There are so many wacky cafe themes you can find in Japan. They vary in promotional concepts to attract different kinds of customers. There is one particular cafe which is promoting a “natural beauty” and “no makeup” concept called Naturalia (ナチュラリア). It originally opened in Hokkaido (北海道) in October 2015 and has been in the spotlight for its unusual policy of only hiring women who don’t wear makeup. This time, it is going to branch out to Tokyo to help people relax in a makeup-free zone.
The concept of Naturalia stemmed from the fact that they couldn’t find a cafe in Japan where staff looked plain and ordinary. Most people in the country tend to wear lots of makeup, dye their hair and overly manicure their fake nails. It is also common to see staff in the country whose faces are made-up to please customers. This is naturally the same for other countries.
This prompted the owner to open a makeup-free cafe in Hokkaido, and it proved to be a hit. It was a completely different place where customers could find “normal-looking” employees working. The cafe doesn’t focus on the looks of their employees, which is interpreted as a work dress code. They also ban smoking and reject applications from people who have previously worked in nightclubs.
Although this sounds promising, some of the requirements are quite bizarre and shine a problematic light on beauty standards. Some people feel unfortunate to be barred from applying for the job due to their love for makeup. Some question this policy for the sake of feminism and freedom of expression. The employers of Naturalia prioritize girls who look good naturally without relying on makeup, and focus on those who exude a fresh, girlish appearance. They hope that this will help motivate customers to follow the “no makeup” concept.
Naturalia cafe was a success in Sapporo (札幌), Hokkaido. Because of this, the cafe hoped to spread their concept into the capital city of the country. They will be opening a second cafe in Shibuya (渋谷) on April 3, 2017, which is going to be a stark contrast to their surroundings. The new location will have bar-style seating in a stylish and dimly-lit interior.
This was made possible through a crowdfunding campaign that helped them move to the new place. The campaign raised a total of 950,000 yen, which surpassed their initial target of 500,000 yen. The patrons who contributed to raising the funds will be treated to commemorative party nights and all-you-can-drink deals. They will also be given branded t-shirts in return for their contributions.
The Sapporo location is open daily from 3:00 pm until midnight, but the working hours of the Shibuya branch is yet to be revealed. Naturalia pays its staff a starting rate of 1200 yen per hour. On top of this, female employees can also save money by not purchasing any cosmetics.
If you feel like you’re confident enough to become part of the makeup-free staff, why not join them? If you’re just curious about the “no makeup” concept and would like to interact with makeup-free girls, you may visit the cafe from spring 2017! Hopefully, this is going to help spread a makeup-free trend in Japan.
Naturalia Website *Japanese only