East Asia has been at the centre of the beauty industry because of new innovations that combine their rich culture with the love of makeup and skincare. Following on from the skincare and beauty revolution that began in Korea (K Beauty), Japan is now having its moment in the spotlight. Its quirkiness and unique style, combining traditional values with on-trend pop culture, has led to the popularisation of exaggerated eyes, flawless skin, and girlish, innocent, even doll-like makeup looks. Here’s how to incorporate J Beauty into your style, too.
Japanese women love to go dramatic on the eyelid and one of the most popular beauty buys for the eyes is glossy eyeshadow. The eyeshadow looks like a wet gel and paints fabulously on the upper eyes for a fierce cat eye or a more natural look. Bold and bright colours in yellow and orange are popular in Japan, but the classic black is also an option here. To localise this trend for your skin tone, use NYX Professional Makeup Glazed and Confused Eye Gloss in Dirty Talk Plum, ideal for dark skin and black eyes.
This look creates the “partied all night” look of dishevelled glam, making you appear slightly drunk after a long wild night out without sleep. While we may use makeup to disguise sleepy eyes from all-night partying, in Japan they want to emphasise it. Also known as igari makeup, this look is done by applying blush right under the eyes – instead of the cheekbones – and eyeliner on the lower lash line. After applying your black eyeliner on your lower lash, use Maybelline Colour Show Blush in Fresh Coral right below your eyes for that hot mess look.
Red Cat Eye
Inspired by their native Geisha culture, where white powder is applied to the face and thin black and red stripes run parallel along the eyelid. The red eyeliner can be its own cat eye on the upper lid, or a flick of red on the corner of the eye above a black eyeliner. The red can also translate to red accents in eyeshadow and extend in to the eyebrows. Luckily, red is one of the best colours for dark skin, so Urban Decay Razor Sharp Liquid Liner in Fireball on the corner of your cat eye will give you a modern-day Afro-Geisha girl look.
Abandon all the rules you know to fully immerse yourself in Japanese-inspired makeup. It’s all about being experimental, whimsical and embracing fantasy. Keep the look sleek and sharp and the colours bright.