Inside the Mind-Blowing Haircare Routine of a Modern-Day Geisha

Amanda Montell
PHOTO:

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty

Japanese geisha still exist, but not in the way you might think. Centered in the city of Kyoto is a community of the elaborately adorned women you've likely read about or seen in movies, only in 2016, they're called geiko, not geisha. Today, the geiko's role is to keep a centuries-old cultural tradition alive, and from their masterful etiquette skills to their pristine, time-honored beauty look, they commit with full force.

According to a Fox News report from last year, there are approximately 250 working geiko in Japan (that number includes geiko-in-training, called maiko). Girls start preparing for the role as young as 14, when they relinquish their cell phones and all modern communication to follow a strict program involving lessons in tea ceremony, flower arranging, musical instruments, traditional dance, calligraphy, visual art, and "the art of conversation."

When they aren't mastering ancient art forms, geiko spend their nights performing at a traditional teahouse, where guests are required to hold an exclusive invitation and pay up to $2000 a head for the experience. In part, guests pay to behold the rare beauty of modern-day geiko, whose extravagant looks take hours to perfect.

Geiko's hair, in particular, is a thing of wonder, coiffed and ornamented into what looks like a glittering statue. Geiko who have finished their training typically wear a wig when they perform, but maiko are expected to style their own natural hair. Either way, these women flaunt incredibly long, shiny manes that require a precise haircare routine.

Fascinated by how the geiko of today take care of their hair behind the scenes, we got in touch with Japanese beauty expert Koko Hayashi, founder of Japanese skin and body care brand Mirai Clinical. To learn about the real modern-day geisha's fascinating haircare routine, keep reading.

Obsessed with international beauty? Don't miss this fascinating piece on the cultural backstory of Korean beauty.

Explore: geisha hair

Add a Comment

More Stories
1