Let’s talk current Gal Hair and blonde

I admit I get ranty here, but this is a big pet peeve for me, I wrote this last month but my observation still holds true.

There is this perception that gal=blonde only. God if I hear this spewed one more time in English I think my head will explode. As an experiment I spent today counting all the gals I could find that were blonde. I was in 109, spent a while walking around centaagai, I was at Hachiko twice, and I was talking to my lovely shopstaff. I found 2, 2!!! That were blonde.

Get your facts straight!

So if they’re not blonde, why are Western gyaru saying blonde = Gal? Just w-t-f! :?:

Not only that, we have this preconception of giant hair = gal. Sure that was once the case and Agejo (for work) and Hime still prescribe to the giant hair equation. That’s two groups. Lip Service which has identified itself as Agejo, its shopstaff all have straight flat hair in long bob styles or soft wavy hair that is not big. None are blonde.


Staff and regular girls from Glittter’s 109 English guide. Tons of variety. :wink:

Please pay attention to street-snaps

Yes I realize blonde and big hair is a possible easy way into gal, it also is often not the most current one. Nuts has one blonde as does Jelly. The majority of gals have brown or red hair. I am not saying this to hate on blondes, I couldn’t since my hair is naturally red blonde and I was once quite blonde living in Tokyo.

I think these two concepts are rooting people to the past gyaru, which is making Western gyaru hang onto dated looks.

There’s been a hair evolution in gyaru. Short or medium non-exte hair is fine. Some even going black and none of their hair is big. Kanako’s hair is short and dark now, Romihi’s is black and flat, Nanako’s is blonde and purple and short, Rumi’s is red and yes big, Hoshiaya is often flat and her natural color, Sayako is brown and flat… the list goes on.

Yes I’ve said it several times, changing your fashion stance to Gyaru does not happen without a serious hair consideration and a possible change. I will say this again. Gals have a set color range of hair. Yes Kaoru used to have pink hair, but that was Kaoru a) she was a well established model at the time b) her look matched her style. But a giant teased blonde mess is not the fad. The bob fad from last summer is still in. Many of my staff-chans have their natural hair (not color, but no extensions). Many have straight perms, which does make your hair incredibly flat.

I admit I do like big Agejo styles once in a while, and I enjoy seeing all the Agejo girls heading to work with hair set… but it’s not all gal and they’re doing it for work. Don’t get me wrong big hair exists, but it is the not the usual. Howeverm to think typical gal hair = Agejo is just not true.

Above is a Gilfy staff-chan from their Camoflage Gilfy Osaka store in OPA.

While she is working in the most popular store in the biggest gal mall in Osaka, I know some may see her and think she’s not gal. She has very short simple hair, and while she’s tan she’s not bacon-colored and while she does have nails they’re rather short. This is really what style many of the Gilfy staff-chan are moving to and she is a big part of how different new gal hair can look. One of the 109 staff-chans has the exact same color and style of hair, too.

Rock-style is really going strong with short hair. Almost all Gilfy staff in all their stores have short hair. Glad News is about 75% short haired. A little longer than shoulder length and without exte is more common.

Nailists usually have long, but their own hair. Possibly because it’s easier to keep back while dealing with sticky substances than short hair can be.

It seems more of a trend for high school gals to take the blonde/long/curl route because it represents a total change into gal. Also since most highschools don’t allow hair dying or even curling this is a way to show off to other schoolgirls. However, as you can see from the more mature 18+ crowd in magazines and on the street that blonde/exte is not a typical route.

Concerning long hair on post-kogal girls, I’m mainly seeing the top left style in the collage with no bangs and the hair pulled all the way back

Hair is an important change into gal style, but it can be achieved several ways. Especially now there are tons of short hair icons to follow: Maya Mori from Jelly has been really owning her shorter hair style.

Her chemically straightened, beautifully highlighted bob along with another model’s no-bang bob.

Curled and teased with volume (love those contacts) :love:

Sure long hair helps to hide a boring top or a sloping shoulder, but short hair can still be great. As a pair article to this one, I recommend bloomzy‘s new blog and her first post about hair color. :idea:

And if I got too ranty in that you are free to imagine me as this cute raging dinosaur :o

41 Comments

  1. supakawaiigurl
    January 18, 2010 / 10:12 am

    THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR POST!

    I really hate it sometimes when western gals, who, of course know absolutely everything (oh really?) tend to critisize/say nasty things about some stuff which seems doubtful for me :)
    thanks for clearing things out. I’m really happy that my not overdose of hair & tan is correct :)

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:05 pm

      Oh I hope I wasn’t trying to say no hair + tan is not popular. It’s just it’s not the most popular anymore. Girls gotta go broad and accept more styles :love:

  2. January 18, 2010 / 11:27 am

    thanks so much for this post .. although i currently have the typical blonde and curly hair atm, it’s nice to know that there are other options.. i guess the western gyaru have blinded me about what really is gyaru hair, but thank goodness for your blog :) i learned something today.

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:06 pm

      Girl your hair is fabulous and if you love it, more sexy girl power to you. I just hope people understand there’s a range now for gals in both length and color :o

  3. January 18, 2010 / 11:33 am

    haha you know how I feel on this subject XD
    WELL DONE!!

    I think you made your point perfectly and showed some good up-to-date examples, which are super cute might I add. I also liked the lowdown on the styles/hairstyles :D

    p.s. I loved the tiny dinosaur XD

    • January 19, 2010 / 11:35 am

      I just saw the link to my blog, thank you~!!

      I’ve currently lost internet at my house and I’m dying to make another post…will have to steal the bf’s mac XD lol

      • Mitsu
        January 19, 2010 / 5:07 pm

        LOL I’m kinda sad you’re not updating. Your posts are exactly what I want to see more of :oops: The tiny dino is awesome :roll:

        • January 20, 2010 / 10:59 am

          Thank you :D
          I’m really annoyed that I’m having this problem…but what can you expect from student accommodation?! :x

          If it’s not sorted by the weekend then I’m going to bring my laptop to my bf’s and use his internet…because I’m really sad I haven’t had the chance to update. I’m really enjoying it. I just hope the readers will too.

  4. January 18, 2010 / 1:19 pm

    Oh thank you so much for this! I’ve raged about this many times as people just think long curly hair = instant gal. Don’t get me wrong, I like long hair and I’ve had it myself too (in blonde, many times) but short hair looks super cute too! ;3 I’m loving the redhair look atm. Would love to go back to it but it’s such a bitch to get rif off (especially as I get bored of things way too fast >_>)

    and that dinosaur is so cute xD

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:08 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better. Red is fabulous, but dear god changing and maintaining it is so evil. :evil: I totally agree :idea:

  5. January 18, 2010 / 2:46 pm

    Yes! if there are any western girls out there calling themselves “gal” and not reading your blog they are doing themselves a great disservice.

    This recent trip to Japan was the first where I really paid attention to checking out gals, and due to the general western opinion that gal is curling your hair big, I was surprised to see around 70% of gals actually have straight hair. And considering how difficult it is to get and maintain blond color on naturally black hair, I am not surprised its actually rare. I saw one blond gal working in SBY, and a couple on the street but that was it.

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:09 pm

      Girl you making me blush. Can we clone you? :idea:

      Exactly! Girls are definitely going a sleeker route and I admit I love seeing a gal with black hair still looking ultra-gal :oops:

  6. January 18, 2010 / 4:30 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS. <3
    im asian with (dyed) dark brown hair and even though kinpatsu on asian girls can scream GAL (and i would love to go blonde), its such a pain to maintain. as is exte and fake tan, and they're $$$! it's good to know that having dark hair doesn't make you ungal.

    then, again, hair which is not blonde + teased really forces you to work on the makeup to make yourself more recognizably gal~ it's good in ways (:

    i love the gilfy staffchan too, she's stylish!~ and that dinosaur is adorable <333

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:10 pm

      Thank you for your lovely words! :idea:

      Yes I totally agree! When you step out of the tan/blonde circle it does make you work harder on other things. I think it created the rise in eyelashes actually :oops:

  7. Dolly
    January 18, 2010 / 6:41 pm

    I love this entry! Haha, you posted this right after I dyed my hair~ It would have been so much easier to choose a hair color. I’m now a golden brown color but I love it anyway.

    I’m not sure if you accept questions separately thru email or something but I have a question I hope you can help me with. I know gals in Japan could start as early as middle school and so on but I was wondering how old do gal’s age usually range to? I think that for western gals, fully taking on gal and being able to afford it is much easier when you’re older(20+) but it’s different in Japan since high school isn’t required for them right? Do you often see older gals? Sorry for such a long question XD

    • Mitsu
      January 18, 2010 / 7:39 pm

      You can pose it when I set-up Ask Anything. I should do it Feb 1 since I thought I’d do it every 2 months to give people a chance to think about questions ^_^

  8. January 18, 2010 / 7:19 pm

    THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!
    I really appreciated it since I find myself subscribing to the thought that gal = blonde even though I know that’s not the case blame Tsubasa, hahaXD
    I really like how you highlighted many of the current styles with photos though & yes,I have noticed that the bob style is definitely a major trend! I also liked how you mentioned that most gals have brown or red hair now, since I’ve been thinking of going the red route myself <3
    Thanks for keeping us up to date & smashing those stereotypes!

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:11 pm

      LOL and even Tsubasa is stepping out of her own classic blonde puffy hair.

      Oooo red hair, I admit I love red hair and wish I could keep it (such a pain to maintain), if you change hair color let me know, I love to see drastic color change results. :-D

      • January 24, 2010 / 12:05 am

        Haha, so true!! I love that reddish colour she did recently.
        & I definitely will let you know if I decide to go red myself! I’m still debating whether or not I want to deal with the upkeep, haha XD

  9. non
    January 18, 2010 / 8:03 pm

    you look cute as a raging dinosaur! ;D

    it’s good to see that regular gals aren’t all shopped up like the models! (well, that’s a given haha.) this post kind of brings back the though that what you see in mags is not exactly what you see on the streets.

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:12 pm

      lol some girls I see do look better than the models, but most are just everyday girls and we need to stop putting some on pedestals (says the girl who waited 2 hrs to see Sakurina :^_^;;: )

  10. mari
    January 18, 2010 / 8:52 pm

    nice~ I think it would be nice to see more black/dark brown haired gals in mags……

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:13 pm

      I think they’re showing up more and more, it’s often in the mags that cater to the above 18 yr old gal crowd though :idea:

      • January 19, 2010 / 7:22 pm

        eh? I guess this is what I get for not reading jelly and other 18+ gal mags….

  11. January 18, 2010 / 9:52 pm

    Great post! This makes me want a bob even more!

    This article got me wondering…could the short(er) and dark(er) hair boom been brought on by the recession? I know it sounds a little far-fetched, but think about it! After all, shorter hair does mean not having to spend money on extensions, and shades of brown and red mean less frequent touch-ups at the salon for those with natural brown or black hair. Hmm…

    • Mitsu
      January 18, 2010 / 10:03 pm

      I think that is definite food for thought, but I have my doubts. In the US the media is bombarding us with recession recession recession, but Japanese media not so much. Actually the time when many in the financial sector were worried about layoffs and job losses (my man works in that sector so I was biting my nails :^_^;;: ), instead the Japanese government decided that a socialist outlook would be better and opted to give every Japanese resident or foreign national a bonus of $250 or so.

      Also while the recession has hit Japan, it’s not hitting the cities as much and gal is much more a city thing. Kansai (Kyoto-Kobe-Osaka) is having its problems, but Tokyo not so much. The government is really pushing fiscal stimulus (at the cost of serious debt to itself). This concept is really keeping Japan afloat for now. When I was in Japan in 2007 the dollar to yen was 1 to 110 yen now it’s like 1 to 90.67 currently. :depressed:

      Another issue is that 109 is part of the so-called “fast fashion” which is supposed to be recession friendly. My staff-chans all had their jobs and 109 kept on hiring to fill space.

      I think the new turn to short hair and browns are helped by factors within gal such as the rise of Agejo make-up. With the choice of eyelash extensions and bottom eyelashes it’s another thing to must spend to be in fashion with.

  12. January 18, 2010 / 10:09 pm

    Fantastic post I love your views you open my eyes!!

    OMG does that mean I am a GAL?
    For years I’ve been dressing Gal style and wearing Gal make though I never thought I would be a Gal because I didn’t have blond curly big ass hair! [I have naturally long straight dark brown]

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:14 pm

      Gal style, gal make, and giving your hair gal styling (not coloring) is all it takes. Girl you is gal if you wanna be :idea: :idea:

  13. Mada
    January 19, 2010 / 4:38 am

    I couldn`t agree more, I like JELLY/Happie Nuts hair, not Popteen or EGG, and while I don`t think of myself as gyaru, I really like the style and use it for inspiration, I hate when people say someone can only be gyaru if they look exactly like let`s say Kumikki or some agejo….pfft
    ane-gal is more like western fashion, just more forward

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:15 pm

      Yeah Kumikki is an icon because she doesn’t look like everyone else, not because she IS everyone else. And most Agejo have flat hair during their regular day since they’re sick of having their hair in a teased/sprayed helmet. :o

  14. January 19, 2010 / 2:37 pm

    hey

    thank you for your comment. i really love jun komori. she is such a pretty woman and i want to support her :)

    i love your blog. it’s so interesting because i love shopping in japan. i can’t wait to make holiday ther in septemer :)

    • Mitsu
      January 19, 2010 / 5:16 pm

      I hope Jun continues to do well. At first I thought she was a Tsubasa clone, but since Tsubasa has left she’s made her own niche. I hope she stays around, I wonder how long Popteen will keep her at her age -_-

      Thank you :idea: :idea:

  15. noora
    January 22, 2010 / 10:17 am

    Amen! Thanks so much for posting this, I totally agree with you :)

  16. May 10, 2010 / 9:51 am

    Hey thanks! I agree, I actually personally prefer the gals with short hair at the moment… ^-^
    I think as long as your hair isn’t greasy or gross like that then it can be made gyaru.

    My hair is blonde, but that’s my natural hair colour ^-^’ I love the medium brown colour though if it has to be dyed, it looks far more natural on Japanese gyaru…blonde can look a bit silly on gals who aren’t professional models!

  17. June 23, 2010 / 2:06 am

    Yes, thank you! I just saw this post and I so agree. There’s so much more diversity than is often seen or admitted over here. And thanks for the example pictures, they look so stylish!

    • Mitsu
      June 23, 2010 / 7:51 pm

      Hopefully we’ll see more cute examples soon ^_^

  18. daydreamrose
    July 19, 2010 / 7:44 am

    thank goodness for this post because i was getting kinda nervous about the whole YOU HAVE TO BE BLONDE thing cuz my mom sure as heck wouldnt let me go blonde and i dont think i would look good blonde ;p so thanks again

  19. August 20, 2010 / 7:59 pm

    ^-^” I’m sure this post is a little late o.o; And maybe a tad offtopic.
    :D I really loveeeeee hime~♥(Although my freinds think im crazy for wanting to dress like that)
    >< And I am a westener and 16. Wich makes it a tad bit difficault.Also xD I know basicly nothing.
    :D I absulotly love light brown xD hair.
    And this artical made me happy :3
    I see so many poeple..online.. telling me how i have to dye my hair Blonde xD Wich I don't want to do.
    I'v had to bleach my poor hair so many times (Iv had it pink *ALOT*)
    Its so damaged O; So i want to keep it a light brown ^-^ so i wont have to dye my hair so much!

    *Hugs* I love your blog~♥

  20. Ailyn
    November 18, 2011 / 8:40 pm

    Well….am tooooo late to post this but I feel MUCH better seeing this posts since I don’t see many gals around here and only on the web it seems things have been changing and blonde hair is not the big standard so much anymore because either way it would kill my hair…so thanks for this post! (even if i’m too late lol) (:

  21. February 16, 2012 / 8:10 am

    I wanted to ask your opinion on black gal hair?
    I’m of Pakistani heritage, and my hair is jet black. Dying it would require bleaching and I’m not taking the risk of having my hair damaged. So if I kept it jet black, do you think that’d be acceptable?

    • Mitsu
      February 16, 2012 / 2:29 pm

      I think black hair on gals can be successful IF the make-up is heavier. Light make-up really is smothered by darker hair. It has less of an impact.

      That’s just my opinion so feel free to take as just one person’s view on the subject :)

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