Koh Gen Do released two new liquid highlighters called Aqua Foundation Illuminator ($39 for 0.61 fl oz/18 ml, made in Japan). I tested both at Barneys in Beverly Hills – the White IL00 is very white and pigmented while Beige IL01 is a sheerer luminous beige shimmer. I picked the Beige shade – it’s a stunning complex mix of beige and champagne colored micro-sparkles. On my arm and hand it appeared extremely sparkly, however on my face it blended out to be a very natural luminous sheen. The shade matches my skintone closely and almost disappears upon application but it enhances the skin in a unique way.
I’ve used this a couple of ways. One method is to mix in one pump with a liquid foundation and apply all over the face. I’ve found my skin seems to lack luster and look a bit dull during the past couple of months. This method adds just the right amount of glow to give a radiant natural look to your foundation. Another way is to dab and blend over foundation and powder over the temples or cheeks. This gives a very natural sheen. The Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator is one of the best liquid illuminators I’ve tried to give that candlelight glow.
Here are swatches shown a few different ways to show how the color blends out. It looks frosty on the hands and arms but it melts into the skin beautifully.
In natural light:
With a flash, lighting highlights the shimmers:
I pulled Giorgio Armani’s Fluid Sheer #2 ($62 for 1 oz) to compare for packaging and size. Koh Gen Do’s is smaller but also less in expensive in price. The concept of both products is similar. You can use liquid highlighters a number of different ways: alone over foundation to highlight the cheeks, temples or eyes, mixed in with foundation or applied all over as a luminous base. I would say the Koh Gen Do Beige is slightly more luminous while Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheers tend to be very sheer.
Comparisons below to a few other pale highlighters. I like the Koh Gen Do Beige because it’s the darkest and matches my skin the best. Koh Gen Do White Illuminator, Armani Fluid Sheer 10, Armani Fluid Sheer 2, NARS Copacabana Illuminator, MAC Strobe Liquid, MAC Golden Elixir Strobe (discontinued).
Blurry but allows you to see the undertone and level of sparkle that reflects with light:
Overall very impressed. The Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Illuminator has no detectable scent, blends out very smoothly and stays put well through the afternoon. I still found I needed to touchup my makeup mid-day as I usually do, but the highlighter stayed put with minimal fading.