If you are a fan of all things beauty, you might have noticed an influx of Asian influence in your local beauty shops as of late.
We had previously written about Chinese standards of beauty that might be different from western beauty ideals. Today, we take a look at some unique (and possible strange!) ways people in China work on looking fabulous.
1. Beauty Standard: Pale skin - 白皮肤 （Bái pí fū )
Beauty Hack: Staying out of the sun / Using brightening products
Chinese women are so careful about their porcelain skin, that getting any amount of sunlight on their face or bodies is a major no-no. That means, Chinese women will often wear long sleeves and long pants, even during the brutal heat of the summer.
Even during bright and sunny day, you'll be able to see people carrying handheld umbrellas. It might seem strange to use an umbrella when there is no rain, but these umbrellas are specially-designed "sun umbrellas" - 太阳伞 with SPF, to help further guard against sun light.
You might not need to go as far as covering up head to toe, but sun light is responsible for the vast majority of visible skin aging and skin cancer. Be smart, and always wear SPF!
If you really want to fully commit to the pale skin trend, try brightening creams that have lemon or licorice (yes, licorice!) extract.
2. Beauty Standard: Curves - 曲线 (qū xiàn)
Beauty Hack: Soy milk and papaya
Although skinny trumps curves for the most part in China, as beauty standards worldwide shift to embrace voluptuous curves, Chinese women are also racing to achieve the covered " S曲线" (S Qū xiàn) or "S-curve bodies."
"S-curve" is China's answer to "hourglass body," in which women are expected to have a tiny waist, but a full chest and round derrière.
For a natural way of getting the S-curve body, women in China turn to papayas and soy milk. Both papayas and soymilk are said to contain high levels of estrogen-like hormones, and help stimulate the growth of womanly curves.
3. Beauty Standard: Electric eyes - 电眼 （Diàn yǎn)
Beauty Hack: Eye Massage - 眼保健操 (Yǎn bǎo jiàn cāo)
Not only are large eyes with "double eyelids" prized in China, Chinese women want "electric eyes" that are sexy, sparkly, and can easily grab people's attention.
Of course, make up like eyeliner and shimmery eye shadow can help achieve this look, as well as popular tinted contact lenses. However, for that natural sparkle in the eyes, Chinese people turn to massage to increase blood circulation in the eye area and refresh tired eyes.
The eye massage exercises are so popular, that they were once mandated during school for students to maintain healthy eyes. Nowadays however, these eye massage exercises are use to add more "zap" into people's gazes.
4. Beauty Standard: V-shaped Face - V型脸 (V Xíng liǎn)
Beauty Hack: Facial massage
In Chinese, there are lots of ways to describe the shape of faces:
- 国字脸 (Guó zì liǎn) - Guo character-shaped face / square face
- 鹅蛋脸 (é dàn liǎn) - goose egg-shaped face /oval face
- and 瓜子脸 (guā zǐ liǎn)- melon seed-shaped face / V-shaped face
The V-shaped face has especially come into fashion as of late, since small faces with defined jaw lines are able to show off a person's thinness.
To achieve the V-shaped face without surgery, Chinese women turn to facial massage to decrease the size of facial muscles and decrease facial swelling. Oolong tea or coffee are often drank to complement the de-swelling abilities of the facial massage.
5. Beauty Standard: Smooth, Glowing Skin - 光洁的皮肤 (Guāng jié de pí fū)
Beauty Hack: Chinese Day Spas
You might be thinking - duh, of course spas are good for the skin! You aren't wrong, but Chinese day spas are a whole different animal than what we typically think of as a "spa."
Chinese day spas are large, communal-style bath houses that are often separated by gender. They offer saunas, steam rooms, body scrubs, as well as some services that we are more familiar with, such as manicures and pedicures.
A similar Asian day spa in New York City.
Because of the communal nature of these day spas (warning: everyone will see everyone in the nude!), they tend to be relatively affordable compared to Western-style spa services. Whereas "spas" are seem as an occasional treat in the Western world, Chinese day spas tend to be a part of daily life - a place to pop into after work to catch up with friends or for some rest and relaxation. It's no wonder so many Chinese women have great skin!
Would you be up for going to a Chinese spa? What about carrying around a sun umbrella? Let us know in the comments below!