Gyaru Styles and Makeup Fashion Tips
Gyaru Fashion Tribes: Hugely popular in Japan, Gyaru fashion rebels against Japanese ideals to create an extreme style more akin to California surfer girls. Gyaru fashion splits into many sub-styles, from Rasta to Princess Gyaru…
The Gyaru or ‘gal’ fashion tribe is essentially intended as a spit in the eye to conforming Japanese beauty. Gyaru darken their skin, lighten their hair, and do anything they can think of to distance themselves from their Japanese culture. They may emulate R&B, or Rasta culture, or Californian surfers, or rave style. When it comes to Gyaru hair and makeup, there are many different gyaru styles that take a basic fashion principle and throw a little spin on it…
Yamanba Gyaru style
Yamanba is a shortening of the japanese for “mountain hag”, the mountain hag being a common figure in Japanese folk tales. Yamanba is the first gyaru style in existence, and was a direct fashion revolt against Japanese beauty conventions. It happened because girls wanted to take the Gangura style even further. The Yamanba look featured deeply tanned skin, large circles of unnaturally white eyeshadow with a ‘reversed panda eyes’ effect, bright clothes and very obviously dyed hair, often various shades of acid lemon yellowy-blonde – it was important that the hair looked fake. Hair extensions were common, and the hair was backcombed and teased to be as big as possible. Yamanba caused sociopolitical waves by its almost ‘minstrel face’ approach to makeup. Clothes were extreme echoes of what Californian surfer girls wore in the nineties, with bubby-tubes in neon colours, surfer motifs and high platforms. Tanning achieved mainly through make-up and tan bronzer, not sunbeds. Yamanba is, quite frankly, Mookychick’s favourite Gyaru fashion tribe so far – it was making a real social statement, and the style was truly bonkers.
Manba Gyaru style
Yamanba grew out of fashion and has now evolved to become Manba. The surfer chic has been rejected, with clubbing gear (like what you’d get in Cyberdog, but only in acid neon and pastel colours) replacing the tube tops and high platform boots. Hair is bright in either white blonde or a dazzling array of fluoro colours. The minstrel makeup is still in full theatrical force. It’s almost as though the Gyaru girls have replaced Californian surfer chic with acid rave clubbing, while keeping the tanned skin, original panda eye white eyeshadow, and fake hair styles intact. Tanning achieved mainly through make-up and tan bronzer, not sunbeds. Some Manba Gyaru evolve into O-Gyaru, a subgenre of Gyaru who don’t wash off their make-up and generally don’t wash much on priciple. O-Gyaru makes sense – gyaru make-up, fashion and hair upkeep is terribly high maintenance and expensive… Mind you, Ogyaru are sometimes so anti-washing and anti-expense they spend all day in their pyjamas…
Romanba Gyaru style
As the name suggests, Romanba adds a romantic flavour to Manba Gyaru. Though Romanba girls retain the deep tans and panda make-up of Manba, the clubbing influence in the clothing is replaced with lots of dolly pastels, pink lace and frilly sundresses. Romanba girls love to accessorise with Marie-chan (especially Disney’s Aristocats), pearls and floral face stickers. Romanba fashion brands include Pinky Girls and Liz Lisa. Tanning achieved mainly through make-up and tan bronzer, not sunbeds.
Kogal / Kogyaru style
Kogal girls tend to be in high school – which is handy, because kogyaru style is 100% to do with the schoolgirl uniform. In Japan, Kogyaru has been around since forever, because it adheres to the one of the most important Japanese beauty ideals: to look cute. Kogyaru gals like to combine the cute with sexy. They keep their school uniform in the evening as well as at school (even though you’re not meant to wear your school uniform in town). They sexualise their school uniform by knotting their shirts in front or raising the hemline of their skirts. Socks are essential Kogyaru accessories – they are kept very long, loose and floppy, so they fold on the legs and over the shoes. Kogal hairstyles are artfully maintained. They have to be blonde, in order to distance themselves visually from ordinary japanese girls – and honey blonde hair seems preferable to an intentionally fake-looking brassy blonde. Further primping involves giving the hair body with extensions, curling tongs and brushing. To western eyes, Kogyaru fashion seems a strange mix of American prep and Japanese schoolgirl moe.
Gyaru communities are certain the B-Gyaru – influenced by R&B and Hip-hop – are emulating R&B artists they admire but not intending to make themselves look black. B-Gyaru lovers aim for a very dark tan achieved through sunbends. They do away with the heavy white eyeshadow (black heavily lined eyes are more common) and wear R&B accessories. Their hair often has extensions and is often style in cornrows or micro-braids. A prominent B-Gyaru brand is Shoop.
Onee Gyaru style
This more sophisticated Gyaru fashion is aimed at older girls in their twenties – think WAGS. Onee Gyaru mainly differentiates from the other subgenres with its clothes, which aim to show elevated social status. So they look sexy, but more ‘sophisticated girl who likes to hang around splashing cash in casinos’ than ‘schoolgirl’.
Hime Gyaru style
Oh my! This is princess style at its most extreme. Himegyaru (Princess Gals) look immaculate (no deeply fake tans or panda eyes for them) and dress like elegant dolls in only the most sophisticated and expensive fabrics. Their immaculate hair (usually caramel, honey or brown) is carefully styled into a classy version of a beehive with curled hair allowed to fall down – an extragavant hairstyle that is both loose hair and up-do. Himegyaru enjoy pearls as much as Romanba Gyaru do, often working them into their accessories or nail art.
Okay, this is princessy, but a bit more relaxed, except for Himekaji hair, which is only allowed to be straight if it’s pinned up. The clothes, however, are pastel shades or neutral creams, and focus on nice silks, blouses, minis, shorts and dresses which are princessy but wearable in the street without getting odd looks.
Rasta style is big in Japan. Rasuta nods to rastafarian culture with a preponderance of the colours red, green and yellow (even in hair styles). Hemp clothing is a favourite, and jamaican flags are worked into accessories. Dreds or hairfalls to emulate dreds are not uncommon.
Onii Kei is a sleek, boyish ‘older sister’ look. It often features plaid, and jeans, and t-shirts. Some Onii Kei girls work the F2M angle, but many keep to a feminine sophisticated (though mannish compared with, say, Romanba) look with heels to downplay the jeans and manly vest tops.
This style is all about the make-up and hair. Hair is bleached any shade between orange and blonde, or bleached to a whitish-grey. Black eyeliner and white eyeshadow (actually a white lipstick) accentuate the eyes, though not the the cartoon-like extreme of Manba Gyaru. White lipstick is used on the lips. Once dolled up, Ganguro girls pay attention to the fashion magazines Egg and Cawaii. They also do their own special dances, called Para Para.
Rokku (‘Rock’) Gyaru is a Gyaru Kei, a general style which doesn’t require a tan, although many gals have one. Those who keep the tan are Ganguro – those who reject the tan are Ganjiro. Rokku Kei is probably the closest of all the Gyaru styles to what Western mooks feel comfortable in. It’s basically a rock chick look, with plenty of skull prints, plaid, stripes, denim, all teemed up with a rock style t-shirt.
Yamanba Gyaru – cutest mountain hag ever!
Manba Gyaru – Extreme panda face joy
Romanba Gyaru – Very girly, lots of pink
Kogal Gyaru – All about schoolgirl socks
B-Gyaru – pretty common in the West
Onee Gyaru – think WAGS
Hime Gyaru – Perfect Princess
Himekaji Gyaru – Casual Princess
Rasuta Gyaru – Rasta Influence
Onii Kei Gyaru – Sophisticated Tomboy