Chinese Beauty Standards vs Western Standards

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But does it matter if the beholder is Western or Chinese? What are the different beauty standards between Western and Chinese people? Let’s find out the Chinese Beauty Standards!


1 – Chinese Beauty Standards | Big Eyes

chinese beauty standards

In modern China, large eyes are considered to be a beautiful attribute. The larger and rounder the better, particularly eyes that have the “shuāng yǎnpí ” or double-fold eyelid (双眼皮).

These modern Chinese beauty standards reveal a certain fascination with the West, with more and more Chinese girls resorting to cosmetic accessories – such as eyelid tape to enlarge the visible size of the eyes – or even surgery to create those double-fold eyelids.

double-fold eyelid chinese beauty standards
big eyes alone are not enough: double-fold eyelid is an essential attribute of beauty

Conversely, many Western people consider the narrower eyes to be more feminine, unique and attractive and prefer them to rounder or larger eyes.


2 – Chinese Beauty Standards | Light Skin

white skin chinese beauty standard

White skin is a must have in China. You’ll never see a girl buying tanner in China, or voluntarily tanning herself in the sun unless she’s spent quite a lot of time in the West.

On the contrary, Chinese girls try to protect their skin from the sun as much as possible! If you’ve been to China, you undoubtedly must have noticed how they wisely use umbrellas, jackets and sunscreen to shield their skin from the sun.

Having a white skin is an old Chinese beauty standard that stems from Ancient Chinese traditions. In ancient China, only the rich people had a white skin because they did not have to work in the fields like the peasants did.

Their creamy, unblemished, white skin was proof they were of a different class. That’s why Chinese girls still nowadays want a white and smooth skin just like jade: to not be taken for a poor peasant.

Conversely among Western cultures modern standards have placed a certain amount of mystique around the ‘perfect tan.’


3 – Chinese Beauty Standards | Narrow Face Shape

chinese beauty standards face
melon-seed face (left) and goose-egg face (right) are generally considered the most attractive in China.


Two particular face shapes are generally considered more feminine and attractive in China. They are the “guāzǐliǎn 瓜子脸” or melon-seed face (a broader forehead with a narrow angular chin) and the “é’dànliǎn 鹅蛋脸” or goose-egg face (gently curved and symmetrical). While other face shapes would also be considered beautiful, these two are the most sought-after. Not everyone is born with a melon-seed or goose-egg face and, as such, many girls even go through cosmetic surgery to change the shape of their face.

The worst face shape a Chinese girl can have according to Chinese beauty standards is a square face, which is considered masculine.

Chinese girls prefer an oval face over a prominent jawline, as the oval shape is viewed as more feminine, delicate and cute.

As for Westerners, their ideal face shape is different. While the oval-shaped face remains very popular, according to a recent survey, the most attractive face for a girl is actually the square face. This could be because the square face is sometimes considered the most attractive as the wider jawline enhances the look and the smile.


4 – Chinese Beauty Standards | Very Slim Body

Chinese Beauty Standards
The self -esplicative “A4 Challenge”:the perfect waist has to measure at most 30 cm

Chinese standards have largely remained unchanged: a woman with a slim body and narrow waist are generally considered most attractive. There are indicators of this preference – and the pressure it creates among Chinese women – everywhere. Advertisements, product endorsements, television shows and blockbuster movies all feature slim women.

It seems every few months a new ‘challenge’ emerges on Chinese social media that favors smaller bodies: the A4 Challenge, the Collarbone Challenge and so on.

All this pressure has fueled an industry of diets, potions and pills all promising to give the user the ‘perfect’ body.

Collarbone Challenge chinese beauty standards
The Collarbone Challenge

chinese beauty standard

chinese beauty standard


Italian Vagabond

Born in Italy, lived in UK, wandered across Southeast Asia, Europe, USA, Africa and Australia. Amatheur photographer, passionate traveller, enthusiastic reader, addicted football fan.

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