Introduction to Airbrush Makeup - QC Makeup Academy

Makeup artistry is one of the most exciting and diverse industries that you can possibly work in! There are countless new techniques and styles that you can learn in addition to your standard daytime, wedding, or glamour makeup. We’ve already introduced you to the world of Special FX makeup, but there are so many other types of makeup that you can learn! Have you ever considered trying your hand at airbrush makeup? This unique method of applying foundation and color is a great skill to have for diversifying your skills and becoming an even more qualified makeup artist. As a quick introduction to this exciting new possibility, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions!

Airbrushing Model

What is airbrush makeup?

Have you ever seen a foundation application so flawless that you can barely tell whether or not the person is wearing makeup? It’s possible that this base was applied with airbrush makeup! Using airbrush techniques gives the face a particularly smooth finish for a foundation application, and this is part of why it’s so popular. Because of the consistency of the makeup and the way the air applies the product to the skin, artists are able to control the amount of makeup used. This allows for an evenly blended layering effect that is free of lines, giving the skin a high quality finish and hiding inconsistencies and blemishes well.

Who does airbrush makeup?

Any makeup artist who already has a good understanding of beauty makeup can train to do airbrush makeup as well! Usually, airbrush makeup is learned in addition to foundational techniques, rather than being taken immediately or as a standalone skill. Many artists will specialize in airbrushing but still use their beauty makeup skills on a regular basis as well.

What tools are used for airbrush makeup?

Rather than using brushes and sponges like you would for other styles of makeup, airbrush makeup requires an electric tool. Makeup is placed in a small tray or jar that feeds directly into a small metal ‘gun’ or airbrush. That gun is connected by a hose to an air compressor that feeds air back down the hose and pushes it out through the nozzle of the gun. The makeup that is fed into the gun is pushed out quickly with the air, achieving an effect similar to that of a can of spray paint, only more accurate and easier to control. This spray effect is what gives the makeup a flawless, blended finish. Guns or airbrushes of various sizes are available for different techniques and styles of makeup. Larger ones are often used for covering bigger surface areas for things like body painting, while very small ones might be used to contour the nose or draw patterns.

Airbrush Kit

Can you use your regular makeup?

Your regular foundations and concealers are actually too thick to be used in an airbrush gun. Because of its’ denser consistency, the air from the compressor can’t push regular makeup through the gun in the proper spraying motion and the nozzle will becomes clogged. Several professional makeup suppliers actually sell makeup that is made specifically for airbrushing. Pigment is mixed with a base of water, alcohol, or silicone and the resulting product is thinner and much more easily applied by the airbrush gun. The need for special products, however, doesn’t limit what you can do with airbrush makeup! In fact, the range of colors and shades in shimmer, matte, sparkle, and other finishes is very wide. Standard makeup does come into play with airbrush makeup, however, for finishing off the look by hand. The two methods of makeup application can be combined to get both a seamless finish and the kind of detailed eye or lip that can only be achieved with detail too small for airbrush guns.

Which features and techniques are possible with airbrush makeup?

The most popular styles that airbrushing is used for are beauty and fantasy makeup. Because of the wide range of products available for airbrushing, almost any type of makeup application is possible. As discussed, airbrushing is commonly used for foundation applications, but it can also be used to do contour, highlighting, blush, and lid color. It’s important, however, to use an appropriately sized gun for each technique. Once airbrush makeup is applied, it’s extremely difficult to lighten or remove without disturbing the smooth, seamless finish, so attention to detail and use of proper tools is the key!

Who usually requests airbrush makeup?

Artists who are skilled in airbrush makeup are requested in a variety of contexts. Because of the gorgeous finish airbrushing can achieve, the technique is often requested by brides for their wedding day or their formal photos. Makeup artists working on film sets are also often asked to do airbrush makeup because the range of colors and finishes and the ability to cover large surface areas makes airbrushing a great tool for creating fantasy or creature makeup for movies. Airbrushing is primarily requested for big events, photo shoots, or filming projects of various kinds, rather than everyday makeup because the seamless finish that the technique provides can look unnatural and edited if it is applied too heavily.

Fantasy Airbrushing

Is airbrush makeup expensive?

The price of the tools and products required for airbrushing depends on which company you’re purchasing from and the quality of equipment you’re aiming to use. Some brands of machine, for example, are extremely affordable but not very good quality. Others are very expensive, but primarily priced for the brand name rather than any superior features on the machine. As a beginner, aiming for a machine that is affordable but not too cheap (in terms of price or quality) is a good strategy. Machines like this might be simple and affordable enough for you to feel comfortable learning and practicing on, but durable enough to last you longer than a cheap beginner machine. The same standards apply to the makeup itself. Some brands and types will be more expensive than others, and some will be of greater quality. To start, you might be best to purchase affordably priced water based color that you can practice with, and consider more expensive, long lasting products like silicone based foundations later on.

Why should you consider learning airbrush makeup?

Airbrush makeup is just like any other specialization in the makeup industry. By mastering this technique, you’re both refining and diversifying your skill, which increases your employability. You’re less likely to be overlooked for a contract if you can do not only basic beauty or glamour makeup, but also perform an additional expertise like airbrushing. More skill gives you more ways to make money doing what you love!

QC Makeup Academy loves bringing you exciting and innovative things to learn, and we also like listening to what you want! Keep an eye out for great new courses coming in 2015!

Author Ana Scholtes

More posts by Ana Scholtes

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Amanda says:

    Can’t wait for this course 🙂

  • heather says:

    I would love to do this course

  • diana villegas says:

    when u will have this course

    • Ana Scholtes says:

      Hi Diana, thanks for your comment! We hope you are looking forward to learning airbrush makeup with QC! We’re expecting for this course to be available in the springtime.

  • sheridan spaulding says:

    Hi there,

    I just wanted to say that I would love to take this course. I invested in an airbrush makeup set and absolutely
    love it! I use it every day and love the flawless results. Can you tell us the approximate cost of this class?

    • Ana Scholtes says:

      Hi Sheridan! Thank you for your comment! Unfortunately, the cost has not yet been determined. We’ll have a better idea closer to the release of the course, so stay tuned on our Facebook page for updates. 🙂

  • Mehnaz Fatima says:

    I will love to do this course

    • Ana Scholtes says:

      And we’ll love to have you as a student in this course, Mehnaz! We’re still working hard at getting this course available as soon as possible, so stay tuned on our Facebook page for updates. 🙂

  • Alexandria says:

    Do we have to provide our own airbrush kit or will that be included in the cost of the course?

    • Ana Scholtes says:

      Hi Alexandria,

      Thank you for your comment! We’re still investigating shipping regulations to see what we can provide in the course materials. So unfortunately this hasn’t been determined yet. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for further updates as we get closer to the launch of the course in the springtime. 🙂

  • Sheridan Lynn says:

    Hi Again,

    Just checking in and wondering if the Airbrush Class start date has been set and what the cost will be . I am very much looking
    forward to it!

    • Ana Scholtes says:

      Hi Sheridan, thank you for your comment! Unfortunately the specifics have not yet been released. But I’ve added you to a list to be contacted when more information is available. 🙂

  • Olivia says:

    Hi Ana, Loved your blog. It has given us all the information related to airbrush makeup basics, airbrush tools and so many more.
    Thank you so much.

    • Sarah-Lynn Seguin says:

      Hooray! This makes our day! <3 Thanks so much for taking the time to watch Ana's awesome video and read this article. We're thrilled to hear that you found the information so helpful. xx

      All the best,
      The QC Team

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