Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chinese grasp concept of new online cosmetics stars: men

Chinese grasp concept of new online cosmetics stars: men

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Jiang Cheng records video at his home in Beijing. WANG ZHAO/afp

Chinese grasp concept of new online cosmetics stars: men

WHEN Jiang Cheng first tried a bit of concealer during his first year of university in China it gave him self-confidence and he was instantly hooked.

Now he is among hundreds of Chinese men sharing beauty tips online and cashing in on the booming male cosmetics industry.

“I found that putting on make-up is actually quite easy,” the 24-year-old said as he gently brushed his face with some foundation.

“Women may not fully grasp the concept of male make-up. If a girl puts on my make-up, they may not be able to achieve the effect that I really want,” Jiang said.

Every weekend, Jiang spends a couple of hours in front of his iPhone at his cozy makeshift studio in Beijing trying on the latest balms and blush for hundreds of live viewers, who can simultaneously buy the products he reviews.

“This colour is not that outrageous that men can’t wear it safely even in a conservative environment,” he explains to his fans.

Online beauty stars form an enormous industry in China, with internet celebrities known as “wang hong”, or online stars, blurring the line between entertainment and e-commerce.

Companies like Alibaba and JD.com have launched live-streaming platforms that allow viewers to purchase on the go while watching videos. And cosmetics brands pay big money for online celebrities, almost always female, to review their new products.

But now the market and gender norms are changing, with cosmetics no longer seen as exclusively for women and male celebrities showing it is okay for men to dab on a bit of blush.

Jiang says a firm that manages bloggers pays him around 5,000 yuan ($730) per month to feature products from cosmetics companies.

The male beauty market is expected to grow 15.2 per cent in the next five years in China compared to an 11 per cent global increase over the same period, according to research firm Euromonitor.

Increasingly, foreign firms like La Mer and Aesop work with video bloggers such as Lan Haoyi, known as Lan Pu Lan online, to promote their products to his nearly 1.4 million followers.

The 27-year-old spends up to $1,460 a month on beauty products and says China’s “Little Fresh Meat” – a term referring to young good-looking men – is spearheading this trend.

“We’re seeing more men in the media wearing make-up. This will naturally become the norm,” Lan said.

Despite what appears to be social progress in many of the country’s cosmopolitan cities, the video blogger says he still receives hate messages and criticism for appearing in smoky red eyeshadow.

“’Why would a man look like that? Why does a man need to wear make-up?’ These are some of messages I get,” Lan says, adding he has been called a “sissy” and other slurs.

For Jiang, the fear of being ridiculed by his own parents stops him from picking up the make-up brush in front of them.

“I don’t want to have conflict with my parents. We don’t see eye to eye, our values and concepts of life are different.

“I’m not saying they don’t think me putting on make-up is bad ... but they are just unable to accept the daily make-up routine for a man,” he says.

Internet strategy

But Mo Fei, the executive director for Chetti Rouge, a Chinese cosmetics company targeting men exclusively, says that will change over time.

“There will be more and more men who take more care in how they look and the demands will increase. Men in the East are more accepting,” Mo says.

He opened Chetti Rouge in 2005 with few products. Now the beauty firm sells a wide variety of cosmetics ranging from foundation to lipstick solely for men and has moved the entire business online.

“We saw potential in the market very early on,” Mo told AFP, adding the firm expanded to Thailand three years ago.

“It might be that men have accepted make-up. For men to browse products in shopping malls, may be for some men a little intimidating, hence the best way for them to buy is online, which is why our sales strategy is mainly on the internet.”

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to