In the eternal search for a beauty trend that their mothers dare not copy, young women in Japan are now trying to look…sickly. Yes, it’s gone beyond dyeing their hair gray to using makeup in ways that makes them look positively feverish!
I first noticed this trend when I signed up to be a Lolita for a day, and the hair-make artist used pale, glittery, shadow under my eyes to make them look PUFFY. At first I thought she was just using Japanese makeup techniques that didn’t really work on a foreigner, but later I discovered that it was A Thing for girls to make their lower eyelids look swollen, almost as if they’d been crying. Or not sleeping much. Or suffering from some kind of killer allergy attack.
But this latest trend – called byoujaku, or sickface – goes way beyond that just-pulled-an-all-nighter look. Pale foundation and eyeshadow colors usually reserved for lips and cheeks are used to make you look positively contagious. There’s even a crowdfunding campaign for a line of makeup called Little Red Riding Hood that’s specifically designed to give you that distressed, get-thee-into-quarantine look.
For more, head over to Marionchan’s blog, which has a lot more byoujaku and oiran makeup details & pix! Tip o’ the top hat to RocketNews for the photo & crowdfunding heads-up, the exiletribe blog for the sickface makeup photo, and to TokyoGirlsUpdate for the oiran makeup info.
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“Hauntingly beautiful, an instant immersion into feudal, wartime and modern Japan.” —Melissa MacGregor, author of The Curious Steambox Affair
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!