Japanese women do embrace the use of makeup and purchase cosmetics for the betterment of their appearance and skin. It is a widely held beauty practice throughout Japan. The artful covering of blemishes and imperfections is a highly regraded skill among the fairer sex. Lightening the skin colour has long been associated with concepts of beauty in oriental cultures. Historically, Japanese women painted their faces with a white powder called Oshiro. The whiter the face the more beautiful, especially among the aristocracy. This beauty trend spread to the common people around the seventeenth century in Japan.
Beauty Trends in Japan
Makeup Nippon style sees the applying of makeup as a private, almost intimate, act for the Japanese woman. Traditionally noble Japanese women used to blacken their teeth, right up to the late nineteenth century. It is fascinating to ruminate upon that fact in light of our recent obsession with very white teeth, here in the west. One could write a thesis on the concepts of black and white and how they have impacted upon almost every aspect of human society over the eons. Black teeth in Japan were associated with a woman’s married status, somewhat like the European practice of covering or cutting the hair. Shaving their eyebrows was another married woman’s practice in Japan.
Western Makeup Influences
Western trends began to catch on in large Japanese cities in the twentieth century, with women applying makeup when they went out in public to events like to the theatre. Red, white and black were the only colours used in the cosmetic palette in Japan at this time. The striking and, sometimes, severe nature of the culture is reflected in these colour choices. Since those heady times, Japanese cosmetics have sought the natural skin tone look, more prevalent across the globe, in recent decades.
Cruelty Free Cosmetics
Things like cruelty free cosmetics are making some headway in the Japanese market, in many ways due to the pressure from European consumers. Companies like Shiseido and Kao have penetrated the overseas market for cosmetics and ethical standards are being demanded of these companies by their western customers. Peruse this site to find a range of cruelty free beauty products available online. Many Japanese brands are now complying with no-animal-testing requirements in a bid to retain their market share and to win new customers to their brands. Click here for a list of Japanese cosmetics, which are cruelty free.