Shopping Cart

How to get a “no makeup makeup look”, the Japanese way

Posted by Jbeauty Collection on
How to get a “no makeup makeup look”, the Japanese way

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. Japanese makeup looks tend 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 a top priority in any J-Beauty makeup routine since it helps makeup go on smoother as well as protects 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 face makeup or “base makeup” tends to be simpler, with BB creams, CC creams, and tinted moisturizers, and cushion compacts favored over heavy foundations. More on the nitty gritty of J-Beauty CC and BB creams here. Highlighter and contouring are less popular, but powders are sometimes used to brighten the under eyes and mattify the T-zone.

Since the idea is to create a Suhada or your-skin-but-better effect that looks fresh and effortless, you’ll often see Japanese face makeup products geared towards creating a luminous glow or “toumeikan.” It’s pretty much the polar opposite of baking makeup, a popular technique in the west for achieving flawless full glam. Both baking and Suhada promise skin that appears lightweight and glowing with a smooth matte texture, but the methods and products involved couldn’t be more different.


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.

How to get a Japanese eye makeup look

Depending on the specific Japanese makeup look you are seeking, a simple google search will reveal a plethora of different Japanese eye makeup tutorials and Japanese eyeliner makeup tutorials to choose from.

For a simple kawaii eye makeup look, dust a shimmery eyeshadow all over the lid and under the outer corner. Opt for soft shimmery colors like pinks, corals, peaches, beiges, and browns. Since the kawaii look is meant to be girly and cute, you’ll want to stay away from tones that are flamboyant, bright, or dark. Apply a slightly lighter color to the inner corners of the eyes. For example, if you used a rosey pink as your starter color, pop the inner corners with a white gold or light peach. The combinations here are endless, but the idea is to open the eyes and make them look as doll-like as possible.

Next, draw liquid eyeliner in black or brown that is visibly thicker towards the outer corner. You can line the entire upper lash line or leave off a small section in the inner corner, depending on how bold you want to make it. The wing should stand out, but avoid making it too sharp, edgy and cat-like. It should have a slightly upward yet droopy effect. For an ultimate doll-look, use the same liquid eyeliner on just the outer corner of the lower lash line. You can also skip the lower lash line altogether or fill it in with a neutral or light-colored tone. Again, the idea is to make the eyes appear bigger.

Then, fill in your eyebrows with a natural shade that complements your hair color, and fluff them with a brush. Lastly, apply black mascara, and deliberately clump the lashes together into groups in a doll-like fashion. This can take some practice, so if you want to master Japanese style makeup right away, go straight for Japanese false eyelashes and your kawaii look is complete.  


For everyday makeup, Japanese people opt for 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. Japanese lip looks tend to be gloss heavy, and don’t usually involve complicated techniques like ombre and gradient. For a simple kawaii lip look, all you need is glossy lipstick, tinted lip balm, or lip gloss. Think plump and pouty.


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.

Japanese makeup brushes

Talk about Japanese makeup wouldn’t be complete without a word on the makeup tools used to achieve the various looks. Japan is well-known for its handcrafted luxury makeup brushes, and many high-end makeup brushes of overseas designer brands are made in Japan. The Kumano region of Japan is famed for its artisans who handmake soft, durable, and high-performing brushes based on centuries-old calligraphy brush craftsmanship or fude expertise. This makes Japanese makeup brushes among the most distinguished and respected in the beauty industry.

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!

Older Post Newer Post