Chinese State Media Complains About Celebrities’ Heavy Makeup

As Mainland China officials take a tougher stance on regulating the entertainment industry, celebrities’ conduct are once again under review after state media Guang Ming Daily issued a statement criticizing artistes who use heavy makeup.

In a penned article, Guang Ming Daily accused the film and television industry of distorting society’s morale by promoting artistes who depend on their appearances to mask their inadequate performances. Furthermore, Guang Ming Daily criticized male celebrities for being effeminate, as they piled their faces with eyeshadow and lipstick instead of putting on masculine and determined images.

As an example, the state media cited that many celebrities and idols often use heavy makeup to highlight their facial expression while using body doubles and filters to complete a film shoot. Gunag Ming Daily alleged that the issue had gone out of hand, and that many celebrities’ natural faces are nearly unrecognizable.

Offering a solution, Guang Ming Daily is pushing for celebrities to be considerate of their style and clothing, and replace heavy makeup for natural appearances that emphasize artistes’ personal skills and talent. 

Although netizens are noticing a trend of male celebrities going for a more natural appearance to avoid being labeled as effeminate, the newspaper advised that masculinity comes from within and is more than changing their appearance, “To meet the standards, this doesn’t mean men must shave their head and grow facial hair. Removing your blush is not the same as not wearing makeup.”

Source: HK01

This article has been written by Sammi for


  1. I agreed with some of these issues. In recent years many male Chinese artists are wearing too much makeup. Things that distract me the most when they are wearing heavy lipsticks and eyeshadows. For the females it drives me crazy when they try to make the upper lips thinner than they are. They painted the upper lips thinner with less lipstick. I know in general Chinese culture don’t consider thick lips as pretty – it’s opposite with the westerners (like Angelina Jolie).

    1. i actually don’t have a problem w/ guys wearing lipstick, i don’t know why though. i prefer effeminate men but not gay men.

      1. I don’t mind male artists to wear lipstick if it’s lightly and more natural – not heavy and like so obvious (for example like when it’s bright red).

      2. @m0m0 I think I enjoy a project with a balanced of cast.. in recent years, I watch dramas filled of heavy maked up effeminate men that was just a overkill… That really set a very unhealthy standards for regular guys… I feel there should a a better balanced as the society should be better represented.

    2. I’m with you there. I love one and only, and Allen’s portrayal of Zhou Shen Chen, but omg, his face has as much makeup as Bai Lu! Not saying they can’t have some makeup, but sometimes it’s so overkill, it’s jarring on your eyes!

      @hohliu, if you want a balance cast, don’t watch Chinese drama lol? Part of the reason why I have never been into BL is because I firmly believe it never deal with the real issue of LGBT community. Like would you ever see China portrait how the rich people force the poor out of the house without paying any real compensation? Or how the cops are corrupted, and instead of helping the people, they actually working with the higher up, construction companies and real estate investors to get people out of their house?

      1. @LittleFish I watched One & Only and really found Allen’s makeup unbearable… That is likely the most extreme I have ever seem on him. At least, with the new Policies, we can watch a more natural Allen in future. But, I am very selective of what CDrama I watched nowsaway. Just have no patience with silly stories.

  2. i wonder why they picked on liu yu of all the people out there. a few of his group mates are as guilty as him like patrick, jiang jia yuan and bo yuan too.

  3. If women can wear pants and no make up, then men can wear skirts and whatever amount of make up they want. I dare china to ban male chinese opera.

    1. On the contrary, chinese opera is heavily promoted by the government, including males in heavy operatic makeup. But I doubt these actors would wear opera makeup as part of everyday daily life like these young ‘sissy boys’ do.

  4. I fully agree with the some of points that was brought up….I have found it really uncomfortable to see how much makeup is used on celebs…or blenching their face to achieve a “Smooth Egg Shelled” look. Which is just ridiculous. That definitely need to be balanced with a more natural look. As not everyone can have the “Smoothed Egg Shelled” look… And it is just stupid to judge beauty based on how fair one’s skin is…

    I recently when to visit some friends in China. As it was a region of China that gets lots of sunlight, many of the people there are not as fair as those in the Northern region.. Because I was naturally very fair and rosy even in my older age… I get tons of people that comes to me to ask me how I stay fair etc… and how much they envy the colour of my complexion. I told them, they look very good too. They have a beautiful honey tan to their skin and they look very healthy. That is most important… But their mindset cannot be changed easily.

    I too agree fully with the increasing use of body double and filters over real actors in filming…A few shots over actors, I understand. Especially shots that are dangerous and they need stunt doubles.. But in recent years, we have most shots filmed by body doubles and the main actors are just filming some close up… That is such a disgracefully and cheating practise. That really need to be re-balanced. Viewers pay to watch real acting. They did not pay to watch “magic show”. I feel so cheated whenever I watch such dramas.

    Anyway, to moderate a more natural look is definitely a way forward…But to judge and reject a talented actor because he naturally look more gentle is also wrong… Everyone should be accepted for who they are. It is their talent, hardwork and skills that should speak for themselves…

    1. Worse, those artists without acting skills and using doubles in anything are highly paid and audiences (fans and more?) cannot see any fault or flaw and aggressively defend and cyber attack anyone who dares to speak the truth. It’s not just the Chinese audience but international ones as well. It’s both disturbing and sick because their support cultivate these behavior and actions. If there are more people not accepting such unprofessionalism and boycott these productions and artists, would these behaviours and low quality productions still continue to be mass produced.

      1. Here here! Yup, sick of the toxic fans of these body double actors and actresses. No wondering their acting is only getting worse, not better. They want to make money, they keep accepting the same roles, as long as it keeps coming in. Look at Zhao LuSi.

  5. We want this to be a case of people wearing makeup and not makeup wearing people. Unless it’s for a photoshoot or something, no need to put on THAT much (noticeable) makeup.

  6. I don’t have any problem with men wearing makeup in general. I see make-up as a form of art sometimes and there’s nothing wrong about wanting to look good for the camera. I have a problem with make-up being used to deceive people and attempting to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. They need to remember that while they do a lot of makeup to create a certain look, There is nothing wrong with how they normally look.

    The use of the word “masculine” here is incredibly toxic. Some men are naturally born with an effeminate face or a slimmer build – banning them based on their looks is not exactly the method to go about this issue

  7. “Guang Ming Daily criticized male celebrities for being effeminate, as they piled their faces with eyeshadow and lipstick instead of putting on masculine and determined images.”

    Have this writer seen how determined those heavily made-up boyband members and idols are? They practice dancing and singing for hours everyday. Being determined does not belong to one gender.

    I really don’t like this strict rule of what a man must look like and what a woman must look like. Let people be themselves. What makes a man a man is his action and conduct, not whether he puts on make up or not.
    I’ve seen one video in youtube criticising effeminate male celebrities and put Lu Han as an example. Lu Han is the celebrity who rather lost thousands of fans than keep his girlfriend a secret. He once said he will let people know when he is in a relationship and he kept his words. He lets everyone know. When interviewers asked him why he did it despite knowing the risk of losing fans, he said he wants to be responsible to the girl.
    Doesn’t this show him to be a true man? But he does look like a girl in many pictures and like other idols he wore make up.

  8. Liu Yu is obviously cosplaying in the picture on the right. He already did cosplay before he became an idol.

      1. @momo

        Liu Yu won many awards for his beauty?! When was that? I’ve never heard of male beauty awards in China.

      2. they aren’t exactly called beauty awards. like a han fu competition. TBH, there are much prettier boys on that show b/c i watched it. he also won chuang 1st place being the shortest in the group. just don’t exactly see the beauty in him but there were so many taller, more handsome, and taleneted boys on the show. i think he won some other ancient dance competition too.

  9. I don’t have issue if the male artist really love putting on makeup and not management agencies, tv stations, etc. trying to mass produce them like factory dolls. These young male idols are all dressed up with full makeup looking alike. The same goes to the female idols, they look as if they are cut from the same cloth on stage.

    1. it’s the plastic surgery. i don’t know what’s up with people these days, aren’t there natural beauties anymore? in the 80s hk, there are so many pretty girls and handsome man. there wasn’t a thing such as PS back then yet people were more beautiful

  10. Chinese netizens like to praise male celebrities being ‘so pretty’, ‘so fair’ etc. And it is considered a compliment when they say a male looks like a girl. Arrrgh… high time they do something about it.

  11. China should unban ‘Shang Chi and the Ten Rings’ and let the movie play in cinemas now. The main actor is masculine and didn’t wear make up. He’s the opposite of a pretty boy. Totally not an insult to Chinese.

    1. From what I heard, it was banned because someone dug up an old interview of Simu Liu regarding why he and his parents immigrated to Canada. His parents described China (at that time) was like living in a third world country, therefore moving to Canada felt like a breath of fresh air, with freedom to choose. Some Chinese netizens did not like what he said so it caused an uproar and therefore not being shown in China. I could be wrong.

      I haven’t had a chance to watch it but I heard it was really good.

      1. Simu Liu immigrated to Canada in 1994. That was 27 years ago. China still has not opened up much at the time. Simu was just telling the truth.

        I’ve not has the chance to watch it either. I also would like to see it. Read a lot of good reviews about it.

    2. The last time I had been in China was in 2005. I’m pretty sure it has changed since then. Whether good or bad I’m not sure. If you went to the big city, it was nice. Like any city, it has the bad neighborhood etc but could still be improved.

      I find that China is turning inwards again and trying to assert dominance over it’s neighbors. I sometimes feel lucky that my parents and I immigrated to Canada early on (in the 80s). Can’t imagine what my life would be luck if we stayed.

      1. Historically, China was a dominant and influential power in Asia up until the latter days of the Qing Dynasty when China was attacked simultaneously by eight foreign colonial powers and dissolved into a basket case for the next 150 years with civil strife, invasion by Japan, civil wars and the cultural revolution. It’s quite amazing how the government managed to rebuild the nation the last 30 years and lift millions out of absolute poverty. With an armada of foreign warships surrounding China once again, history is repeating itself but with a horrifying possibility of an appocolyptic nuclear war.

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