- 3 min read

Japanese women and makeup

How makeup is an ingrained part of the culture

Japan is the third biggest cosmetic market in the world after the US and China. It’s not surprising considering the history; makeup has been part of Japanese culture for ages.

As early as the 7th century, when Japanese associated beauty with white skin, women started painting their face with a white powder, as beauty regimen. As cosmetic traditions evolved, when women married, they would paint their teeth black. Later, after giving birth, they would shave their eyebrows, as virtue and beauty, focused on minimizing facial expressions. These customs and traditions that developed long ago are still reflected today in the relationship between Japanese women and their makeup.

According to a Marsh Research survey conducted in 2014, 70% of women put on makeup more than four times a week. In addition, according to a GMO research survey conducted in 2015, 53% of women use makeup as an expression of proper etiquette, and 60% of women apply natural or simple makeup. This illustrates that even today, Japanese women’s focus on makeup is not to be noticed, but rather to be appreciated and present themselves as looking proper in public by applying subtle makeup (I want to stress that gyaru (girls') makeup is not the major makeup in Japan!) 

In contrast with other countries, there are many places in Japanese cities for women to retouch their makeup throughout the day. Department stores and big hotels have a special area in the washroom with large mirrors and stands that allows women to comfortably apply and retouch their makeup to perfection. Even in office buildings, the restrooms are spacious and we often see working women retouching the makeup at lunch break and before leaving in the evening.  

Some restaurants provide complimentary cotton pads and blotting papers in the washrooms. Love hotels have the most comprehensive cosmetic kit that includes cleansing oil, skincare sets, and cottons. Along with one’s personal set of makeup products that every single Japanese woman carries in her bag all day, we can be sure to have the opportunity to freshen up and look impeccable after an unexpected turn of events during the day! 

Many people are often surprised seeing that Japanese women keep their makeup intact until late at night. Some others are astonished by the number of places where you can buy makeup products in Japan. Hopefully you now understand that wearing perfect makeup and looking proper is an ingrained part of the lifestyle in Japan.

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Kim 3 years ago
I had no idea that the cosmetics market in Japan was that large! Interesting!
Novia Mardasari 3 years ago
Yes 😅 Make up from Japan also good quality with variation price.

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