Airbrush make-up (not to be confused with airbrushed photos as this doesn’t equate to the same finished result) involves blowing the make-up onto the skin through an air gun/airbrush which is connected by a hose to a compressor which powers the air pressure (called the PSI). A few drops of special airbrush make-up is dropped into the cup of the air gun, this is then sucked through the front body of the gun where it’s mixed with air, this mixture of air and make-up is then blown out of the fine tip within the nozzle of the gun and onto the face for a fast and easy application.
I first started using airbrush make-up when it was very new to the industry, mainly using it for face and body painting and also nail art. It wasn’t too long after that I moved more into make-up as smaller and lighter compressors became more available for the mobile make-up artist. I’ve used airbrush make-up on both brides and models for fashion and beauty shoots and taught students in the past too. It definitely has its uses so knowing the difference between the two can help you to decide if a job calls for airbrush make-up or not.
The make-up used in the airbrush is special airbrush make-up, you can’t use normal liquid foundations as they are too thick which risks blocking the nozzle of the airbrush. It’s also important to have the remover for the particular brand of product that you are using as not all formulas are the same so the remover needs to be from the same brand. Blowing the make-up onto the skin makes the process very fast, it instantly has a dry finish too and is also rub proof which is a real positive point. The blowing action also makes the application more hygienic as nothing touches the skin so there is no risk of cross infection. I personally like to use airbrush make-up for creative work as colours overlap and blend beautifully into each other and stencil work is fast producing perfect patterns with straight lines and sharp edges to the designs. Eyebrows too are quick and perfectly applied when using eyebrow stencils.
I personally prefer to do make-up by hand as I’ve got more control over the finer details around the eyes such as thin delicate eyeliners and small touches of glitter highlights, you can also use more moist products on drier skin types and work the products more into the skin and around the nooks and crannies of the face such as the nose and under the eyes. One of the big disadvantages of airbrush make-up is that it can’t reach these areas and if there is any skin that folds when the eyes are closed then the make-up can’t get into those areas either, so for this reason conventional make-up is usually mixed in when using airbrush too. You can still add shine and shimmer to the finished look of the make-up by using airbrush products with this type of finish but the feel and touch will still be dry. Another disadvantage is that it’s very easy to over spray too much colour or for the application to be uneven and patchy, the problem with this is that it’s not so easy to remove without taking it all off. When applying the spray you need to be careful that it doesn’t get into the eyebrows and hairline as it very easily drifts into these areas.
So for me airbrush make-up is great for spraying large areas of skin (including the hair) really fast such as in face and body painting, creative work that involves patterns and stencils on both the skin, hair and nails. Special effects make-up can also have its uses for airbrush depending on the look. For any type of bridal, special occasion or commercial style make-up I personally prefer to use conventional make-up as I feel I have more control over the smaller details and there is a larger range to different colours, types and textures when it comes to products.