It’s no secret that ladies in Asia have become the masters of makeup in recent years, with shocking before-and-after transformations popping up online pretty much on the reg. In Japan in particular, makeup trends tend to follow a very different format to those in the west, with plenty of tips and tricks designed to highlight features we wouldn’t even consider, such as the angle of an eyelid crease, or the puffiness of eyebags. There’s even makeup that’s designed to make you look a bit ill.

This new makeup palette seems at first glance to be nothing more than a cute product themed around a fairytale character. In actuality, it’s the perfect tool for creating one of the past year’s most unusual trends, “undereye blush”.

Asian makeup trends for 2014 mainly involved making yourself look both a) paler and b) younger. Eyebrows that could rival ’80s-era Jennifer Connelly began to pop up everywhere as girls threw away their tweezers en masse. Thicker eyebrows allegedly make you look younger, as thin eyebrows are considered a sign of ageing. A harsh “arch” in the middle of the eyebrow also tends to make you look older, as children’s eyebrows are typically straighter than those achieved through carefully instrumented plucking, so the trend now is to try to achieve the straightest brow possible.

White skin has always been given a high amount of importance in Asia, and this shows no signs of stopping, as even “gyaru” girls who typically wear heavy makeup with a hint of tan have been scaling back their look dramatically.

▼ An example of the current popular “natural” makeup look, featuring full, non-arched brows, very pale, clear skin, and light pink lips.

There’s also elements to the new makeup style that involve making yourself look a bit under the weather. Known as “byojaku” in Japan, this trend for having a “sickly face” has proved surprisingly popular. In Korea particularly, everyone’s crazy about aegyo sal, eyebags. If you don’t have a natural pouch under your eyes, it’s now customary to create one with a bit of crafty shading. Eyebags make you look a little bit tired, as if you’ve been having trouble sleeping.

Perhaps the cutest (in this writer’s opinion) new “sickly” makeup feature, though, is what’s known as “undereye blush”. Rather than sweeping blusher diagonally along the cheekbone from mouth to ear as your mom taught you back in the day, it’s now all about keeping your blusher firmly on the apples of your cheeks, or, as this new trend dictates, directly underneath your eyes. This “undereye blush” gives the impression that its wearer is slightly fey, sickly, and in need of looking after. It goes perfectly with the “Mori girl” style that has been around for a couple of years now, which involves dressing like a girl who actually lives in the forest (lots of lace, soft leather, sturdy boots, floaty tops, pretty tights, etc).

It seems, therefore, that Little Red Riding Hood (known in Japanese as Akazukin, red hood) is the perfect image character for this Mori girl-inspired makeup. Let’s take another look at the concept image and you’ll see what we mean – the model is demonstrating perfectly applied undereye “blush”, giving her the appearance of a windswept forest imp, even without the animal ears.

▲ The tagline reads: “Tonight, I’m going to be the wolf.”

The makeup palette was created by popular online illustrator TCB, who imagined a range of makeup inspired by characters from fairy tales. Here’s a tweet from their Twitter page describing their original concept, which instead of eyeshadow featured a heart-shaped compact of what appears to be lip gloss.

▲”I got to thinking about how much  I wish there were makeup palettes designed around fairytale characters, so I had a go at drawing a Little Red Riding Hood one.”

TCB then set up a campaign on crowdfunding site Makuake to make the idea into a reality, and the project has already met its initial goal of 1,000,000 yen (US$8,300). The actual palette uses TCB’s original vision and concept art, but the lip gloss compact has become a book of eyeshadows, featuring bright red, beige, brown, and white powder. As red isn’t a color usually seen on the eyes, it’s clear that this makeup is designed to help the wearer achieve the desired “sickly” look that comes from being outdoors in cold weather (and possibly crying a lot over one’s traumatically eaten grandma?)

People who donate 3,500 yen ($29) or more to the crowdfunding effort by the deadline of February 16 will be able to receive their very own Red Riding Hood eyeshadow palette once production is under way next year. We’re looking forward to seeing your slightly sickly looking faces on the streets of Tokyo soon!

Source: NetLabo
Images: NetLabo, Makuake