Take inspiration from the changing face of Chinese beauty through the centuries, and give it a fresh, audacious spin.

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Go the way of many charming beauties in ancient China who favoured small, cherry-red lips. Lip trends evolved with time, and designs ranged from butterfly-shaped pouts to a painted upper lip with just a vertical sliver of colour on the lower lip. What has remained constant is the hue of choice: A bold red. Modern beauties can try Dior’s Rouge Dior in 999 ($52) which delivers maximum impact with one smooth swipe. 

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Long and narrow almond-shaped eyes were the epitome of classic beauty by ancient Chinese standards. Elongate your peepers with a finely drawn line on the top lid. Get your flick game on with Dior’s Diorshow On Stage Liner in 091 Matte Black ($50), which has an ultra-flexible felt tip that gives flawless, natural-looking definition in a single stroke. 

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The ‘drunk blush’ was popularised during the Tang Dynasty, where women liberally applied rouge from the cheeks to the temples and down to the jawline. A fresh take on the look mimics a youthful flush and can be recreated with a vivid blusher such as the NARS Blush in Exhibit A ($52). 

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The ‘willow’ brows of the Qing Dynasty, thicker in the middle and tapering off at both ends, were so named because they exuded an aura of delicacy and refinement. Keep the focus on the brows with Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Dipbrow Pomade in Granite ($35). A tinted moisturiser such as Chanel’s Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturiser ($87) tones down any hint of redness while keeping skin smooth and hydrated. 

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Pearls have long been used in ancient China as a beauty enhancer. The Song Dynasty’s Empress Wu, who attached clusters of lustrous spheres along her hairline, eyes and mouth, inspired this opulent look. Give it an update by applying a few tiny pearls on the corners or under the eyes for a subtly luminous effect. 

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For an modern-day spin on the ornamental forehead markings sported by Tang Dynasty beauties, use a red eyeliner such as Shiseido’s Kajal InkArtist in Azuki Red ($38) to paint dots or geometric shapes near the lips, on cheeks or anywhere else you’d like to highlight. 

Makeup: Wang Yichen

Hair: Charlie

Models: Liu Junli, Li Linzi, Eva M 

By Arissa Ha.

Photographed by Zhong Ling.

Styled by Gong Xiaoge