Is This the Cutest Makeup in the World?

Subdued colors and minimalist styles have significantly influenced beauty packaging in recent years, evocative of mid-century contemporary furniture. Yet, a newcomer, C-beauty (Chinese beauty), is drawing notice for its avant-garde and cutting-edge cosmetics, much as K-beauty and J-beauty did before. Bronte-Marie Wesson, a makeup artist and content developer, observes that Western firms often need to catch up and copy C-beauty trends that have been around for a while.

Florasis is a prominent Chinese cosmetics brand that makes the audacious claim to be “the world’s most beautiful makeup.” Florasis, a company based in Hangzhou close to West Lake, is inspired by the diversity of cultures in the area and uses aspects of traditional Chinese art in its packaging. Vloggers are drawn to their eye makeup palettes because of their exquisite embossing that resembles scrollwork. The Blooming Rouge, Love Lock lipstick, is a hero product that adds a layer of cultural richness with its renderings of old legends. A few enthusiasts even purchase sets as mementos, underscoring the appeal of the brand’s narrative via packaging.

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The Swan Beauty collection from Flower Knows, another notable company, comes with a canister of loose-setting powder with swan cutouts and a powder puff with a bow on top. The filigree layer brings to mind the grandeur of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. These firms have a more ornate and culturally rich approach to packaging, a break from the muted packaging standard in the West.

Using herbs and botanicals from traditional remedies is similar to Chinese and Korean beauty; nevertheless, C-beauty deviates from current Korean trends. C-beauty focuses on complex cosmetics rather than a 10-step skincare regimen. The dewy look is replaced with a matte complexion; sheer shadows are replaced with micro glitter, and spidery lashes—also referred to as manhua or anime lashes—become the go-to trend. This disparity illustrates the effect of Chinese subcultures, especially cosplay, which is well represented on sites like Douyin and Xiaohongshu.

Chinese Gen-Z customers’ ravenous appetites are the driving force behind C-beauty’s extravagant packaging and unrelenting innovation. By 2025, they will be among the wealthiest customers on the planet. Therefore, they expect products with additional appeal. Unlike Western firms that release new items every seven to eighteen months, Chinese brands release new products in less than six months, living up to the adage “if you’re not moving forward, someone else is.” This unrelenting quest for excellence is consistent with the societal norm of offering customers flawless packaging.

In opposition to enduring Sinophobic clichés, C-beauty firms and their devotees seek to reinterpret what it means to be “Made in China.” While acknowledging the wide variety of items available from China, content creator Sharon Wu highlights that there are things of a lesser caliber and others that are well-made. “Your iPhone is made in China,” President of Florasis Global Expansion Gabby Chen accurately notes, dispelling stereotypes about Chinese goods. The startling astonishment that C-beauty products inspire in people is reflected in Florasis’s exponential increase in global sales, suggesting that we may see similar companies in Paris one day.

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