X

Lipstick King – China’s No. 1 Beauty Influencer Is a Man Who Tries On Lipstick on Camera

At just 27 years old, Li Jiaqi is already one of the most successful online personalities in China. He specializes in selling makeup, particularly luxury brand lipsticks, which has earned him crazy nicknames “King of Lipstick” or “Iron Lips”.

With over 40 million fans on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, and millions others on various other social networks, Li Jiaqi is perhaps the most sought after beauty vlogger in all of China. Whatever product he chooses to promote turns into an instant hit, and companies are desperate to work with him, but he remains mostly focused on makeup, lipstick in particular. It’s not really the kind of career you would expect a young man to venture into, especially in a traditionalist country like China, but his success is proof that unconventionality can be an advantage. That’s how Li Jiaqi looks at it, anyway. He says that most people doubted him at first, saying that he could never sell to a female audience, but he had always been confident that he had an advantage over female beauty vloggers – stamina.

You see, one of the things that make China’s Lipstick King so successful and popular is his ability to try on hundreds of different lipsticks in a single streaming session that can last up to seven or eight hours with almost no breaks. While many women may find their lips hurt after testing three lipsticks in a row, he claims that he can test up to 380 lipsticks a day. That’s actually where his “Iron Lips” nickname comes from.

“Testing lipstick can damage the lips, but I do not treat my lips as lips,” Li said. It’s unclear what he means by that, but he has backed up his claims many times, setting several Guinness records in the process. Not only is really good at selling lipstick to his fans, he’s an expert at applying it too. He holds the world record for the “most lipstick applications to models in 30 seconds”, putting lipstick on four different models in just 30 seconds.

When selling lipstick, Li Jiaqi not only applies on himself to show his viewers just how the product looks, but also uses pompous phrases designed to make people spend money. Hearing him describing colors, you would think he was talking about something truly special. He often uses expressions like “a color that made my heart stop”, “crystal-like stars”, or “a color that is tender like water”, and his fans love it.

“Wearing an LV bag is not as good as wearing an Armani 400 lipstick for a girl. Why? The first thing a man sees in you is the color of your lipstick, not your bag,” Li said on one of his livestreamed shows, and again, people loved it. He only started selling lipsticks on Taobao, China’s largest online marketplace in 2017, and today is the King of Lipsticks. He once managed to sell 15,000 lipsticks in 15 minutes, according to China Newsweek magazine.

Li Jiaqi is so big in China that a negative review from him can seriously damage a brand’s sale in the Asia country. When he recently slammed Hermes beauty products for being “cheap looking” and “not suitable for Asian”, people took notice, and comments like “If Li Jiaqi can’t rock Hermès colors, neither can we” and “Jiaqi is the savior of our wallets” started trending online. Some have accused him of sometimes of giving negative reviews to big brands just to appear trustworthy to his legion of loyal fans, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if what he says is true, as long as consumers trust him.

With so much online sway and a fortune said to reach into the millions of dollars, it’s hard to imagine that Li Jiaqi started his career as a shop assistant in a L’Oreal shop in Nanchang, a second-tier city in China, just a few years ago. I guess sometimes dreams do come true if you go after them.

 

Li Jiaqi isn’t the only Chinese male influencer who managed to succeed in a world typically dominated by women. Last year we also featured Tao Liang,, aka Mr. Bags, China’s famous “Bag Whisperer”.