Cuenco: Japanese beauty: Observations

Joanna Cuenco

OHAYO! After spending only a week in Japan, I will not claim to be an expert on J-beauty. I just happened to notice a few things about how Japanese women go about their hair and makeup in the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka:

· Hair always looked “rich girl” healthy. It would be worn straight and sleek, or bouncy with just a little wave. Many also had bangs in varying styles, from a full blunt fringe to wispy strands. No one had tousled bedhead that is more popular in Western cultures.

· Most wore their hair dark, whether it’s their natural hair color, or dyed a chestnut or chocolate shade. Some sported ash brown highlights or full color. What stood out to me was that their hair never looked frizzy or processed. If there were roots showing, it appeared intentional, usually black roots on a platinum blonde color job. Even the women who went blonde, meaning they had gotten their hair bleached, managed not to make their strands appear like straw.

· Skin care appeared to be king (or queen?). “Glass skin” didn’t seem to be a trend, as I only saw a few dewy or shiny complexions. Everyone wore a matte or satin skin finish, and everyone was indeed very, very fair with not a tan or stroke of bronzer in sight. Sunblock was available in just about every drugstore. Appearing sun-kissed or contoured is not the preferred look.

· Makeup was subtle. Most seemed to wear just a touch of eyebrow pencil (no obvious drawing or shaping), a matte base, and MLBB (“my lips but better”) lipstick, if any at all. Those who wore blush preferred to apply it quite pink and very high up on the cheeks, almost just beneath the eyes. This is quite different from Korean-style makeup, which with a squarer brow shape, sparkly eyeshadow, drunk blush, and stained lips, is on the younger, more trendy side.

· For those who did wear more noticeable makeup, top-lash liner (never bottom-lash) and mascara were the focus. This was also evident in the overwhelming selection of those two products in every drugstore. Even the smallest pharmacy had at least five on display, while the big stores must have had a selection of 100. I’m hardly even exaggerating.