Top stylist at a Japanese salon in Tokyo says there are three important points to looking good while wearing a face mask. 

For the past few months, people have been sharing photos of their pandemic hair. While some have simply grown their styles out, others have been getting adventurous with the scissors, highlighting just how much so many of us rely on hairdressers to keep us looking respectable on a day-to-day basis.

Now, as cities and countries around the world take cautious steps towards opening up again, people are beginning to adjust to a new normal. Here in Japan, that means a large majority of the population is wearing face masks on a day-to-day basis as a precautionary measure to protect themselves and others against coronavirus.

Our Japanese-language reporter Momo Momomura is one of those people, and after a few months at home away from the hairdressers, she figured her emergence from homebound hibernation warranted a new ‘do. However, now that she was wearing a mask all the time, she didn’t need a haircut to match her face shape — she needed a cut to match her masked face.

So she headed off to visit her trusted stylist Sato — not our Mr Sato, who probably would’ve butchered her hair despite his best efforts — at Shea hair salon in Tokyo’s upmarket Omotesando district. “I need a haircut that makes me look good in a mask” she told him as she sat herself down in the hairdressing chair, and he was more than happy to oblige.

In fact, it seemed like this was something her stylist had already thought about, as he had a few tips up his sleeve to share. First off, he commented on how masks make facial expressions more unreadable, giving rise to the possibility that it could make a person look cold. In addition, it could give the impression that one is unhealthy or less well-dressed as well.

With this in mind, Sato would like to share three points people should be aware of when wearing a mask to maintain a bright and healthy look.

Point One: Thinned bangs and permed bangs are recommended

In Japan, a perm isn’t the frizzy, ’80s style head of hair many imagine. Japanese perms are less defined, and much more soft and natural, with the emphasis on permanence as the style can be maintained for weeks with very little need for daily shaping.

Thinning the bangs gives them a lightness that lifts the expression and stops it from looking heavy and weighted down. Also, perming the bangs is important because this helps them retain their shape throughout the day, when humid vapour from the mask can rise and interfere with their style.

Point Two: Create layers around the face

By adding layers to the hair around the face, the tips impart a sense of movement, adding a light feel to masked features. Furthermore, layers help to complement thinned-out bangs for a tied-together look.

Point Three: Use a light, bright color

While on-trend colours may change seasonally, the face mask haircut benefits from bright hues and highlights. The aim is to always create lightness and brightness around the mask, with both shape and colour.

According to the stylist, as long as you take care of these three points, the style you choose to sport at the back isn’t as important. What’s most important is changing the look around your face to enhance and lift your appearance while wearing a mask.

▼ After her visit to the stylist’s chair, Momo’s hair looked healthy and glossy, shining in the light like a character from a manga or anime.

Momo loved the way it looked from the front, and the style looked just as flattering side-on. Previously she had long bangs, but now with the shorter, thinner bangs there was a contrast between bangs → skin → mask that added more three-dimensional variety to what she describes as her once “flat and dull” appearance. 

Looking at the before-and-after, Momo looked vastly different in each image. The layers around her face really softened her masked features, making her look stylish even though most of her face was concealed. Best of all, the look takes no time at all to maintain, as the heat from her hair dryer helps to set the style in place every morning.

Momo was thrilled with the result, and highly recommends the face mask haircut to anyone looking for a way to add some style to their new normal.

With so many people now wearing masks everywhere in Japan — even to the hairdresser’s — this hairstyle looks set to become the big defining hair trend of 2020. Hopefully we can move on to another, brighter, happier hair trend soon.

Photos © SoraNews24
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