wikiHow to Be Visual Kei

One Methods:Makeup

Visual Kei is not just a fashion or music genre, but a form of art, and a complete lifestyle! If you're one of the die-hard Japanese Rock fans that wants to really get into that type of scene, then this detailed, over-done, and very lengthy guide can help you!


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    Music is what visual Kei is all about! Before diving into it, you should first be familiar with what it actually is. You should be a fan to multiple Japanese rock and/or Visual Kei bands, understand the particular sound and why they dress the way they do. Again, to many people this can become an awesome lifestyle, not just a pretty fashion statement!
    • There is plenty of information available on the Internet, you can download music (But please don't forget to buy it, too! Support the artists you love!), join online forums on the subject, and much more! There are also other sources you can learn from, such as Japanese Rock magazines. (Shoxx, Cure, Purple Sky, etc.) Many of these magazines have excellent information on every aspect of Visual Kei, and feature countless bands that may end up sparking your interest.
    • Also realize that many fans of Visual Kei can be much different than ordinary fans of the more western music. Their love for the bands are deep and loyal; Don't be afraid to really learn about band members and be dorky talking to other Visual Kei fans about them! You may even be inspired to pick up an instrument!
      • To get even more into it, it's always fun to not just listen to the music, but watch videos as well. Not only Music videos, but backstage clips, special commercials, videos for the fan club, etc. Something very different, and usually only Visual Kei bands do, possibly for more exposure. But all the same, this can be entertaining in itself and can help you understand how and where other Visual Kei fans pick up some mannerisms that may seem a bit odd to outsiders.
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    Become Visual. Now for the Visuals! After becoming part of the Visual Kei fan base, you'll probably be interested in looking like your favorite artists. You should start out by doing just that; reflecting the looks of bands! Once you get used to the way it looks and feels on you, then you should start to create your own, unique look. Do plenty of research into types of visual Kei, since there are a lot of them. It's a style that blankets a whole range of different looks, so pick the one you want before you change.

Warning! It's best, as with all style changes, not to switch overnight. If you have no transition period, you'll tend to look like a poser. Start subtle: with maybe a little more eye makeup than usual, then build it up to more eyeliner, then more shadow, and finally to the full Visual Kei makeup. If you're already in a particular style, drop it slowly.

Find things in your wardrobe that could already be linked to the Visual Kei style, and begin wearing them before you begin to buy more flamboyant clothes. Don't change your hair immediately, either: hair is arguably the most important part of the Visual Kei look (along with clothing) so give it a while before you pick something radical.

Start telling your friends about visual Kei music, or talking more about the style. (Be sure not to overdo it, or they'll get very bored with you!) If people know you're going through a style change they won't be as surprised as if they have no warning beforehand.

Alternatively, change style after a long holiday. The time gap will make the switch more plausible.

Once you've changed your look noticeably, don't immediately wear all the brightest neons, biggest dresses or most vinyl bondage gear that you own. Again, start subtle and a little more normal before you go over-the-top.

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Here are a few steps to applying your Visual Kei makeup. There is no particular look you have to conform to; with Visual Kei makeup you can experiment all you want. Believe me, there are some pretty wild-looking bands out there. Makeup is not forbidden anywhere in Visual Kei. You can put it anywhere on your face, and anywhere on your body for that matter. Also, never put yourself down or get discouraged! Just remember that practice makes perfect, and keep working at it!

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    Hygiene comes first. Before starting anything, you should be clean! Be sure your hair looks soft and groomed, not oily or fried. Have a fresh face. Use a gentle scrub to clear away any dead skin and oil, and pat dry. You may want to use just a little bit of moisturizer to keep your skin from looking too dry and this can also make applying makeup a bit easier. After you're all ready, clip back your hair to keep it out of your face.
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    Use foundation. Usually, Visual Kei makeup looks pale. However, not many bands now days go for the full white face-paint look, but there's not anything wrong with doing that, either. For a complete white face, don't over-apply! This can cause it to look cakey. Use a makeup sponge to spread it evenly over your face for a clean finish. If you want even more of a ghostly glow, you can apply a small amount of powder. If you can't find any powder foundations light enough, baby powder can work wonders. For the more common look, you should choose a liquid foundation one or two shades lighter than your actual skin-tone, but not any lighter than that–it'll end up looking unnatural and awkward. You might want to choose a foundation with little or no oil, because it can be uncomfortable and tends to look heavy. Water-based ones are much better, lighter, and sometimes cheaper. You may be able to spread your foundation with your fingers, but to avoid any streaking you'd probably be better off with a makeup sponge. After evenly applying your liquid foundation, make sure there are no obvious streaks or lines, and apply a small amount of powder foundation or shimmer. If you wish to manipulate lighting, or the shape of your face you should have even lighter and darker foundations handy. To accentuate features, use darker foundation on those places such as cheekbones, on your jawline and around your nose. To give a bit more light, elegant look you can use lighter foundation on the bridge of your nose, your brow area, and cheeks.
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    Wear eye makeup! This is probably the most important part of the process, so be sure to make it interesting, but still tasteful. Let's separate this up, even more to make it understandable to even the most clueless of people. =D
    • Eyeshadow. The makeup can be applied in whatever order you want, but personally, it's less hassle. Putting down the color first can create less of a mess, later. Digressing! Depending on how eccentric you want to look, it's always best to have a wide range of colors at hand. If you only plan on using one color, you might want to have different shades of that single color. First apply the base color onto the eyelid, usually going to the outside, or nearly to the brow for a bold look. Next, take a darker shade and apply it to only the top of your lid, blending with the lighter shadow. To enhance your eyes further, you could use a small amount of shadow on the bottom lid, near the outer corner and blend. Eyeshadow isn't really a big task, so you should just experiment with what looks best on you.
    • Eyeliner. This is key to making your eyes amazing! There are many different looks to choose from. You could look natural and elegant, bold, eerie, or anything you could come up with. First, apply black or colored eyeliner (pencil or liquid) to the inner-most part of your eye and close to the lashline of your top eyelid, to avoid any odd spaces of color, then apply thicker, to your liking. People with single eyelids, or 'Asian' eyes should probably cover most of their eyelid to get the same desired 'thick' look. A popular look is the 'panda' look, where the eyeliner is raised thicker and farther beyond the eye. It is very common in Visual Kei for eyeliner to go passed the corner of your eye for a certain look. This look could make your eyes seem thinner, more seductive, menacing, or cuter depending on how you apply it. For a darker look, eyeliner can be applied to the bottom lid but there is such a thing as 'too much' there, so be careful not to over-do it. Again, to make your eyes stand out more, you can apply eyeliner to the outer corner of your eye, growing thinner as you go along the bottom lid. Sometimes, using white, or lighter colored eyeliner on your bottom lid can give a nice touch and/or contrast. Don't forget to be creative! Feel free to create designs, or use different colors against the others for a more drastic look.
    • Heavy, intricate eye makeup is a bit difficult to do every morning if you're in a hurry, so if you want to be quick about it, why not try experimenting with a more everyday look? Something as simple as surrounding your eye with black eyeshadow for a smoky look and wearing concealer and gloss on your lips can look great for daily wear.
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    Add jewels and other items. Jewels are always a nice and fun touch to finish off your eyes. You can place them along the bottom of your eye, in a row down the side, across your nose to the other eye, anything you can think of! You can get jewels at any craft store, or anywhere where cosmetics are sold. They may come with glue or you may need to use your own. A dandy ol' glue stick could probably do fine, and eyelash glue works perfectly! Remember, in visual Kei the sky's the limit. Look as weird as you please. Other items can be used, such as buttons, glitter, bits of fabric, fishnet/mesh - even tinfoil! If you like how it looks, go for it. Another wonderful touch for your eyes is false eyelashes. Be as tame or as wild as you want. Usually, the crazier-looking lashes are easiest to find during Halloween. If you want to add some extra pop to your eye makeup, why not even try circle lenses in a variety of natural or unnatural colours?
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    Lips. Usually, a nice gloss will finish off your look, but if you want to go further, that's just spiffy! Some darker bands will smear makeup, usually black, from their lips to the side of their face. While this is easy and can look great, it must be remembered that this is often ridiculed by older members of the scene due to its connections with cosplay and amateurish outfits. Others will make their lips pale [usually with foundation] and only color the inner portion of the mouth for a creepy, rigid look. For a full effect, you could always use lipliner, though it can be tricky so keep at it. Again, you can just be creative with your lips: Line them with black and color it in white, only color half your mouth, color beyond your actual lips, anything you want.


  • Visual Kei is a genderless style! It is suited for both males and females, so just have fun with it no matter what others may think.
  • Not all J-rock bands are dark! The style ranges right from deconstructed, gothic-esque Nagoya-Kei aesthetics through to rainbow-bright, peppy Oshare-Kei (or "pop-Kei") looks and everything in between. Have fun and make it as shocking or cutesy as you like!
  • The Japanese Rock magazine 'CURE' has great step-by-step makeup tutorials.
  • Using white eyeshadow right under your eyebrow can make it look smoother, and bring out more color in your eye. It really is helpful!


  • You may be ridiculed, or mistaken for 'emo', 'goth', 'scene', or flat out gay. But don't be discouraged by this! Simply correct them if you are offended. Remember, they're just ignorant of your style.
  • Be prepared for other fans to strike up conversations about the fashion or music. If you are a visual Kei noob, this can be intimidating but don't be ashamed. Just try to keep educating yourself, and you'll soon fit right in.
  • You can't only look the part, you have to be the part. If you just dress in Visual Kei, but know next to nothing about the music, people will know you're faking it. It's just annoying.

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Categories: Japanese Fashion