Can I be gyaru without makeup?

I don’t know about you but I get so excited researching about gyaru and learning more about the history behind the subculture because I truly want to know more about them and their lives. So as soon as the idea of this article popped into my head, I knew I had to write it down (especially because there seems to be a big debate online on whether or not you can be gyaru without makeup).

I briefly touched up upon this topic in my general “Can I be gyaru if….?” post, but I thought that this question in particular needed a post of it’s own.

So I’ve done my best to go through and collect screenshots and resources from Japanese websites in regards to what they believe gyaru is and, most importantly, advice on how to be gyaru.

Please note: as with everything I write on my blog, this is all based on my personal research. It’s completely fine if you don’t agree – I’m just sharing what I’ve found and I understand that we may/may not align on things.

So what do Japanese people say? What advice do they give on how to be gyaru?

Aaaaand here comes the screenshots… I’ve gathered these from several different resources and have linked them at the bottom of this post.

The common factor?
Make-up and “flashy” clothes.

Whenever someone has asked “how to be gyaru”, all of the answers point to the same kind of story. That they would need to wear makeup and be super flashy. Websites answering the question “how to be gyaru” are all about applying the makeup.

So yes, makeup is very important to gyaru.

But… ’90s EGG issues have gals without make-up!

The very first year or so of EGG’s publication did feature those without makeup… but the first issues were actually catered for the male gaze which focused on whichever girls THEY thought was cute which at the time were “race queens” and 20+ year old party girls. Not kogyaru (aka teenagers who were trying to sneak into nightclubs). EGG’s catchphrase back then was “Hyper Idol Sensation”.

Founded in August 1995 … egg began its life as a magazine for men interested in the not-so-wholesome 20-something party girls at clubs and on the streets of Shibuya. In its original incarnation, the magazine focused on new B-grade tarento, race queens in bathing suits, and party girl snaps, but was not particularly interested in kogyaru or the emerging new Shibuya high school style. 

The History of Gyaru: Part Two, neojapanisme

It wasn’t until late 1996 (when the magazine was on the brink of failure) that Editor Yonehara Yasumasa encouraged EGG to focus more on kogyaru, as that’s who the real “wild and sexy girls” were. They then changed the slogan to “Get Wild and Be Sexy!”.

The first issues of this new era featured kogyaru sharing their Polaroids and doing silly things which became incredibly popular. Later on in 1997 the readership then shifted from being read predominantly by men to high-schoolers who wanted to be gal. You can see how much of a contrast there is between 1995 and 1997.

But… Gal is mind!!

Okay but haven’t you noticed that the people who came up with the phrase are in full gyaru makeup and wearing “flashy” clothes? So it’s very clear that it isn’t just gal is mind – it’s the whole package.

But, Lizzie… You don’t wear makeup all of the time…

Yes, that’s very true… Nowadays my skin isn’t so great (hellooooo eczema/allergies/sensitive skin) and yet I still wear makeup, even if it isn’t every day. For me, it’s either no makeup or gyaru makeup.

On the days that I don’t wear makeup I incorporate gyaru into other parts of my lifestyle.

Also, I’ve been actively in the scene for more than 10 years… I think that’s enough to say that gyaru wasn’t just about the clothes to me. I’ve long paid my dues and proved myself as a gal.

And that’s all for this article! Until next time~

P.S. Shoutout to Darla for encouraging me to write this article and who also sent me some resources.