The Maiko (apprentice) is taught how to properly put on the makeup by a Geisha; and this takes a lot of dedicated practice to perfect the true Geisha look. The most distinct part of their makeup is the matte white base. This opaque liquid makeup is called Oshiroi, which literally means ‘white powder’. Before the oshiroi is applied, a Geisha must put on bintsuke-abura, which is an oil substance that is used to help the white base adhere. The Oshiroi is then mixed with water to form a paste and is applied on the chest all the way up to the face; and in a ‘W’ or ‘V’ shape at the nape. This is applied using a bamboo brush. Also, the hairline is left unwhitened to give the impression of a mask. The look is then topped of with a deep red lip, black eyebrows, and pinkish-red eyelids.
To give you an idea on what the whole process is like, here is a video of Maiko Fukunae doing her makeup and sharing her experience as a Geisha apprentice [includes subtitles]: