Our Deep-Dive Review: Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water

Our Deep-Dive Review: Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water

Have you ever used a product that was pretty basic but blew your mind? Like a product that does exactly what it’s supposed to do, when it’s supposed to do it, without any issues or trouble? That’s how I feel about the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water.

The Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water is exactly what it says it is—a gentle, hydrating cleansing water that removes even the most stubborn makeup, sweat, and dirt with just a swipe. Or you can use it after a workout or in the AM when you need a gentle cleanse. You can think of it like a souped-up micellar water.

I don’t know about you, but I went through a phase for a few years where I bought my weight in micellar water. Micellar water, for those who don’t know, is a type of cleansing water that’s typically used to remove makeup. How does it work? Well, suspended in the water are surfactant (aka cleansing) molecules that attract makeup, dirt, and other debris. In even more simple terms, it’s kind of like water with oil molecules suspended in it.

koh gen do cleansing water
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Micellar water had a big boom in the early to mid-2000s, when the only makeup removing cleansers on the market were either makeup remover wipes (terrible!) or super harsh foaming cleansers that burned and stung your eyes. I remember very much so when I discovered Bioderma micellar water, the French cult classic that everyone and their mom used. It was revolutionary! It effectively removes makeup without stinging. And dry skin? A thing of the past. I was obsessed with it.

So what makes the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water so special? Isn’t it just your regular ol’ micellar water? Au contraire, mon ami. This Japanese cleansing water is formulated with mineral-rich water from the Yumaru hot springs (it’s already fancy) and is then infused with a blend of botanical extracts like rosemary, sage, lavender, mint, ginger, and white birch sap. These extracts help soothe and nourish your skin, giving it a dose of hydration while preventing irritation. Oh, and there’s also some lactic acid thrown in the mix to give you a very gentle exfoliation moment. I like to think of it as a next-gen cleansing water—like iPhone 12 Pro Max, if you will.


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It comes packaged in a study, plastic bottle and has a very, very slight fragrance that I can’t quite place—almost like a clean, spa-like scent. But don’t worry, it doesn’t linger long on the skin. It has the exact same texture as a micellar water: that slightly viscous texture that is just thick enough to feel like it’s doing something.

To use, apply on your cotton pad (or if you’re a cool kid, one of your reusable bamboo pads) and gently swipe across your eyes, lips, and face to remove any makeup you’re wearing. Or if you’re looking for a gentle AM cleanse, you can gently swipe the pad all over and follow up with the rest of your skin care routine.


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The first time I used it, I actually gasped out loud and said “Oh my GOD!” (okay, I talk to myself a lot, I know I’m not the only one). Not only did it remove my stubborn mascara in one swipe, I had zero eye irritation and my face felt smooth and hydrated. I’ve also started using it after my Peloton workouts on the days that I can’t take a shower and wash my face immediately after my workout. It soothes my irritated skin (I sweat a TON and am constantly wiping my face) and gives my skin enough hydration to last until I can really shower and wash my face. It’s absolutely wonderful and a much needed addition to my skin care arsenal.

Have you tried the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!


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