Fashion week beauty trends aren't always easy to execute. (Thanks for the face bedazzling, Givenchy.) This year, however, the runways at NYFW featured at least one look that I'm pretty sure I've got down pat: Looking tired. Rather than use products to lighten undereye circles, de-puff bags and even out skin tone, makeup artists at some shows went in the opposite direction, painting models' faces to reflect the physical toll of the sleepless life.
But, let's give credit where it's due. The look of looking spent didn't come from NYFW; it came from Japanese trendsters. Talk of "Byojaku," meaning "sickly," started making the rounds on beauty blogs and makeup tutorials in the beginning of 2015. By that point, the fad had gone mainstream in Japan. Young women made use of a number of products and tricks — eyeliner, blush, tape, vaseline massages, makeup contouring — to acheive the desired effect: bags, reddish undereye skin and an otherwise sickly complexion.
Arguably, Byojaku is merely a reboot of heroin chic, the '90s fad that catapulted Kate Moss to supermodel-dom. In terms of intent, the two trends differ somewhat, as heroin chic more directly glamorized drug use as a cornerstone of the cynical, world-weary outlook that paired so well with flannel and maudlin chord progressions. But, both looks reject the notion that health and attractiveness go hand-in-hand, as well undercut the traditional purpose of makeup: to conceal imperfections and highlight commonly recognized "attributes."
Then again, Byojaku also reinforces an aesthetic ideal underlying other Japanese beauty trends, namely that it's fetching for women to appear younger and cuter, which may manifest as fragile or weak. (Beth from Little Women. Nailed it.) One popular cosmetic dental procedure, for example, lets women acheive a "Tsuke Yaeba" look, characterized by crooked top teeth and fang-like incisors. Jagged chompers, apparently, evoke youth more than straight pearly whites.
Still, when you're hungover, run down or running through tissues, Byojaku seems hard to screw up. Even if you haven't gotten the knack of countouring and massaging undereye skin to look swollen and allergy-ridden, your #Iwokeuplikethis face may very well pass muster with Byojaku masters.
This video, dubbed "Japanese Hangover Makeup," isn't a particularly useful tutorial, but it does capture (an extreme version of) the trend.