Airbrush makeup is one of those techniques that seems so advanced that you probably prevent yourself from trying it by thinking that you can’t possibly master it. Yes, the equipment is expensive. Yes, it takes a lot of technical training. And yes, you’ll need to dedicate hours and hours to practicing on a face chart before you can even think about moving onto real faces!
But don’t let this discourage you!
If you want to offer the most luxurious of makeup services for your clients, you’ll probably consider getting an airbrush makeup certification at some point in your career. It’s amazing how smooth, refined, and flawless it looks on the skin when photographed! This is why this service is so popular for brides. Airbrush makeup involves a lot of trial and error, but while some techniques and habits aren’t that bad, there are some terribly erroneous ways of using an airbrush machine that should be turned into PSAs for the makeup industry! Stick around for our rundown of the 4 worst ways to use an airbrush makeup machine.
1. Using a small airbrush machine on the whole body
This may be the most impractical thing an artist will attempt before they wise up and realize how impossible this feat was to begin with. While there are ways to airbrush makeup onto the entire body (using a spray gun), you will be hard-pressed to find a true professional using a tiny airbrush machine and needle for more than just the visage. Imagine if Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique makeup from X-Men was applied using a tiny airbrush gun? Her full-body makeup took 8 hours to apply, but if her makeup artist had used an airbrush gun suitable for bridal makeup? Sleeping would go straight out the window!
2. Not cleaning your airbrush machine after every use
Now it’s a different story if you were only ever using the machine on yourself. But imagine having a string of clients with different skin tones and conditions. Any residual makeup will still be in the airbrush gun and mix with the new colors you’re adding in for the next client.
The resulting color? A Franken-shade that is truly the stuff of nightmares. Most of the problems that users have with their machines stem from allowing old paint 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
It can be deceiving that such a small nozzle can spray product onto such a large proportion of skin. You want to make sure that you hold the airbrush makeup gun about 5 – 6 inches away from the skin when applying it for a smooth, even, and professional looking application. Obviously this will change if you’re going over problem areas or doing airbrush eyeshadow. If you do see that your client is tensing up or flexing a lot, you may be swooping in too close, increasing the amount of pressure she feels on her skin when you’re applying the product. 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 any regard to what the occasion entails and the clients need, is a definite no-no! As a general rule, the lower the PSI, the sheerer the makeup is applied. You should probably stick to lower PSIs for face makeup—the skin here is delicate, and you’re probably going to need to pay more attention to detail here because of the many curves on a face! You’ll need 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! With all these exceptions and special considerations, it’s no wonder that airbrush makeup needs so much training to master!