Jirai makeup adds to Japan’s many trends that combine beauty (and sometimes fashion) with a social statement. It originated from the term 地雷女 (jirai-onna) which means ‘landmine girl’. This refers to young women whose looks and personalities have a huge disconnection from one another. The term had negative connotations, but since model Tsubasa Masuwaka made it a popular style trend in 2020, many women started adopting it. This led to the growing fame of Jirai makeup and its whole aesthetic becoming its own trend category called Jirai-kei.
What Jirai makeup stands for
Before we dive into the basics of the look, it’s important to understand Jirai makeup’s appeal. If Japan’s byojaku trend is meant to raise awareness about mental health using fashion and beauty, Jirai makeup is about breaking stereotypes about a woman’s personality based on her looks. It was initially viewed as a derogatory way to describe women who seem ‘okay’ at first but are actually prone to blow up or are too emotional (similar to a landmine). However, as it started to gain popularity, women used it more as a way to showcase their different facets.
How to do Jirai makeup
Much like most of Japan’s beauty trends, creating a doll-like appearance is an essential element of Jirai makeup. The base has to be nice and smooth but not too glowy. The blush should look like a soft flush of colour to the cheeks and the contour (called ‘shading’ in Japan) should also look very natural and soft-focused. The brows are also less complicated because there’s not a lot of shaping involved. The key is just to fill them in nicely, ideally with a shade a bit lighter than your own hair colour if you have dark hair to achieve a softer and more youthful appearance.