Airbrush Make-up Vs. Traditional Make-up
So, a VERY regular question I get asked, particularly by my brides, is ‘What is Airbrush make-up?’ and ‘What is the difference between Airbrush and the regular ‘traditional’ way of applying make-up?’
Well, I am fortunate enough to offer both of these application techniques which I feel is extremely important as a Professional Make-up Artist, being able to cater for all customers whatever their age, ethnicity, skin type and tone.
I will start off with explaining about Airbrush. The brand of Airbrush make-up & tools that I currently use is Airbase; which is a silicone based high-definition make-up. It is used regularly on film and television for its HD qualities, particularly for its flawless and long-lasting results.
**NB Airbrush make-up must not be confused with Airbrush photo shop (used for re-touching images in magazines), which unfortunately, it often is…
Airbrush make-up is a ‘sprayed on’ foundation which is poured into an airbrush ‘gun’ and with the aid of an air compressor; the make-up is sprayed onto the face which throws out tiny particles of make-up that create a fine layer of foundation on to the skin. The coverage is very sheer but it can be built up by allowing the first ‘layer’ to dry and a second helping sprayed over. Think of it as tiny pixels being sprayed onto the face, rather than as one block colour, which is typically applied in the ‘traditional’ manner.
The reason it is known as ‘High Definition’ is that it is sprayed onto the skin in tiny particles, which when shot in HD cameras and film is undetectable as it does not leave any brush strokes, creating an incredible even and flawless coverage. Sounds easy, right? There is still a great deal of skill that is required by the airbrush artist. An exact colour match is required along with an even coverage/finish. Bronzer and blusher can also be applied with the airbrush, so correct placement and pressure of the spray is key. Never book a MUA just because they offer the airbrush services. Make sure that they are trained and check out their previous work & reviews beforehand, as believe it or not, there are some ‘cowgirl’ airbrush artists out there who offer this service without the relevant training.
With Airbase make-up there are 7 different foundation shades, ranging from very pale to very dark, 2 shades of blusher and a bronzer. All of these shades can be mixed together to create the perfect match to the clients skin tone, and this is determined prior to application (and why it is very important to have a trial-run, particularly for the bride). It really does cater for every skin tone from the palest porcelain skin, to olive, Asian and black skin tones.
Being a silicone based make-up as opposed to a water-based make-up (which most ‘traditional’ foundations are), Airbase airbrush is durable (long-lasting so perfect for bridal beauty), sweat and tear-proof (NOT completely water proof as some airbrush make-up is advertised), heat resistant (so again adds to the durability), flawless and packed full of ingredients which are good for the skin such as:
· Vitamin A: an ingredient that is proven to improve elasticity of the skin and therefore reduce fine lines.
· Vitamin E: an anti-oxidant that moisturises and repairs helping to deactivate the free radicals that age the skin.
Airbase Airbrush make-up is a luxury application that does not feel like a mask and it really does feel weightless on the skin. BUT airbrushed makeup is not for everyone…
Because of the sheer coverage that airbrushing provides I would not recommend it to:
· Somebody who is looking for a very heavy coverage. Although the airbrush can be ‘layered’ it can sometimes take a while to ‘set’ which could result in a cakey and unnatural coverage.
· Somebody who has extremely oily skin. Because of the silicone ingredients it could exacerbate excess oils in the skin, resulting in an overly shiny finish. Setting techniques can be used in this instance, but one of the benefits of silicone-based makeup is that it required minimal setting and touch-ups.
· People who have respiratory problems due to the make-up being electronically sprayed and potentially inhaled (although I do ask that clients hold their breath for a short time during each spray). It is sometimes known to ‘take your breath away’ due to the cool spray sensation.
Now, onto the traditional make-up application method:
Make-up is more conventionally applied with the use of our hands, sponges, brushes or puffs. As a professional Make-up Artist, I use all of the above but prefer to use my tried and trusted brushes, as I feel that these give us a much more professional and even finish, allowing the make-up to be worked in to the skin and manipulated where necessary.
I use both synthetic and natural hair make-up brushes. Synthetic brushes are predominantly used for the application and natural brushes for the blending of creams and shadows. It really depends on what make-up is being applied to what tools I would use, but our hands also allow us to connect with the face and get a feel for facial geometry, which is very important in the application and placement of professional make-up.
As explained a few paragraphs above, foundation from a ‘traditional’ bottle is like one block colour that is applied and worked into the skin (as opposed to sprayed in tiny particles with airbrush). It can also come in an array of different finishes from very light ‘sheer’ coverage (think MAC Face & Body) to very heavy coverage (such as Estee Lauder Double Wear), very dewy (such as NARS sheer glow) to very Matte (Clarins ever Matte). The finish required depends strongly on the skin type of the client, but also by managing their expectations and requirements. A professional MUA will discuss these with you and advise on the best products to achieve the best results for you.
Traditional make-up is worked into the skin and is easier to layer or build coverage but bear in mind, make-up brushes are not magic wands and make-up will not improve the texture of the skin; which is a very common misconception! It can, of course, make imperfections appear less visible, but make-up should not be used as a heavy mask, layered on thick in the hope that it will give a smooth finish. This will just result in a very unnatural look.
Great make-up first begins with great skin, so get the foundations right before the foundation looks right!
Some would say that there is more skill involved with the traditional application method, allowing the make-up artist to be more precise with the placement of certain products. Although I do not disagree, I think that both application techniques require a great deal of skill and knowledge, which takes into account (but not limited to) skin type, tone, occasion, age and skin conditions
In conclusion, there really is no ‘better’ application technique. It is purely down to personal preference and occasion. Your make-up artist will advise on the best option for you (again, this is why a trial is highly recommended, so that you know what to expect and also saving a great deal of time and apprehension-particularly on the wedding day!)
Which make-up application technique would you opt for?
I hope that this blog has been helpful!