“I feel pretty, oh so pretty!”

As Japan enters both the new decade and the Reiwa Era, the time has come to normalize men wearing makeup. At least, that’s what our male Japanese-language reporters have decided. According to cosmetics manufacturer Shiseido, makeup geared towards men has become an ever-expanding market in the past few years, which has prompted them to offer their “Uno” line of products targeting this particular demographic.

P.K. Sanjun, our reporter who often challenges himself to 10,000-yen eating contests, recently voiced that he uses nothing more than some facial lotion on a daily basis. He’s lived his entire life unconcerned with the thought of men’s makeup, being so far removed from anything to do with the world of cosmetics, and he surmised that other near-40-year-olds would be of the same mind as well.

…Up until now, that is.

Back in November, P.K. received a message from the person in charge of PR for Shiseido’s Uno line. “Wouldn’t you be interested in trying out some men’s makeup?” he read. Feeling indifferent, P.K. brushed it aside without a second thought.

However, a little voice in his mind soon began to nag him. Isn’t one of the utmost missions of SoraNews24 to try out new things that people ordinarily don’t do? On top of that, one of Japan’s premier makeup artists was offering his services directly to our team. And that’s how P.K. and two of our other reporters found themselves getting ready for their first-ever experience wearing men’s makeup.

Hiroki Takahashi (@MensBeautyPlan) was to be the makeup master in charge of them. He had started up his own cosmetics company and also offered seminars and makeup lessons under his name. In the hands of this pro of pros, they were bound to be transformed…right?

▼ Makeup artist Hiroki Takahashi

The big day finally arrived. SoraNews24’s Japanese editor-in-chief and possessor of at least some aesthetic sense, Go Hattori, who expressed a slight interest in the concept of men’s makeup, as well as a slightly more doubtful writer Ahiruneko, tagged along for the experience.

Ahead of time they had been told that a serious application of makeup would take two hours per person. However, they had requested a more practical application to be done within 30 minutes each. How much of a transformation could take place within 30 minutes for these three middle-aged guys whose median age was 38.7 years?

Takahashi got to work on each of them right away starting by applying a base foundation layer while taking care to individualize the specific shade depending on their skin tones. Furthermore, he asked each of them which areas of their face bothered them the most so that he could focus on those. Go Hattori and Ahiruneko immediately mentioned the dark circles under their eyes and facial hairs, but P.K. didn’t have anything particular in mind.

And so it came to be that each of them experienced their first application of men’s makeup in under 30 minutes. When they finally peered over at each other, lo and behold:

▼ “Oho!”

▼ “We’re pretty darn good-looking!”

None of them were caked in makeup, but its presence was evident. According to Takahashi, he had definitely wanted them to see a difference in the before-after pictures, so he had applied certain areas fairly heavily.

P.K. recommends having nothing but the base layer applied for those who want the most natural-looking finished product. Even that base layer of foundation made a surprising difference. On this day, it seemed that the main purpose of the makeup was to hide problem areas rather than to enhance anything–so P.K. thought that even indifferent people might get behind this style.

Go Hattori’s thoughts:

“It’s good! I favor the style and I think it was a huge success. My complexion looks great and my facial contours are clearly defined. It’s like my younger self is being revived. Maybe I should learn how to apply this natural look on my own…is what I’m seriously thinking.”

Ahiruneko’s thoughts:

“I’ve never had any desire to wear makeup before, nor have I felt any necessity to do so. But when I think about it, I’m often told that I have dark circles under my eyes. I usually just think ‘Shut up!’ to those people, but now after getting this makeup done there’s nothing to hide!”

P.K. Sanjun’s thoughts:

“Makeup is magical. Seeing myself in the mirror, I definitely see that I’m wearing it, but it doesn’t feel like I am at all. I don’t think I would fully replicate this look by myself, but instead would meet somewhere in the middle with the base makeup.

Usually I don’t pay much attention to little blotches in my skin, but there’s such a noticeable difference when using foundation. I feel like I’m ‘Pretty San-chan’ now. Wearing this might be a good idea when going on group dates or at a wedding ceremony. Only if I can manage to do it myself, of course.”

And so the day was filled with plenty of surprises. Takahashi also mentioned that many young men these days want to show off light, perfect skin, so it might be that the younger generation already accepts it as normal. Perhaps the era of men’s makeup really has been ushered in. 

All images © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]