These Are the 7 Common Steps for Makeup in Ancient China

Some of you may have seen stories about ancient Chinese civilization, perhaps dramas or movies, where women appear in their court ornaments, all of which had their special reason for being.

In ancient times, you needed to fulfill these 7 steps to finish your makeup routine:

7 steps of makeup routine. (Screenshot/YouTube)

7 steps of the Tang Dynasty makeup routine. (Screenshot/YouTube)

The eyebrows enhance the beauty of the face, and were very important to ancient Chinese women. Drawing eyebrows was a “must-learn lesson.”

Did you knew that the character for eyebrow was originally shaped like the profile of a standing person, with the eyebrows and eyes standing out? Can you see the resemblance?


If you wonder why in the drama Empress of China the women had flower tattoos on their foreheads, this originates from the legend of Princess Shouyang, who fell asleep under a plum tree and had a plum blossom land on her forehead.

The court ladies all admired the plum blossom look so much that they started imitating it with makeup. This started in the Southern Dynasty, but became widely popular during the Tang Dynasty. And the cute red dots on the cheeks were to enhance the look of dimples.


Gilding the forehead. (Screenshot/YouTube)

But my favorite lesson of all in these steps to beautify oneself has to do with the importance of inner beauty. The ancient Chinese were clear that the most important aspect of beauty was something that was on the inside.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.

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