You might have heard of Gyaru, a subculture that began in Japan. It normally involves lots of over-the-top dressed-up clothing, and a big part of it is the hair and makeup. The eyes are made to look bigger with makeup, circle lenses and false eyelashes.
There are different kinds of Gyaru subcategories such as Gyaru-kei, Bibinba, Western Gyaru and many more, but the one that intrigued me the most was the Ganguro style of makeup.
Ganguro makeup typically features fake tanned skin, makeup to enlarge the eyes, pale lips, and voluminous, teased hair. It’s a rebellion against the "normal" beauty look of pale skin and natural-looking makeup.
I decided to try recreating the makeup on myself just for fun—and I was also curious how it would look on me.
First, I applied a foundation that's a few shades too dark for me—Ganguro girls often have fake tan and apply a foundation that’s darker than the shade of their skin. I used a powder foundation, as it made it look a bit cake-y. I also put concealer over my lips to make them pale.
Then, I put a neutral brown eyeshadow all over my eyelids, and a dark brown shadow a little bit above my crease to help make my eyes appear larger. I used a sponge eyeshadow applicator to apply my eyeshadow; there’s also minimal blending, and it’s alright if the edges look a little harsh.
After that, I put a shimery lilac eyeshadow all over my lids. (Glitter is commonly used in Gyaru makeup looks.)
In order to make the eyes appear big and round, white eyeliner is placed on the waterline and then extended out a few millimetres, ending on the outer edge of my eyes. Then, I used the same dark brown eyeshadow at the edge of the white eyeliner to create a new lash line.
Using liquid eyeliner, I did a small wing on my top lash line, making sure to extend it a little bit further out than usual to make my eyes seem longer, and therefore larger. Then, I created a thin line at the bottom of my new lash line and also drew on some lower lashes. Sometimes false eyelashes, specially designed for the lower lash line are used for this, which looks more natural, but I couldn’t find any! After doing all that, I glued on some fluttery fake eyelashes to my top lash line.
To complete my lips, I created an ombré look by putting a red lip gloss on the centre of my lips. Glittery pink colours are popular for Gyaru style makeup.
I teased my hair to create the popular voluminous hairstyle and then also put in some green circle lenses. I barely recognised myself when I looked in the mirror!
I sent my mum a photo and her response was, “The eyes are OK but really don’t like the lips.” I posted a few pictures on Snapchat and my friend texted me saying, “What the heck was going on in your snaps?! It was so scary.” No face-tracking filter required.
I wiped off half of my makeup, and here’s what it looked like. Pretty crazy difference, huh?
I admire the time and effort that goes in Ganguro style makeup, but after trying it for myself, I have to say that I don’t think it’s for me! How about you?