When beauty & technology converge

C-Beauty is on the rise: Chinese skincare and its benefits

By Emily Linh

11th September 2019 - 7 minute read


While East Asia holds a plethora of beauty secrets waiting to be discovered, there’s one thing that’s apparent:

They are (and always have been) way ahead of their time when it comes to skincare.

While the world’s obsession with J and K-Beauty seems to be spiraling out of control (for good reason), there’s another often-overlooked region that looks to be creeping its way into global skincare markets.

Talking about Chinese skin care.

All it takes is one look to the Chinese Empresses of the past. In a time when the life expectancy was in the region of 50, Empress Dowager enjoyed longevity of 74 years and didn’t look a day over 30 according to first-hand accounts.

Her skin was "tender and smooth, as fair as that of a young lady," her maid Der Ling recorded in one of her texts.

In fact, there are numerous historical records of Empresses and Concubines having flawless skin akin to that of a much younger woman.

So just how did they cut their age in half at a time when advanced tools and polypeptide serums didn’t exist?

It turns out Chinese women followed some strict health and beauty regimes that included the use of teas, floral herbs, medicinal mushrooms, pearl powder, egg whites, and blood circulation exercises among others.

And the jade roller you use on your face? This tool and technique originated in China centuries age to improve circulation, complexion and keep skin plump.

In addition, the Chinese philosophy is that skin-care recipes only work on women who maintain an essentially healthy, confident and positive approach to life.

With such a holistic view on beauty, it’s only a matter of time before C-Beauty is just as big as it’s East Asian counterparts.

Ancient Chinese skincare ingredients & techniques

Facial massages

Facial massages were an essential part of Chinese beauty routines to improve circulation, reduce puffiness and promote skin cell regeneration. Asian traditional massage culture has always played an important part in daily beauty regimes.

Herbal Teas

White, green and oolong teas were used for their health and beauty benefits thanks to high levels of antioxidants. Chrysanthemum tea was often drank to help the appearance of fine lines and blemishes. 

Mung Bean Face Masks

That’s right, face masks are an ancient practice that was used to gain supple, pore-free porcelain skin. Mung beans would be ground into a paste and applied to the face to reduce puffiness and heal acne. 

Pearl Powder 

These notorious jewelry items were also used in Chinese beauty routines internally and externally as facial masks. Pearls are high in amino acids, calcium, and other minerals. 

Rice water toner

A classic natural toner used for centuries across China to refine pores and soften skin. This is still done today by soaking unpolished rice in water until it's milky then applying with a cotton ball.

These were just some of many ingredients and techniques used in Ancient China to maintain beauty standards that were way ahead of its time. Now in 2019 and beyond, C-Beauty is the next phenomenon set to make its way onto skincare shelves of men and women around the world. 

The rise of C-Beauty in the modern market

When we think of China, some of the first things that come to mind are cheap, low-quality produced goods. China is the largest exporting nation in the world and its understandable that there’s reservations about purchasing something as personal as skincare.

But in fact, the number of high-end, premium skincare brands in China is rising along with demand for it from Millenials and Gen Z’s.

Here are some reasons why C-Beauty will be a dominant force in the global skincare market soon. 

Ancient knowledge, natural herbal ingredients

Air pollution, product, and food safety scandals in recent years has led local Chinese to push for clean, high-quality and natural skincare solutions. Chinese brands are listening, combining ancient knowledge and advanced production techniques to create natural skincare with a twist.

2000 years worth of history with Traditional Chinese Medicine, including herbs, roots, and floral plants are often used for their functionality and long-standing benefits. Wellness and beauty are one and the same, and C-Beauty is built around this philosophy.

Many C-Beauty brands have been in operation for decades, utilizing a deep knowledge and understanding of health, beauty, and happiness.  

Cruelty-free era

For years China had some whacky skincare laws that required animal testing if sold within China.

Now, however, things have finally changed. Chinas Cosmetic Supervision and Administration Regulation [CSAR] will no longer require animal testing for cosmetics, so they can now produce products that appeal to animal lovers around the world.

Rising Chinese Middle Class

Thanks to the rapid rising of the middle-class in China, C-Beauty is on it’s way to becoming the largest beauty market in the world. Women are adpoting skincare at a younger age, between the ages of 16 - 14. Beauty retail sales in China stand at $53 billion and the beauty market is predicted to grow to nearly $62 billion by 2020.  

Slowly gaining international recognition

Due to growing demand for luxury skincare, C-Beauty brands are stepping up their game to appeal to the local and international markets. Not long ago Chinese consumers themselves rarely trusted domestic brands, usually ordering from European and Japanese companies.

In 2019, 3 out of 4 Chinese locals have bought domestically, and more citizens than ever are using keywords “Made in China” while searching for skincare online.

Wei Beauty is the first Chinese skincare brand ever to be stocked in Sephora, leading to a slow rise in exposure for Eastern skin care and natural C-Beauty products. 

The global expansion of C-Beauty seems inevitable.

In fact, 110-year-old premium Chinese brand Herborist has surmounted a huge Parisian following. So popular in fact they’ve built a 3-floor flagship store in the heart of the world’s fashion capital, Paris.  

Conclusion

There’s no denying Chinese philosophy, health and beauty knowledge runs deep in their culture and history. Yet for various reasons, only now do they have a chance to share that knowledge with the world through skincare.  

It's an exciting time for beauty enthusiasts as we enter a new era of skincare, inspired by the past, adopted in modern times.

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Behind the Words

Freelance model and self-proclaimed skincare guru, Emily lives to help other women feel beautiful in their skin. Otherwise, you can catch her at the local street vendor eating to her hearts content. 

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