3 Beauty shopping apps in China you need to know

The popularity of beautifying apps has reached new heights in China as they complement the beautifying experience with e-commerce. Let’s take a look at three of the most talked about Chinese beauty apps – Makeup Plus, “我是大美人” and “小红书” – and how they work.

1. MakeupPlus








What it does: Makeover filters, virtual makeup try-on, online shopping

Why it’s additive:

  • Instant virtual makeovers: Users can use their smartphone camera to try different makeup styles in real time through hundreds of virtual filters, application to both still images and videos. Precision recognition technology synchronises the virtual makeup with the user’s facial movement, as long as they don’t make too much sudden movements. The filters are frequently updated according to trending looks.
  • Celebrity collaborations: The app has worked with Pony, one of South Korea’s most well-known beauty guru, to launch an exclusive makeup filter. London based beauty influencer Lisa Eldridge also created a makeup filter for the app with a red carpet look, taking the app to global audiences.
  • Special occasions: The app releases seasonal filters for special occasions – for Halloween, it launched a series of virtual looks from zombie and vampire.
  • Try on popular lipsticks: A wide range of popular lip colours are available for virtual try-on, from brands including Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Bobbi Brown. All the user has to do is take a selfie and start snapping the lip colour filters on – if they like it, a link connects to the brand’s official e-commerce website.
  • Learn from the pro: The app hosts three platforms where beauty experts share makeup trends and tips, namely “Makeup Tutorials” where users can learn how to achieve a specific look, “Makeup Base” for the beginners and “Makeup Transformation” for expert tips on celebrity looks.


2.  Dameiran (which means a great beauty in Chinese)







What is does: Live streaming and online shopping

Why it’s additive:

  • It’s live: The app teams up with makeup artists and stylists from China, South Korean and Taiwan to produce 2-3 live streaming sessions every day. This gives users a chance to interact with beauty experts in real-time, share their questions and thoughts and get feedback instantly.
  • Unprecedented access to experts: The app is particularly popular with young ladies living in third- and fourth-tier cities in China – they have lower incomes and limited accessibility to international beauty products, let alone beauty expert consultations. The app gives them a chance to get personal advice.
  • Tutorial plus easy shopping: As users watch the live streaming sessions, they can see a list of products used in the tutorial and click to buy immediately. The app takes viewer feedback into consideration when deciding what to stock and most products are priced affordably.
  • It’s a community: Users can join a community on the app where they can share tips and product secrets, meet and follow like-minded people.
  • It’s affiliated with one of China’s biggest media giants: The app hosted a live streaming session on 24 September 2015 with Chinese celebrities Angelababy and Chen Xuedong talking about beauty trends and products – it attracted a record of 1.9 million viewers and has caught the attention of Hunan TV, one of China’s biggest media conglomerates. The app is now affiliated with Hunan TV’s lifestyle programme “Queen”, and selected video content is broadcasted on TV.


3. Xiaohongshu (which means little red book in Chinese)








What it does: Online community and cross-border online shopping

Why it’s addictive:

  • Shop from global brands directly: The app evolved from “the Chinese Pinterest” to the place to find affordable, genuine international beauty products. In December 2014, the app launched Fu Li She (which means house of benefits), a shopping platform where international brands can join as partners and sell to mainland Chinese shoppers directly, using the app’s local warehouses and logistics to minimise costs. This means shoppers can buy authentic products from brands such as SK-II, Vivienne Westwood and Anna Sui, often at a lower price than at Chinese department stores.
  • Explore niche labels in beauty and beyond: Pixie Market, for example, was introduced to Chinese shoppers on Xiaohongshu when active users recommend the New York fashion boutique on the app earlier this year.

Like this guest post? Learn more below about guest blogger and author: Ashley Galina Dudarenok, head of strategy and Karmen Chu, content manager at Chozan.

Ashley lived in China for 5 years before moving to Hong Kong in 2010. She worked as a marketing and PR manager with specialties in Chinese social media, opinion leader marketing and creative campaigns. ChoZan is a training and resource platform for marketers who work with Chinese social media, such as WeChat and Weibo. It provides marketers with step-by-step navigators, KOL lists, helpdesk support and more.

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