How to do Japanese Hair & Makeup

Written by laura lemay
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How to do Japanese Hair & Makeup
Women in Japan today enjoy elements of "cute" in hair and make-up fashions. (Japanese image by Irina Surikova from

The concept of "cute" guides and defines the ideal appearance for many Japanese women. Cute and lovable hair and make-up fashions reflect the concept of flirty, energetic and fun-loving girls. Regardless of a woman's age or where she works, elements of "kawaii" hairstyles and make-up provide the means of personal expression. Images of Western women in kawaii styles show wide-eyed, well-groomed and smiling girls in fantasy or everyday attire. Japanese women love "Amekaji," or American, style.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Japanese cosmetics, preferred
  • Make-up and hairstyle video tutorials

Show MoreHide


    Kawaii: Cute and Adorable Styles

  1. 1

    Think kawaii, or cute, when contemplating different Japanese make-up and hair styles. Cute and adorable personal appearance defines attractiveness in many aspects of modern Japanese culture. Noriko Kamachi, known as Seiko Matsuda, portrays the essence of sophisticated kawaii for many Japanese fans. Images of wide-eyed and childish-appearing girls and women appear in Japanese and global media. Because many Japanese idolise Western culture, images of Caucasian females in kawaii clothing, make-up and hairstyles capture our attention.

    How to do Japanese Hair & Makeup
    Japanese women like kawaii, or all things adorable and lovable. (manga styled lady samurai image by Anastasia Serdyukova from
  2. 2

    Combine shimmery pastel pinks, peaches and golds on cheeks and eyes to convey cuteness and innocence in make-up. Think about colours in terms of a butterfly's wings: soft, weightless and sheer. Use a light hand when applying blush. Mineral make-up work well to project kawaii. Place a white dot near the tear duct of each eye or a white/cream liner or eyeshadow near the eyelashes to create a doe-eyed and innocent look. Line eyelid rims with a pale yellow pencil to make eyes look sparkly white. Attach natural-looking false eyelashes or use eyelash extension liquid before coating lashes with mascara. Use a make-up sponge to lightly dab foundation on skin if needed. Dab pale lipgloss or stains on lips to complete the kawaii look.

    How to do Japanese Hair & Makeup
    Images from anime convey feminine cuteness. (crazy anime schoolgirl isolated on white image by Gleb Semenjuk from
  3. 3

    Curl longer hair for a kawaii style in 2010. Big, bouncy curls or ringlets look fresh and flirty. Tousled, partially braided or pig-tailed styles, with or without fringe, have innocent appeal. Start with well-moisturised and conditioned hair. Colour hair naturally or use a blond or red shade for impact. Add highlights in natural and bright colours to create dimension. Hair bands, barrettes, bows, clips and other accessories capture the look of a little girl whose mother has arranged her hair for the day. Although women everywhere wear kawaii hair styles, furiitaa, those with part-time or occasional jobs, have the most freedom to enjoy these hair styles.

    How to do Japanese Hair & Makeup
    Kawaii hairstyles with or without fringe are popular. (manga image by tomdoe5 from
  4. 4

    Smooth, straight hair adds sophistication to oeru, or office ladies, favouring kawaii styles. The classic bob, reminiscent of Katie Holmes's well-kept, precision straight cut, gives Japanese women with naturally glossy dark hair the perfect office look. Oeru ladies express distinctly kawaii elements of make-up and hair fashions. Sheer red lipstick adds a pop of colour and is slightly more sophisticated. Don unstructured Chanel-inspired clothes in neutral colours to complete the pulled-together yet very kawaii look.

    How to do Japanese Hair & Makeup
    Oeru express kawaii in the workplace and around town. (Smiling woman image by huaxiadragon from
  5. 5

    Blend elements of kogyaru or gyaru details with kawaii for different days and occasions. The "gal" or free-spirited woman favours Amekaji (casual American), Rokku (rocker style) and Haady (punk) hair and make-up styles.

    How to do Japanese Hair & Makeup
    Blend koguaru and kawaii elements to make a stylish statement. (sexy lady image by Liu xiang from

Tips and warnings

  • Read Japanese books and magazines for tips about the latest Japanese hair and make-up styles.
  • Watch Japanese anime movies to learn more about the importance of cute in Japanese culture.
  • For professionals, over-the-top kawaii may be too much for the office. In this case, use elements of kawaii style sparingly to enhance your look.

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