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Japanese youth trends can change in a flash. There’s a never ending boom and bust cycle for clothes, music, and even slang that’s claimed pop idol group Da Pump, platform boots, and the phrase cho beri guddo. By the way, if you can clearly remember any of those, please accept our apologies for forgetting to mail your 30th birthday card to you.

For a while, it looked like the Japanese “gal” makeup trend, with its over-the-top cosmetics and crazy coiffure, would be joining those relics of yesteryear. Apparently enough time has passed, though, that young female fashionistas are warming up to the idea of giving the distinctive look another chance and they shared their beauty tips during a gal makeover for our reporter, Kon.

The popularity of gal fashion’s first iteration peaked around the turn of the millennium. At the time, Kon was a high school student living in a less than hip part of Chiba Prefecture, well away from the big city emanation centers for the trend.

Luckily for Kon, though, gal makeup is seeing a bit of a revival, with not only domestic support but interest coming from enthusiasts overseas as well. So when she heard that the recently formed gal modeling unit Black Diamond was offering makeovers in the then and now gal mecca of Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood, our reporter wasn’t about to let this unexpected second chance to dive wholeheartedly into the subculture slip through her fingers.

▼ Kon, in regular, non-gal mode

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Joining Kon on her brief foray into gal-hood were a number of other makeover participants, including a visitor from America and a 16-year-old Japanese girl whose parents probably met just about the time the first gal craze was dying down.

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Beauty concepts in Japan over the last decade have increasingly moved away from excessive tanning, but the classic gal look requires a deep, bronze color. In the past, most gals kept this look up year-round by making frequent visits to the tanning salon.

The gal 2.0 crowd has decided to mix these two ideals by avoiding tanning the body but adding color to the face by using foundation. And while the gal look may have originated in Japan, Kon was told the best way to achieve this was by using imported cosmetic foundation designed for people with a darker natural skin tone than the average Japanese woman.

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Next up, the makeup artist applied a thick, lacquer-like layer of eyeliner and mascara.

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Makeup alone isn’t enough to make the eye pop, though, Kon was told. To complete the visual effect, she needed to use something called eye tape, think strips of adhesive cellophane. The eye tape is placed on top of the eyelids, creating the epicanthic or double-folded eyelid that is so often sought after by the fashion-conscious in Asia, and nearly just as often goes unnoticed in the West.

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“They put the eye tape on, and I could immediately feel it tugging mercilessly in my eyeballs,” recalls Kon, who was quickly assured by the more experienced gals in the room that she’d get used to it with time.

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Truly hardcore gals will dye their hair and purchase a variety of extensions to use as their look of the day demands, but neither was in the cards for Kon this day. Instead, she was given a long, straight blond wig to don.

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With all the basics covered, Kon was ready to strut her stuff around downtown Tokyo.

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▼ Here we see her pulling off the timeless, “OH-MY-GOD!!! I can’t believe my boyfriend has kept me waiting here for, like, 15 whole minutes!” pose.

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Now that she had the fundamentals down, Kon’s mentors let her in on an advanced technique. The most highly-regarded gal hairstyles have enough hair-spray supported volume that a bird could build a nest in it, and in keeping with that mixture of nature and cuteness, the truly fashionable will accentuate and draw attention to their vibrant ‘dos by placing flowers or stuffed animals in them.

▼ Should you run out of space in your hair, apparently attaching stuff to your fingernails is an acceptable alternative.

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Unfortunately Kon had brought neither a rose nor a teddy bear with her. What she did have was a pair of plastic handcuffs and a toy gun. We’re not really sure why she carries those around with her, but thanks to the anything goes nature of gal fashion, no one cried foul when she threaded her wig through one of the restraints.

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Eventually, it was time for Kon to head home, and she changed back into the sedately dressed reporter she had been before her makeover. She’ll always have the memories of her day as a gal though, plus the knowledge of how to repeat the transformation when the mood strikes her.

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Related: Black Diamond
Photos: RocketNews24
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