In the Western world, you’re used to women wearing the skimpiest swim suits, showing off the most skin and paying to get tanned. But in China, the opposite is happening. Tanned skin has be rejected in China due to negative associations that stem from it such as the fact that tanned skin is a signal for someone who has endured outdoor labor and is therefore not as privileged, whereas pale skin is revered for beauty.
What first started out as bodysuits to protect the individual from harmful sun rays has not gone as far as putting on a “face kini” that also shields the face. These so called masks represent those that you’d see robbers wearing when heisting a bank, except they aren’t black and they aren’t made of cotton. Similar to those masks though, are the tiny holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. Combined together with the full-on body suits creates full-body coverage for someone who wants to avoid any sun exposure.
The face kini trend has become so popular that some water parks even sell them at their stands to create another point of revenue. Popular online retailer Taobao has even recently begun carrying it as well. Luckily for you, these masks come in a variety of different patterns and sized holes so that you can each be stylish in your own way (while looking like a bank robber).
Many of the people who wear these masks also swear that it also protects them from mosquito bites as well as jellyfish stings beyond just shading them from the sun. And though this trend first began almost as far back as 7 years ago, it’s still going strong and we don’t see it waning anytime soon. So the next time you see a colorful bank robber in the ocean while you’re vacationing in China, don’t worry. It’s just the trendy auntie next to you just trying to enjoy her time off.