Everything You Need to Know about Airbrush Makeup

Have you always wanted to try airbrush makeup but weren’t sure where to start? For your next event, consider trying airbrush makeup for a flawless look that will last all night. You can either invest in a professional makeup application, or there are at-home options you can consider as well. Learn more about this makeup technique, and see if it’s right for you.

How is airbrush makeup applied?

The airbrush setup includes a stainless steel gun and a hose that attaches to a small air compressor. The makeup is applied via the airbrush gun, through a needle-size opening. By pulling back on the airbrush-gun trigger, the makeup is released. The makeup is then dropped into a cup at the top of the gun and air flows through the hose, which pushes the makeup through the opening onto the skin. It comes out in a fine fan-shaped mist.

Does it feel heavy?
It actually feels weightless on the skin. Many clients remark that it feels like they aren’t even wearing makeup. This makes it a great option for those who don’t usually wear makeup.

Can regular foundation be applied through the gun?

No. If you were to put a traditional liquid makeup into an airbrush gun, it would be far too thick to feed through the gun. Airbrush makeup is its own unique formula made specifically for airbrush-gun application. It is significantly thinner and more watery in appearance.

What is the coverage like?

Because the makeup is applied in the finest method possible, the coverage can vary from sheer to full coverage. It is built up gradually so you will not see instant coverage the way you do with traditional liquids, but it is something you’d notice more with multiple passes over your skin. Color correction and concealing of dark circles and hyper pigmentation is often done prior to applying airbrush makeup.

Does skin need a special primer prior to applying?
Skin should always be well moisturized first. If not, even though it’s featherweight, the makeup will cling to dry patches. If you are using a silicone-based airbrush foundation, a silicone-based primer will work well.

Does it last all day?
The main benefit of airbrush foundation is, without a doubt, its durability. Temptu, the only silicone-based formula, lasts the longest compared to other varieties. All other brands manufacture water- or alcohol-based formulas that will not hold up as well when exposed to moisture such snow, rain, tears, or sweat.

What are the best brands?
When deciding what brand will work best for you, you first have to decide whether water-, alcohol-, or silicone-based products will serve your purpose. Dinair, Belletto, and Luminess make popular water-based formulas. Temptu is the only brand that offers a silicone-based makeup, which I prefer. Silicone flexes with the skin and will not “crack” the way water-based formulas can. Silicone is also much more durable, and you cannot cry or sweat through it.

I would describe the water-based finish as a more matte, porcelain doll–like look, and the silicone-based finish as real skin. I’ve tested the durability of water-based versus silicone by applying water-based airbrush foundation, letting it set, and then pressing a wet hand to my face. It left a huge white handprint on my face. I prefer Temptuon my brides, but I do enjoy the look of Dinair with their Moist & Dewy mist over it as well. To break this down quickly: water-based is good for extremely oily skin or everyday wear, silicone is what you want for dry skin and supreme durability, like your wedding day or high-humidity situations, while alcohol-based formulas are usually used only for tattoo coverage, special effects, and body painting.

Do I have to be a professional makeup artist to apply airbrush makeup?
Not necessarily! It just takes several practice rounds to get the hang of it. It’s a totally different feel than applying makeup with sponges and brushes so you’ll want to try it out a lot before you bust it out for a big event. If you’re wanting to invest in an airbrush kit for personal use, I’d recommend the Dinair. If you’re a makeup artist who works with brides, I’d suggest Temptu.

Is airbrush better/prettier/more flawless than traditional makeup?
I personally think that the HD foundation I use and the airbrush makeup I do both photograph equally beautifully. I pick airbrush over traditional when I need serious lasting power. I do airbrush foundation on most brides as they’ll likely be crying, dancing, and sweating all day and night. I also pick airbrush for photo shoots taking place outdoors in high humidity or on TV/film sets when little time is allowed for touch-ups.