How to Do Japanese Geisha Makeup

Japanese geisha makeup, if done properly, creates an exotic and time honored beauty. If done improperly, the technique makes you look like a clown. Geishas are Japanese women trained in the art of entertainment. They are dancers, singers, flower arrangers and instrument players. They excel in the art of traditional manners and customs, and are renowned for their complicated beauty.

To create the Japanese geisha look, you need some Japanese geisha makeup. It's vital to have some white foundation and face powder. You will also need red eye shadow, black eyeliner, brown eyeliner, black mascara, red lipstick and a red lip liner. 

Before you apply any geisha makeup, you need to wash and dry your face. Pull your hair back, making sure to smooth down any fly-aways. If you're worried about the makeup melting right off your face, try a light layer of wax across your skin to create a barrier from sweat.


  1. Start creating your Japanese geisha look by applying a white foundation across your face. Smooth the foundation under your chin and down the front and back of your neck. You want the white to go down your neck until it meets your clothes. Make sure to cover your entire face and neck, including your lips, eyes and eyebrows.
  2. After you apply the foundation, you need some white powder lightly dusted over it. Again, make sure to cover your entire face and neck with the powder, including your lips, eyes and eyebrows.
  3. Use a little of the red eye shadow and apply a light amount to the lower outside area of each eyelid. Blend the eye shadow outwards, keeping it off the upper eye area.
  4. Apply a thick line of black eyeliner to the top eyelid. Make the shape slightly winged, drawing out the outside edge of the eye. Apply a thin line of black eyeliner to the outer edge of the under eye to complete the slightly winged line.
  5. Draw a thin eyebrow above your real brow with the brown eyeliner. Make the line a little thicker than skinny, created an arched brow effect.
  6. Lightly coat your upper eyelashes with the black mascara and let dry.
  7. Use the red lip liner to outline a pair of curvy lips much smaller than your real lips. Small, puckered lips are important, so make them visible but thin. Fill in the outlined area with red lipstick.

Depending on the exact geisha look you're going for, you can stop doing your makeup with just the white face, red eyes and red lips, or you can add a little more. A light pink blush across the upper cheeks is not an uncommon addition. A red dot outside of each eye or at the apple of each cheek is also sometimes seen. As long as you have the basics down, you can create any kind of Japanese geisha makeup you like. 

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