Do you love Japanese street fashion? It’s kind of hard not to–there’s such an amazing mix of interesting subcultures that Harajuku-inspired fashion is everywhere from the runwalk to mainstream clothing stores. It isn’t just for cosplayers anymore, and we don’t just mean the clothing. Everyday versions of street fashion makeup looks are showing up all over the place, too, and a particularly popular look is the porcelain doll.
Porcelain doll makeup techniques have been used in all kinds of Japanese street fashion subcultures from some time now; from gyaru to lolita to dolly-kei, and people love its flawless, super-cute look. Turns out, it isn’t a difficult style to replicate, especially if you already have the basics of makeup application down pat. In fact, you can do in 8 easy steps!
Before You Get Started
Before you even begin to apply porcelain doll makeup, let’s take a look at the items that you will need to perfect this poreless, super-sweet look. First, the brushes:
- A big, full, rounded brush called a buffer brush-one for foundation, one for finishing powder
- An eyeliner or angled detailed brush
- A small round-tip brush, commonly known as an eye shadow brush
- A concealer brush, with a pointed tip
- Tweezers, if you’re applying false lashes
- A flat lip brush
Next, here’s the makeup you will need:
- Foundation-cream or liquid foundation will be your best bet, because it allows you to achieve that poreless, porcelain look. It’s important to use a shade that matches your skin tone or is just a few shades lighter. This might take some trial and error, so learning a little about identifying skin tone and choosing the makeup that works best for it is a great idea in this case.
- Concealer, significantly lighter than your skin tone.
- Eye makeup-darker colors to line your eyes, and accentuate your brows, and then metallic shades to perfect the porcelain doll makeup technique.
- Matte (not shiny) lipstick or stain in a coral, cherry red, or deep, warm red tone.
- Finishing powder (optional)
- False lashes (optional)
Step One: Moisturize
Don’t cheat and skip the moisturizing step. You want to choose a moisturizer that is just right for your skin type; if you have oily skin, choose something that won’t leave you feeling greasy, if you have dry skin, choose something that will keep you from flaking and won’t irritate your skin.
Step Two: Base Color/Foundation
Remember that when you are attempting to perfect the porcelain doll makeup look, you want the base tone to be even, poreless, and uniform. We think freckles are adorable, but now’s the time to use your concealer brush to brighten red or dark spots, even out the under eye area, and eliminate freckling. After that, put the liquid or cream foundation on one of your buffer brushes and blend it all together to give yourself the basic look. Make sure you don’t forget to blend around your hairline and jawline!
Step Three: Sculpting the Face
Using the bronzer, carefully sculpt your face. Remember that when you are going for the porcelain doll look, you want to straddle the line between dainty features and full cheeks. If you aren’t quite familiar with the best way to sculpt your face shape, a course that demonstrates best makeup application practices will show you the way. Blend.
Step Four: Applying Blusher
Smile. Feel the rounded, fleshy area right under your eyes? These are called the “apples” of your cheek, and you want to apply blusher to them to make sure you have that rosy, youthful look. Make sure that you blend the blusher around the edges, though, or you could end up with big red circles, which is a no-no when applting porcelain doll makeup.
Step Five: The Eyes
The eyes are the most vital part of this look, and they take a little doing. Some people who love the porcelain doll look like to add contacts that will make the pupil appear more dilated and ultimately widen the iris. If you decide to do this, make sure you place the contacts before you do the lid makeup.
You want to line the lash line and crease with your darker color using the angled brush. Dark doesn’t mean black, of course! Blondes and redheads will want to use chocolate to chestnut tones to avoid overwhelming their eyes. Make sure you brush a little shadow powder into your brows, if they need some extra definition.
Add some metallic tones to brighten the widest part of your lid and the arc just below each eyebrow. Blend it all using the rounded eye shadow brush. What you’re essentially going for is a smoky eye, which is easy to learn if you have the right instruction.
Line your bottom lid with a color that matches your skin tone and voila, your eyes are (almost) done!
Step Six: The Lashes
There are two ways to do lashes when you are applying porcelain doll makeup. More westernized styles suggest simply brushing mascara on to the lashes before curling them, while full-on Harajuku style porcelain doll makeup is incomplete without false lashes. If you are applying false lashes, use just a pinprick of eyelash glue (usually included) to set the upper lashes, because you can always reapply lashes if they fall off, but too much glue can cause your lids to get gummy or take a long time to completely dry.
On the lower lashes, apply a single set of three or four lashes in the outer corner of your lower eye. This will help widen the eye.
Step Seven: The Lips
The hallmark of porcelain doll makeup application is definitely the pronounced cupid’s bow, or heart-shaped upper lip and full lower lip. Rub your lip brush straight on to the lipstick and then outline the shape of a cupid’s bow on your lips, dabbing to fill the lips in. Blot, but make sure that you aren’t smearing the lined effect of your lips.
Step Eight: Blend For Good Measure
Blend, blend, blend. It can’t be said enough. You don’t want splotchy makeup or a distinct line along your lower jaw. You want a seamless, poreless look. Once everything looks well-blended and doll-like, brush some finishing powder over your entire face with the dry buffer brush. Adorable!
By now, we’re sure that you look amazing! What will you do next? A high-fashion makeup course will help you explore other Harajuku and runway looks, while an expert-led class in special event makeup application will have you looking your best in no time for your big day.