Beauty scale

Meet Valentina Li, the Makeup Artist Behind Vogue’s Abstract Expressionism Photoshoot

Now 30, Li is in demand in China, working with local design stars such as Dingyun Zhang (she covered a model in icy blue crystals for Zhang’s Moncler Genius show); Susan Fang – whose performances have included faces strung with watery, reflective orb droplets and garlands of transparent flowers dreamed up by Li; and Windowsen’s Sensen Lii, whom Li calls “a good friend” and even credits him with influencing his personal aesthetic. “I started to find my style a bit after the first presentation I did with Windowsen,” she shares, mentioning nature, the ocean, and outer space as some of her current inspirations. “Of course, I’ve never been to space before, but I’m fascinated by sci-fi movies and crime novels,” Li says. “I really like to imagine. I see it as a brain exercise.

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For her next thought experiment, Li is considering 3D printing. “I have to say I’m actually old school – so far I’ve made every face piece by hand,” she admits. “I appreciate the process and its uniqueness, but in the future I will try to mix my work with 3D printing to create more complicated looks.” On a less technical scale, she enjoys mixing products in her kit like art supplies, using brands such as MAC, Gucci Beauty, Pat McGrath Labs, Byredo and Maybelline as well as C-beauty hits like Florasis and Perfect Dairy. “There are a lot of Chinese beauty brands coming up,” Li says, noting that for Chinese beauty, “we highlight our own features rather than blindly following the crowd.” It’s an attitude that is reflected in his own work, which involves constant experimentation.

Li also plans to learn special makeup FX to create characters that “live on the moon or at the bottom of the ocean,” she says, noting the endless possibilities for creative expression of beauty. Li adds, “I just like to keep an open mind and think freely.”

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