The Perception of Beauty in China

The ideal perception of beauty in the Asian culture is very different to what we perceive as beautiful in our Western society. Chinese women idealise after looking younger, more doll like and to have more similar features to Western women. This results in many females going to the extreme to have the attributes they believe is more “beautiful”.

After researching into the ideal Chinese beauty it seems evident that women go to these extreme lengths to get married.  “Plastic surgery is used to increase marriage potential. In China, if you’re not married by your late twenties you are branded a ‘leftover’.”-

The most popular plastic surgeries performed in China are:

  1. Double eyelid procedure, making the eyes appear larger
  2. Enlarging of the nose bridge to make it appear more prominent
  3. Reshaping of the jaw to make it longer and narrower

“Rosy plump oval face, new-moon-shaped eyebrows, delicate and soft limbs and fingers, and fine porcelain skin. In addition, sweet dimples in the cheeks, or Jiuwo, literally a pit of wines in Chinese, are definitely a plus for female charm.Thin, long and slightly curved eyebrows have been the major trend since the mid-14th century. More than skin deep, a Chinese beauty should also have good manners, temperament, tastes, and style of conversation.” –

These are two Vogue covers of Gigi hadid, (left Vogue China, right British Vogue), both have been edited and photographed in a way to suit the culture and appeal to specific target audience of the consumer. The left cover shows that Gigi’s skin has been radically lightened as the Chinese culture consider porcelain skin more attractive. Where as the British cover has Gigi looking more bronzed and glowing. “The same way many sunblocks contain self-tanning agents, in China many contain whiteners and skin brightening chemicals.” –



Gigi’s facial features have also been altered through make-up and editing. Vogue China shows her eyebrows to be thinner and more curved instead of Gigi’s normal statement thick, natural brow. This is because in China “thin, long and slightly curved eyebrows have been the major trend since the mid-14th century.” –  

Her eyes are also wider and bigger in comparison to the British vogue because “in Chinese culture, large eyes are thought to be more womanly, innocent, and doll-like, and align with some of the expected qualities of women in past times – submissive, obedient, and feminine.” –


Vogue China shows Gigi’s facial expression to be more pouted and blank because the Asian culture consider “fuller lips are thought to bring in good luck and be attributed to a fun-loving, warm, and expressive personality. On the other hand, those with thin lips were thought to be colder, more determined, and more calculating – qualities that are not usually considered attractive in women.” –

Another trait which the Chinese culture consider to be beautiful is an oval shaped face which Gigi has. “It is long held in Chinese ancient painting theory that an oval face makes for the best proportioned features. According to this theory, the face can be transversely divided into trisections, or “Three Stops” – from the hairline to the eyebrow, from the eyebrow to the bottom of the nose, and from the bottom of the nose to the bottom of the chin. Vertically, the face can be divided into quinti-sections or “Five Eyes”- the distance between two eyes shall be the length of one eye, and the vertical distance between the outer canthus and the external opening of the ear shall be also the length of one eye.”  –

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