Monday, 22 December 2014

Make-up Shields

One of the things I've always loved about gyaru is how different it can make you look. Sure, it's fake with the heavy make-up and false hair and all of the other additions but it's different. It almost feels like I'm dressing up in some sort of elaborate costume or as my 'true' self that only the addition of a ton of blusher and false eyelashes can bring out. I know that I'm not the only one.

But I also recently realised that I use gyaru as a shield to protect my true self.

It all stems back to a lack of self-confidence and some self-loathing that sits deep rooted within my very core but am I really the only person who hides behind a layer of foundation? Not really. And it's okay to feel like that (to be honest I'd die if any of my real life friends saw me without make-up and I make a ton of apologies whenever I show up without a scrap of it on!). I think that there's a fraction of us girls who do follow the gyaru style to enable us to hide our ourselves from those around her; it's hard to believe I'm the only one who wears it as warpaint!

Looking around some old books I picked up over the years I found Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno which does cover some of the legacy of Buriteri, one of the most famous gyaru of all time, and this particularly struck a chord with me:

'Buriteri never showed her face without make-up. ...... Buriteri would shout back, "I am too shy to show you my real face!" She said doing herself up like that was a tool to hide her true personality. She was actually really shy and inhibited.'

If Buriteri, one of the most famous gyaru pioneers who helped evolve gyaru into what it would eventually become today, was using the gyaru persona and make-up to hide her true self then how many other people are doing it? How many other gyaru are taking off their make-up at the end of a day and falling into bed and burying underneath the duvets? How many other people are using their make-up as a shield?

Sure, the gyaru make-up in recent times cannot even begin to be compared to the highs of ganguro and gonguro and manba but there's still a lot to it. Even though it's toned down and become less about the bleach blonde hair and the fake tans there's still girls hiding behind their make-up.

And why? Why is that?

Is it the pressures of society? Is it the that we feel as though our own beings have no self-worth but only physical worth? Do we not feel as though our make-upless selves are adequate enough?

I wonder how many girls feel the same under their false eyelashes and cheers of, "Agepoyo~! ✩" I know I'm not on my own when I say my false eyelashes are my sword and my circle lenses are my shield.

Stay sweet! ♥

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Monday, 15 December 2014

Cosplaying Junko Enoshima

Ever since the increasingly popular Dangan Ronpa made it's way into international attention it's become somewhat cool to cosplay the infamous Junko Enoshima, a super gyaru model, especially amongst those who consider themselves gyaru. I've cosplayed her, someone you know has probably cosplayed her and your pet cat has also probably cosplayed her. At every convention it's not unusual to see at least a handful of this super endearing character.

But the thing that grinds my gears about people who cosplay her the most is that people who mess up on her make-up. For someone who doesn't know that she's supposed to be gyaru that's okay but for those people who do and don't make an attempt on the make-up? Oh dear.

I'm going to cover the most common make-up mistakes I see for Junko.

1. Circle Lenses

These aren't optional unless there's some sort of medical reason why you're unable to wear these. Junko has blue eyes - implied to be natural - but as Junko is gyaru we're wanting to go for the full look. Try and obtain a pair which have a dark limbal ring for that dramatic effect such as G & G Max Pure Blue or Super Pinky Blue. The main purpose of this is to prep your eyes for the dramatic gyaru make-up Junko would wear and to give your eyes her colour.

2. Eyelashes

In order to stand out in photos, I recommend rokku or agejo styled make-up as this shows up on camera better and considering Junko's personality I feel like she'd opt for one of these styles. The main focus is going to be your eyelashes. The best brands to go with for this are Japanese lashes that are intended for gyaru such as Diamond Lash or Jewerich, especially in their bolder and more dramatic styles. Dolly Wink doesn't work for Junko as the lashes aren't dramatic enough for her.

For her upper lashes you're looking at one of the bolder styles as opposed to a half lash. It's best to get the 'spiky' kind of lashes as opposed to fanned out lashes as these look more dramatic and more 'old school gyaru' which is what we're going for with Junko. Diamond Wink has plenty of lashes in their Series 1 and Series 2 collections which are suited for this!

For her lower lashes you're looking at something that you're going to be able to use to extend your lashline. Personally, I think it's a good idea to make a good investment in these as I think the eBay lashes are a bit harder to make look nice. I once again recommend Diamond Lash as I've never had a problem with their lower lashes.

3. Cheeks

Pink blush. Lots of it. Do it.

Gyaru are famed for their pink cheeks so it's important to apply this to Junko. It's even more important if you want the blush to show up on camera. It's an infamous cosplay secret to do your make-up to drag queen levels so it shows up on camera and it shows. It can look a little ridiculous in real life but on photos I guarantee it'll show up.

4. Lips

"Oh, she's a fashion model who wears lots of make-up. I'll give her a red lip!"

If that fits your line of thinking stop right there. As we've put a lot of emphasis on her eyes with the circle lenses, false lashes, eyeliner and all of the other important make-up we don't want to be having red lipstick for Junko. The best thing to do in this case is to use a neutral lipstick or a light pink shade to let Junko's eyes do the talking.

After all, she is crazy. Better let it show.

5. Nails

Most girls do her nails false and red which is completely correct, but my favourite thing in the whole wide world is when girls gyaru-fy Junko's nails. We're talking about accents, beads, nailart, sparkles, claw shaped nails... whatever suits. It's not necessary and the standard red nails will work, but adding that extra detail just goes the extra mile for Junko's personality.

That's it. Those are the 5 things about Junko Enoshima that bother me the most when people cosplay her. Of course, there's the outfit but I always tend to harshly judge people by their make-up when I see cosplays of her. Even though I've cosplayed her three times myself I'm still unhappy about my own rendition of the character.

It never ends.

Stay sweet! ♥


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Monday, 8 December 2014

Gyaru vs Ulzzang

The biggest mistake I see amongst J-Fashion enthusiasts is the amount of people who get these two terms mixed up. Whether or not it's through not being educated in the way the two fashions are or through ignorance, it's actually frustrating. There are so many differences between the two that it shouldn't be difficult. I believe the main reason that the two styles get completely confused it because they're both asian make-up styles, and with gyaru toning down compared to old school it's easier than ever to get mixed up between the two.

But the two styles aren't interchangable.

Gyaru is not ulzzang.

Ulzzang is not gyaru.

With the natural beauty that ulzzang covets, most gyaru would be irritated to be mislabelled as following ulzzang trends. Gyaru is about rebelling, standing out and it's a style that is completely fake. Whilst ulzzang uses make-up it's much lighter than that of gyaru.

The two styles that have the most in common and are most likely to be be mixed up and confused is an old favourite of mine, himekaji.

For gyaru I'll be using Yui Kanno as an example.
For ulzzang I'll be using Shin Ae Sol as an example.

Throughout the years gyaru has toned down from it's hair and make-up and is much more relaxed compared to what was all over gyaru magazines back in 2008. Himekaji make-up is definitely much more relaxed compared to what would make it in the past.

Instead of big, bold eyelashes you have more natural looking brown eyelashes and there's a trend towards more natural looking lower lashes. Brown circle lenses are more trendy than blues, greens, and other colours that would be unnatural to asian colours which is a trend that's been in ulzzang for quite some time. Instead of using bold, black liner it's more common to use muted browns and eyeliner on the lower lash line? A thing of the past. It's much more popular to use eyeshadow to line the lower lashline. Blusher is still prominent but there's a trend to place it towards the eye area as opposed to the cheeks.

As for lips? Trusty pinks and neutral colours for lipsticks are still in. Some girls do rock a bright lip for a pop of colour although it's not usually the staple for himekaji girls.

Ulzzangs, on the other hand, tend to go for a even more natural look than this (some exceptions though due to the photoshoot like nature of ulzzangs but standard trend is much more natural looking).

Instead of the carefully groomed and arched brows of gyaru, ulzzang trends point to a straight brow. As for false lashes, some ulzzang to wear the more natural kinds but they absolutely aren't a staple of ulzzang make-up. You could still wear your make-up as an ulzzang girl and still be considered to following the style (whereas a gyaru without her false lashes will absolutely not be called gyaru). Natural brown or black circle lenses are the normal and although a more natural look is favoured, some ulzzang do rock different eyeliner styles; just last year the infamous gyaru 'puppy eyeliner' was trending. Blusher can be used but it's not important and it's usually light to the touch - if anything stains are much more popular. Lip-wise, ulzzang tend to go for a natural lip but the now famous gradient lip is a popular ulzzang trend.

Although the two styles do share similarities there are differences.

♥ Trending natural looking circle lenses in browns
♥ Natural lips
♥ More natural looking eyeliner are trending for both styles presently
♥ Nude tones are trending for both styles

♥ Stronger blusher is trending in gyaru compared to ulzzang
♥ Gradient lips are completely ulzzang; gyaru will tend to not favour this trend
♥ An ulzzang can be an ulzzang without false lashes; a gyaru cannot be a gyaru without her false top lashes at minimum and there's a lot of debate whether someone without lower lashes can or cannot be considered gyaru

Himekaji gyaru and ulzzang are very similar when it comes to their hairstyles.

For ulzzang, natural hair colours such as black and browns are favored. It's rare that a ulzzang will choose to dye her hair any lighter than a medium brown and any girls with hair lighter than this tend to be wearing wigs of some sort. Hair is usually kept natural or waved; styling wise the hair is kept in cute, easy to do styles. It's rare that elaborate hairdos or hair pieces will be used.

For himekaji, presently medium brown to light brown hair is trending. Although in the past gyaru were known for having blonde locks but times have changed. Their hair is very rarely straight and will always be curled or waved. It's popular to keep hair in updos such as cute ponytails, pigtails or dual-buns at the moment but it's not to say that the hair won't be worn down. Hairpieces may sometimes be used to add extra body to the hair. Gyaru will tend to use more hair accessories.

♥ Natural colours are trending
♥ Waved hair

♥ Gyaru has lighter hair colours trending than ulzzang
♥ Gyaru hair is always curled or waved; it's rare to see them with straight hair, especially in himekaji
♥ Ulzzang may choose to use a full wig whereas gyaru will usually go for a half-wig

All gyaru will follow what is currently on trend, whether they're himekaji, agejo, rokku or whatever. Most gyaru will have a favourite few brands that they will choose to follow; himekaji would be Liz Lisa, Ank Rouge, Swankiss, Larme... there's a lot. Himekaji is 'princess-casual' so they follow sweet clothing designs that a princess may choose to wear on her day off. Each style has their own rules so the gyaru who follow that style will stick to those rules.

On the other hand, ulzzang tend to wear comfy outfits and follow many different brands. One day a ulzzang could be rocking a big, comfy jumper and the next oozing glamour with a pretty dress. It's not important that your outfit is a brand name, so long as it looks good. Ulzzang will always follow Korean fashion trends.

♥ Cute clothing rules all
♥ Outfits tend to be well coordinated

♥ Gyaru will follow substyles and trends whereas ulzzang will not. Ulzzang girls may dabble in many different styles.
♥ Gyaru love their brands whereas ulzzang will go for what looks good
♥ Ulzzang cherish comfort over all else

In conclusion although there are similarities between ulzzang and gyaru they aren't the same. Both styles borrow from each other and adapt as new trends come out but they absolutely are not one and the same. Your gyaru brands such as Liz Lisa aren't ulzzang although some ulzzang may wear Liz Lisa. Just because a girl who follows ulzzang wears false lashes she isn't automatically classified as gyaru.

Both styles are different and cater for different demographics. If a girl is gyaru she'll look gyaru compared to ulzzang; although there are similarities visually it's easy to tell the difference.

Any questions?

Stay sweet ♥

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