It's a trend that many consider a natural amalgam of two big Chinese millennial interests: beauty-tech and skincare.
Since 2016, hi-tech, anti-aging beauty devices have been quickly gaining in popularity. From January 2016 to October 2017, the search volume for "beauty devices" on Baidu experienced a six-fold increase, and online sales figures support that popularity, too. Tmall Global's imported beauty device division grew 700 percent in 2017 and compared to other markets, China's consumers have a much younger profile: 80 percent of the beauty device consumers are under 35 years old, and 30 percent are under 25.


An example of this is the "black tech facial machine":

Japan has been Chinese millennials' favorite shopping destination for beauty since 2015 and the fastest-growing category in the "J-beauty" scene are high-tech facial rollers. The Japanese brand ReFa accounted for half of the total revenue on facial rollers, and during last year's November 11 Singles Day shopping festival, Tmall sold more than $4 million (RMB 27.5 million) worth of ReFa machines in one day.
The futuristic sounding name ReFa is short for Radio Frequency, a technology that heats the skin to prevent wrinkles. Although they already have youthful-looking skin thanks to their age, Chinese millennials nonetheless are raving about the youth-ifying effects of this electric roller.

On Weibo and RED, beauty influencers brag about ReFa's face-slimming effects, something rounder-faced Chinese women are fawning over. That's because today's Chinese beauty standards heavily promote a V-shaped face—one only needs to scan the popular, young Chinese celebrities to see how prominent the feature is in Chinese society. In fact, ReFa's celebrity brand ambassador Fan Bingbing is the perfect example of the V-shape beauty archetype many Chinese women want to emulate. Sensing the potential of high-tech beauty devices, Fan Bingbing even launched her own brand called Fan Beauty this past March. Not surprisingly, the first product in Fan's line is a $303 (RMB 2,081) radio frequency facial machine.

Since many Chinese women seek glowing, wrinkle-free skin, the black-tech frenzy among young Chinese skintellectuals should only continue to gain momentum.

While Jade Roller's recent Instagram popularity shows how low-tech, natural products can win over Western consumers, Chinese millennials are seeking a different beauty path: one with more hi-tech products that offer an even younger appearance. The Chinese obsession with youthful beauty is a product of social factors such as age-shaming and rigid beauty standards, so as long as these circumstances exist in China, we can surely expect more and better black-tech beauty products to come.

IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE: