All About Japan

100 Years of Japanese Makeup Styles

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In its nearly 150 years of operation, Shiseido has had a front-row seat as makeup trends come and go in Japan, and the company recently took a moment to look back on many of them. Setsuko Suzuki, Shiseido’s senior hair and makeup artist, pegs the 1920s as when Western-style cosmetics achieved widespread use in Japan and moves to modern day.

At first, the most popular looks blended Western and traditional Japanese aesthetics. This meant fine eyebrows with a pronounced downward drop and heavy eyeshadow at the bottom corners of the eye to produce a droopy, sleepy look, as well as lipstick applied to create a small, puckered mouth.

In the 1930s, more overseas beauty concepts started to be incorporated, with greater eyebrow curves and bolder lipstick, which were in vogue with screen actresses at the time.

Suzuki next checks in with makeup trends following World War II, with determined, squared eyebrows becoming popular as Japan buckled down to rebuild the country in the 1950s.

Things became much more colorful in the 1960s, when Japanese women began to break with tradition and showed an increasing fondness for shades other than the indigenous Japanese cosmetic standards of white, black and red. Pale lipstick took off along with eye makeup simulating double-folded eyelids and false eyelashes as Japanese women longed to emulate the look of Western fashion models, as opposed to actresses. Suntanned skin also became popular for the first time in Japan’s history, after centuries of being considered a mark of an unpleasant, labor-intensive lifestyle.

The social unrest of the 1970s, including the Vietnam War, environmental crises, and economic malaise was reflected in dark eye shadow and sharply thin eyebrows.

In the late 1970s, Japan began to reevaluate its indigenous beauty, partially reversing decades spent chasing Western fashion.

Check out the full story from RocketNews24 to find out what Japanese makeup style was like from the 1980s to now.

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