Make your own Oshiroi or Geisha/Maiko white Shiro-nuri/make up

Well, I have the real thing but don’t like using it because of the cost and as an evil chemist I thought I would make my own, fragrance and talc free version for clubbing and other events!

The tools:

Ingredients for the white kabuki foundation:

1. Titanium Dioxide (Zinc Oxide and Magnesium stearate could be suitable replacements if you have an allergy etc)

2. Sericite Mica (Provides the ‘silkiness’ and there are many versions to choose from but all should be OK)

3. Glyerol (Or Glycerine, check the ‘coughs and colds’ section of your local pharmacy or cake section of your supermarket – mine is 100% w/w)

4. Water

5. Rice powder (I get mine for a few quid off rakuten, however, Aloe vera powder or ‘mineral make up’ setting powder will also do the trick)


So the method for 1 face:

1. Mix 3.5g of Titanium dioxide with 1.5g of Sericite in one pot

2. Mix 1g Glycerol with 4g of water in another

3. Add the two mixes together

This is basically it for the kabuki make up. Then you can either use this this for a REALLY thick coverage (I find hard to use) or thin it out with a bit more water (like about 2g) and layer. You need to use the same techniques with a foundation brush and sponge to achieve the effect.

Once your face is complete and dry you need to dust with the rice powder to set the foundation.

I tested this on my arm to compare it to the real thing:


and in daylight:

This is close to the real thing but not 100% accurate, the reason is I have not used any talc or funny ingredients including the perfume that is added which to be honest, smells like your grandma.

I use rice powder or white mineral setting powder to dust – the one I make myself has white mica and aloe vera powder, but you can just re-dust with Sericite to make this solution even cheaper.

On the cost side of things:

1. Titanium dioxide 250g = £5

2. Sericite 25g = £6

3. Glycerol 100ml = £1.20

4. Water – Free out of the tap if someone else is paying…

5. Rice Powder – £8 for a box with 3 packets

That’s a lot of faces for the money.

The real stuff costs $72 for the kabuki make up and wax then the powder is $46.

The arm pictures are WITHOUT the wax base. The wax base is required for a more authentic look, it makes it long lasting and smoother. It is also a bugger to get off without real soap. You can try making the wax with beeswax,oil and petroleum jelly but I don’t have a method for that 🙂 It’s like a stiff, dry lip balm you smooth over your face.




Crafting up a Maiko Ensemble…

For years I have wanted a Maiko ensemble. Genuine stuff is too expensive NOT to wear so I am embarking on a mission to create my own funky maiko ensemble.

This will include:

1. Completion of a hitoe hikizuri from furisode that I have had tacked together for an age waiting to be sewn. With my hand sewing technique this will probably take me 12 months 🙂

My soon to be maiko hiki

This is June colours and I think motifs so I will need to plan a matching obi.

2. Maiko collar, obiage and obijime. For this I need red fabric with silver painted detail, possibly painted by myself and heavy embroidered white fabric. Curtain fabric maybe 🙂

3. Darari Obi. I am going to need some monster brocade/embroidered fabric for this and the patience to embroider my own mon (probably a cat face) on the end in a light colour with gold detailing.

4. Okobo – I shall buy these, they are about $100.

My inspiration is a memory of a maiko I saw on flickr once and can never find the photo again. She was in Jade green, with a white and gold obi walking down an ally in Kyoto.

Crafting my own outfit means I will wear it and not be so worried about destroying the genuine article.

More kimono collars…..and a bit of cheeky fan girl insert.

I know boring huh? But not to me! Over the bank holiday I finished my ‘velcro han-eri and fake collar’ system for lazy lazy kitsuke:

We have brown with forest cartoons:



monkey kimono collar!

and polka dots with spider lace…

handmade lace/Polkadots dual sided collar

I also made a wide fake collar for my pink kyoto hikizuri:


You might think I am boring with these collars but Loki is pleased:

What I wouldn’t give to get Tom Hiddleston into a kimono, I have one that will fit! (he is a similar height and build as my husband who will never let me dress him up, and looks a bit Loki-ish according to a few small children who point)

All men look good in real kimono. ALL OF THEM!

Kimono dressing is a 3D operation, not just about sleeve length!

Tokyo Fashion sometimes add in some wonderful kimono shots and I am updated via facebook. I am amazed at how people profess knowledge about kimono and most of the time tell the guys off for calling something a ‘kimono’ when ‘ya know – its a yukata because it has short sleeves. She is young so if it was a kimono the sleeves would be longer’


It is true that the long swinging sleeved kimono are traditionally worn by unmarried women but they are a formal garment not meant for the streets.

Choosing the right kimono for purpose is a 3 dimensional process.

1. Age – Sleeve length DOES have age connotations, the longest sleeved kimono are normally reserved for younger women (but unmarried is the key) and you typically see these kimono around coming of age and graduation. However sleeve length is also subject to fashion. More vintage kimono aimed at older women have longer sleeves.

Age also dictates HOW the kimono should be worn. As a married woman my front collar is lower, as well as my obi with a more subdued otaiko. The back of collar is also sight closer in and more flat.

2. Formality – You wouldn’t wear an evening gown to Mcdonalds and the same western style formality rules are set within kimono. Streetwear for all ages are typically komon print, an all over pattern or variations on. Formality should never be thrown out the window, however age and seasonality frequently are 🙂

3. Seasonality – However, this, in modern times has been superseded by style. The only two season specific matches I can do personally are April, with sakura and butterflies and September as I have a lot of purple! Geisha really, are the only kimono wearers with such an extensive wardrobe as to match up all 3 dimensions of kimono.

This also dictates the weight of kimono. In the UK weather though, normally you mix up the kimono weights all year round as we have hot sunny weather Monday (hitoe or ro) then hail storms Tuesday (back to awase)

3.5 Style – I follow kimono-hime, angura-kei and other such funky movements with regards to kimono so for me season is quite irrelevant when dressing in kimono. I choose style over season, and this replaces this dimension for me.

3.8. Iki – loosely translates as ‘chic’ a form of styling combining the main three elements of kimono dressing in an unspeakably stylish way.

So if a young women is sporting a meisen kimono around town it is not yukata because the sleeves are too short….

</end rant>

Japanorama in Nottingham – Geisha Tea Party

On Saturday we joined in Japanorama which was a ‘teahouse party fundraiser’ experience in Nottingham.

It was a light affair, with tea, snacks, Japanese games like Tora Tora and dancing.

I took my wedding kakeshita hikizuri for one of the ‘Geisha’ and there were 2 ‘Maiko’, 1 ‘Geiko’ and an okiya mother.

The geisha had contructed their own dance based on the distinctive but easier moves assosciated with traditional dances performed by Geisha, as they knew with two months till the show they would not be able to master a full dance. Plus they were very aware of their own limitations and this was for fun.

April took a video so hopefully I will be able to add it to this post at a later date!

We strapped the girls into their kimono so they could provide a decent experience for the guests.

Here are a few photos from the day:






The dance was good. I think it resonated a lot better as they were not directly immitating a traditional dance, which we have seen that this is hard to master and can fail when preformed by dancers not traditionally trained.

On another note, there were MAIKO in London recently and it doesn’t matter how much we troll websites for events such as this, they never bother to publicise them or intentionality keep stuff like this secret. SUPER mad.

I will see Geisha dance…oh yes I WILL.


Kimono Hiatus…2 weeks in…

and I am already suffering! Oh my god! I see friends buying wonderful things and I want want want! How on earth am I going to manage for 12 months?

I know when I finally start sewing this weekend and making pretty collars it will give my ‘clicking fingers’ something to do other than shop online but still…. temptation everywhere!

Since watching Sakuran again I really, really want a bright vintage uchikake softer than my big red thing:




and yuzen dyed. However I can neither afford to spend the money or have seen one that I want. I want a purple or dark green base colour.

And….I would so have nowhere to wear it. So no, I will not buy one. I don’t cosplay and it will live in a box.

I will prance around the house in my bulky red uchikake that I do love.


Kimono Challenge #4 – Least used kimono item…

The challenge questions are:

1. How did you discover and get into kimono?
2. Your dearest kimono item(s).
3. Your most used kimono item(s) (not counting jubans, datejimes etc.).
4. Your least used kimono item(s).
5. Your favourite coordination(s) so far.
6. What do you like and don’t like about kimono.
7. Kimono confessions. Did you know that…
8. Your dream kitsuke items (or at least items you really really want but can’t get for whatever reason).
9. Your biggest kimono fears.
10. Your biggest kimono inspiration.
11. Your kimono collection.
12. The evolution of your kitsuke.
13. Your special kimono memory.

Least used kimono item.

I like to wear out all my kimono, its clothing ain’t it? However, there are some pieces I am afraid to walk out the door in so they are admired and not used much. My Geisha susohiki in particular.

I have three, a pink september hitoe hikizuri which has been worn once:

Baka Hime In Kyoto Geiko Hikizuri (2)

My black hikizuri:

and my favourite purple hikizuri which has not made it onto a human yet:

Baka Hime in Purple Paper Crane Hikizuri (2)

Due to ‘the fear’ which will be detailed in part #9 these will always be my least used kimono items, forever. That and my korin belt.

Kimono photoshoots!

Still fixing the flickr backlog, however I have kimono goodness to spare from a recent photoshoot. These are not the professional images, just ones we took!

I nearly sold on that green furi – well…glad I didn’t! I love the rockabilly kimono look, its one I sport due to my love for this theme! All models we work with also want a ‘geisha’ style look – so we bend to it.