Up Your Airbrushing Game With These Simple Tips
Airbrushing was one of the most popular makeup techniques of the past, and it’s a megatrend that has staying power (literally). Airbrush makeup is characterized by three main components: a powered compressor to regulate air pressure and flow; a hose connecting to the makeup gun; and the gun itself, which is a metal, triggered applicator that houses your foundation.
The first recorded use of airbrush makeup was during the production of the 1959 film Ben-Hur (starring Charlton Heston) to speedily apply makeup to the vast number of cast members. Whereas traditional powder or liquid makeup can settle into pores and increase the appearance of fine lines on HD television, airbrush makeup creates a completely seamless, even, barely-there look that hides nearly all imperfections.
There are both professional and at-home airbrushing kits out there. (The at-home kits operate at a lower pressure.) This is why airbrushing has skyrocketed in popularity: beauty pros and novices alike have access to Hollywood glamour at home!
Whether you’re airbrushing for professional reasons or having a go at it on your own, there are some tips about the technique that every aspiring cosmetologist should know.
PRACTICE WITH WATER FIRST
Begin by filling the applicator with water to get a feel for the pressure levels. With either a mannequin or on your own face, make the same constant, circular motions you would with a client (and actual makeup). Airbrushing is like painting a canvas: every square centimeter must be evenly - and lightly - covered to provide a solid base on which to finish the look.
PREPARE YOUR SKIN
Prepping your skin is critical to setting the tone for airbrushing. Moisturizing your skin beforehand, either after you get out of the shower or at the start of your day, opens and hydrates your pores so the makeup is fully absorbed into your skin.
In addition, include a primer in your makeup routine. Primer is typically applied before foundation and not only acts as a kind of moisturizer, but is also formulated to help the makeup last through the day. It’s a base coat, so to speak, that your makeup holds onto and makes touch-ups easy. (Ideal for transitioning from day to night!)
USE YOUR OWN FOUNDATION
If you’re pleased with the kind of liquid foundation you use, use the same for airbrushing! Airbrushing changes the texture and application method, not the color of the makeup itself. Using your own foundation ensures you know what you’re working with and that it will successfully blend with your skin.
It’s a common misconception that to fully conceal and cover, you apply more makeup. This is simply not the case. Particularly in airbrushing, there is the potential for too much of a good thing. Overspraying will cause a “caked-on” effect, which is not conducive to what airbrushing is meant to achieve in the first place.
Airbrush gun in hand, spray the foundation 4-6” away from the face in small, circular motions to create light layers. Stop once you’re sure you’ve covered the entire face, and let the makeup settle before deciding whether or not to add more. Remember, you’re going for as natural a look as possible, which shouldn’t require as much foundation!
BLEND IN YOUR NECK
Have you ever seen what we call “floating head syndrome,” where it appears that a person’s head is completely separate from their body because the color is staunchly different from their actual skin tone and it all stops before the neck? We want to avoid that.
Your makeup should be continuous and clean. This also means ensuring your face makeup falls in line with your overall skin tone. Once you’ve nailed your shade down, follow the natural curvature of your face to airbrush and blend your neck, pausing just after your jawline. This will create a seamless transition from face to neck and body.
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