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10 Stunning Japanese Beauty Trends To Get You Ready For The Tokyo Olympics

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After a long delay, the 2020 Olympic Games are finally here. While the Olympics is the perfect time to cheer on your home country, it’s also an opportunity to learn about the host city. This year, it’s all about Tokyo, Japan. Lucky for us, it’s a culture with a deep-rooted beauty history and some of the most beautiful beauty trends. We’re talking about mega drugstores with entire floors dedicated to beauty products, Harajuku girls wearing fun, playful makeup and hair, nail salons that specialize in intricate nail art, and innovative skincare launches you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

But thanks to the P-word, many tourists won’t be able to visit Tokyo and see these trends for themselves. So to get you ready for the Tokyo Olympics, we’ve rounded up the top J-beauty trends. Keep scrolling for our favorite Japanese beauty trends we’ll be sporting this summer (and for months to come).

1. Your Lips But Better

After a year of wearing a mask, many people in Japan now prefer to wear a lip color that’s more similar to their natural lip instead of bright reds or fuchsias. Current favorites include reddish beige or reddish brown tones that add just enough color while still keeping the look natural (try LOVE+CRAFT+BEAUTY Lipstick in Fausta). When you take your mask off, it brightens up your face with a healthy tint and makes others think that your lip is just naturally tinted and beautiful.

2. Colorful Eyeliner

Japanese makeup is all about keeping things natural and minimal, and when it comes to using color, Japanese people don’t typically apply vivid eyeshadows all over the eyelid. They like to apply color in a more subtle way through colorful mascara or liner instead. The most popular eyeliner colors are pink, burgundy and blue. To get the look, try IL MAKIAGE Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Cosmo.

3. Make the Mask Part of Your Look

Even before the pandemic, Japanese people wore masks regularly. Now that we’re wearing them all the time, Japanese people have their own ways of selecting the right ones. They like choosing a color that brightens up their face (but still blends naturally with their skin), such as light pink or beige, and a shape that makes their face look smaller. Some brands in Japan make masks that are specifically meant for making your face look small, and they advertise as such. In Japan, wearing a mask is almost becoming a part of their makeup.

4. Wispy Bangs

Wispy bangs have been dominating the J-beauty world for a while, and they continue to be one of the trendiest hairstyles of the year. People call them “see-through bangs” in Japan. Wispy bangs (or see-through bangs) can complement any hairstyle or length, and they immediately make you look like a hipster. In Japan, they are commonly styled in a wet look using hair oil.

5. Zig-Zag Ponytails

The hottest hairstyle in Japan at the moment is “Ramen-man hair,” which is a twisted ponytail, usually wrapped around with ribbon or small hair ties. This unique ponytail is inspired by the character Ramen-man from the famous cartoon in Japan, Kinniku-man. It looks complicated but is actually very easy to do, and it can be applied to most of the hair length unless you have super short hair. It can be worn casually or formally, and even goes well with kimonos!

6. Hidden Hair Color

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This past year has brought changes to Japanese hair color trends, too. Hair color that looks natural on the outside but has a hidden bright color on the inside (the under layers) has become more popular in diverse age groups. Previously trendy with Japanese teens and students, hidden hair color is now worn on people who are working remotely. Japanese people in their late 20s and 30s are choosing to have more fun with their discreet hair color while still making it hidden when facing the webcam.

7. Blunt Bobs

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Bobs are one of the most popular hairstyles among Japanese people, but this year a more blunt version of the cut has been dominating Japanese hair trends. It looks more natural compared to the perfectly styled bob, and the best part is that it makes hairstyling very easy. All you need to do is add a bit of shine with shea butter, or apply a balm for a wet-look. Either way, this blunt hairstyle makes you look effortlessly sophisticated immediately (especially if your hair is naturally straight).

8. Water Drop Nails

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One of the hottest Japanese nail trends this summer is the water drop nail. Who ever thought of putting a water drop on your nail? It may sound crazy, but it is a design that actually fits every season, any clothes and makes you look extra unique.

9. Aurora Nails

If you’ve been seeing aurora nails everywhere on instagram, you’re not alone. This nail art trend is huge in Japan. More subtle versions of the look, like a white-blue based aurora) can be worn everyday and even to the office, but the most popular color combination in Japan is pink-lavender based aurora. This gives a more romantic finish to your nails and is perfect for a girl’s night out or date night.

10. Framed Nails

Framed nails have long been a nail trend in Japan, and the popularity of this look is not slowing down this summer. The look is very simple yet gives a great accent to your usual nail design. You can also use sequins, gems, dots, and more to make the frame. If you want a more delicate finish, try using small pearls.

Want to try out some new trends IRL? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your very own IPSY Glam Bag. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Risako Matsushita
Risako Matsushita
Risako is a makeup artist and beauty expert based in NYC and Tokyo. She has experience backstage at NY, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. Her work has also appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated June 28, 2021 12:00 AM