“Skintellectuals”: The New Chinese Beauty Consumers

Skintellectuals is the new buzzword in China. It describes all the beauty consumers who learn about ingredients and routines. And they are the most exigent consumers in the world for cosmetics and beauty brands. From ingredients review to face yoga, there are tons of hot topics that you can use to push your brand marketing and sales. It’s time to learn from it.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Skintellectual” is the contraction of “skincare” and “intellectuals”
  • Their favorite topics include ingredients, skin types, routines, product reviews, and face yoga
  • Their brand and product analysis can have a direct impact on marketing and sales in China
  • Cosmetics brands work with “Skintellectuals” to promote their brand on Xiaohongshu
  • Local partners and agencies can identify and collaborate with them

I talk about this topic in my Newsletter n°24 “How Skintellectuals are reshaping the cosmetics market“.

We’ll go further into the topics and strategies you can leverage.

Let’s dive in.

What is the Definition of “Skintellectual”?

The term “Skintellectual” is the contract of “skincare” and “intellectual” to describe consumers who are intellectuals of the skincare industry. In brief, they know everything about skincare composition, routine, and recommendations. They share their knowledge and expertise on social media networks such as Little Red Book and Beauty Evolution.

skintellectuals china

According to the media Jing Daily, “homegrown beauty bloggers and apps have contributed to the proliferation of information about beauty, including ingredients, online, enabling domestic consumers to quickly educate themselves“.

What made Skintellectuals impactful among Chinese consumers is their knowledge of ingredients.

They can analyze and review any ingredient list.

Skintellectuals Lead the Ingredient Party in China

In Chinese, the term “Skintellectuals” is “成分党” which means “the ingredients party”.

The Chinese term is comparing this community of skincare lovers to a political party. Indeed, they are a solid group that always reviews new brands, new products, and new formulas. They lead the positive and negative impressions on the ingredients list. They are brands’ highest hopes and worst nightmares on the Chinese skincare market.

ingredients skincare

The ingredient list is the main concern of Skintellectuals – but it’s not the only one.

Let’s dive in.

What are the Skincare Topics on Xiaohongshu?

The Skintellectuals mainly interact on the social media Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu). It’s the equivalent of Instagram and Pinterest. They gather 200 million monthly active users (MAU) and an important skincare community.

Here are the 5 most discussed skincare topics on Xiaohongshu.

1. Ingredients Analysis

The ingredients are their favorite topic.

They take a picture of the ingredient list of products to analyze them one by one, stating whether they are clean or suitable for you. They provide complete guides, going viral on social media, to help cosmetics users. The recent development of clean beauty in China is coming from there. Chinese consumers favor more clean formulas and natural ingredients.

skintellectuals china ingredients

Skintellectuals even created the term “证据党” which means “Evidence Party“. Like the Skintellectuals, it’s a new type of community, similar to a political party asking for brands to provide lab test results. They demand evidence of the ingredients used and proven results.

2. Skin Types Analysis

Another key topic for Chinese beauty consumers and Skintellectuals is skin types. Some Skintellectuals and influencers talk about the different skin types, including oily, mixed, dry, and even sensitive. Each Chinese consumer is well aware of his or her skin type and will follow beauty influencers related to their skin type to receive the best recommendations.

ph skin type

Recently, Skintellectuals created the topic “配方党” on Xiaohongshu to review the pH level of each product. Each pH is analyzed and the related product is recommended or not depending on your skin. Since the pH of our skin is often challenged by external aggressors, the products that help restore the skin pH have more success in China.

3. Routine Recommendation

The third most discussed topic is about the skincare routine.

Chinese cosmetics consumers have much more steps in their skincare routine than European consumers. When we talk about routine recommendations, they are already a step further. Their favorite topics include “早C晚A” (Morning C Evening A) with 640 million views on Xiaohongshu and “以油养肤” (Nourishing skin with oil) with 460 million views on Xiaohongshu.

nourishing skin with oil

The latest topic “nourishing skin with oil” is recent in China. This is an emerging market that is worth getting for international brands. Indeed, Chinese consumers have access to very few face oils. Western brands that propose this assortment are meeting a strong success in China – and it could be your market entry strategy.

4. Product Reviews

This one is key for your brand and products.

This is when Skintellectuals review products from the packaging, ingredients, testing, feeling, effect, and opinion. Their detailed product review serves as complete Chinese consumer feedback. And it can be your key to success… or your worst nightmare.

Product reviews supported the success in China for:

  • Helena Rubinstein
  • La Roche-Posay
  • CeraVe
  • Lancôme
  • L’Oréal
  • SkinCeuticals
  • La Prairie
  • La Mer
  • Guerlain

This topic is essential for skincare brands’ growth in China.

5. Face Yoga Recommendation

Finally, face yoga is also popular in China. It started a long time ago thanks to Acupuncture and Gua Sha techniques. With the success of yoga and the history of Chinese medicine, face yoga is viral among Chinese consumers. Hence, Skintellectuals are sharing tons of movement recommendations.

face yoga china

Skintellectuals often combine face yoga movements with product recommendations to enable Chinese consumers to maximize their effects. The key is to propose a face oil or face cream with anti-aging effects.

This is part of the topics you can leverage to increase your brand notoriety.

Let’s move to the strategies.

How to Engage Your Brand with the Skintellectual Community?

If you have a skincare or cosmetics brand, the Skintellectual community will be key in your local development. You can learn about these 5 topics and use them in your social media content, press publications, influencer campaigns, and more.

The best way to engage with them is through Xiaohongshu.

Promote your Brand on Xiaohongshu

The first step is to create your Xiaohongshu official account.

little red book cosmetics ecommerce china

When your official account is live, you can share regular publications like any social media. If you already have one, you can diversify your content creation with localized topics. Then, the Skintellectuals topics can bring you more traffic and reactions.

You have 2 options:

  1. Include the topic and hashtag in your brand account publication
  2. Collaborate with a Skintellectual KOC for a product review

Your post must bring an insightful perspective to the topic.

This is why it’s important to work with a local agency.

Find the Best Partner in China

A local agency will help you to stay ahead of trends and know the current Skintellectuals topics. In China, your main asset will always be your reactivity. The faster you are to jump on a topic, the higher your notoriety and impact. One advice, the key is not to work with an agency but with THE agency that has experience in cosmetics, beauty, and skincare.

I worked for Givenchy Beauty and Guerlain while my co-founder June Fan worked for L’Oréal.

The perfect blend of knowledge and passion for this unique industry.


anais bournonville

That’s it for my review of the Skintellectual community and the marketing strategies. Hope it helps you!

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