Airbrush makeup is one of those techniques that seems so advanced. You may have convinced yourself that it’s not worth trying because you can’t possibly master it. Yes, the airbrush equipment is expensive. Yes, it takes a lot of technical training. And yes, you’ll need to dedicate hours and hours of practice on a face chart before you can even think about doing real faces!
But don’t let this discourage you!
If you want to offer the most luxurious makeup service to your clients, consider obtaining an airbrush makeup certification at some point in your makeup career. It’s amazing how smooth, refined, and flawless skin can look when photographed. That’s why this service is so popular for brides. And in the hands of a skilled airbrush makeup artist, the popular “lit-from-within” look can be effortless to achieve!
Airbrush makeup involves a lot of trial and error. But we’ve seen some seriously terrible ways of using an airbrush machine that should be turned into industry PSAs! Check out this rundown of the 4 worst ways to use an airbrush makeup machine.
1. Using a small airbrush machine for a full-body look
This may be the most impractical thing for a makeup artist to attempt. Many airbrush makeup artists (thankfully) wise up and realize how impossible and time-consuming this feat is. There are ways to airbrush makeup onto the entire body (using a spray gun), but a professional makeup artist using a tiny airbrush machine is not one of them. A smaller gun should only be used to apply details—even then, switching to body paints can give you better precision! Imagine if Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique makeup from X-Men was applied using a tiny airbrush gun! Her full-body makeup already took 8 hours to apply. If her makeup artist had used an airbrush gun better suited for bridal makeup, she would have never left the makeup chair!
2. Not cleaning your airbrush machine after every use
Now, you can be laxer if you were only using the machine on yourself. But what if you’re applying airbrush makeup back-to-back on a string of clients with different skin tones, skin types, and conditions? Any residual makeup from the previous client will still be in the airbrush gun for the next. Mixing old colors and formulas with the new product you add is a recipe for disaster!
The resulting color? A Franken-shade that is truly the stuff of nightmares. Most of the problems that artists have with their machines stem from allowing old makeup to dry up in the gun. Some light cleaning with the appropriate thinner after every use can save you lots of trouble down the road.
3. Holding the airbrush machine too close to your client’s face
Can you believe that such a small nozzle can spray product all over a face in a matter of minutes? You want to make sure that you hold the airbrush makeup gun about 5 – 6 inches away from the skin during application. That’s the best way to achieve a smooth, even, and professional look. Obviously, this will change if you’re going over problem areas or doing airbrush eyeshadow. If you see your client tensing up or flexing a lot, you may be swooping in too close for comfort. Your client will experience an increase of pressure on her skin when you’re spraying too close. Not to worry though, this isn’t an unsolvable problem. Practice makes perfect!
4. Using the same pressure setting for everything
Using the same PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) for the face and body, without regard to the clients’ needs is a definite no-no! As a general rule, the lower the PSI, the sheerer the makeup when applied. You should probably stick to lower PSIs for face makeup—the skin here is delicate. Plus, you probably want to pay close attention to detail here because of the many curves on a face! Adjust your gun to a higher PSI for body painting to create opaque, even layers while covering more surface area.
But guess what? Certain colors need more pressure to apply! As you learn more about the world of airbrushing, you’ll encounter many special considerations and exceptions. To ensure you have a well-rounded education, check out QC’s Airbrush Makeup Workshop!