Japan's beauty trends go way back to female geisha entertainers and male kabuki actors in the 16th century with their elaborate make up and intricate hairstyles - fashion trends adopted and adapted by ordinary Japanese men and women of the time.
Today's trendsetters in Japan are pop stars and actors rather than geisha, and Japanese people's pursuit of 21st century beauty is the driving force behind a huge cosmetics and skin care industry for both sexes. Japanese cosmetics tend to use more natural, unprocessed ingredients than their counterparts in the West and are thus often ideal for people with allergies and sensitive skin.
There are many Japanese beauty trends and techniques that can be used by people anywhere in the world, and integrated into your look.
Aburatorigami (literally "oil removing paper") is blotting paper for facial oil that does go back to the geisha and kabuki actors of Kyoto in Japan's historical Edo Period (16th to 19th centuries). This paper made from abaca fiber (or "manila hemp") kept their makeup fresh during performances by absorbing excess perspiration and oiliness that might otherwise cause makeup to go patchy. Consider adding them to your beauty routine.
Many Japanese women (and men) use an aburatorigami full face mask after bathing in the evening. Different brands offer different functions such as cooling, firming or hydrating.
Focus on The Eyes
Japan excels in producing objects of finesse and delicacy. Eyelashes and lash extensions from Japan are of exquisite quality, and come in a huge range of styles. There is an art in attaching them, too, so it may be best to get this process done at your local beauty salon. It costs around US$100 and takes about two hours. Think no more mascara and troublesome mascara removing at night.
There is little variation in natural eye color in Japan - brown is the norm, so Japanese people have come up with a rainbow spectrum of colorful contact lenses, and a variety of styles: from Hello Kitty to cats' eye to contacts designed to make your eyes look bigger and more adorable.
Hair, Hair, Hair
Hair is another aspect of appearance that the Japanese have responded to with flair and imagination. Hair styles can be tweaked in ever so many ways using hair extensions. The geisha mentioned above were hair prima donnas, and the tradition flourishes today with extensions that can have you looking like anyone from Adele to Marie Antoinette or better still, a brand new, self-styled you!
There's more to fashion in Japanese culture than just facial looks. Unblemished hands and beautiful nails are just as integral. Japan leads the world in wonderful nail art. If you don't have the time to visit a top Tokyo salon to have your nails manicured and enhanced with nail extensions, you can buy the extensions online from Japan and have them fitted at your local nail salon at home.
These ideas are just some of what Japan can offer to help you achieve a more convenient, healthier and, perhaps, a never tried before look. Draw on the Japanese tradition of beauty, and use its wide range of modern possibilities to your advantage - beautifully.
Interested in buying some beauty products to update your look? Shop for hair products.
Philip Beech is an editor of JapanVisitor.com and has extensive knowledge of Japanese culture, fashion, beauty, cuisine, and more.