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Facekini Is the Newest Trend in Skin Protection

Facekini Is the Newest Trend in Skin Protection

Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images

Here in the U.S., most of us would do a doubletake if we spotted someone wearing a mask at the beach. Not in Qingdao, China, though. The trendiest accessory in skin protection, the facekini, is a cloth headsock that closely resembles a bank robber’s disguise.

One of the reasons behind the peculiar trend is that the Chinese consider a pale complexion to be a prized possession. CNN Travel notes that there’s a Chinese saying that translates to “white skin covers up a hundred uglinesses,” which is mantra for women throughout Asia. Ironically, 58-year-old facekini inventor Zhang Shifan, told Qingdao Television website that the mask was initially created to protect against offshore sea crabs rather, not to provide sun protection. Maybe that’s why Internet users in China were shocked when the practical (and not very pretty) item worn by so many middle-aged women hit the global fashion world. 

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Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images

CR Fashion Book, a magazine edited by the former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld, introduced the accessory to the world of haute couture this summer in a swimsuit photo shoot called “Masking the Sun.” The faces of presumably beautiful models are obscured by masks in bright colors and crazy prints paired, paired with expensive jewelry and the season’s hottest swimsuits. “Our latest summer story represents an opposing to ideal of beauty altogether, with masked poolside models set out to soak up as little sun as possible,” the article says. 

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Photos by CR Fashion Book/Tumblr

Since the spread’s publication in early August, facekinis have been the subject of almost 12 million posts on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. One post, according to BBC, sarcastically jokes, "Chinese old women are at the centre of the global fashion world." 

Considering sunscreen needs to be reapplied about every two hours — or more often if you’ve been swimming or sweating — and hats only cover so much, the facekini is actually an excellent form of protection. While we’re not exactly investing in the headpiece as a wardrobe staple yet, skincare as the focus of the fashion world is definitely worth buying into.