From the ancient Egyptians to Americans in the ’80s, makeup has been a prominent aspect of fashion, style, and self-expression for centuries. In modern times, the makeup industry has become a staggering, multibillion-dollar success, largely due to Instagram and YouTube influencers.
And these days, a smokey-eye look just doesn’t cut it anymore. Several of these beauty gurus are using makeup to create works of pure art on their skin, and influencer He Yuhong is no exception. You won’t believe how she uses makeup as a catalyst for mind-blowing transformations!
Meet Chinese makeup artist He Yuhong. She resides in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality but has impressed people from all around the world with her wicked makeup skills. And we’re talking about more than a matte red lip.
While other social media makeup artists are making “prom makeup” tutorials or documenting the ins and outs of their Sephora makeup haul, He Yuhong is using cosmetics to shape-shift into some of the world’s biggest celebrities.
She mostly posts only photos of the astonishing final results on Instagram, but she walks you through a super sped-up version of her creative process in her YouTube videos, which endears her to a massive audience.
But a lot of her viewers come prior to her prominence on social media platforms, as she first exhibited her talents on Chinese social media sites, such as Miaopai and Dou Yin. This has led to some incredible opportunities.
Because He Yuhong, who goes by Yuyamika on social media, appreciates and trusts her audience a lot, she took a follower’s suggestion after said follower put her skills up to a challenge she wasn’t expecting.
See, He had shaved off her eyebrows (which is a trick often done to create a smoother base for unconventional makeup looks). A follower said she looked like Leonardo da Vinci’s the Mona Lisa before challenging her to actually create the oil-painting look.
This excited He. While she impressively used makeup to mold herself into the likes of not only Hollywood stars, turning her face into the likenesses of the world’s most acclaimed oil paintings was a new challenge. Few-to-none had done that before He.
She had told China Daily that “Makeup artists concentrate mostly on trying to recreate the looks of celebrities. Few came up with the idea of transforming into figures from oil paintings. I did it.” She certainly did, and it got people to pay attention.
The Straits Times
Rather than simply delving in on a whim, He did a ton of research on the painting itself, as well as the Mona Lisa‘s color story created by da Vinci. The dedication comes to He naturally, and she doesn’t let any internet trolls shake her confidence.
In 2018, He told the South China Morning Post about her concerns going into creating an iconic face people knew so well. “I wasn’t sure how internet users would feel about me trying to copy such a famous and beloved painting onto my face,” she said. He Yuhong was prepared for harsh criticism.
But the final makeup transformation shocked the internet. He looked as if she had crawled right out of da Vinci’s original masterpiece. After such tremendous amounts of positive responses, she then went on to turn herself into the Lady with an Ermine, purposely sticking to the da Vinci theme.
Afterward, she said, “It’s more difficult to do this kind of makeup because it’s more like drawing. I need to draw other people’s faces onto my own – with a lot of details added – and I need to change my facial features.” The talented artist didn’t stop with the da Vinci project, though.
Among the profuse amount of cosmetic powders, creams, and brushes He Yuhong uses to complete a look, she also uses wigs and props, which allows her eyelids to have a more defined crease. Eyelid tape especially became useful when she morphed herself into Western celebrities.
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The Chinese artist tackled Western faces more after she nailed her transformation into Teresa Teng, who was a Taiwanese singer popular during the ’70s and ’80s. She’s painted herself into the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Robert Downey Jr., Audrey Hepburn, et cetera.
He’s creations aren’t cheap, however, as repeatedly transforming herself costs her a lot of time and money. He Yuhong spends up to 10,000 yuan (which is exactly 1447.18 USD) a month on makeup and spends up to six hours creating a look! Unfortunately, the artist once went too far.
Everything was going well for He Yuhong and her social media presence until a mistake in 2019 had her moral integrity under fire.
When the Chinese beauty guru posted a video of herself using a darkly colored foundation to transform into a black woman, things did not go over well. Media sites wrote about the incident, highlighting this “art” was actually a careless portrayal of blackface.
The since-deleted video angered many people online. One person said “My only question; would you want to switch places with a black woman? No? Don’t reflect our look when you don’t want our struggle…” He was at a loss for words.
South China Morning Post
But she learned her lesson from the early 2019 backlash, considering she removed her controversial video and hasn’t conceived another look with the potential to offend anyone.
People don’t always think about the robust power that makeup holds. Makeup is a tool used for self-expression, for camouflage, and for art. It’s a whole ‘nother language in itself, and even the mega-talented He Yuhong is still learning it.
While He transforms herself regularly for videos, some actresses transform themselves every single day for work. America Ferrera, for instance, de-beautified” herself for a stereotypical geeky role in Ugly Betty.
2. Rooney Mara: This actress went all out for her role as Lisbeth Salander, and it was a pretty good decision; The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo rocked Rooney’s career, as she gave an amazing performance in combination with her memorable look.
3. Charlize Theron: This actress likes to shake up her looks and take on roles that aren’t as glamorous as her J’adore Dior commercials. Most notable was her transformation for the movie, Monster, which earned her Oscar gold.
4. Mayim Bialik: Who says beauty and brains don’t mix? Mayik may be a bit more stylish than her character Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, but their smarts are the same: Mayik has a Ph.D. in neuroscience just like Amy does.
5. Pauley Perrette: While Pauley is a tough chick herself, she is nowhere near the level of goth and punk that her infamous character Abby is. The NCIS make-up and hair crew must have had a lot of fun with her before every episode.
6. Demi Moore: For a model, singer, and ’90s beauty icon, her role as G.I. Jane in the movie by the same name was a big change for Demi Moore. While she is not the first actress to shave her head for a role, it was the attitude, the muscle, and the battle wounds that left her barely recognizable. What a hero!
7. Uzo Aduba: When Orange Is The New Black took Netflix by a storm, fans instantly fell in love with the kooky but sympathetic character Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren. Not only was the hairdo quite notable, but Uzo must have had to practice her quirky mannerisms to a tee.
8. Taryn Manning: Starring alongside Uzo is Taryn Manning, who plays Tiffany Doggett, also known as “Pensatucky.” Her character is a meth addict, resulting in her missing a tooth or two. Despite her rough looks, she is a character you just love to hate.
9. Madeleine Brewer: Despite Madeleine Brewer only being 26 years old, she has already shown the world her extensive range when it comes to acting. She’s not afraid to flaunt a dramatic look either: she loses her eye for The Handmaid’s Tale, and sports a throat tattoo in Orange Is The New Black.
10. Eden Sher: As a child star, it’s hard to find your own style and personality while growing up in the spotlight. Eden Sher, however, seems to have it all figured out. She had a lot of fun playing geeky girl Sue Heck on The Middle, and we can’t imagine anyone else in the role.
11. Kate McKinnon: Much like people assume beauty and brains don’t go together, there are those who foolishly think that beautiful women can’t be funny. Leave it up to Kate McKinnon to prove them wrong! Although she often transforms herself for Saturday Night Live, her humor is always equally wonderful.
12. Maisie Williams: Growing up as Game Of Thrones‘ Arya Stark has to be quite a unique experience, but Maisie Williams seems to have it all under control. The stylish teenager definitely doesn’t look like the character who’s ready to kill a man, though.
13. Hannah Murray: While we’re on the GoT train, let’s talk about Hannah Murray. She plays Gilly, a simple peasant girl, and also the spacey teenager Cassie on Skins. In real life though, this girl is neither simple nor spacey!
14. Tatiana Maslany: Where should we even start with Tatiana Maslany from Orphan Black? She plays over 12 different characters on the show. Since they’re all clones they share the same face, yet they all have unique looks, accents, and personalities. What a performance!
15. Margot Robbie: When Margot Robbie was cast to play real-life figure skater Tonya Harding, it was followed by a lot of skepticism. Tonya was a self-proclaimed hick and a woman who was not to be messed with; Margot was elegant and delicate, but she nailed the role and proved the pessimists wrong.
16. Jaime Pressly: Margot Robbie’s lookalike is pretty familiar with a big makeover, too. When she starred as Joy Turner in My Name Is Earl, for example, she got extensions, a complete wardrobe turnaround, and an extra-thick accent. She made Joy the coolest crazy ex-wife a man could have.
17. Ariel Winter: This Modern Family star is pretty much the exact opposite of Alex Dunphy, the character she’s been playing for years. In real life, she’s a bit more like Alex’s sister Haley: she likes shopping, going to the beach, fashion, and make-up. Still, she does a great job portraying the frustrated brainiac we’ve all come to love.
18. Millie Bobby Brown: Sure, Demi Moore shaved her head, but it’s a lot harder to do when you’re only 12 years old. By playing the intense, mysterious Eleven on Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown bought herself an instant ticket to fame and glory.
19. Shannon Purser: Another Stranger Things cast member, she played Barbara Holland, aka Barb. As the show is set in the ’80s, everyone’s character’s style was adjusted to fit the times, but Shannon Purser’s transformation may have been the biggest.
20. Naomi Grossman: Arguably one of the biggest transformations (that didn’t involve CGI) in the last few years is Naomi Grossman’s portrayal of Pepper in American Horror Story: Asylum.
It took two hours and three make-up artists to create Pepper’s look. The dramatic effect she had on viewers with the make-up and prosthetics made it totally worth it. She is completely unrecognizable!