When it comes to makeup, the Japanese have their own unique aesthetic and the techniques to achieve it. The ideal finish has an all-over soft and luminous glow, that feels both natural and youthful. J-Beauty makeup tends to be subtle with occasional color accents that cast a sweet and innocent girl-next-door charm. Let’s take a look at the essential steps to achieve the “no makeup makeup look”.
First things first: Skincare
Skincare is always top priority in any J-Beauty makeup routine, since it helps makeup go on smoother as well as protect the skin from irritation and dryness. In fact, we could say that how your makeup turns out depends 100% on the condition of your skin, so a clean yet hydrated canvas is a must before proceeding to makeup application. When you’re not skin ready, your makeup can end up flaky, cakey, and uneven, so skipping skin prep would be putting the cart before the horse. At the same time, your routine shouldn’t be so overly complicated that you’re tempted to skip it and go straight to the eyeliner. J-Beauty skincare routines are simple, beginning with a gentle cleanse followed by essence, emulsion, and moisturizing steps.
American makeup can get quite intricate in the quest for flawless skin – there’s a wide variety of full-coverage and sheer foundations, powders, concealers, brushes, beauty blenders, and other products, depending on the type of look you’re seeking. Although Japan also has its fair share of products, Japanese “base makeup” tends to be simpler, with many people preferring BB creams, CC creams, and cushion compacts. The idea is to create a Suhada or your-skin-but-better effect that looks fresh and effortless. Highlighter and contouring are less popular, but powders are sometimes used to brighten the under eyes and mattify the T-zone.
Unlike American blush, which is applied along the cheekbone to create a healthy and sculpted look, the Japanese usually apply blush to the apples of their cheeks for a youthful appearance. Bright colors, especially coral and pink tones are especially popular with young women, and they’re not afraid to let it show. Nudes are popular with more mature women.
For everyday makeup, Japanese people opt for glossy nudes and pink shades, but they may experiment with bold reds and bright hues for going-out and special occasions. They also tend to fill the entire lip with color and skip the lipliner for a softer look.
Brows are a must in J-Beauty makeup routines, as they shape the face and determine the overall tone of the makeup. Dramatic, dark, and sharp brows are usually avoided, as they can look unnatural. Japanese women tend to prefer a soft look, so they fill in their brows by following their natural arch, with a brow shade that complements their hair color.
Japanese people aim to enhance their eye shape with their eye makeup. You won’t see any smokey eyes here. They love to blend shimmery eyeshadows with more natural shades on the lids, as well as coat their lower lash lines with shimmer for a wide-eyed effect. When it comes to eyeliner, they tend to favor a simple thin line or subtle winged look. Of course, if they’re feeling glam and ditching the ‘no makeup makeup look”, they might indulge in false eyelashes for a doll-eye look.
The final look of Japanese and western makeup can be as different as night and day. Now that you’ve got a crash course in J-Beauty natural makeup, try playing with these ideas and see what changes make the biggest impact!