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Do Japanese dye their hair?


Japanese culture is known for its unique fashion trends and styles. One of the most popular trends is hair dyeing, which has gained immense popularity among Japanese people. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Japanese people dye their hair, the different hair colors they prefer, and the impact of this trend on Japanese culture.

Historical Background

The tradition of hair dyeing in Japan dates back to the Jomon period, between 14,000 BC and 300 BC. During this time, women used henna to dye their hair red or orange. Later, during the Heian period (794-1185 AD), noblewomen dyed their hair black using a mixture of iron filings and black tea. However, it was during the Edo period (1603-1868) when it became popular among ordinary people to dye their hair black.

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Reasons for Hair Dyeing

The reasons for hair dyeing in Japan are diverse. Some people dye their hair to express their individuality or to stand out from the crowd. Others do it to conform to societal norms or to fit in with a particular group or subculture. Moreover, some people dye their hair to cover up grey hairs or to enhance their natural hair color.

Popular Hair Colors

In Japan, black is still the most popular hair color, followed by brown and blonde. However, in recent years, there has been a surge in popularity for unconventional colors like pink, purple, and green. These bright colors are often associated with Harajuku fashion and are worn by young people who want to express their creativity.

Dyeing Techniques

There are several techniques for hair dyeing in Japan. The most common method is called “single process,” where the hair is colored with a single shade of dye. Another popular technique is “gradation,” where the hair is dyed with multiple shades to create a subtle gradient effect. “Highlighting” is another technique where only certain strands of hair are colored, while the rest remains natural.

Popular Brands

There are several Japanese brands that specialize in hair dyeing products. Some of the most popular brands include Palty, Liese, and Gatsby. These brands offer a wide range of colors and techniques and are easily accessible at drugstores and beauty supply stores.

Impact on Japanese Culture

Hair dyeing has become an integral part of Japanese culture, especially among young people. It has influenced fashion trends, music, and even anime and manga. The rise of unconventional hair colors has also led to a shift in beauty standards in Japan, where individuality is increasingly valued over conformity.

Challenges with Hair Dyeing

While hair dyeing is popular in Japan, it can also cause damage to the hair if not done correctly. Frequent use of hair dye can lead to dryness, split ends, and breakage. Moreover, some people may experience allergic reactions to certain hair dye ingredients.

Misconceptions about Hair Dyeing

There are several misconceptions about hair dyeing in Japan. One common myth is that only women dye their hair. However, both men and women dye their hair in Japan. Another misconception is that hair dyeing is only popular among young people. However, people of all ages in Japan dye their hair.

Hair Dyeing Salons

Japan has a thriving industry of hair dyeing salons that cater to customers who want professional-grade results. These salons offer a wide range of services, including coloring, highlighting, and perm treatments. They often use high-quality products and employ trained professionals who can offer advice on the best hair color for each individual.


In conclusion, hair dyeing is a popular trend in Japan that has its roots in ancient traditions. It has evolved over time to become a symbol of individuality and creativity among young people. While there are challenges associated with hair dyeing, it has had a positive impact on Japanese culture and has influenced fashion and beauty trends. Whether it’s black, brown, or pink, hair dyeing remains an essential part of Japanese culture today.

Why do Japanese people dye hair?

Japanese women often dye their hair to appear more gentle, much like how we get perms. Straight, black hair can appear severe without contrast, but wavy, brown hair creates a softer, more feminine look with more dimension and movement.

What hair color do Japanese like?

According to a survey of 358 women, 63.7% believed that men prefer women with light brown hair. The survey was conducted in Japan in September of 2013.

What is the natural hair color of Japanese?

Since black and brown are the natural hair colors for most Japanese individuals, they typically choose these shades of hair dye to conceal any gray hairs.

Do kids have to dye their hair black in Japan?

The public high schools in Tokyo have abolished their regulations that required students to wear designated undergarments and dye their natural hair black. These rules have been increasingly criticized for restricting the self-expression of students. Japanese schools have long dictated how students should appear and behave.

Why can’t you have dyed hair in Japan?

A rule found in some schools that has caused debate is the mandatory requirement for all students to have black hair. The justification behind this rule is that the majority of Japanese people have naturally black hair, and if someone has a different hair color, it means they have dyed it intentionally. This has sparked controversy in recent years.

What color is most popular in Japan?

The color red, also known as “aka,” is highly favored in Japan, particularly in the design of shrines and temples. This can be traced back to ancient times when the color red was believed to have the power to ward off malevolent spirits.

Despite the popularity of hair dyeing in Japan, there are still some stigmas attached to unconventional colors. Some employers may view brightly colored hair as unprofessional, which can limit job opportunities for those who choose to express themselves through their hair. However, this stigma is slowly changing as more companies adopt more relaxed dress codes and embrace individuality in the workplace.

Moreover, the rise of social media has also contributed to the popularity of hair dyeing in Japan. Many young people share their hair transformations on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, inspiring others to try new colors and styles. This has created a sense of community among those who dye their hair and has helped to further normalize unconventional hair colors.

Overall, hair dyeing has become a cultural phenomenon in Japan that reflects the country’s unique blend of tradition and modernity. It has evolved from a simple way to cover up grey hairs to a form of self-expression that is embraced by people of all ages and backgrounds. As trends continue to shift, it will be interesting to see how hair dyeing continues to influence Japanese culture in the years to come.

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