With a rich history of glamour, China’s C-Beauty secrets include a collection of stunning make-up looks and an intriguing DIY hair product.
With a population of 1,408,526,449 people, China is the world’s most populated country, so unsurprisingly, they have a wonderfully diverse approach to beauty. With inspiration ranging from centuries-old Chinese opera to glamorous modern styles, there’s something for everyone. But when it comes to skincare, there’s one overriding goal, a flawless, milky complexion.
In C-Beauty, the priority above all else is to maintain pale, unblemished skin. In a country that has long, hot summers and high levels of pollution, this is no easy task! Investing in high-end skincare, women in China turn slow the signs of ageing, with C-Beauty favourites including luxury ranges like Elizabeth Arden Prevage, Shiseido Ultimune, Elizabeth Arden Ceramide and of course, Valmont.
Chinese women take sun defence seriously, wearing an SPF not only in the summer months, but during winter, and even when staying indoors. Most women opt for an SPF50 cream which is applied separately from their other skincare products, which ensures the best level of sun protection. But the efforts to protect their skin from the sun doesn’t end there, when the sun is out, wide-brimmed hats, large sunglasses and Parasols are all par for the course for Chinese women who don’t want to risk premature ageing and sun damage.
Daily skincare is very similar to K-Beauty, and is practised in the evening before bed. It first involves a two-step cleansing routine using an oil-based cleanser and a lighter cleanser. This removes all traces of dirt and grime from your face, leaving it ready to absorb the beneficial ingredients that follow. During the cleansing process, a Jade Roller or traditional Chinese beauty tool called a “Gua Sha” can be used to massage the muscles and improve circulation.
Next comes a sheet mask to hydrate and soothe the skin, while this may be a weekly treat for us in the UK, in China it’s an everyday part of skincare. Following the sheet mask, pat on some eye cream to keep that delicate area of skin in good condition, and follow with a whitening lotion to any areas of the face that are suffering from pigmentation. A serum and night cream are up next, favouring natural ingredients and deep hydration. Finally, lip balm completes the routine, making sure that you have the perfect pout.
Phew! No wonder C-Beauty skincare is usually done before bed, you’ll be ready to collapse after all of that!
Herbal medicine is an important part of daily life in China, and that extends to beauty. Natural ingredients are used for their skin and hair improving properties, with many Chinese skincare brands also including them in their formulations. Here are just a few of the ingredients used in C-Beauty, and how they can help up your beauty game.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it ideal for healthy skin and overall wellbeing.
Turmeric is a superfood and is often used as a DIY face-mask, combined with milk and honey. It is hydrating as well as exfoliating.
Mung beans are a core part of the Chinese diet but are also used in face masks and creams for their astringent and antioxidant properties, helping with acne and rashes.
He Shou Wu is a herbal blend that can be added to smoothies and tea for brighter skin and longer, thicker hair.
Red Dates/Goji Berries are eaten as they are, or infused in tea for their benefits to glowing skin.
C-Beauty Makeup Looks
Makeup, and particularly lipstick, are a staple of C-Beauty, with most women owning a large collection of high-end shades. While fashions and trends change, there are currently four core looks that are popular in Chinese makeup in 2020, listed below:
With black eyeliner and a blood-red lip, this is a look that has been popular in China for decades. The focus is on luxury, choosing shades of lipstick in red and blood orange by big beauty names such as Givenchy, Guerlain and Dior. Not to be mistaken with the European glamour-look, C-beauty Glamour is more understated, with the lip taking centre stage.
Taking inspiration from traditional makeup used in the Chinese opera, bold eyeshadow is applied under the eyes and up toward the temple. Against a pale complexion, the warm tonal colours of red, maroon and copper are perfectly matched. Try the look with this Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Coral from Huda Beauty.
The “no makeup, makeup” look is popular everywhere you go, but with C-Beauty’s emphasis on a flawless complexion, it is even easier to achieve. A natural foundation is lightly applied, free of contouring but with a small amount of blush. The eyes simply get a little nude eyeshadow and eyebrows are defined, while gloss is applied to the lip.
A toned-down version of Japanese “Kawaii”, the Baby Doll look is huge in China right now. Big eyes – exaggerated with false lashes and white liner under the lower lid – are the centrepiece, with pale pink blush and pink lipstick rounding out the cherubic look.