There’s no blending or subtle shading in this daily makeup tutorial.

In a society where pale skin and conformity is idealised, any move away from convention is sure to stand out. And that’s the aim of Japan’s kuro (hada) gyaru, literally black-skin gals, who turn heads in hip neighbourhoods like Shibuya and Harajuku with their darkened skin, enormous hair and over-the-top makeup style.

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YouTube channel Kawaii Pateen, known for its popular hair, makeup and cosplay tutorials, recently featured a makeup clip by Black Diamond member Ganguro Ayutama. Black Diamond, Japan’s top kuro gyaru unit, has more than a hundred members around the country who regularly meet in various cities to share their culture and promote their unusual style to locals and people from abroad.

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What makes Ayutama stand out from her kuro gyaru sisters involves more than just her makeup. She’s known for having passed the highest level of the notoriously difficult Kanji Kentei test, Kanken, at the young age of 14, earning her the nickname “Kanken Gyaru”. Fewer than 15 percent of people pass this level, which tests the ability to read and write 6,355 kanji, making this a rare achievement even among native Japanese speakers.

▼ Not sure how she manages to write kanji or, in fact, do anything, with those long, pointy talons.

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Kanken gal’s makeup style has received a lot of attention from foreigners since her tutorial was posted online. While some applaud her creativity, others take issue with her lack of clean lines during application. One thing everyone can agree on is those nails, with props being given to her for not losing an eye during the whole process.

To see what’s involved in the daily makeup routine, take a look at the tutorial below.

If you don’t have 10 minutes to watch the clip, some of the highlights include such gems as the fact that she’s wearing six false eyelashes.

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▼ Tips on how to make things look “natural” and not “REALLY weird”…

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▼ A look at how she creates a lid crease for her eye…

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▼ And bright white highlights under her eyes and on the bridge of her nose.

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▼ All the while, she holds our attention with the clickety-clack of her nails, which threaten to cause injury at any given moment.

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Thanks for the tutorial, Kanken gal! Your style might not be for everyone, but it’s bold, unique, and filled with lots of sparkle and anime fun. It’s everything we love about Japan!

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Screenshots: YouTube/KawaiiPateen
[ Read in Japanese ]