You’ll never guess where she shops for products.
Like many of you, we love a good Instagram deep-dive whenever we’re in a beauty rut and need a little makeup inspiration. So as soon as we came across Alice Longyu Gao, aka @alicealice916, we nearly dropped our phones in excitement. In case you haven’t seen her dominating the beauty headlines these days, the Chinese producer and DJ is quickly becoming known for her ethereal acid-trip makeup looks. From her Impressionist-inspired eyeshadow (which sometimes is actually lipstick!) and megawatt highlighter, to her rotation of neon hair colors and beyond embellished nails, Longyu Gao is essentially a Harajuku doll come to life.
We couldn’t wait to discover some of her favorite products and tips for creating our own makeup masterpiece (hint: she favors performing-arts makeup and swears by Madonna’s skin-care line). And if you’re lucky enough to attend Art Basel in Miami this week, be sure to stop by her Pericura installation for your own one-on-one beauty lesson from Longyu Gao herself.
When did you first become interested in makeup and beauty?
“I had a private teacher back in China who taught me Japanese, and her side hustle was doing makeup for weddings. She was so pretty. I just had a crush on this girl, and I thought she looked so awesome [that] I was like, ‘Hey, can you teach me how to do my makeup?’ I think love, or that type of young love, motivates me to do things. I remember my first makeup product I bought on my own was a MAC eyebrow pencil. Now I don’t even have eyebrows [laughs].”
Where did you find inspiration for your signature colorful eye look?
“I really like Impressionist paintings—soft colors, and everything is kind of blurred. So that’s why I got inspired, because I am friends with a lot [of] hot painter/sculptor boys. They are super creative and incredibly talented when their heads are swimming in their fantasy world. So basically, those images that come up in their head [inspire me].”
What are your go-to spots for finding new beauty products?
“I blur a lot of colors, [and] I buy cosmetic products from places that generally people don’t go to. There’s a paint that I use on my eyes [that] I bought in a facial cosmetics shop in Kyoto. I also buy from ballerina shops. There’s this brand called Chacott—they have the best anti-shine powders, highlighters, and waterline pencil. When I was in Paris, I went to Tata Harper’s new spot in my favorite hotel, Le Bristol. In New York, I really like to go to Ricky’s because they sell makeup products for performers.”
What’s your technique for applying your base makeup?
“I think pearl powders [are] very good. Moon Juice sells pearl powders, but in China women have been eating pearl powders for anti-aging and whitening for hundreds [of] years. If you finish your makeup with [one], it gives your skin the nutrients you need, and it’s good for oily skin. You can also use [them] as a face mask. I also use this thing called MDNA by Madonna. It’s a Japanese company. I’ve got this Skin Rejuvenator machine. One side is to help your skin absorb all of the cream/serum; the idea is to take out the dirty stuff from your face. You use [it with] their magnetic mask. I always use that before putting on makeup because it tightens my skin and smooths out any eye bags and wrinkles. My favorite foundation of the year is actually from Lancôme—Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick.”
And the application for the shadows?
“I do use brushes [to apply] loose powders. I use my hand to blend, and if I’m using a lipstick as my eyeshadow, I will just utilize the natural [edge] of the lipstick. Also, I go to Blick to buy gold leaf, so I sometimes put [that] on my face along my eyes. It looks cute.”
What are some of your favorite lipsticks to use as shadow?
“I really like this brand Illamasqua because the color is very saturated. They don’t sell it in the U.S. anymore.”
Why did you decide to shave your eyebrows?
“It’s just because I’m not really good at [drawing] my eyebrows, and I always have my hair colored. If you have colorful hair— say you have pink hair, and your eyebrows are dark—it looks a bit weird. In Japan, people usually use eyebrow dye, and I feel like after I use eyebrow dye, my eyebrows will look very light anyway. So I just shaved my eyebrows with a razor that you would use under your armpits if you do so. I actually posted a video on Instagram [shaving them] just for fun. I think for girls from the West, eyebrows are really important. Also, I put on so many colors as my eyeshadows, so like, [to] have no eyebrows—it saves time [and] it gives me more room!”
How long does it take you to get ready to go out?
“I used to take like, two hours, but now it only takes me about 15 minutes. For real. It’s not like I’m doing my makeup—I’m just painting my face. I don’t have a routine. I know it’s going to look good because you just blend everything.”
Top photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@alicealice916
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