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Floral dew alchemist

By Xu Junqian (China Daily)

09:25, August 28, 2012

Li Huiliang says work on Liushen Floral Water will continue, as climate changes and mosquitoes evolve. (Gao Erqiang / China Daily)

He's the man who changed a traditional perfume into a functional household tonic that few Chinese can do without in summer. Xu Junqian talks to the chemist with the scented Midas touch.

Because of him, a few generations of women, and some men, have walked out in summer sweetly scented and safe from the attention of unwelcome bugs and pests.

But for Li Huiliang, 55, his re-invention of floral dew, the herbal-scented, flower powered tonic that comes bottled in the familiar green glass bottle is all about science, a very rigorous science.

The basis of that science, says the cosmetologist, is the battle between humans and a tiny mosquito.

"There is not a single step to be missed," he says when we met in his laboratory, where the "father of Chinese cosmetics" spends most of his waking moments.

As the inventor of Liushen Floral Water, Li, a Shanghai native, prefers to think of it as "a perfumed medicine" that can "repel insects and relieve itching".

To him, the work continues, and will go on, as the formula needs to be improved all the time because "people's skin changes, the climate changes, the environment changes and the mosquitoes change."

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