For comedian Atsuko Okatsuka, beauty is a self-guided journey. That there was ever a time when Okatsuka wasn’t delivering art gallery-level looks seems almost wrong but sitting on the floor next to her bed over Zoom, she’s open about the time it took to get to there.
From getting her husband use her deodorant, to embracing the embarrassing parts of your childhood, Okatsuka talks her relationship to beauty.
Shared Skin Care and Minimal Makeup
“I like to keep my routine is very minimal,” Okatsuka explains. “So, I tend to get pretty hooked on a brand. I’ve recently been into Keihl’s, which my husband also likes.” According to her, it wasn’t difficult to get her husband onto her skin-care routine.
“My husband and I have shared products for a long time,” Okatsuka says. “He even uses my Secret Clinical Strength Anti-Perspirant. He was very on board with skin care, he has purses and stuff like that. He likes anything that works for the betterment of the human person.”
Okatsuka feels the same, preferring anything that streamlines her routine and works hardest for her skin. “I use the Keihl’s toner, and then I like to use the Timeless Hyaluronic Acid 100% Pure Serum,” Okatsuka says. “And then I use Sulwhasoo’s Ginseng Cream. It’s just those three steps, really.”
While her iconic bowl cut is sharp and her style can be eye-catching neons, her makeup tends to be as minimal as her skin-care routine.
“As a comedian, you want to be recognizable and accessible, I think, to the people around you,” Okatsuka explains. “My true self is very not so wild, so it’s usually mascara and matte formulas to stop me from getting shiny and sweaty under the bright lights. A simple matte foundation and an orange-red lip is usually the look I go for.”
On-Stage Secrets and Keeping the Edges Sharp
Just like her skin care, Okatsuka’s hair care is as minimal as she can get it. “I’m so lazy, I haven’t gotten into hair care that much,” she explains. “I try to stay really minimal with my routine, so I don’t use a lot of products.”
Despite that, Okatsuka’s hair is healthy, shiny and easy to maintain with a monthly trim. “My grandma would say it’s because she fed me seaweed,” Okatsuka explains wryly.
On stage, she’s considerably more animated and underneath all the hot lights, the most important thing about her makeup is that it stays where she puts it. “I always use a setting powder,” Okatsuka says. “I’m not sure if it’s because she’s also a performer, but Lady Gaga’s Haus Labs has a loose setting powder that has this net protection. You have to go through the net, which means if you drop it, it doesn’t just spill everywhere. It’s great for people on the go.”
And Secret’s Clinical Strength and the 72 hours of sweat protection it offers has become another necessity for the stage. “I used to literally sweat through my clothes,” she says. “It’s only with Secret that I don’t.”
Overcoming Beauty Intimidation and Embracing Childhood Embarrassment
“I actually used to have this haircut when I was two years old,” Okatsuka explains, gesturing to her sleek bowl cut. “A lot of Asian kids did. And for some people it’s like it’s an embarrassing thing, you know, having had a bowl cut. It seems so lame and so cheesy, but for me it’s about embracing that.”
Seeing past the childhood embarrassment of the haircut, Okatsuka instead found a look that screamed everything she wanted to embody.
“I like to dress like an art gallery owner,” she says. “And I think the bowl cut is very chic and very artsy. And it’s embracing my inner child self that maybe I used to be embarrassed about.”
And you don’t have to look hard to see that Okatsuka has built her entire look around this idea. “I’m embracing the way I wanted to dress as a kid,” she explains. “I’m wearing food earrings, fun, bold colors and prints. It’s about how you want to be but were afraid to be, because you thought it was too different for society.”
Despite her current comfort with expressing herself, though, it didn’t come without some mistakes in the makeup department. “There was a time when I was intimidated by makeup because my mom and grandma never wore makeup,” Okatsuka explains. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I was like raising myself when it came to that.”
It took trial and error (“A lot of error,” Okatsuka says.) for her to get to her current style.“Well for two years I was wearing a foundation that was the wrong color,” she explains. “And you could tell because my neck was a whole different color. I was all over the place.”