A bit of cultural training: Chinese standards of beauty


Whether you are working in China or you are accompanying spouse, living in China, you will have the chance to discover what beauty means in China. Even modern China is influenced by the Western world, you still have strong specificities. Some people are fascinated by Chinese beauty while other will have limited attraction. Beauty standards are also something to take into account when working in China: you need to pay attention to your appearance and make sure you wear the right outfit depending on the people you are doing business with.

Some companies even offer re-looking sessions and suggestions on how to dress for different circumstances to their employees as many of them don’t really catch what’s suitable for each situation. Don’t be surprised if you see a hairdresser and beauty therapists entering your new office in Beijing!

Chinese standards of beauty

Chinese standards of beauty for ladies: “白富美 (bái fù měi)” or “white, rich beautiful”

  • beauty cream in ChinaWhite skin… you’ve probably already noticed that all beauty creams and serums have whitening properties in China… Foreign ladies living in China are building their stock of non-whitening cream each time they go back to their home country. Same for sunblocks, in Western countries, sunblocks contain self-tanning agents whereas in China they contain whiteners and skin brightening chemicals! Many pictures of Chinese ladies at the beach fully covered with clothes, including their face, are circulating on the web.


  • Full lips: Chinese girls usually have decent size lips in comparison with their small face. Having fuller lips is thought to bring in good luck and means that the person is warm and has expressive personality. On the contrary, having thin lips means that the person is colder, determined and more calculating which is not good for women in China.
  • Double eyelid”, called 双眼皮 (shuāng yǎn pí.)”:  About 50% of the Chinese population is born with hooded eyes with no crease or monolids, which gives the impression that the eyes are smaller. Many people choose to get blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) to correct this. In China, large eyes mean that the lady is more womanly, innocent, and doll-like. The double eyelid is probably the main reason for cosmetic surgery nowadays; South Korea is a popular destination to visit for this. 

Chinese standards of beauty for men: “高富帅 (gāo fù shuài.)” or “Tall, rich, and handsome”

Not far from the Western standards: “tall, dark and handsome”, excepted the adjective “rich” which has nothing to do with beauty… Anyway, this similarity between Chinese and Western beauty standards for men may explain why many Chinese ladies are attracted by foreigners. Tall is meant for strong, as Chinese ladies expect men to protect their family.

Beauty standards around the world

Living in a different country with not only local people but also many other nationalities will also be an opportunity for you to compare beauty standards in other countries. Pictures usually speak better than words, especially when it relates to beauty. A marketing agency has gathered pictures of a same woman Photoshop by graphic designers from 18 different countries based on their nation’s average beauty preferences. Some examples here:


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About Marketing

I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!