Red lipstick remains a must-have in China
What’s up on the fashion sphere ? Red lipstick remains a must-have in the makeup kit of Chinese women. Symbol of success and happiness, the color is highly symbolic in the country.
The virtues of red lipstick from a Chinese point of view
It is even said that you get higher chances of finding a husband by wearing cherry lipstick than any other lipstick color, no mention about keeping your lips nude. China is at this stage where makeup is part of women’s emancipation, before the opposite trend wins, as in Europe, where women claim now their freedom to choose between wearing makeup or keeping their natural face without being judged.
Indeed, the pressure about getting married is a part of daily-life for single Chinese folks, and all means are just fine to became a better candidate and finally find the right person. So, if red shade can bring good luck to the hopeful lipstick carrier, why not ?
A Chine role model… from Japan History
It is actually interesting to know that the female beauty criterion of having a white face with red lipsticks and repainted eyebrows, so ‘in vogue’ currently in China, come from the traditional Japanese culture and fashion.
Hell yeah! The Edo period in Japanese History – which lasted from 17th to 19th Century – introduce the common use of three basic shades cosmetics : red for the lips, black for the eyebrows and white for the face powder. Red lipstick must gracefully contrast the accentuated white complexion.
This role model has spread to China where it is nowadays persistent and continuously to be seen in advertisement and celebrities make-up style.
Modern Chinese women wear red lipstick
As high-heeled shoes, lipstick is now a part of the essential panoply of urban fashionistas. It is associated with the image of modern Chinese women, but also became… a luxury product.
A recent study shows that Shanghainese ladies could spend 1500 ¥ per month for their beauty products, no doubt that their Saint Laurent, Dior or Chanel lipstick is to weigh in the inquiry. Let’s remember that the average salary in Shanghai is around 8000 ¥ monthly. Converted in Euros, Chinese urban ladies spend around 193€ for cosmetics on a salary basis of 1025€, so to said a fifth of their earnings, a quite astonishing investment in personal body care.
Why such an investment on luxury products?
The importance of showing its own social success through make-up
Luxury brands make-up is an external proof of wealth and social success, and this is exactly what urban Chinese ladies are looking for.
Chinese ladies are not different from Europeans and target the package : a rewarding job, a perfect body shape, enviable holidays abroad and a nice husband. Make-up has always been a kind of social cover, supposed to reflect a certain high standard of living … or help the user to achieve her dream life-standard. Make-up has the power of hiding skin imperfections, indirectly produce the wish to hide life failures in general. We want a life that makes ourselves dream like in advertisement and movies, we desire this flawless skin giving us this impression of being able to live a carefree and successful princess life.
Using make-up from luxury brands means being ‘in’, reaching the mass-society life target.
Tell me about success : Chinese society’s expectations
China is currently still in its consumerist phase, for a society getting more and more purchasing power. Luxury cosmetics products are the expected gifts that family members exchange for the New Year. The more flashy and imposing a present is, the better. If the brand get an exotic foreign touch and is instantly recognizable with its special design, as Louis Vuitton bags are, we reach the ideal.
Which lipstick brands reflects mostly this appeal for luxury ? Foreigner western brands first. Bobbi Brown, Dior, Chanel, but also Armani, Esthée Lauder and Lancôme are to be-seen in every Chinese shopping mall. Do they win the sales so far ? Maybe not. Chinese consumers will get one article of a very-famous brand and exhibit it proudly, but will purchase the rest in little-less expensive shops, like Sephora or Urban Decay, still remain expensive for the Chinese average salary. Luxury cosmetics keep being highly-valuated gifts out of reach for loads of girls, despites the craze for their acquisition.
Any special trick to know ?
When it comes about lipstick application, Chinese ladies are especially painstaking. Not only for lipstick though, as Sophia, a 20 years old trainee in luxury hotel department, advance it : “I shall begin my work at 5:30am. It’s early, but I wake up even earlier because I need time to draw my eyebrows, so I get up at 4:00am“. One thing to remember about lipstick : it must be visible. Chinese girls apply multiple layers of carmine color.
A funny anecdote
Do you remember the very special make-up of Queen Amidala in Star Wars trilogy ? Her red-lipstick is actually fully inspired from the Chinese Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC) where women did put a large red dot on their lower lip and painted the whole upper lip, covering the rest with powder.
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About us on GMA
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is an agency specialized in cosmetics communication through the Chinese market. We can help you to develop your business with e-commerce in China and optimize your SEO on the Chinese sales platforms.
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