When you think of Japan, you cannot help but catapult yourself with your mind and heart into the harmonious, timeless world with the almost mystical allure of geishas. The traditional Japanese makeup par excellence, which has characterized the most envied women of the East and the world for generations, is precisely that of the geishas: the white skin, the red lips, the perfectly framed gaze made and still make these women gods today. in the collective imagination, creatures suspended in time between reality and myth .
Certainly, geisha makeup has deeply influenced Japanese customs and traditions. Not surprisingly, even the trends that characterize make-up in Japan today still have a lot to do with these creatures defined as ” priestesses of art “.
But what are the secrets of geisha makeup and what are the distinctive features of contemporary Japanese makeup? Here is an overview of everything there is to know, between ancient traditions and the latest trends coming from the East that are worth knowing and in some cases copying!
Geisha make-up: the symbol of traditional make-up in Japan
The traditional Japanese make-up, that of the geishas, is a real ritual that has a very specific name: Oshiroi make-up. It is a transformation that does not only concern the outward appearance: with makeup, the woman becomes a sort of muse, a deity. It all starts with the creation of the porcelain- white face base.
Bintuske, the scented wax
The geishas heat a perfumed wax in their hands that acts as a fixative for the face base: it is called bintsuke and is applied to the neck and shoulders, before proceeding along the face, insisting especially along the expression lines and “folds” of the skin.
Oshiroi, the white foundation
At that point, the oshiroi is applied, which is nothing more than the white foundation, indeed very white, which characterizes the make-up of the geishas. This foundation is completely natural and is composed of rice powder and water, to be mixed together until a creamy but malleable white paste is obtained. Using a brush, spread over the face and neck, then dab with a large sponge to remove any excess product. The back of the neck also stains, leaving naked and natural only two cloves of skin in a V shape.
Kyo Beni, the lipstick
The focus of the make-up Japanese geisha is represented by lips, red, and heart. The traditional Japanese lipstick, strictly handcrafted, is called Kyo Beni and is applied with a very thin brush. Even lip make-up has its own symbolic value: the apprentices, called maiko, only make up the center of the lower lip. The more experienced geishas, on the other hand, are allowed to color their entire lips red.
We then proceed with the eye make-up: on the eyelids, almost up to the cheeks, a very vivid and intense bright red pigment fades outwards, more or less marked according to the degree of experience of each geisha. The eyebrows are fundamental and are defined with a black pencil, the black is then also rigged the eyes with eyeliner and much mascara.
How Japanese women wear makeup today: all the secrets
Let’s start by saying that, as is now known, for all oriental women beauty starts first of all from skincare. Not only Koreans – who have become known all over the world for their Korean skincare structured in 10 steps – are very keen on their facial cleansing and treatment routine. Even Japanese women, in fact, have a real obsession with skincare. This is why their skin usually appears extremely luminous and reflective, almost like a glass.
Foundation and blush
The attention to the creation of the face base is extreme, but in a very different way than in the West. The Japanese tend to use little foundation – rather they use a BB cream every day – and mainly cushion foundation, the cushion ones usually characterized by low coverage and a luminous finish. They love blushes, especially those in sticks and cream that tap on the cheeks with extreme ease, and they prefer very bright colors such as red and fuchsia.
In Japan, beauty addicted crazy for the ‘ illuminating, who generously distributed on the face, but it is not practically never used the bronzer. In short, no contouring: fair skin is a must in the East and it is very rare for a Japanese to use the earth.
As for eye makeup, green light for a lot of mascara for false eyelash effect eyelashes – the Japanese, to be honest, use them a lot also for their daily make-up, but we do too, especially the magnetic ones – and shimmer eyeshadows with neutral colors, which give a veil of light to the eyelids.
For lip makeup, on the other hand, the Japanese juggle gloss and matte lipsticks. In particular, they love lip stains, i.e. lip colors. Their secret, however, is the application: they do not spread the product all over the lips, precisely delineating the contour, but prefer to apply it exclusively in the center and then, before it dries, blend it with the fingers outwards, tapping it.
The effect is extremely natural, almost as if you have just bitten your lip. This shaded lipstick technique is called ombré lips and is very popular on Instagram, now also in Europe thanks to Japanese women, who have always been pioneers in terms of beauty and make-up!
Easy to reproduce
As you can see, the Japanese make-up is very simple to reproduce: it makes use of the use of a few products but aims to obtain a really pleasant visual effect with simplicity, enhancing the qualities and minimizing small defects and imperfections. The Japanese tricks, as well as Korean cosmetic products, are increasingly sought after in the West, and fortunately thanks to the web you can find references of any kind without much difficulty.
From the ancient tradition of geishas to contemporary beauty routines, Japanese women continue to be a reference point and set trends in terms of beauty and make-up.
What do you think? Have you ever tried geisha makeup for a special occasion? Would you like to take a cue from them and do your makeup as Japanese women do?