Valentina Li is one of China’s top makeup artists. Her science fiction and manga-inspired work has appeared in countless photoshoots, fashion shows and Instagram posts.
Born in a village in Guangxi, China, and educated in Beijing and Paris, Li's entry into the world of makeup came after leaving a career in journalism behind. In 2015, she began assisting makeup artist Erin Parsons during fashion week, before establishing her own signature, futuristic style inspired by science fiction movies and mystery novels.
Known for her use of electric eye paints and watery droplets on models’ faces, 31-year-old Li counts the likes of photographer Leslie Zhang and stylist Audrey Hu among her frequent collaborators. Besides editorial work with models He Cong and Ju Xiaowen, she’s also a fixture at Shanghai Fashion Week, having created looks for homegrown Chinese labels such as Windowsen and Maya Li. For Windowsen’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, she created gigantic jewel-encrusted manga eyes, a look that became so iconic that it inspired multiple recreations on Instagram and became an AR filter.
In 2022, Li, who has said she prefers to call herself a “face painter” rather than a makeup artist, was named a member of Chanel's newly established Cometes Collective, a community of emerging makeup artists.