What’s Considered Pretty In China? All You Need To Know About Chinese Beauty Standards

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Have you ever wondered what beauty ideals that exist in Asian cultures? Here’s all you need to know about Chinese beauty standards.

China is the world’s most populous country, but despite its size, the country seems to have a uniform idea about what it means to be beautiful.

With a rich history of beauty traditions dating back centuries, Chinese beauty standards have evolved significantly over time. From ancient China, when bound feet and pale skin were highly prized, to modern times, where TikTok shapes the idea of what an ideal body looks like, Chinese beauty standards have undergone dramatic shifts.

Actress Fan Bing Bing is often seen as the beauty standard.


Today, with the rise of social media and a growing global interest in Chinese culture, more people than ever are fascinated with the differences between Western and Chinese beauty ideals. In this article, we will delve into the complex and fascinating world of modern Chinese beauty standards and current trends, and explore if you fit into the country’s rigid beauty ideals.

Chinese Beauty Standards

1. V-Shaped Face

There are six basic face shapes in Chinese culture: the melon seed face, goose egg face, square face, inverted triangle or diamond-shaped face, long face, and round face. 


Out of these, the two most desired shapes are the melon seed-shaped face (瓜子脸 ) and the goose egg-shaped face (鹅蛋脸), which, on the featured image above, are the second face shape in the second row, and the third image on the first row, respectively.

Both of these face shapes feature a pointed chin with a slim jaw and have come to be known colloquially as V-shaped faces.

These face shapes are seen as more youthful and beautiful, but of course, not everyone in China has this face shape. To downplay the roundness of one’s face, many women opt to have face-framing bangs and wear their hair open, which can effectively lessen the appearance of chubby cheeks.

To further enhance a pointy chin, Chinese women often use contouring techniques, as well as special tape that can hold up the skin and create a more V-shaped face.

Of course, in the most extreme cases, people also resort to plastic surgery which involves shaving down the jawbone. These surgeries can cost up to $15,000 and are often the last resort for women who want to enhance their appearance.

2. Pale Skin With No Imperfections

In China and most East Asian countries, pale, porcelain-like skin without blemishes is the beauty standard for everyone, men and women included.


This ideal is deeply rooted in Chinese culture, where fair skin has traditionally been associated with wealth, nobility, and feminine beauty. In ancient times, pale skin was a symbol of status and privilege as it was believed that those who worked outdoors and had darker skin were of lower social classes.

Additionally, poets and artists throughout the ages praised the beauty of pale skin, which further popularized this ideal. Today, this beauty standard is reinforced through advertisements for skincare products, fashion, and beauty influencers.

The desire for lighter skin has led to many Chinese people effectively boycotting the sun. Suncream is incredibly popular, as is the use of clothing that covers up as much as possible, including long-sleeved shirts in the summer, as well as swimsuits that are reminiscent of surfing suits. You’ll also see many Chinese men and women carry sun umbrellas to block as much sun as possible.

Interestingly, there is also a belief that food can play a part in getting rid of unwanted tan skin. The foods that are recommended to eat are often high in vitamin C, which can be due to the fact that vitamin C, at least when topically applied on the skin, inhibits melanin production, which leads to darker skin.

Men and women also use skin whitening and brightening skincare to achieve a shade that is as light as possible.

3. Tall & Slim Nose Bridge

Chinese women prefer having a tall and slim nose bridge, preferably with a little bit of an upward curve. Many women use makeup to contour to enhance their nose shape.

4. Big, Almond-Shaped Eyes With Double eyelids


In China, as in many other Asian countries, big eyes with double eyelids and long lashes are the beauty ideal. As in Japan, many women use eye tape to achieve this look, while others even resort to painting on a faux double lid with eyeliner.

Of course, cosmetic surgery is also an option – double eyelid surgery is relatively cheap, fast, and risk-free, which makes it one of the most popular surgeries in the country.

5. Cherry Lips & Small Mouth


Plump, full lips (but not big lips)with a well-defined cupid’s bow are considered the beauty standard in China, and are often associated with good luck and desirable personality traits such as warmth. With this said, a small, narrow mouth is equally as important – a wide mouth and overly big lips are not viewed as attractive.

At the same time, overly thin lips are also associated with negative connotations, such as negative personality traits like coldness and cunningness.

6. Straight Eyebrows


In Chinese beauty standards, straight eyebrows with uniform thickness and little or no curve are generally preferred over arched eyebrows. This shape is believed to convey a sense of youthfulness, innocence and elegance.

7. Chubby Lower Eyelids


While not necessarily the most important beauty ideal in Chinese culture, it’s interesting to note that many women like the look of chubby or puffy lower eyelids or eye pouches, as they add cuteness to the overall look.

8. Very Thin Body With Long Legs

In China, having the perfect face isn’t enough. Chinese women are also expected to have a very slim figure, with a narrow waist and thin, long legs. While in Western culture, an hourglass figure is seen as the ideal body shape, in Chinese society, being thin is of utmost importance – having a curvy figure isn’t seen as ideal.


A common goal for many women is to be under 50 kg (110 lbs), regardless of height. Some women take it to the extreme and aspire to weigh less than 45 kg (99 lbs), which is concerning, as the ideal height in China for women is between 165-170 cm (5′ 4-5′ 6).

These extreme beauty ideals have sparked various social media trends, with perhaps the most famous one being the A4 challenge: Women hold up a piece of A4 paper next to their waist, and if the waist is narrower than the width of the paper, you’ve passed.


Other dangerous challenges include the collarbone challenge, where women balance coins on their collarbone; the more you can fit, the better it’s deemed.

As we mentioned, one of the standards of beauty in China is having long, thin legs, which many women enhance by wearing high-heeled shoes. If you have spent time on Chinese social media platforms, you may have noticed that many influencers even use image and video filters to make their legs appear longer!

In extreme cases, some women opt for leg lengthening surgery, where the bone is broken, and a device is inserted that gradually pulls the two ends of the bone apart.

Over a period of weeks, the bones are stretched slowly, at a rate of approximately one millimeter per day, allowing new bone tissue to form in the gap created by the stretching. Once the desired length is achieved, the bones are allowed to heal and fuse together.

9. Makeup

Similar to beauty ideals in South Korea and other East Asian countries, Chinese women prefer natural makeup, although they prefer it a little heavier than in their neighboring countries.

Women love to experiment with different styles and colors, trying out new products and techniques to enhance their facial features. They prefer light and peachy eyeshadows, often paired either a natural lip or a bold red lip that pops out against their white skin color.

10. Sleek Hair 

Chinese beauty standard actress Fan Bing Bing
©ImagineChinaLtd | Depositphotos.com

Hair is extremely significant in Chinese culture. Women often dye their hair to cover up grays and keep their locks healthy, as it’s seen as a sign of wealth and social status. It’s also seen as a sign of beauty, though this can vary depending on age and ethnicity.

Long, dark, sleek, and shiny hair is the standard in China, and if you watch their hair commercials, you’ll often find that there’s always a male protagonist who seems enamored by the woman’s long, thick hair.

11. Pitch Of Voice

While not the most important part of Chinese beauty standards, it’s worth mentioning that the ideal pitch of a woman’s voice is high – a low-pitched voice is seen as too masculine,

Chinese Beauty Products To Try

While the makeup industry in China is booming, they have yet to make their way into the international scene in the same was as Korean beauty products have.

If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art makeup brand, you’ll want to check out Florasis – it’s one of China’s most popular makeup brands, and its packaging is a true work of art.

Although Florasis is not yet available in major beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta, the brand can be found at other beauty retailers such as Stylevana. Below, we rounded up our favorite Florasis products to check out.

1. Eyeshadow

Chinese Beauty Standards: Florasis Peony Exquisitely Carved Flower Palette
Get this palette on Stylevana

The Florasis Peony Exquisitely Carved Flower Palette comes in nine beautiful, exquisitely-carved shades that are ideal for creating a natural-looking eye look that emphasizes depth and dimension.

2. Lipstick

Chinese Beauty Standards: Florasis Floral Dewy Linked Lipstick
Get this lipstick on Stylevana

If you’re interested in adding a few Chinese lipsticks to your vanity case, the Florasis Floral Dewy Linked Lipstick is a great contender to channel your inner Chinese empress with its gorgeous packaging.

3. Blush

Chinese Beauty Standards: Florasis peachy blush
Get this powder on Stylevana

Never underestimate the role a good blush can play. For many Chinese women, blush is an important part in their makeup routine that adds a youthful glow.

Conclusion

Every culture has its own preferences for the ideal physical appearance that are shaped by the country’s history and pop culture, including China. The ideal features, such as pale skin, a slim body, and straight eyebrows, reflect cultural values of elegance, youthfulness, and social status.

However, it is important to recognize that beauty is subjective and personal, and that women should feel free to express themselves and their unique features in whatever way they feel most comfortable. While cosmetic procedures and beauty products can enhance certain features, self-confidence and self-love are often the most important aspects of beauty.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the differences between Chinese and Western beauty standards! For more similar articles, check out the ideas below.

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