Fang Junping; Kenjijoe; and Beauty King and Chemists are the leading the rise of the men blogging about beauty in China.
“What’s the magic behind the toning cream?” a Chinese man wearing a white lab coat asks standing in a laboratory setting. In the video, he mixes ordinary cream and white pigment that’s made with titanium dioxide, and presents it to the camera saying that this is the origin of the whitening function extracted from toning cream, a popular Korean beauty product that everyone is talking about on Weibo.
This is not a mad scientist from Frankenstein. This is a blogger explaining what goes into a popular beauty product which claims to have a supreme whitening effect. The trending product topic of skin whitening combined with the demystifying conceit of this three-minute scientific-like video has gone viral in China, making the blogger, Fang Junping, or “Junping Big Devil” an overnight sensation.
Though Fang doesn’t have a medical degree in chemistry or pharmacy, he said his interest in studying beauty products dates back to his childhood growing up with a geophysicist for a father and a doctor for a mother. The laboratory, he has said, is his second home.
On Fang’s video, a woman (who is not seen by the camera) asks him questions as he breaks down the beauty products making the video feel like a visit to a doctor.
Weibo underwent rapid development between 2009 and 2012, when many young talented men leveraged the platform to break down the information gap between brands and consumers. That’s when the Cheng Fen Dang bloggers, like Fang, emerged. Also in this group are “Kenjijoe” and “Beauty King and Chemists”.
In 2014, then emergent WeChat gave a boost to another wave of influencers, including Huang Yan, or “three acres of uncle”, a friend of Fang’s who earned a PhD in chemistry from a prestigious university in China and has over 300,000 fans on WeChat. He claims his articles see an open rate of more than 95 per cent and that the rate of sales transactions can be up to 10 per cent.
Men in China have a delicate relationship with female beauty. They are permitted to judge female beauty and they can also rationalise women’s cosmetic-buying decisions.
Jiemian, Fang, the blogger mentioned above, revealed his secret to gaining 3.5 million Weibo fans since his video went viral last year, and how he belongs to an industry of Chinese male bloggers who hold influential power over female consumers’ cosmetic purchasing decisions.