How to Apply Oshiroi to the Neck and Face

Oshiroi is the characteristic white face paint used in traditional Japanese dance and kabuki theater. This tutorial will show how to apply oshiroi to the hands and neck. For this tutorial you will need:


  • Rag/microfiber cloth
  • Makeup wipes
  • Headband
  • Mirror
  • Lighter
  • Large makeup sponge
  • Brush
  • Shallow dish/container


  • Abura (face wax)
  • Taihaku (eyebrow wax)
  • Pink To no ko (face powder)
  • Loose white face powder
  • Oshiroi (white face paint)

Step 1: Preparing the Face

To prepare the face for oshiroi, wipe the face clean of any other make and apply a headband so your hair will be away from your face.

Step 2: Preparing Your Canvas

To begin the process of oshiroi, wax is used to create a smooth canvas the white paint will be applied to.

Warm up the eyebrow wax with a lighter until soft. Glide the eyebrow wax over your eyebrows in the direction your eyebrow hair is growing in. This will help to cover up your natural eyebrows when the oshiroi is applied.

Apply a pea sized amount of face wax and warm it up between the fingertips. Apply over the entire face, including the mouth, eyelids, and eyebrows.

Step 3: Neck

Squeeze a quarter sized amount of oshiroi into a shallow container. Using the brush, quickly apply the oshiroi onto the neck using broad strokes.

Set the oshiroi using the large sponge and pat aggressively.

Repeat 2-3 times.

*Note: The neck should always be whiter than the face.

Step 4: Back of Neck

Apply oshiroi onto the entire back of the neck using large brush strokes. Then pat aggressively using the large sponge.

Repeat 2-3 times or as many layers used for the neck.

Step 5: Face

Apply oshiroi to the nose bridge and forehead. Pat aggressively using the large sponge. The goal is to create a distinction between the nose bridge and the rest of the face.

Using broad strokes, apply oshiroi to the entire face and set using the large sponge. Oshiroi dries pretty fast, so painting the entire face should be done as quickly as possible.

A smacking noise should be heard when using the sponge. Basically, hit yourself using the sponge. No, I don't know why, but this is how everybody does it.

Repeat 2-3 times then powder with the loose face powder.

If you wish, apply oshiroi only to the nose bridge again, then powder gently using the loose face powder.

Step 6: Adding the Finishing Touches

No oshiroi is complete without the pink powder! This 'pink' look is characteristic of a young woman. Different types of characters (man, spirit, etc.) have different types of makeup applied.

Apply pink makeup to the sides of the nose bridge using a finger and blend until a distinctive nose bridge is created.

Using fingers (or blush brush) apply pink powder to the sides of the cheeks in a 'hook' motion, beginning from the ends of the eyes to the ends of the eyebrows.

Now, you are finished with the neck and face.



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