Meet the Van Gogh of Makeup

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The next wave of beauty utilizes the contours of the human face for paintings depicting a range of imagery: miniature city skylines, elements of nature, even Disney movies. Beautylish member Yumemi Sakai first caught our eye with her painstakingly detailed eyelid designs. Born in Tokyo and raised in Bangkok, she now splits her time between the two—when she’s not in L.A., that is. We spoke to this well-traveled beauty about her inspirations, her favorite products, and her trademark brows.

B: How did you become a makeup artist?

It’s funny, I used to be that girl who hated makeup, but I started watching YouTube videos in high school and became so fascinated with the things you could do to your face! All kinds of colors, textures, lashes and shapes—I really wanted to try it out for myself. I was inspired by JazziebabycakesQueenOfBlending, and Petrilude, so I practiced at home every day in the mirror and tried out many looks. After high school I took a gap year and applied for a short makeup course to get a license as a MUA, but I’m mostly self-taught just by watching inspiring people all over YouTube!

B: You’ve become well-known for painting scenery on lids—how on earth do you manage that in such detail?

It’s really like painting! I use Mehron’s Paradise face paint palettes to lay down the colors and mix them. It really feels like a miniature artwork on my eyelid. It’s also supposed to look somewhat abstract, so there is no need to be super neat. It only takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Then on top I apply eye shadows to set and outline parts with liquid liners. If you give it a try repeatedly I’m sure you could do it too!

B: Are you a painter as well as a makeup artist?

I was in the International Baccalaureate Visual Arts program in school, so I painted a lot. One of my favorite painters is Van Gogh. He inspires many of my works, both in makeup and in painting.

B: Where else do you get inspiration?

Everywhere! It could be the latest clutch I bought, or the packaging of my favorite candy. It could be celebrities or holidays and seasons. The Beautylish community inspires me as well, and I sometimes just play around. I go back to Japan every summer and I find lots of inspiration there. I never really have favorite trends. I just like what I like!

B: What are your top three must-have products?

My Nars Laguna Bronzer and my Canmake Lasting Creamy Liner, which is the best black pencil liner in the world. Also my Ben Nye Essential Eye Palette. It has eight matte neutrals that can be used for eyes or brows and I cannot live without it.

B: You used that palette in your brow tutorial, which we love! Any more tips for perfect brows?

I get questions about my brows so often. All I do is just tweeze unwanted hairs around my brows and then carefully fill in! My friend waxes hers at home with the Sally Hansen Wax Strip Kit, so I want to try that.

B: What are your other favorite brands?

Sugarpill Cosmetics for their amazing bright colors, Lit! Cosmetics for their wide selection of glitter colors and sizes. Lime Crime for their amazing opaque lipsticks, lipglosses, eyes hadow primer, and colorful liquid eyeliners. Urban Decay for their NAKED Palettes. Inglot for their gel liners, freedom system palettes, and body sparkles. Sleek Palettes. Mehron Paradise palettes for face paint. TOO MANY TO LIST! Yes, I’m a hoarder.

B: Which false lashes do you use?

I use Faux Lashes and Sugarpill Lashes. The rest are from the streets of Bangkok! You can get a 12-pack set for about six dollars there, so I must stock up again when I go back for the holidays.

B: Any tips for artists when creating delicate detail work?

My tip [for beginners] would be to draw it out with white pencil liner first to create a guideline. Then go over it with black liquid liner. If you make a mistake, just fix it with a Q-tip!

B: What’s next for you?

I’m currently studying Beauty Industry Merchandising and Marketing and learning about the business aspects of the industry. I’m also learning how to actually make cosmetics. Someday I want to start up a small online shop of my own cosmetics line and build from there. But that ‘someday’ is still far, far away. For now, I’ll continue doing freelance work and updating my Instagram and Facebook page.

Check out more of Yumemi’s inspired designs in her Beautylish gallery!

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