10 top China Makeup Trends

Chinese makeup trends

Make-up trends in China vary greatly from the West. While Western make-up trends are typically all about looking natural, Chinese make-up trends are all about looking as cosmetically perfect as possible. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at some of the most popular Chinese make-up and beauty trends in recent years. If you’re a cosmetics brand that would like to enter the Chinese beauty market, it’s better to educate yourself on what is trending in China, to provide the best products and services to the Chinese audience.

How Chinese Women Perceive Makeup

Chinese women care a lot about themselves and they can take hours to apply makeup. In China, looks are very important and people do care about how other people perceive them, so they always need to look the best of themselves, even if they just go out for a moment or meet with their closest friends and family. Therefore, the beauty and cosmetics market in China is the second biggest in the world (right after the US) and cosmetics retail sales amounted to around 42.43 billion yuan in 2022.

Although the beauty and cosmetics market can be an amazing opportunity for foreign beauty brands, the consumers’ preferences and makeup habits may be a surprise to those brands used to Western standards of beauty. In the West women like to play with makeup more, experimenting with colours, contouring and ‘changing’ their faces with makeup or, the opposite, putting on the least makeup possible. In China, makeup is meant to look perfect but simple, with every detail just right.

Chinese Beauty Standards Foreign Brands Need to Consider

There are some standards of beauty that people in the West consider natural and we all believe that if someone looks according to those standards, he or she is considered to be beautiful. But when it comes to China, we could not be more wrong.

In China, beauty standards have long been based on paleness and smoothness of skin, slender bodies with long necks, and delicately shaped faces. While some of these ideals are still held by many in China today (like paleness), the country’s beauty standards are rapidly evolving.

China Beauty Standards website

Today, thanks to the rise of social media services and Western makeup tutorials available on platforms like Youku (Chinese Youtube), Chinese women are increasingly exposed to a wider range of beauty standards – from Western celebrities to Japanese and Korean pop stars. And as China’s economy continues to grow, its young consumers are becoming more internationally minded and cosmopolitan in their tastes.

If you’re a foreign brand wanting to enter the Chinese beauty market, you need to be aware that there will be a need to adaptation of your products to Asian beauty standards. The most important for brands might be the fact that opposite to the West, Chinese consumers prefer to have a white skin and tend to use a lot of whitening cosmetics on daily basics.

Brief History of Makeup in China

The history of makeup in China is a long and illustrious one. From the days of the first recorded use of cosmetics, which date back to around 3000 BC, to the present day, Chinese women have always been at the forefront of fashion when it comes to makeup. In fact, many of the techniques and products that are used in modern-day makeup application originated in China.

Ancient history

Chinese women were already using makeup during the Zhou dynasty(1050–256 BC), when they were painting their eyebrows, putting facial creams and powder or decorating their lips with lip gloss. Since ancient times makeup was really important in China, as women wanted to look beautiful and considered makeup as a daily necessity.

Women wearing traditional clothes like Chinese Hanfu dress felt obliged to wear makeup and care about their looks. Pale skin, an eye look drawm by eyeliner and well defined lips with blood-red lipstick shades were as common as using a mascara is today.

Middle Ages

Throughout history, women daily makeup in China was rather delicate and simple, but there was one period of time when Chinese women started experimenting with cosmetics and looks. During Tang dynasty, women were particularly fond of using makeup to enhance their features. They would apply white powder to their faces to give them a pale complexion, rouge on their cheeks to accentuate their rosy glow, and black eyeliner and mascara to make their eyes look bigger and more dramatic. Strong red makeup was the most popular type at that time.

Chinese Makeup Style Today

After this time, Chinese women started returning to natural and simple look and many of them stopped wearing makeup at all. Up until today, Chinese women prefer to keep it simple and classy, taking care about every little detail to look perfect. What changed is the fact that now people in China can follow global trends, and makeup techniques from Korea or the West start to arrouse attention in China, with women willing to experiment with their looks, just like in Tang dynasty.

When we talk about makeup trends in China, some people might still have heavy looks coming straight out of Chinese Opera. Todays makeup in China is more similar to what we know from the West, but Chinese women indeed like to take inspiration from ancient Chinese makeup techniques and opera looks.

10 makeup trends in China

Here are the most common makeup trends that we can see on Chinese women’s faces in the street.


The Chinese glamour look comes directly from the Empresses of Ancient China. That is to say, pale skin, well-drawn eyes with eyeliner, and well-defined lips with red lipstick. As you can notice below, this type of makeup resembles the ancient inspirations.

Opera red

As we mentioned previously, although the Opera makeup is very strong and heavy, Chinese consumers do like taking inspiration from it. Indeed, the new trend in China is to apply a line of reddish powder under the eyes, less wide and less heavy than the original one.

If you search for some original stronger party makeup, this is one of the types that is not known in the West, so you’d make an impression. Adding some flower touches or red lip gloss will complete the opera look.

Sexy glitter

An inspiration coming straight from the West, the brown and glitter smokey eyes look with most of the time full dark lips is a must now in China. However, this look is too heavy to wear in the day time, at work, or anywhere else, thus Chinese women prefer this makeup for a trendy party.


As women in Asia focus on skincare a lot and the use of quality skin cosmetics from top brands, they really often prefer the natural look, that shows the beauty of face without additional powder and other cosmetics. This type of looks cater to both Asian and Western standards, as cosmetics consumers tend to chose natural or no makeup, after a long time of heavy and strong makeup times.

No makeup

This is a new trend in the whole of Asia and it’s started to export to the West. The no-makeup look is not what it sounds. It means that women definitively apply makeup, a little bit more than the natural look, but they are trying while applying it to achieve a no-makeup face. This way, the foundation and powder have to be the same colour of the skin carnation, no contouring or highlighting, no mascara, just a little bit of blush to fake pinky cheeks, eyebrows will be defined just a little bit, the eyes will just have nude eyes powder and a gloss for the lips.

Personalisation or Haute Makeup

This is one of the trendiest topics on Xiaohongshu platform in 2021. Personalised makeup is for man and women that have some scars or flaws and don’t want to reveal them. This type of makeup helps them cover these scars while giving an original and unique look as well.

According to Retail in Asia, searches of “How to define olive skin” increased by 470% and “square face makeup” saw an increase of 1100% in 2021. All the foreign brands aiming to sell their cosmetics in China can think of leveraging this trend, offering consumers tips on how to use their products to cover any sign of a flaw that they don’t want to show.

Smokey eyes

Smokey eyes are now a makeup type well known all over the world. If we do know the original one (black smokey), today, this look is facing some derivations like the brown or purple smokey eyes. Every dark colour can make a good smokey effect. In China, the original black smokey eyes are leading. But if in the West, women tend to prefer a light lipstick and foundation to balance the heavy look on their eyes, here it’s the opposite, Chinese women prefer applying dark lips with smokey eyes.

Baby Face and Baby Doll

If you have an interest in makeup then you might already know this look. If not, you have to know that this look is reserved for Asian girls because Western girls do not have a fitting face for this type of makeup. Indeed, the idea is to reproduce the illusion of a babyface (the adult version of course) with makeup. What is called the Kawaii look in Japan is very popular in China as well as in Korea. Although foreign brands might consider this trend childish and not suitable, in Asia it’s a very trendy makeup style.

There is another variation of this makeup trend, also considered weird in the West, which is baby doll look. If you want to have a baby doll face, every part of it needs to be makeup. Heavy eyes powder with big fake eyelashes and white pencil inside the eyes to make your eyes look bigger. Women put a lot of blush on and pinky lipsticks. It’s one of the most famous makeup trends in Asia and women looking like dolls are considered very pretty in China.

Dark lips

Dark lips makeup is popular in China since the ancient times. Chinese women always liked to highlight their lips and eyebrows, to make a noticeable contrast to a very white skin. In the old days it was usually colors of red that cater to the audience in China, but today Chinese consumers experiment with very dark eyebrows and dark lipsticks. What might surprise you is the fact that eyes are supposed to have no makeup, as a contrary to lips and eyebrows.

Dark lips

Genderless Makeup – men also like to add some lip gloss

The male beauty sector in China is completely different than what we are used to in the West and Chinese men are also cosmetics and makeup consumers. In fact, the market is expected to reach 166 billion dollars in 2022. Men in China care about their skin, use powder, different lipstick shades and so on. They look at makeup similarly to women and use it on daily basics, which is an important insight for foreign cosmetics brands, as male consumers are as important as females when it comes to makeup trends.

Male makeup Cosmetics Website


Chinese makeup trends are changing over time, but as you can see, there are some aspects that stay the same, like dark colors of lipsticks or white foundation. Chinese women do tend to lean towards more natural look with some strong accents, like smokey eyes or dark eyebrows, like in the ancient times.

One of the hottest trends that all domestic and foreign brands need to consider when catering to Chinese audience is the fact that makeup is not for only for women anymore. Male beauty sector is growing rapidly and it’s one of the most profitable markets with a huge potential for all cosmetics brands.

Do you want to sell your makeup products in China? Contact us!

Chinese cosmetics market is one of the fastest growing one, with the annual growth of 15%. Chinese women are buying according to a few criteria. For example, they care about the fidelity of the brand, the influence of the sales, the credibility of media, the influence of the press. No matter where does the product comes from, China or overseas, what is the most important thing is the quality and the image.

If you’d like to sell your cosmetics to the Chinese consumers, there are a lot of things to consider. We are a China marketing agency specialised in digital marketing in China. We have a team of more than 70 people consist of Chinese and foreign professionals that can help your brand enter the Chinese market.

We have worked on many projects from beauty sector and we would be glad to help you with building your Chinese website, helping with social media strategy, attracting new consumers through Baidu SEO, helping with fixing the price of your products or services and many more.

Case studies GMA Cosmetics Website

Leave us a comment or contact us to discuss your project!


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    Greatstuff.what cosmetic house in China sells most mascara

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