japanese makeup


Blooming Pink Cheeks!

Was inspired by the makeup look I saw on quite a lot of fashionable young women when I was in Tokyo recently. 

Instead of eyes or lips, they favored a rather exaggerated flushed cheek as the focal point of their makeup. But it wasn’t just a case of slapping on a load of blusher. There’s a specific look where they mimic a glowy, radiant effect and the blush color is intense but not heavy or dark looking. If you’re extremely fair-skinned, you just need to apply a very neon-colored blush over face powder.

Extra Tip: Bring your blush just a tiny bit in closer towards your nose than usual. This helps exaggerate that cute wind-blown, doll-like effect, instead of the typical blush along the cheekbones.

If you’re not porcelain (and most of us aren’t), you can imitate that effect easily by applying a matte or semi-matte pale highlighter or blush as a color base for a brighter, more intense blush to “float” and look more color-true on top of it. If you own those multi-color blushes with a paler shade, that’s perfect for this use.

Products used: 

Foundation: Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Makeup 04

Concealer: MAC Studiofinish Concealer NW20

Setting powder: ClearLast powder in Medicated Ochre

Shadows: Benefit Groovy Kinda Love kit 

Liquid Liner: Heroine Make Impact Liquid Liner

False lashes: Diamond Lash flared half-strips (cut full strip lashes if you can’t find half strips)

Mascara: Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Blush (pale): Etude House Face Color Corset #2 Lavender Fit

Blush (intense): Mitsuyoshi Tonoko Powder in 2P - try a hot pink like MAC Peony Petal (pictured above) or NYX Pinky

Lipliner: Givenchy Lip Pencil #3

Lipstain: Benefit Benetint (apply a little clear balm over for some extra sheen if you want)


KATE TOKYO Spotlighting Shadows: Swatches and a Pictorial on How To Use Them!

KATE has been the best-selling drugstore makeup brand in Japan for 11 years running, and I’ve always loved their edgy style and wearable colors. (It’s not “Pastel-Land”.)

They’ve updated their name this year to KATE TOKYO to identify more strongly with their roots (a la Rimmel London, Maybelline New York, L'oreal Paris). 

That aside, they’ve also launched the Spotlight Eyeshadow series, of which 5 palettes are available in Singapore. I admit I initially thought “oh no, more unflattering pale glitter-mania” i.e. not the kinda colors that I’d wear to work or even on most days.

My experience with these?

When I swatched them and put them on, I was actually pretty impressed. The bright shades aren’t the unflattering pale pearl shades common to a lot of Japanese makeup palettes. They are made with a high-translucency pearl to give your lids a veil of sheen. And the medium and dark shades are rich and pigmented enough to define the eyes.

The images above are self-explanatory; swatches of all 5 palettes (S$27 each) and how you can apply them. To put it to the test in the pictorial, I used nothing but my fingers and the fine sponge-tip applicator for lining.

The broad sponge-tip is kinda crap. Just use your fingers and be done with. A lot of Japanese drugstore eyeshadow textures are made with a pigment-and-lipid blend so they have a creamy feel and often work better applied with fingers than with brushes. Brilliant when you’re in a rush.

I still recommend applying primer first if you want these to last all day without fading.

Palette used in pictorial: BR-2

Mascara used: Benefit They’re Real

False Lashes: Diamond Lash “Little Devil” half strips

My Favorite Palette here?

OR-1, the soft grapefruit-coral pink and bronze palette. 


We are SUPER EXCITED to announce our new “My Kawaii Style” Japanese makeup tutorials with kawaii Harajuku icon Haruka Kurebayashi! In the first video, Kurebayashi shares how she does “Eye Makeup Like Sweets”. New videos coming every week. Please subscribe to the Tokyo Fashion YouTube Channel!