I get asked quite regularly about whether or not I use an airbrush to apply makeup and the short answer is: hell no. I’m sure plenty of you will disagree and tell me how amazing it is and how your clients love it, but that won’t get me to stock up any time soon.
About 15 years ago when airbrushing makeup and foundation became more mainstream (special effects artists and body painters have been using it forever) I purchased a compressor and an airbrush gun and whatever the hot airbrush foundation of the time was. I realized a few things:
1. It was a pain in the ass to carry around. They later developed compressors that were smaller and encased in plastic… but still.
2. It took forever to clean in between clients.
3. It was noisy.
4. The maintenance of the whole contraption was just too much to deal with.
I have had many of my bridal clients ask me if I use an airbrush to apply makeup. I soon realized that when clients ask me about this it is because they are confusing the literal airbrush with the tool in photoshop. If your skin is terrible, airbrushing your foundation is not going to make your skin actually looked airbrushed. Even though I think you should have whatever you want on your wedding day, explaining I can’t give my brides the flawless airbrushed skin they see in magazines (do those still exist?) is not an easy task. Now I just say ‘I don’t do it’ in the most professional lovely way possible and skip the explanation.
I recognize that many artists still use the airbrush, especially for film and television which is great if you get to set up in the same place every day or if you are body painting football jerseys on models. Here in Toronto where freelance MUA’s are expected to do hair, makeup and nails, the airbrush became something I fantasized about running over with my car or throwing out the window of a very tall building just to lighten my load.
For all of the effort it took to work with an airbrush, the makeup didn’t look any different on camera. My mind was never blown and it didn’t make my job any easier. I’m a hands on artist -I like to use sponges, brushes, fingers and whatever else it takes to get the perfect finish. I like to mix product and layer textures, and the airbrush took away all the fun and limited my ability to mix and play with product. If you are turning out amazing work with an airbrush more power to you, I still want to run that thing over with my car.