Are you interested in picking up crucial beauty secrets from a culture that has evolved for over 1200 years?
Today, J-beauty(Japanese beauty) has evolved alongside different cultures, mixing and matching traditional looks and styles with not so traditional ones.
Kimonos, the t-shaped robe emblematic of classical Japanese beauty, now has a more fashion, modern counterpart. Hakamas, the protective trousers and pleated skirt usually worn outside of Kimonos, do as well.
But these aren’t the only classical Japanese beauty trends having new life and taking new fashion-friendly forms.
There’s ‘kawaii’ fashion, achieving dewy, bright skin with a thorough skin routine, double eyelids and a handful more.
So, if you’re interested in being worldwide in how you express yourself, whether its what you wear or what makeup solutions you use, here’s 6 Japanese beauty trends that are crossing borders.
But first, let’s explore in more detail what J-beauty actually is.
What is Japanese Beauty (J-beauty)?
Like Korean beauty, J-Beauty focuses on physical health and wellness, therefore you can expect major importance placed on prevention rather than treating – whether it’s skin damage, weight gain or signs of aging.
Japanese beauty is also up there with the best in introducing the world with breakthrough beauty and skin formulas. Remember Shisheido’s neuroscience-inspired essential energy skincare range? It changed the skincare game because it used Reneura Technology to focus on our skin’s neuro-sensory functions, which then allows it to better respond to the benefits of a moisturizer.
When it comes to sought after physical traits, Japanese beauty trends place extra important on white skin, a petite body shape, a v-shaped face and large eyes.
A doll-like appearance is revered, which extends to everything from dress sense all the way through to behaviour that’s cute and kawaii-like.
Then there’s Japanese fashion aesthetics. Tokyo is a hotbed of street fashion styles — you’ll spot many different wardrobes from vintage, goth punk, Kawaii, all with a Western twist.
Each carries a different assortment of outfits, makeup and hairstyles that are put together in ways that will turn even the heads of the most fashionista-like among us.
Important to also mention: these various Japanese beauty trends are guided by a desire to create something original that fits one’s personal style.
6 Japanese Beauty Trends That Are Crossing Borders
J-beauty trends, or any beauty trend for that matter, are always up for interpretation. However, from what we’ve discovered, there are only a number of J-beauty trends that stand out the most. Here’s our top 6.
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J-Beauty Trend #1: Kawaii – All Things Cute!
When you think of fashion in Japan, most people conjure up the colourful and creative fashion subcultures that you would often come across in Tokyo’s trendy districts, most particularly Shibuya and Harajuku.
Originating as a distinctly Japanese cultural trend, the ‘kawaii’ concept has permeated through many aspects of global fashion, art, technology and food. Since the creation of the Hello Kitty brand in 1974, this cuteness factor has translated into different branches of cuteness, including busu-kawaii (ugly cute), guro-kawaii (grotesque cute), kimo-kawaii (creepy cute) and ero-kawaii (erotic cute).
The Japanese word, kawaii, takes the cute aesthetic a little further by encompassing nuances of the grotesque, like in anime, with characters featuring large eyes or oversized heads. We can achieve this look with fake eyelashes and colourful circle lenses to make the eye appear bigger.
If you want to dress Kawaii, the key is to play with proportions with your dress sense – Kawaii usually leans towards disproportionate body shapes and features.
Play with proportions and incorporate unexpected textures, like wearing oversized maxi-pants, pointy shoes, or an intentionally large coat.
Some have said the influence of Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo, plus global chains like H&M and Forever 21, has had an impact on Japanese wardrobes, moving wardrobes away from the Kawaii look into more simple colours and classic silhouettes.
For inspiration, take a look at the best in street style at Tokyo Fashion Week with a cool mix of styles, neons, prints, and oversized streetwear.
J-beauty Trend #2: White, Unblemished Skin
There’s a word, “Bihaku”, that means “beautiful white”, and Japanese tradition has always associated white skin with the height of feminine beauty.
There are a few ways you can go about getting pale skin, while protecting your skin from the sun’s rays – it’s not uncommon to see a woman (of any age) carrying an umbrella, wearing a face mask, a visor, sunglasses, and long-sleeve coverings that reach your hands.
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J-beauty Trend #3: Dewy, Healthy Skin
A few Japanese beauty secrets have become uncovered, much to our delight, so that we can try them out for ourselves. The goal of Japanese skincare is to have healthy, radiant skin, with hydrating products and soothing ingredients. Not quite as many steps as the K-beauty routine, but similar in its philosophy.
If you’re interested in taking up a J-beauty skincare routine, follow these guidelines:
- Embrace vitamin C. Vitamin C is the secret behind a fair and even complexion. It attacks pigmentation and lightens brown spots and acne scars, bringing radiance and health back to skin.
- Use facial oils. Facial oils like Shu Uemura Ultime 8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil and Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil are really popular. Or you can use simple rice bran oil, or search for oils that are rich in vitamins and are lipophilic, which means they keep toxins out and lock moisture in. Oils like this are said to help with acne while minimizing pores.
- Practice a daily skincare routine of cleansing, toning and moisturizing, with weekly face masks. If you try this routine, J-beauty insists that you don’t forget the essence step (hydration is queen in the Japanese scene).
For a deeper rundown of a Japanese skincare routine, check out our guide – “6-Step Japanese Skincare Routine and How it Differs from K-beauty”
J-beauty Trend #4: Double Eyelid and Big Eyes
The quest for having big, innocent, inquisitive-looking eyes has created a surge in popularity for having double-eyelids, as opposed to having mono-lids. It’s common to get a cosmetic procedure done to get this little crease on the eyelid.
However, cosmetic surgery isn’t for everyone, so many Japanese cosmetic companies sell eyelid tape or glue so that you can give yourself a double eyelid at home.
Contact lenses that make your eyes appear bigger or give you a different eye colour are a big trend. Some have different designs and patterns like Hello Kitty embedded in the lens.
J-beauty Trend #5: Small Head, A High-bridged nose
Being told you have a small face is a compliment in Japan, and in other Asian countries. A small face and head are very attractive, as is having a sharp, v-line face and sharp jawline.
Being thin is more beautiful than having a thick figure, and dieting is very important. Japanese people aspire to have a very slim version of the hourglass figure.
A high-bridged nose is also seen to make a person look cute and delicate. There are several beauty tools that claim to sharpen your nose to make it straighter and achieve a high bridged nose if that’s a look you’re after.
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J-beauty Trend #6: Long, Dark Hair
Silky, flowing dark hair is considered beautiful and a sign of health and nobility, if you can grow your hair out.
Don’t worry, red and blonde shades are still considered beautiful, but black and dark brown hair is more commonly thought of as the best shade to have.
Are Japanese Beauty Trends Worth Adopting in Your Style?
From innovative fashion trends to a thoughtful skincare routine, there are so many Japanese beauty trends worth checking out.
Mind you, trends come and go, but what’s interesting is the Japanese belief that true beauty comes from within. It’s known as ‘mienai oshare’, the Japanese equivalent for saying that beauty comes from within.
And who of us wouldn’t agree with that?
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