Meet Xiu Yun Yu, a makeup artist, hair stylist and the founder of Project Monolids. Project Monolids is a personal project created to encourage and inspire people to love their roots and unique Monolid eyes. The project highlights the social effects on beauty standards and aims to get the message across to people to love their features and appreciate where they come from. We’re inspired by Xiu Yun Yu’s work and love how she combines makeup to turn into art. She strives to stand up for the Asian community to accept and love their appearances, but also to create awareness about the Asian and Western beauty ideals.
T. When did you start developing your passion for makeup and beauty?
X. My passion for beauty and makeup started very young. As a kid, I was fascinated seeing my Mom doing her skincare and makeup routine. She didn’t wear a lot of makeup, as skincare was really her thing and still is. I remember all the bottles, jars and lipsticks from Shiseido, Lancome and Chanel. Back then, I already felt how important skincare was for her. And during my teenage years, she also emphasised it and she encouraged me to take care of my skin as good as possible. My first beauty product I got from her, was a skincare set from Shiseido.
T. What is your pre-photoshoot routine?
X. It depends what kind of shoot it will be. In general, I always check the evening before the shoot if my kit is complete, if anything needs to be refilled, make sure my brushes are clean.But when there is a special request for a certain style of hair and/or makeup that other products and techniques are required. I’ll do the necessary preparations like making mood boards, shopping for the products for in my kit and I also practice as much possible, to own the techniques, to improve myself, able to work faster and to deliver as expected on set.
T. What is the purpose and vision of ‘Monolids’, the personal project you’re working on?
X. The most important purpose of this project is to inspire people to love and to embrace their unique Monolid eyes, their roots and to be proud! This project is all about the beauty and the uniqueness of all different types of Monolid eyes. I want to emphasise the beauty of Monolid eyes of East Asian females and males of different ages. It’s a project about self-love, challenging the East-Asian & Western beauty standards and able to see more Asian representation in the West. But it’s also a project about racism, as it plays a big part why many Monolids are not happy with themselves growing up here and even hate themselves, it effects their self-esteem and their emotional well-being. Instead of being proud of our unique facial features inherited from our parents and ancestors, we often get eye shamed by racist people and also by our own people in the East Asian community as double eyelids are often considered more attractive and beautiful than Monolids. It’s complicated and with this project I want to raise awareness about eye shaming in different ways, to help the Monolid community to feel good about themselves and pass this on to the next generation and generations to come.
First image : Photographer : Jani Yu & Angela Huizer, Model : Model: Khaghee Tjin , Makeup : Xiu Yun Yu
Second image : Photographer : Jani Yu & Angela Huizer, Model: Keyra Melody Ma, Makeup : Xiu Yun Yu
Third image : Photographer : Jani Yu & Angela Huizer, Model : Chi Yen Lam , Makeup : Xiu Yun Yu
T. In your opinion, what is the main difference between doing the makeup for yourself or to others?
X. Time, different products, different focus and techniques. What works for me, doesn’t mean it works for everyone. I know my skin, my daily skincare routine and the shape of my face. I can slap a natural makeup look on my own face in 5 minutes without thinking about it. But doing makeup on others takes more than 5 minutes.
Being a Makeup Artist, you are standing very close to someone and not everyone is used to that. And I want to make sure that each person that sits in my chair feels at ease, so I always talk with models and listen to them, make them feel comfortable and that takes time as well.
Another time thing and what people often underestimate is skin prep. I think a good skin prep is everything and makes such a difference to make the skin feel and look as good and healthy as possible. So it’s important to analyze their skin first and ask questions in order to decide what their skin needs to do the right skin prep and to decide what kind of makeup products to use. During the process of applying makeup, I see and feel what products, tools and techniques works well and what doesn’t work for my model, so sometimes I need to correct and try out different things, to make sure my model looks good and at the same time, I am talking and listening to my model and I am also thinking about my next steps, so during this process, the focus is so different, I need to spread my focus and there is more thinking involved than when I do my own makeup.
T. What are your three go-to makeup products?
Foundation: Mádara Skin Equal Soft Glow Foundation
Concealer: Mádara The Concealer Luminous Perfecting Concealer
First and third photo : Photographer : Angela Huizer , Model : Lieve Auw , Makeup : Xiu Yun Yu
Second photo : Model : Rosie Hoogeveen , Makeup : Xiu Yun Yu
T. Who has been the client you’ve been the proudest to work with?
X. The Dutch Elle Magazine
T. If you could describe yourself with a color, which one would it be?