Kawaii Makeup: 10 Ideas

If you know anything about Japanese culture, you have probably heard of kawaii. The word kawaii simply means cute and is an aesthetic that has taken pop culture by storm. Not only is it one of the most frequent phrases used when relating to Japanese culture, but it can apply to many different areas as well.

Kawaii is one of our favorite things here at Moeflavor, and we are here to help you look (and feel) your best. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered on all things kawaii! Let’s dive right into our 10 favorite kawaii makeup ideas that will make you feel your very cutest.

10 Kawaii Makeup Tips

If you are trying to ease into this cutesy aesthetic, there are simple yet effective ways to do that. With a kawaii aesthetic, it’s all about color and details.

What makes something kawaii? Is it just being cute? Well, not quite. There are a few distinct things that help define the kawaii aesthetic.

Kawaii characters are often designed in a very simplistic style. Often these characters have big heads, small and compact bodies, wide eyes, and tiny noses. If you want to mimic this cute look, here are 10 steps you need to follow to make it happen!

1. Prep Your Face

One of the best ways to achieve a kawaii look is to start with a clean, prepped face. Not only is skincare a good habit for everyday life, but a clean, moisturized face can help you achieve a smooth, glowy look that is totally on-brand with a kawaii aesthetic.

Start with a gentle cleaner, followed by a moisturizer and sunscreen at least. You might also end up using other skincare products suited to your specific skincare needs, like serums, toners, and eye cream — it all depends on your skin type.

We also recommend prepping your face with a primer before adding any makeup to help achieve that youthful glow that helps make kawaii so cute. Nothing says kawaii like baby-smooth skin!

2. Less Is More

With a look like this, it’s best to approach adding makeup subtly. The most prominent part of kawaii makeup looks is generally the details in the eyes, so keep your skin simple to enhance the eyes.

Use concealer and foundation sparingly to cover up dark circles under the eyes or any uneven skin or discoloration. You’ll likely want to choose a formula with a glowy finish so you can get that clean, lit-from-within look that’s almost like glass.

3. Beauty Is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Kawaii characters are often recognized by their large (and, dare we say, adorable?) eyes. If you are looking to match this look, give some extra love to your peepers.

If you are cosplaying a character with a different eye color than you or simply want a more distinct eye look, colored contacts are your friend. Experiment with them to achieve the perfect look.

4. Lighten Up

If you’re going for a kawaii look, now is not the time to experiment with dark eyeshadow looks. Pastels are your best pals instead.

Pastel pinks, baby blues, and other light colors are best for pairing with a kawaii look. These light, playful colors help play into the innocent and cutesy look you are going for. Use colors like light browns and grays to emphasize the outer corner of your eye, but don’t lay it on super thick.

5. Line Those Eyes

Line your eyes with black eyeliner. This color choice may seem counterintuitive since everything else is so light, but that’s exactly it! The contrast helps make your eyes pop and gives you that cartoony look you are going for.

To achieve that cute, larger-than-life eye look, add a cat-eye wing or a downwards wing or “puppy liner,” as TikTok calls it. Take your liner and add little fake lashes on your bottom lash line to make your eyes appear larger than they are for an extra dramatic flair.

Finish the kawaii look off by lining your waterline with white eyeliner to really make your eyes pop.

6. Lashes, Lashes, Lashes

You can’t have a true kawaii look without lush falsies! Before you add the fake lashes, though, there are some things you can do to prep your lashes.

Start by curling your natural lashes with an eyelash curler and add a generous amount of mascara. Do multiple coats to help get a full look. You can also add mascara to your bottom lashes to really get that doe-eyed look.

Finish off the lash look by adding your favorite pair of false eyelashes to bring it all to a close.

7. Learn the Art of Contouring

Start by contouring the sides of your nose gently using a light brown color of a contour stick or powder and blend it all in with a damp beauty blender. You can also contour just under your cheekbones to help make them pop. However, the darker colors of contour are less important than the blush in a kawaii look.

Don’t forget to add blush to your cheekbones and along the bridge of your nose for a rosy finish. This is part of what really makes the kawaii look.

8. Lip Locked

Another one of the most noticeable parts of a kawaii look is the lips. Focus on a simple yet effective lip color.

Not sure where to start? We recommend a sheer, rosy pink! Concentrate the color towards the inside of your lips, and then blend it out. Opt for gloss over lipstick when applying your lip color, and blend it gently with your finger for a classic beauty guru look.

9. Highlight or Go Home

Highlighter is one of the most essential steps in a kawaii makeup routine. You might want to choose a liquid formula rather than a powder to really amp up the glow factor.

When applying, focus mainly on the tops of your cheekbones for a healthy glow. Don’t be afraid to be a little extra generous with your highlight. The dewier, the better.

Highlighter is also helpful on the bridge of your nose, your cupid's bow, and the inner corners of your eyes.

10. Extra Details

Don’t be afraid to add pops of color into your eyelashes or extra glitter onto your cheeks for a stunning, eye-catching makeup look.

If you are especially artsy, draw your favorite anime characters or cute kawaii cartoons onto your cheeks or extend the drawings from your eyeliner. Now is the time to be a little extra. And besides, when was there ever such a thing as too much glitter?

Kawaii or Bust!

If you are new to a kawaii aesthetic or trying to explore it more, it can seem a little overwhelming. However, kawaii is a simple and stunning makeup looks that anyone can achieve (whether they are kawaii fans or not). The key to kawaii makeup is to focus on those details and keep things simple and cute!

Here at Moeflavor, we believe that kawaii shouldn’t be unattainable. Thankfully there are lots of different ways to achieve a kawaii look that anyone can achieve. These 10 ideas are just some of our favorite tips and tricks to get you looking as cute as you feel. Whether your aesthetic is goth, kawaii, or something in between, we’ve got you covered for all your sexy, fashionable, and cosplay needs.

Tag us on Instagram with your favorite kawaii looks!


What is Kawaii? Discover What Led to Japan's Culture of Cuteness | My Modern Met

The Serious Subtext of Japan's "Cute" Culture | JSTOR Daily

What Is Cosplay and Where Did It Originate? | Mansfield Library