lifestyle

To dye or not to dye?

51 Comments
By Kay

In Japan we have a saying that roughly translates to “A woman’s hair is her life.” While that may sound quite dated in this time and age when Japanese women wear their hair in any and all conceivable styles, it looks like the current trend in the Japanese fashion and beauty industry is good old-fashioned, natural black hair. But you may be wondering, Japanese people have naturally black hair, right? So, how can something naturally occurring become a “trend”?

Yes, Japanese people have black hair, but the fact is an enormous number of woman dye their hair or get highlights. If you come to Japan expecting to see everyone with jet-black hair, you may be surprised, since you’re bound to see a good number of people with non-black hair, especially if you’re in a crowded city. (Granted, the color is usually a shade of brown, at least most of the time, and not the outrageous pinks or blues you often see in Japanese anime.)

However, according to a recent article on the Niconico News site, black hair now seems to be increasingly popular in the Japanese fashion and beauty industry, so much so that the trend may be impacting business at beauty salons.

As the article mentions, it has become exceedingly common for Japanese women’s magazines to run features on “black hair”, or "kurokami," as it’s referred to in Japanese. Celebrities gracing the cover of fashion magazines also seem to be increasingly black-haired, such as popular actresses Yuko Takeuchi and Satomi Ishihara or 2006 Miss Universe runner-up Kurara Chibana, to name a few.

And we can’t forget Mitsu Dan, the sexy model/actress who seems to be on many Japanese men’s minds these days. In fact, Dan’s long black hair is one of her trademarks, as suggested by the title of her official blog, “The Black-Haired Shirabyoshi“. (Shirabyoshi were historical female dancers in the imperial court prominent around 800 years ago.) Indeed, it seems there is no shortage of Japanese actresses, models, idols and even newscasters with black hair who have been in the spotlight recently.

Interestingly, this trend favoring black hair is not just a fad that popped up suddenly. The article notes how in the latter half of the 2000s, Japanese cosmetics and beauty manufacturers started to come out with different shampoos like Asience, Tsubaki and Ichikami focusing on the beauty of Asian hair. There’s no denying that women featured in the commercials for these shampoos had breathtakingly beautiful black hair, so it’s little wonder if such products really did start a gradual, long-term trend toward black hair.

However, this has apparently been unwelcome news for beauty salons across Japan. An owner of a salon in Aoyama, Tokyo, is quoted in the article as saying, “There are definitely fewer customers getting their hair dyed. This is something that has been happening over a long period of time, but it seems to have become even more noticeable after the big East Japan earthquake in 2011. Frankly, hair dyeing is the biggest profit earner for beauty salons, more than hair cuts or perms, so I have to say it’s a blow to us. But personally, I like women with black hair, so I’m in a bit of dilemma as to how I should be feeling feel about the situation.”

Whatever the reason, data collected and analyzed by Japanese industry and marketing research company Fuji Keizai indicates that the beauty salon market has indeed been shrinking in recent years after reaching a peak in 2006. There are likely multiple causes for this decline, including the long-term recession in Japan, increasingly stiff price competition within the beauty salon industry and a general decrease in the Japanese population, but the analysis by Fuji Keizai also suggested that the dip in hair dyeing sales was a significant contributing factor to the industry’s downturn.

The Niconico News article goes on to share with readers the comments of beauty journalist Yoko Kisara, who sees the black hair trend having come about as a result of Japanese people generally becoming more conscious of hair care. Kisara says that while black hair has been receiving more media exposure of late, a large number of women, especially those who are younger, still get their hair dyed. However, at the same time, Japanese women now seem to be increasingly interested in taking good care of their hair and scalp, and it would be understandable if the ideal image of naturally beautiful “virgin” black hair held strong appeal for these women. On the more practical side, Kisara adds, the recession may be forcing women to spend less on hair treatments or to color their own hair with store-bought products, although she says this may be less of a factor.

In any case, the drop in sales now has Japanese salons scrambling to attract customers by offering new services such as manicures and hand care or even services targeting male customers. This is not surprising, though, since businesses all across Japan, and not just in the beauty industry, have had to deal with the tightening of consumers’ purses in past years.

Source: Niconico News

Reader more stories from RocketNews24. -- New Head Spa Massage Unit Promises Extreme Relaxation -- The World of Japanese Ornamental Hairpins -- Tokyo Area Residents Shocked by Miracle Salon’s Flyer

© RocketNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


51 Comments
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Kurokami hands down for me. Nothing like a raven haired beauty.

18 ( +16 / -0 )

I tried to dye my hair back in 2009. I hated it. Natural black hair is the best look, in my opinion.

10 ( +9 / -0 )

Natural black!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

On the more practical side, Kisara adds, the recession may be forcing women to spend less on hair treatments or to color their own hair with store-bought products, although she says this may be less of a factor.

less of a factor, then why mention it in "Special Feature" article?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

In my yoga class the other day I noticed that kne of the teachers had dyed her hair..at first I saw this old lady from the back trying to dry her hair after a shower, then I noticed it was one of the teachers..I really thought that it was an old woman, but it was a young lady. What made it worst was she chose an ash color of a dye...OMG!!! What a waste of money and effort to just look old.. .. Nothing like the naturalness of just about everything..no false flowing lashes as long as a cow's, no gel nails, etc..high stiletto shoes worn on the train...I don't like the fashion here at all..they go to so much trouble to just look worst in the end.. My opinion ladies and gents basing from the subject matter if this topic.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Meanwhile the ad at the side of the page shows three beauties with chestnut locks.

If you want to dye, dye, if you don't, then don't. A change of colour can be a mood-uplifter. The main thing is to keep the hair healthy, whatever the colour.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Natural black is always attractive but I do have a thing for auburn hair on Asian women. Just looks sexy to me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My daughter, who is a blonde Caucasian American, was once a hairstylist and would always tell me that " There is no such thing as a Blonde or Redhead Asian". I guess she was right. Black or dark hair brings out the Asian beauty of the eyes and high cheekbones. Nature got it right!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Always bet on black.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Don't dye it, it can never get better than the natural black

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In the same way, I did found the previous Asience commercials blatantly racist.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hate it when women dye their hair. Black is best. I see also many Latin and Black doing the same. Black hair looks so awesome next to the skin. Natural is always the best.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

You only dye twice.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

don't you dye on me

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Daijo

You just couldn't resist that one, huh?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Probably a good thing since that awful shade of "dog-poop" brown that many ladies get from the cheap, do-it-yourself hair dyes is not attractive.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

to live and let dye

6 ( +7 / -1 )

My wife and I will let our hair go grey naturally. No vanity colouring for us.

Weasel politicians are big fans of hair dying: their hair colour is as false as the words they spout. Who could believe Abe's hair is its natural colour?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Dye Another Day

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I agree with Cleo, whatever color is fine, but I will add that some colors just look better (or worse) on people.

Also, at the risk of going off-topic here, what's with the senior ladies with purple hair?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Only the good dye young.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Back when I was a teacher in Japanese high school I used to have to participate in grade-wide inspections of students to make sure that they conformed with the school dress/appearance code. This included making sure fingernails were trimmed, uniform skirts were not too short, absence of jewelry and makeup, and that hair had not been dyed. I found the hair dyeing rules to be contradictory and quite discriminatory, though.

A certain percentage of the girls had hair that was naturally a slightly lighter shade of black than the jet black of the majority. Many of the girls with lighter hair seemed embarrassed by the color of their hair. Adding to their sense of shame, whereas the girls with jet black hair were admonished/punished if they dyed their hair a lighter color (and told of the supposed health dangers of doing so), no action was taken if a girl with lighter hair dyed her hair to a darker shade matching the accepted norm. In fact, this was somewhat encouraged.

Anyway, the teachers made a huge deal of students' hair color, spending hours in meetings discussing the issue and lots of energy on enforcement of what I saw as discriminatory rules — this focus on hair color depressed me immensely, especially since my own children's hair color is different from the Japanese norm.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

whereas the girls with jet black hair were admonished/punished if they dyed their hair a lighter color (and told of the supposed health dangers of doing so), no action was taken if a girl with lighter hair dyed her hair to a darker shade matching the accepted norm. In fact, this was somewhat encouraged.

Anyway, the teachers made a huge deal of students' hair color, spending hours in meetings discussing the issue and lots of energy on enforcement of what I saw as discriminatory rules

lol @ the ridiculousness of this whole thing. Contradictions, contradictions, contradictions! Illogical!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

To dye or not to dye that is the question!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The new female staff at the company I work for come to interviews with black hair and within a few months change to shades of browns and reds. Natural black hair at job interviews seems to indicate seriousness.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

To continue the jokes, here I go:

License to dye

GoldenDye

Tomorrow never Dyes

On topic, jet black hair for the win

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No preference, if it looks good on the girl, that's all that matters.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Readers, no more "dye" puns please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

reminds me of Dr Seuss' "star- bellied Sneetches" story

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Many girls have told me that dyed hair is now more natural than dark hair. One of them even said dark hair is wrong and wished she had been born with dyed hair. Two of them, "Japanese boys don't like dark hair, so we've got to look pretty and cool with our "natural" brown hair."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But you may be wondering, Japanese people have naturally black hair, right? So, how can something naturally occurring become a “trend”?

Naturally ? Most Japanese women have to dye their hair if they want it black. Men too BTW. The myth that they don't age and never get gray hair has no foundation. The number of dye product shelves in shop is there to tell it.

what's with the senior ladies with purple hair?

Seen any in Japan recently ? If yes, look again. As Marilita explained, they are in their 20's and they dyed their hair into the trendy "ash" shades. Bachan wouldn't want to be seen dead with gray hair.

Many girls have told me that dyed hair is now more natural than dark hair.

That's a fact. I have had all the colors of the rainbow on my head... but well, blond, auburn, red and brown more often. And I have dozens of old acquaintances that tell me : "You look good now... BUT I preferred you natural hair color and style... -Yes ? -Straight red hair is so rare, why having a perm and dying it ? ". And the next person will tell me they preferred me as a natural blonde. And I have heard I "did my hair" to look more gaijin than haafu... from a bachan that saw me with geisha hair (they wear wigs... to look more haaafu than gaijin, I guess), but the bachan told me I looked better with gaijin hair. My BF Bottom line, people have no sense of what is natural.

In the same way, I did found the previous Asience commercials blatantly racist.

Totally. It's racist to say "colored women" should keep to black hair, and would look nice only that way. Do we hear anyone criticizing Angelina Jolie for being a dyed brunette, Christina Hendricks a dyed red hair, too long to mention the "dyed blondes" ? Yes, it's obvious that Rihana or Norika Fujiwara are not born with "that color" or "that texture" or hair, but what that makes as long as they look gorgeous ? Life is long, you have time for many colors.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nowadays many girls and even guys dye their hair however keep in mind that their are certain times when you should not colour your hair. Those who believe that a colour job can be done at any time may be in risk of damaging their scalp or hair. In a nut shell don't colour your hair if you have a scalp injury, avoid colouring your hair if it is over processed, postpone hair colouring if you are losing hair or your hair has thinned out due to illness or natural causes, wait to have your hair coloured if you have head lice, body lice, and fleas etc. Last of all for heaven's sake do not colour your hair if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. So why not add some excitement and make a fashion statement by trying a new hair style and dye it. After all it's a common practice that many women use frequently and safely.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

might help if they didn't charge so much to dye and cut your hair. Just a cut, wash and dry here costs me 5000 yen if I get a few highlights they charge another 5000...back in the states my hair stylist washed, cut, highlights, dry and style all for 60 dollars..I miss that price all the time hahaha.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course silky black hair is beautiful, but dark brown looks fine on Japanese ladies too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some women need to dye their hair to look better.I prefer black hair when looking at women but hey.... whatever makes you happy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It happens something weird with my hair.

My Father is a barber (not an stilyst) and when I was born I'm told that I had straight jet-black hair, which pleased my mom so much since she had black curly hair, and on my father´s side my cousins and aunts are blonde with green&blue eyes (mine are hazel).

Until my father shaved my head when I was, like 1 month old (it was customary to drop off you "born hair" to make it stronger), The result was that the new hair was golden blonde hair...

Over the years my hair got darker, refusing to take any dyes (the hair gets burned before taking any dye) and now is a dark ash blonde hair, which ironically every salon in my hometown thinks it's dyed...

I was tempted many times to dyed black to have my "born hair", but people tells me it's not good because my skin color is white and thin, with black hair I would like Morticia from "the Addams family". as for the Japanase, what I don't like is dyed color that looks artificial, like if you have very black eyebrows and dye your hair platinum blonde it's son unnatural that is unpleasant, whatever suits you ladies, but on the other hand seeing all of them with black hair is boring, I guess if people go less to salons is due to the mar-11 earthquake, due to recession and more care for the hair too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just my random opinion but I think the natural Japanese (and mostly Asians in general) hair color is great. If they have to dye then I'd mention that the best colors for Japanese would be dark to medium light brown hair, and maybe a very deep red. Stay away from BLONDE or very light colors.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just don't dye/bleach it blond. It will never come even close to natural blond color and the skin pigmentation of oriental makes the people looks like he/she is sick and mal-nutritious. Go for blue or purple since any color besides black is definitely not natural anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No more chapatsu! It looks godawful.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'll never dye my hair any color. I'm keeping my natural reddish orange color.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I take issue with the author's claim that natural Japanese hair is black. That is just BS. Hair color range from red to black with the majority having dark brown to black hair. This also means that some could have natural red highlights. The idea of long black or jet black hair as an ideal was back in the Heian era when Japan was heavily influenced by China. Of course the extremely long hair was worn by the court women of that era since it not practical for the average women of that or any time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's racist to say "colored women" should keep to black hair, and would look nice only that way.

Hmmm, had no idea race had anything to do with hair coloring

1 ( +2 / -1 )

have to say black or dark braown is the only color that really suits asian women, its when they dye it blonde or a lighter color it looks silly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't mind a few brownish highlights, but prefer a woman's hair to be on the darker side.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As long as it is all the same colour, I am good. Black still the best though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nuthin like a gorgeous black haired Japanese beauty. Yowza

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The natural black colour hair is the symbol of youngsters. I believe that there is no existence more beautiful than such a black colour.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Black Beauty: Mane attraction. Don't ever change it! ;-)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I like my hair color- It's uniquely my own.

I've always thought men and "hair talk" were incompatible-

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Depends on who you want to please:

Other girl friends.... cut and dye your hair. be "fashionable".

If you want to please a guy... leave it long and natural.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Okay, I'm visiting Japan and I'm wondering if it will be a big problem that I have bright hair colours?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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