Chinese Beauty Standards, What Do Chinese Find Beautiful?

Beauty has always been a fascinating topic across various cultures; and in China, it’s no exception. With its rich history and rapidly evolving society, Chinese beauty standards have transformed over time, reflecting not only the nation’s cultural identity but also global trends.

From ancient ideals to contemporary preferences, influences from neighboring countries like Korea and Japan to Western norms, understanding what Chinese people find beautiful reveals a captivating blend of old traditions interwoven with fresh perspectives.

So if you’re curious about this enchanting world of Chinese aesthetics or simply wish to appreciate the diverse tapestry that is human beauty – grab your favorite cup of tea (or coffee), sit back comfortably, and immerse yourself in our exploration of Chinese beauty standards!

The evolution of Chinese beauty standards

Chinese beauty standards have evolved, with influences from ancient ideals such as delicate facial features and slender figures to modern-day standards that also include larger eyes and a V-shaped face.

Influence of ancient beauty ideals to modern day

In ancient China, beauty standards were deeply rooted in culture and tradition. Through various dynasties, some of the most prominent ideals included a fair complexion, small mouth and lips, delicate jawline, and almond-shaped eyes with long lashes. These classical concepts continue to shape modern Chinese beauty standards today.

The practice of using white face powder dates back to the Tang dynasty as a symbol of status and wealth. It has since evolved into an everlasting preference for pale skin in modern times. The v-shaped face with a pointy chin can also be traced back to ancient China where it was considered delicate and feminine; this aesthetic is still highly desirable among women today.

Chinese beauty standards in ancient times

Here is a description of the ideal Chinese beauty found in “The Secret of Crystal Chambers” (玉房秘诀 Yùfáng mìjué) from the Six Dynasties period (222-589y.)

Ideal facial features and body proportions

In the realm of Chinese beauty standards, certain facial features and body proportions are considered particularly desirable. These ideals can be traced back to ancient times and have evolved over the years yet continue to hold sway in modern China. The coveted goose egg face, or melon seed face, which refer to a delicate jawline curving up towards a slightly pointy chin, is one such ideal embraced by most Chinese women; it is believed that this shape exudes femininity and grace.

Large round eyes are another key aspect of the Chinese beauty ideal. They connote innocence, youthfulness, and openness while signaling an adherence to traditional values. Certain physical traits – such as pale skin, which signifies wealth given its association with not having to labor outdoors – further emphasize these gendered expectations regarding appearance.

Gao Fu Shuai is a term that embodies the male counterpart: “tall, rich, and handsome.” This underscores how social status continues to play a central role in shaping prevailing concepts of attractiveness within Chinese culture.

Chinese women facial shapes

Comparison of Chinese and Western beauty standards

When it comes to beauty standards, there are vast differences between Chinese and Western cultures – from facial features to body ideals. Want to know more about how these two compare? Keep reading!

The concept of “white, rich, and beautiful” vs. traditional Chinese beauty

In China, there is a long-standing belief that pale skin represents beauty and status. This can be traced back to ancient times when having lighter skin meant you were wealthy enough to avoid working outdoors in the sun. However, this traditional beauty standard has evolved resulting in the concept of “white, rich, and beautiful” as the ideal for Chinese women.

On the other hand, Western beauty standards often focus on tanning for a more healthy-looking glow rather than paleness. Additionally, while physical attractiveness may be associated with success in both cultures, China’s emphasis on wealth as part of its definition of beauty is unique compared to the West’s preference for individualism and self-expression through fashion trends and makeup styles.

The role of media and celebrities

Media and celebrities play a significant role in shaping beauty trends and ideals in China, with K-beauty and Japanese beauty standards having an increasing influence on Chinese preferences alongside the rise of local beauty influencers.

Influence on beauty trends and practices

The rise of K-beauty and Japanese beauty trends has influenced the use of products like double eyelid tape and facial masks in China. Celebrities, especially actors and actresses, are considered trendsetters for their looks, hairstyles, and makeup choices.

The impact of social media cannot be ignored as well. Chinese beauty influencers have gained immense popularity on platforms like Weibo and Douyin by providing tutorials on skin care routines, and makeup hacks, and reviewing new products followed by many Chinese women. They also collaborate with cosmetic brands to promote their products to millions of followers.

Chinese Social Media and Kols - Tmall Live Streaming

The Impact Of K-beauty And Japanese Beauty Standards

K-beauty and Japanese beauty standards have made a significant impact on Chinese beauty culture in recent years. The popularity of Korean dramas and pop music has introduced the concept of ‘glass skin‘ – clear, radiant, flawless complexion – to China’s skincare industry.

Many Chinese seek out K-beauty products for their innovative ingredients and unique packaging design. Meanwhile, the Japanese concept of ‘wabi-sabi,’ which values imperfection as beauty, is also gaining traction among younger generations who seek more natural-looking makeup.

Rise of Chinese beauty influencers

The rise of Chinese beauty influencers has brought a new wave of trends and practices to the forefront. With millions of followers on social media, these influencers have been able to shape the perception of what is considered beautiful in China. They promote products and services that align with their brand, showcasing different styles and looks that appeal to a wide range of audiences.

These influencers are also changing the game by promoting inclusivity and body positivity. They have challenged traditional beauty standards by embracing diverse skin tones, facial features, and body shapes.

Criticisms and challenges of Chinese beauty standards

Chinese beauty standards have faced criticisms for placing immense pressure on Chinese women to conform to unrealistic and unattainable ideals, leading to body shaming and the immense need for plastic surgery among many Chinese girls. However, the rise of body positivity movements in recent years has aimed to challenge these standards and promote diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry.

Pressure on women to conform to unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards

The pressure on women to conform to unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards is a significant challenge facing many young Chinese women today. Social media, celebrity culture, and the booming beauty industry are all contributing factors that shape these ideals, placing an immense amount of pressure on women. It lead to the rise of cosmetic surgery popularity, and the need of using advanced techniques to obtain the white skin, desired by most Chinese women and men.

What is interesting is the fact that a typical Chinese or Asian woman doesn’t fit into the traditional standards of beauty. Most Chinese girls lack a goose egg face, a very thin chin, a white complexion, or the desired body shape. Chinese beauty standards from the past don’t align with the reality of female beauty today.

Body shaming and discrimination

Body shaming and discrimination are rampant issues in China’s beauty industry. The pressure on women to conform to certain unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards has led to a rise in eating disorders, cosmetic surgeries, and other harmful practices. Women who do not fit the narrow definition of Chinese beauty face harsh criticism and even exclusion from certain social events or job opportunities.

This discrimination is not limited to just body shape but also includes skin color. A Chinese woman with a darker skin tone is often looked down upon while pale skin is considered the ultimate ideal of beauty. It is important for brands operating in the Chinese market to be aware of these issues so they can promote inclusivity and diversity rather than adding fuel to this toxic culture.

The rise of body positivity movements

In recent years, there has been a rise in body positivity movements in China which aim to promote self-love and acceptance of all body types. This movement is primarily led by Chinese girls and young women who have become increasingly vocal about unrealistic beauty standards that are often imposed on them by society.

One popular example of such a movement is the “shapeless” trend that encourages women to dress in loose-fitting clothes and embrace their natural shape instead of adhering to traditional feminine ideals. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of plus-size models and a wider representation of diverse skin tones in fashion campaigns. These changes indicate a shift away from rigid beauty standards and towards promoting inclusivity and diversity.

cosmetics brand promotion in china

Future trends in Chinese beauty standards

As China continues to evolve and become more globalized, likely, beauty standards will also continue to shift. One trend that is already emerging is a greater emphasis on natural and holistic beauty practices stemming from traditional Chinese medicine. Consumers are becoming more aware of the ingredients in their skincare products and seeking out natural alternatives.

Another trend that has been gaining momentum is inclusivity in beauty. More brands are featuring diverse models with different skin tones and facial features, challenging the long-standing idea of a single standard for Chinese beauty. This push towards diversity also includes redefining gender norms, with an increasing number of men embracing makeup and self-care products traditionally marketed towards women.

Li Jiaqi on Wechat Live Streaming - Chinese Social Media and Kols

Overall, it’s clear that Chinese consumers’ expectations around beauty are changing rapidly, both in terms of the products they use and what they consider attractive. Brands need to stay ahead of these trends if they hope to remain relevant in this dynamic market.


In conclusion, beauty standards in China have gone through a significant evolution over time. From ancient times to modern-day China, there has been an ever-changing definition of what is considered beautiful. Today, the influence of Western ideals and media has brought about a shift towards more “global” beauty standards, but traditional values still hold strong.

China’s obsession with pale skin and goose egg face exemplifies its unique cultural beauty ideals. However, these rigid Chinese beauty standard can lead to body shaming and discrimination against those who do not conform. The rise of body positivity movements shows that Chinese society is becoming more accepting of diverse looks and redefining beauty on their terms.

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