Article originally appears on Dragon Social
With the rise of Weibo, beauty industry influencers called KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) are the latest trend and a booming business!
Sharing make up tips and beauty products through a combination of pictures and videos in China is the best way to promote your product. Similar to beauty makeup bloggers in Europe and the US, many Chinese fashion KOLs have reached millions of followers.
On the biggest social media platforms in China, beauty KOLs play a crucial communicative role that act as a source of information for followers of fashion.
Who are the most influential KOLs of the beauty industry in China? What are the characteristics that define and differentiate them from the others? What are the secrets to their success?
This blog will give you all you need to know about the massive industry of China’s beauty industry KOL marketing.
Top 10 Fashion and Beauty Influencers (KOL) in China
The average daily reading volume of the fashion and beauty influencers (KOLs) below exceeds 1 million and their average engagement rate is over 10,000 per day. This is not a list by any metric other than my own opinion as a user of Chinese social media. If you think some of your favorite KOLS deserve to be in this list leave a comment and we can add them at a later date! Look forward to reading who you think deserves to be here!
#1. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): Kakakaoo~
Find her on…
Weibo @ Kakakaoo
Wechat Official Account：@kakakaoo
With over 8.7 million fans on Weibo, Kakakaoo (aka 王清媛 or 阿沁) is a 23-year-old fashion and beauty influencer (KOL) well-known in China mainly for here Korean influenced style.
She posts lively and fresh images that feel cordial and elegant, leading to her fanbase growing to such a huge size. Her popularity led her to be featured in one of the most famous fashion magazines in the world, Vogue. She now works as a promotional representative for MAC lipsticks.
Besides occasional vlogging her daily life and posting unboxing videos, the most common form of content she shares is beauty product recommendations and reviews.
She also publishes her own news which she calls “Aqin News” (a play on her name) to update her fans with what she has been doing recently, what she’s working on, and other news related to her daily life. (As a reader, I would say, she seems to be one of the most hardworking KOL I’ve seen!).
An example of 阿沁 promoting Mac Lipstick and posting her Aqin News
Apart from that, she also has her own store on Taobao where she promotes various products and shares news of events from time to time.
Aquin’s Taobao Store
#2. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): Chrison克里森
Chrison started off his career working as an editor for a sports magazine. Compared to the other KOLs, he tends to have a lower profile and you rarely see his face on his social media platform. Together with the black colored background on his Weibo, this helps build up his mysterious image.
Here you can see the dark background of Beauty Influencer, Chrison’s, Weibo
In one of his interviews, he mentioned that he actually does this on purpose in order to weaken his personal image and leave room for the imagination of his followers. This unique style allows his followers to focus more on the content he writes rather than his image.
The content he writes is mostly digital storytelling for luxury brands and he has been invited by these brands for cooperation. In the past, he’s worked with brands such as Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Cartier etc.
These are some examples of Chrison’s posts. On the left you can see some products from Chanel
Although he seldom shows up, his prior working experience has helped him a lot to write eye-catching articles and he has a unique and exquisite writing style, which helped him to accumulate his 7.5 million user fanbase on Weibo.
Everything on his account is meant to keep with his mysterious style. Here he’s purposely not showing his face.
#3. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): Dipsy迪西
Find him on…
Weibo @ Dipsy迪西
Wechat Official Account：@realDipsy
Dipsy’s followers have just reached the 6 million mark on Weibo and his content is similar to “Chrison克里森” (the #2 KOL on this list I just introduced above). The content focuses mainly on luxury brands such as Tom Ford, Jo Malone London, Thom Browne etc. but his writing style is comparatively more approachable and uses a friendlier tone than Chrison克里森 (It feels like I’m reading style recommendations from a friend of mine, rather than a mysterious stranger).
Here we can see some post examples from fashion influencer, Dipsy, featuring Dior on the left and Thom Browne on the left
He was once a graphic designer and was chosen to appear in Chanel’s promotional video on Valentine’s Day in 2018, which led him down the path to becoming a fashion and beauty influencer/KOL.
One of the reasons he can be one of the top influencers in China is that he is am absolute perfectionist. He pays a huge amount of attention to small details such as the layout, order, colour/tone etc. of every single one of his posts to make sure that the post is completely flawless before publishing.
Each of these photos is perfectly edited to fit in with Dipsy’s style
#4. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): Bag包先生
Find him on…
Weibo @ Bag包先生
Wechat Official Account @baosbaoxiansheng
With over 5 million followers on Weibo, “包先生” (Mr. Bags in English), real name Tao Liang, mainly writes contents recommending various luxury brand handbags as well as posting reviews/critiques on the the bags different celebrities wear.
As you can see Mr. Bags definitely focuses on bags!
He also writes the posts from a reader’s perspective, which makes it more practical as it comes off with a more relaxing and friendlier tone.
On Valentine’s Day in 2017, Mr. Bags collaborated with one of the most luxurious brands in the world, Givenchy, and released a limited edition pink version of the ‘Mini Horizon’ handbag. Through his promotion of the limited time product all 80 of them were sold out within 12 minutes. With a price tag of nearly RMB 15,000 per bag this was quite the impressive feat.
The “Mini Horizon” Mr. Bags promoted for Givenchy
In 2018, he designed a bag with Tod’s and again within 6 minutes, all 500 handbags were sold out. With each priced at RMB 10,800, this resulted in RMB 3.24 million in sales.
Mr. Bag’s working together with Italian Brand Tod’s
Most of the luxury brands view him as an intermediary between their products and their target consumers. His work and fan base provide them with an opportunity to get feedback on their products, determine what’s popular, and identify trends. This makes him an incredibly valuable resource for the brands he cooperates with.
For 2019 it seems he’s working with LongChamp to promote their Chinese New Year 2019 collection.
Mr. Bag’s LongChamp Collection Chinese New Year 2019 Collection. Ready for the Year of the Pig?
#5. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): MK涼涼
Find her on…
Weibo @MK涼涼 
Wechat Official Account @huazhuangshimk
Instagram @leiyunqi 
Youtube @MK凉凉 
Xiaohongshu @MK凉凉 
MK涼涼 as of January 2019 has over 4.7 million of followers on Weibo. MK涼涼 is actually a make-up artist, who shares and recommends different cosmetics and beauty products. She creates detailed reviews for these products and gives them a score in several different categories. These detailed reviews have led her to become one of China’s biggest beauty influencers.
For example, when scoring foundation powders, she will score them according to their coverage, oil control and how long the powder can last etc. She’s done similar reviews for other product categories including lipstick, mascara, etc.
Some of MK涼涼’ posts reviewing various cosmetic products.
Aside from product reviews, she also uploads different make up and styling tips for her followers.
Owing to her career, her reviews sound super professional but at the same time and a friendly tone. She has collaborations with over 200 famous beauty brands such as L’Oreal, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and Estée Lauder etc., in 2017. She now has her own company “粉星美妆”, Pink Planet Fashion in English, and her Wechat official account accumulated over 100,000 followers in just its first 7 months.
In 2017, she even wrote her own book《活得漂亮》, a self-help book mainly focused on beauty tips and her journey on starting her own business.
MK涼涼’s Book. If you’re interested you can see the Amazon link here.
#6. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): 玉米醬罐頭
Find her on…
Sina Blog: @玉米酱罐头的博客
This KOL has a very special name “玉米醬罐頭”, which means “canned corn sauce” in English, leading me to think she was a blogger focused on teaching people how to cook, but as it turns out she is a beauty blogger with over 4.5 million followers on Weibo.
The beauty products reviews she writes are usually long in length with detailed descriptions on their functions, before and after comparisons, and comparisons to other products.
More post examples (sorry if these are getting repetitive!)
As a reader, one of my favourite features about her posts is her photos. She edits every single one of her photos to make sure they are in the same colour tone, but somehow manage to have a different theme as well.
Fantastic editing makes this beauty influencer’s pictures seem more like a mural than individual pictures
#7. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): Ai媚兒
Well known on the internet as the prettiest postgraduate student, she is now a print ad model and a KOL with over 4.4 million of followers and 8 years of experiences on Weibo.
Most of the posts she writes involve beauty products reviews and her writing style is a bit more ‘human’ compared to others KOLs, which means she seems a bit more approachable.
Many well-known beauty brands have cooperated with her over the years, such as Olay and Panasonic’s Hair Dryers. She has established a fresh and clean image on her social media platforms with tips for cleaning your room and house as well. This has allowed her to branch out into other categories like home goods and even vacuums.
On the left we see a hairstyling tutorial and on the right a promotion for a skincare product
#8. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): 黎貝卡的異想世界 (Becky Li)
Find her on…
Official Website www.beckysfantasy.com
This KOL is famous for partaking in one of the most miraculous Influencer/KOL campaigns in history. In 2017 she collaborated with Mini Cooper to promote a limited edition “Caribbean Blue” colored cars. Mini stated that only 100 of these cars would be available. In only 5 minutes after her promotional posts went out all 100 of the cars had been reserved.
She was a journalist before and now works as a fashion and beauty influencer/KOL with over 4.3 million fans on Weibo who is also known as “买买买教主”, which if you translated it could be interpreted as the “Buybuybuy Goddess” in English. You can check out Jingdaily’s interview with her here.
Only 100 Caribbean Blue Mini Cooper were released for the promotional event
Her content is quite varied. One type of post that she does on the daily is to share her OOTD (Outfit of the Day) on Weibo. She also comments on the style and outfits of different celebrities at events and on social media.
Here we can see her posting her outfits of the day!
In 2017, she worked with Rebecca Minkoff, a designer, and worked hand in hand with their team designing handbags and accessories. In a two day presale campaign she already sold 1000 pieces, leaving her with little inventory for when the products were supposed to actually go on sale. he also launched her own brand on Wechat which was able to generate RMB$1 million in sales in the first 7 minutes of going live. High-end brands such as Dior, Chanel, La Mer etc. have also invited her to work with them.
She says that her writing style is like sharing and recommending items for her friends, in the other words, she writes in a friendly and relaxing tone. Apart from beauty and styling posts, she also shares some other content types such as self-help tips and time management etc.
#9. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): 韩恩汐汐
Find her on…
Wechat Official Account @hanenxixi0325
With over 4.4 million of followers on Weibo, this KOL is a beauty blogger with a style heavily influenced by Japan.
Instead of cosmetics, she focuses more on skincare products. She mainly writes product reviews collaborates with skincare brands, such as Olay and Lab Series.
So much skincare promotion! It’s making me want to go home and put a face mask on!
Her photos tend to have a soft and dreamy feel and she writes in a friendly and cute tone.
#9. Top 10 China Fashion & Beauty Influencers/KOLs (2019): 天使与魔鬼718
Find her on…
Wechat Official Account @tianshiguoguo2013
With a fanbase of over 4.3 million people, she is a 170cm tall, fashion and beauty KOL as well as a model. The style she has is very pink, girlish and dreamy.
She mainly promotes beauty products like VDLCosmetics, which is a smaller brand compared to the ones that the KOLs listed above tend to work with.
Besides writing product reviews and sharing beauty tips (like what some of the other KOLs do), she is also famous for writing travel blog posts and she was recognized as one of the top ten travel experts in 2014.
5 Ways Beauty Influencers Do it Differently (What Works in China?)
1. Intuitive Videos
In general, beauty makeup classes on Weibo target young women. Beauty makeup bloggers elaborate on their topics, with themes such as festival themes, daily make up looks and newly discovered makeup tips to capture their audience.
Through pre-planning, shooting videos, and careful editing, these videos are designed specifically to appeal to their target audience.
Makeup videos to imitate celebrities have recently become very popular. KOLs upload\ videos to teach you how to become your favourite idols through make up techniques.
2. Live broadcasts
Live broadcasts were undoubtedly the most popular form of promotion for fashion KOLs in 2018. It’s looking more like short videos will be the primary form of content deliver in 2019 though.
These videos feature live make up sessions, namely the “making up while chatting” and “lack of special editing” themes. Compared to regular videos, live video makeup sessions are highly interactive where the blogger can continuously convey their thoughts and opinions to followers and casual observers.
Similar to a live interaction, fans are free to ask questions and have the joy of having their questions answered instantaneously. The genius of this is allowing the fans direct access to the KOLs daily life. Watching the live broadcast allows fans to interact and engage with KOLs on a first hand basis. As a result, this gradually forms an impression and a long term sense of trust between fans and KOLs.
A KOL’s live video of – Three minutes of makeup challenge. Click here to see the live video
3. Creating an Intimate Community
“Community Management” is very important for KOLs to develop trust among their fans. Chinese beauty KOLs put immense effort into creating a “community” atmosphere, with some going further to actually meeting their followers in person. Another method is holding raffles, competitions and contests to reward members of their community.
Raffle contests are one of the most popular ways that KOLs can use to attract attention from their fans.
4. Delivering Rich “Professional Knowledge.”
Chinese people’s consumption habits have been greatly effected by social media. Before making any decision, their first step is to go on platforms such as Zhihu or Baidu to seek information, ask relevant questions, and consult appropriate opinion leaders.
The traditional 30-second advertisement does not work in China anymore, as young consumers yearn to gain a deeper understanding of a product in a shorter amount of time. Commercials simply aren’t able to meet this need, so they turn to social media and the internet to meet it. KOLs in particular are particularly affective at providing this detailed long form informational content that can allow potential customers to greater understand a product.
KOLs do make the majority of their money from advertisements. Fashion KOLs use “professional knowledge” for an advertising effect and to help build an image for brands by being associated with them.
Fashion KOLs use a variety of ways, including makeup videos, product recommendations, professional evaluations to hide their advertising while seemingly just seeking to convey their “professional knowledge.” Through positive evaluations, use of emotions, and visual effects, Chinese women who pursue beauty are persuaded to take purchasing actions.
Some KOLs usually share knowledge with product recommendations. eg. What kind of sunscreen is good in the Summer?
5. Highlighting Individuality
How do KOL’s stand out? JessLaoban, a fashion KOL, is different from the mainstream aesthetic in China. She is a blogger with darker skin, and her makeup style is of the cool and colorful style of Europe and America. Her products are popular amongst fans with black and yellow skin.
South Korean beauty makeup blogger Pony, known for her exquisite makeup skills, has been broadcasted live in the United States and China and has more than 30 million fans now. Almost every one of her broadcast receives tens of thousands of netizens liking and commenting. In addition to daily makeup tutorials, she entertains her audience by giving demonstrations on how to use make up to look more like a specific celebrity.
A Beautiful Conclusion
The emergence of WeChat and Weibo in China has allowed a range of young people to rise to fame in a variety of different categories. Fashion and beauty influencers are not merely representatives of the brands they work with, but they help to style and high fashion more approachable to regular everyday people. This has helped people from all over China to develop an appreciation for these industries. Weibo’s effect is most apparent where high class fashion and beauty influencer marketing has now become the main force of brand marketing and product promotion in China.