Subscribe to our Jing Beauty newsletter launching on June 14, 2023, to get the latest news on China’s world of beauty and wellness.
Before purchasing a new beauty brand or product, 28-year-old Susan Chen, manager at a preschool in Hangzhou, researches the potential purchase on the lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu to check users’ reviews. “It has become a habit. When many people share positive experiences, I feel reassured,” she says. “I love scrolling through the Xiaohongshu Explore page. I can discover many new items and brands. I also follow a few KOLs that genuinely share beauty tips and product recommendations.”
Founded in 2013, the community-review-based lifestyle platform has become a search engine for its 200 million monthly active users. This is particularly true when it comes to beauty. According to the site, 87 percent of Xiaohongshu’s beauty users use it as their primary channel to learn about new beauty brands and products.
The Instagram-like sharing platform boasts over 43 million content creators. Netizens often use the app as a source of inspiration. While mega-influencers are renowned for their large base of followers, its micro and nano-influencers who specialize in specific categories who are the most favored by Xiaohongshu users wishing to learn more about a particular subject.
In light of this, Jing Daily presents the eight fastest-rising beauty influencers who can provide a gateway for beauty brands to reach their desired target consumers. The influencers were determined by follower growth according to data provided by Launchmetrics covering the period from October 14, 2022 to April 14, 2023.
Cheng Shian @程十安an
Followers: 8.4 Million
Average MIV: $35,433 (244,824 RMB)
Born in 1995, Cheng Shian began her beauty blogger career in 2018, tackling women’s makeup application issues. Her videos, which range from five to eight minutes long, give detailed explanations of how to apply cosmetics efficiently. Additionally, in the comment section, she patiently replies to the questions raised by users. Her step-by-step tutorials quickly grabbed the attention of beauty users. In February 2020, Cheng attracted 300 million followers in one month.
On the occasion of 2021’s Singles’ Day Shopping Festival, Cheng officially joined Taobao Double 11’s livestream. In the first hour, the beauty KOL’s sales reached over $507,000 (3.5 million RMB), and her viewership reached 1 million. Niche brands like Carfornian-based Kimtrue, Fabloox, and London-based Zelens have leveraged the influencer to gain awareness in China.
Ma Baoer @马宝儿
Followers: 2.7 Million
Average MIV: $30,931 (213,720 RMB)
Beauty influencer Ma Baoer is mostly silent in her videos. The sounds that are present are her tapping on skincare bottles with her nails or knocking, squeezing, rubbing, smearing, scratching, or running water throughout the entire process. In fact, Ma is renowned and beloved for her immersive autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos, whose sounds elicit tingling sensations in listeners. The trend took over the Chinese web in 2020.
Under the hashtag #immersiveskincareroutine#, Ma Baoer is the content maker with the highest likes. Netizens find her videos not only helpful but also relaxing. International luxury brands like La Mer, Estée Lauder, and domestic brand Perfect Diary often make appearances in her videos.
Zhouzhou KOI @粥粥KOI
Followers: 2 Million
Average MIV: $22,816 (157,647 RMB)
Lipstick king Austin Li is not a singular case in China. Many male beauty KOLs are emerging on Xiaohongshu, some surpassing established female bloggers’ influence. Their rise coincides with Chinese beauty shoppers’ desire to know more about the ingredients in skincare products.
Zhouzhou KOI is a cheng fen dang 成分党 influencer: He doesn’t apply makeup to his face, but is an aficionado with a background in science who shares his professional knowledge of cosmetics ingredients and how they affect different skin types. The objective approach has made the account a trusted source of advice for local beauty consumers. Zhouzhou KOI is popular among college students thanks to his recommendations for affordable substitute products for luxury skincare.
Yi Mengling @易梦玲
Followers: 4.5 Million
Average MIV: $28,130 (194,367 RMB)
Fashion and beauty influencer Yi Mengling has been dubbed by netizens as an ‘ambiance beauty’ 氛围感美女. The term refers to the concept that beauty is not a characteristic that differentiates people, but is an element of harmony. Yi captures the essence of this approach. Her outfit, makeup, and environment create a harmonious vibe. Her looks, makeup, and poses are often imitated by young girls.
International brands such as Burberry, Estée Lauder, and Tiffany have also noticed the influencer. She is now a frequent guest at maisons’ events and co-creates content with them. Overall, the KOL’s style and following align well with the luxury segment.
Shen Zichen @沈子丞
Average MIV: $17,849 (123,332 RMB)
Shen Zichen is another male beauty influencer who is gaining momentum in Xiaohongshu.
Unlike Zhouzhou KOI, the ingredient expert, Shen shares weekly massage and training exercises and herbal teas tips for his followers to improve their skin’s appearance.
The approach is nothing new to Chinese consumers, who have used the traditional facial guasha (scraping) method for centuries in the belief that it improves blood circulation and firms the skin. Hence, Shen’s massage routines and natural remedies are seen as a healthy solution to aging issues.
Tong Shuangshuang @爱化妆的二双
Followers: 2.2 Million
Average MIV: $24,787 (171,268 RMB)
For any occasion or style, from Eastern to Western aesthetics and fictional character imitation, beauty blogger Tong Shuangshuang has the perfect makeup for her followers. In her videos, she teaches viewers how to recreate her look step by step.
Her foreign boyfriend (nationality not revealed) frequently appears in her videos, in which Tong dresses him like a girl or matches his look with hers. The videos where the two appear together have a high engagement rate: fans actively comment under the posts.
Followers: 1.7 Million
Average MIV: $29,806 (205,945 RMB)
Elvis is a makeup artist who has collaborated with Chinese stars like Cai Xukun and Zhang Yuqi and created looks for brands’ catwalk shows. Thanks to his identity as an expert, his followers are eager to watch his videos to discover the skincare products used by celebrities and learn the correct makeup application method to create the perfect look.
Since March this year, Elvis has started inviting his young fans to broadcast online – he analyzes their makeup and tells them how to apply it correctly. In the comments section, users frequently ask the makeup artist to release more videos like these. Users find it easier to learn how to apply products by looking at how beginners do it under Elvis’ instruction. Also, his anxious and dramatic attitude amuses netizens.
Winnie Wen @Winnie文
Followers: 5.6 Million
Average MIV: N/A
Last but not least, Winnie Wen is the answer for beauty shoppers looking for pocket-friendly beauty product suggestions. Nearly every day, the beauty blogger shares a basket of products she has tested and selected for her fans, ranging from skincare to cosmetics, hair care, and fragrances. Each product is presented with the price and her own review, and she also shares the most convenient channels where people can purchase the item being reviewed.
The influencer’s main targets are the young demographics that have limited budgets. Indeed, Wen mainly suggests affordable brands. Niche domestic brands like People, Holdlive, and Jejo, frequently appear in her videos thanks to their Asian sensitive-skin friendly formulas and cost-friendly price points.
Jing Daily’s monthly Chinese KOL tracking column looks at the most influential and active figures on China’s popular social media platforms that reshape consumer behaviors. From luxury to beauty, travel to lifestyle, and fashion, it offers a curated selection of the fastest-rising influencers and the trends behind them. Data are provided by the online performance measurement platform Launchmetrics.