see my foundation and eye shadow after four saturated bits of cotton were used. Hmmph. I ended up breaking out my regular DIY'd oil and removing my makeup like normal. I was discouraged. But maybe I just did it wrong? I decided to try on some swatches, just to be certain.

scroll to the bottom if you want the tl;dr

I tried: 

Wet'n'Wild Floral Values over my regular Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Stila Stay All Day liquid liner
Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation (without primer/setting)

on my arm. I allowed them to be *just dry* 

I placed my cotton pad (Johnson & Johnson are great for makeup. One side is very fabric-like) on my eye shadowed arm for six seconds. The kids helped me count. Then I sorta-gently wiped. What!? Still there. I repeated the process, and it was mostly gone, though I could still see faint pink and purple spots in bright light.

I tried again with the liquid liner, which was a complete joke. The foundation was also semi-impervious to the "gentle" remover. Thankfully, I was wearing long sleeves, because I had to go out immediately after this...though my husband did ask me about The Silence at least once.

the aftermath. It looks so promising here.

This is what my arm looked like when I was "done". I am not impressed at all. It removed foundation the best, but waterproof liner and primed eyeshadow laugh in the face of this stuff. I might as well have rubbed at my arm with a soapy rag, for all the makeup removing this spa water did. Am I doing it wrong?

Despite the fact that it failed to completely remove my makeup, I am happy with this stuff in one respect: it was completely non-irritating. My skin gets angry and red if I even look at it cross-wise, but this stuff dried with no residue and left me with no irritation. It was also fairly effective when used to clean up minor mistakes on a cotton swab, which surprised me after this little experiment.

It didn't really work as a makeup remover, unless I'm doing it wrong. But it didn't irritate my skin. For $13-$40, I say this is a pass.


  1. I am guessing this is a micellar water like Bioderma. I find that the best way to use it for eye makeup removal is to hold it in place for more like 15 seconds, it gets most off. Still, I prefer a cleansing oil for gentle makeup removal.

    My favorite thing to do with micellar water is use it on a q-tip to remove residual darkness/ makeup under my eye. It uses verrry little product (so I don't mind the high price) and works really well for this.

    1. I completely agree. I've used it for spot-cleanup, and it works. But for all-over makeup removal, it cannot compete with oil.

  2. i stalked the small bottle of this on for so long and then when i got it, i was so disappointed! i'm sticking with my $7 remover from Boots Botanics.

    1. Same. I bought the $13 bottle, and I regret it deeply.


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