Monday, 12 January 2015

TUTORIAL: Kawaii Makeup (plus Japanese Beauty Product Mini-Reviews!)

If there's one thing I noticed while in Japan a couple of months ago, it's that Japanese girls have the cutest makeup! Their beauty style is VERY different to what we see here in Australia, so I wanted to try every trend I could in this makeup look inspired by the Kawaii girl!

Think stunningly glowing skin, dewy blush applied high up on the cheeks, glossy ombre stained lips and on point liner skills that made their eyes super big and bright.

Japan is known for their incredible beauty products, so I couldn't help but pick up more than my fair share while over there in December! So as I put together this makeup tutorial, I'll also be providing mini-reviews of each product that I use. 

I'll try and provide brand website links for the products I've used wherever I can, but as they were all purchased in Japan, if you can't find the exact one, a similar product applied in the same way will still give you the same effect! So let's get started!

Taken By Surprise Tutorial: Kawaii Makeup

1. After cleansing and moisturising, apply a primer to your skin using your fingertips. Choose a hydrating and dewy-finish formula to achieve that healthy glow to the skin, and focus your application especially on any areas that tend to get oily, such as the T-Zone. 

The finish of Baby Skin is super soft and smooth (maybe a little on the slick-side even!), but while it has a silicone-like texture, it doesn't feel heavy at all on the skin and it doesn't clog my pores like some gel primers can. Plus a little goes a long way!

2. In Japan, I noticed that base makeup that looked healthy and 'real', rather than too polished and 'done up' was the most popular. So to get that gorgeously dewy second-skin finish, use a light liquid foundation and blend with your fingertips. I find liquid foundations apply best when using my fingertips, as the warmth from my skin helps the product to blend smoother and more evenly. 

I've always been told to stay away from oily formula makeup products, but I'm starting to rethink this! This Oil Serum Foundation was super thin and liquidy, but the coverage was very impressive and left my skin looking like I didn't have any makeup on at all! It did take a little work to blend, but the end result was definitely worth it.

3. To set the foundation, use a pressed powder and a makeup sponge and 'press' the powder onto your skin, concentrating on the centre of your face. One of the beauty techniques that I learned from my Japanese friends is to 'press' your products into your skin, from moisturisers to makeup. This technique helps your skin absorb your skincare products better and your makeup sit nicely without streaking. It makes so much sense and my powder looks flawless after doing this!

This is more of a foundation powder than a lightweight setting powder, but the finish it gave my skin was incredible! Using the 'pressing' technique, I could easily build up the coverage (Note: I didn't use ANY concealer in this makeup look, the powder did all the work!) without it looking cakey or unnatural. Somehow, the finish was still dewy, even though it's a powder product, which I love.

4. For blush, I saw so many girls in Japan wear their colour high up on the cheeks, quite close to the under eye area! I assume this is because in Japanese anime shows and manga comics, the characters are often drawn with dramatically blushed cheeks because it looks really cute. And even on real people, it surprisingly also looked adorable! So with a red lip gloss (yes, lip gloss!), apply as if you were applying highlighter and blend with your fingers. Using a gloss gives your cheeks the prettiest healthy glow!

Have you ever used lipgloss or balm as a blush or highlight? It creates the loveliest dewy glow to your cheeks! As a blush, this Candy Wrap Lip is just pigmented enough to give the cheeks a soft flush. Plus when the light hits my cheeks, they had such a gorgeous sheen to them! This lip gloss has a very light formula, so my cheeks didn't feel sticky at all.

5. Using a creamy black pencil liner, apply to the outer third of your lower lash line and bring the pigment up into the outer corner. Softly blend the black into your bottom lashes using a finger tip.  Usually black liner on the lower areas of the eyes tends to make them look smaller, but applied only in this area helps to actually open the eyes up and make them appear bigger!

First off, I LOVE that this is a self-sharpening liner! When you put the lid on, it somehow keeps the pencil tip shaped and sharpened! It's very smooth to apply and blend, however in warm weather it has tended to smudge a little on me. 

6. Heavy winged liner was another trend that I noticed in Japan, so using a liquid eye liner, create a thick line across the top lash line and draw a triangular wing at the outer corner. This helps to make the eyes look bigger and define the lashes if you have sparser ones like me!

As far as liners go (having tried many liquid ones in my beauty blogging time!), this one was a bit disappointing. It applied nicely and smoothly, with no dragging along the eyelid at all, but for a shade called Rich Black, the colour just wasn't opaque enough for how I normally like my liners. But for more natural makeup days, this would be perfect.

7. An eye makeup look in Japan isn't complete with a shimmery white liner in the water line! Swipe your favourite one along the waterline, which creates the illusion of bigger eyes and adds some light to the eyes.

This liner is part of a limited edition Sailor Moon beauty collection to celebrate their 20th anniversary and I just COULD NOT resist! Unfortunately the liner itself is very glittery so it crumbles when I apply it instead of creating a smooth, even line. Even below it's not very obvious in my waterline. It is a gorgeous pearl white, but its formula makes it better suited to using on the top lash line. 

8. To make the eyes look even bigger, I saw so many girls with shimmery white eyeliner applied underneath the lower lash line. This is such a gorgeous look! It really opens up the eyes and is a different take on applying this kind of product to the inner corners of the eyes. You can use either a liquid or a pencil liner to get this look and I'll definitely be incorporating this into my normal makeup routine! 

This liner is stunning! It's shimmery but not in a glittery tacky way, and it applies really evenly. And unlike most shimmery liquid liners, it doesn't flake when it dries and is super long lasting. Imagine the Color Tattoo in Barely Branded, but in a liquid liner form! 

9. Almost every girl I met in Japan was wearing false lashes or had eyelash extensions (there's a reason Japan is known for their lashes!), but as I'm no where near close to mastering falsies application, I used an eyelash curler to get the same effect which is almost as good.

If you have short, straight lashes like me and your regular curlers aren't cutting it, GET THIS IN YOUR LIFE. The curl it creates is long lasting even without mascara and it doesn't irritate the eyes or pull your lashes. It's very gentle and the effect is amazing.

10. Now that your lashes are curled, use your favourite mascara to give them some oomph!

Used: Opera Mylash Mascara
I've heard that Japanese mascaras are the best in the world, so I really wanted to find a good one while I was there. This one provides a fairly natural look that lasts all day as it has a 'tubing' formula. It's not the best mascara I've ever used, but for everyday look this is more than good enough!

11. For lips, glossy and stained ombre lips were a huge trend in Japan. Choose a highly pigmented lip gloss in a colour like red or fuchsia and apply only to the centre of your lips. Then press your lips together to blend, and keep repeating until the centre of your lips is darker than the outer areas.

I normally stay away from lip glosses as they're usually sticky, but this is buttery smooth! It does take a few layers to build up the colour, but the end effect is a lovely stain with glossy sheen.

And that's it!

Would you try any of these Japanese makeup tips? Let me know in the comments below!



  1. I never tried using lip gloss as a blush! Might have to try that! Cute natural look.

  2. Ahh I can't wait to get over to Japan now! I hope I can find some awesome products! Im also trying to find a Kabuki brush maker, so I can get some amazing brushes too!!

  3. Your blog article is really extremely genuine, that is the reason I cherish your website, in which you have granted your appreciable information about beauty products which is from Japan.

    Japanese Beauty Products | Professional Makeup Kits


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