Chinese men are spending more time and money on beauty

By Wang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/16 18:33:39

In China, beauty products have long been perceived as the opposite of masculinity. In the past, few Chinese males would invest in skincare or cosmetic products. Most even felt proud about not keeping up their appearance, as they felt this made them manlier.

But such ancient traditions are changing among younger generations of Chinese males. Data by Statista showed that Chinese men now tend to spend around 2.2 hours per week on personal grooming, Jing Daily reported on July 3.

According to another report by the in August 2017, males in first-tier Chinese cities spent about 24 minutes on their daily grooming, and around 88 percent of men surveyed said they check for beauty and fashion information online.

Living in Shanghai, one of the most diverse and developed cities in China, I personally know many males in their 20s and early 30s who devote significant attention and money on their outer appearance. Skincare creams, perfumes and even cosmetics like foundation and concealer are no longer exclusive to Chinese women.

Many of my male friends here have the habit of using perfume. Some consult with me about skincare advice and fashion tips. For instance, my middle school classmate Jason once complained to me about his worsening complexion and asked me to recommend a good toner for him.

I told him to use hydrating water and facial lotions to moisturize his dry skin in the morning and evening, and he gladly took my advice and bought the products. He didn't feel the slightest bit embarrassed about asking or receiving help.

Likewise, my friend Lucas who studied in Japan for two years now adopts a strict skincare regimen. He tends to spend around 6,000 yuan ($897) annually on skincare products, mainly expensive facial toners, creams and serums.

He added that, in Japan, it is also common for men to use skincare and makeup products, as such displays mean you respect yourself and those who have to look at you.

So what factors have contributed to the rapid rise in skincare and cosmetics use among men in China? One reason is that more and more male Chinese celebrities and social media influencers are now openly using such products.

The most well-known young male celebrities, including Lu Han, Huang Zitao and Kris Wu, all tend to wear makeup in public. Meanwhile, male beauty bloggers have been springing up on social media platforms such as Bilibili and Sina Weibo. Many have gained tens of thousands, or even millions, of followers.

Encouraged by these male celebrities, more ordinary men now want to try beauty products and feel less ashamed about doing so.

Another reason is that the younger generation of Chinese males have finally realized that appearances matter very much in today's modern society. When looking for a job, for example, men must appear confident, handsome and tidy, especially in fields like sales, services and public relations.

When dating, Chinese males with cleaner faces and better taste in clothes are also more likely to win a girl's heart. Research conducted by data consultancy company Kantar showed that around 73 percent of Chinese males in first-tier cities admitted that appearance matters a lot to them in both the workplace and personal relationships, China Youth Daily reported in 2016.

Personally, I think that the traditional belief that beauty products and trendy clothes are female privilege is outdated. I support Chinese males breaking through ancient perceptions about masculinity; they should be as free to pursue beauty as we ladies are.

If women with short hair or wearing tomboy-style clothes should not be discriminated against, why should men be discriminated against for using skincare and beauty products? Both genders have an equal right to take care of their appearances any way they desire.

As younger generations of Chinese experience better financial conditions and higher consumption power, I believe their expenditure on beauty products will likewise become much higher in the near future.

Illustrations: Chen Xia/GT

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.

Posted in: TWOCENTS

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