In China, the facekini is called liǎnjīní (脸基尼). It’s a piece of cloth mask designed to cover the whole of the head and neck, leaving only the eyes, the mouth and the tip of the nose “exposed.” This form of accessory, protection, Halloween props or whatever you call it was invented by Zhang Shifan, a former accountant. This mask became popular in Qingdao, where there are beaches to frolic upon. You might be wondering how this stretchy fabric meant to make you scarier became a trend in China? It all comes down to not making you look darker.
Being baked under the hot sun and leaving you redder, then browner is the price we must pay for a day in the beach. I have a fair share of sun burns, but other than that it’s a small price to pay for a relaxing day. I mean we do have sunscreens. And what’s wrong with looking tan than usual. Tan is the coveted skin tone of Westerners.
But in China, getting burn by the hot sun is a big nope.
We will discuss later why tan is out in China. But the facekini mask will protect your face from getting burned under the hot beach sun. And by the way, it comes in many bright colors and sometimes worn with sunglasses, which made the wearer look more terrifying.
Why Even Bother
I would admit that I would wear face protection when going outdoor to hike. This includes a scarf that I pull halfway to my face (just above the nose). I also wear caps, though I don’t like sunglasses. Face covers also protect me against dust we kicked when we hike.
But covering your face when you go to the beach is simply too much. I mean men and women should relax and be free to show off. In other places, getting darker is acceptable. But in Mainland China and in parts of Asia, pale skin is in. It’s an acceptable standard of beauty that sometimes reaches impossible and toxic levels. Pale skin is also a sign of social status, and they want to protect their beauty and social status to some extremes.
Hence Chinese women will cover up when going to the beach, so they