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Airbrush vs Traditional Makeup for Brides

Which is better?

Recently, I was thrilled to be featured by Pittsburgh's awesome wedding blog, Burghbrides, where I answered this very question.

Here is the full version which has a little bit more information.

As always, I welcome any questions!

Iwata Airbrush Compressor and my Zuca pouch full of Airbrush Foundations. Credit: The Brand Studio

To airbrush or not to airbrush, that is the question...

Many brides want to know which is better, or pros vs cons. Well, the answer isn’t that easy. Hopefully, I can answer some of your questions.

Is airbrush makeup new? Airbrush makeup is not new. The film industry has been using airbrush makeup for FX and specialty makeup for many years. It was first used on the movie Ben Her to give Charlton Heston and the actors natural looking muscular, tanned bodies. It didn’t become the “norm” until high definition television was developed. High definition showed every detail. You could actually see the brushstrokes of some hand applied foundation. Airbrush foundation was used to blur out any imperfections, and look flawless on camera. This soon translated to everyday folks who were being filmed and photographed.

Why does everyone say that it’s “better” for brides? A bride needs that perfect balance between what looks good on camera and what looks good in person. Airbrush fits the bill. So it’s not that’s better, per se, but airbrush makeup does look flawless both on camera and in person, it is really water resistant, and it has great lasting power. This is why it has been the go-to for brides. Also, I find it to be much quicker, so when doing a group of 10 bridesmaids, this can be very helpful!

What brand is my artist using? Kett Cosmetics and Temptu

are the most common professional brands of airbrush makeup. Kett is known for its weightless, water based formulation and Temptu is known for their silicone based, but both have other formulations as well. Which is “better”? They both meet the highest of standards so it depends on what you are looking for or what your artist prefers. Kett Cosmetics was the first and was created in 2000 by celebrity makeup artist, Sheila McKenna. Kett has a serious professional cult following. Sheila really puts her heart and soul into all of the products she creates. I was lucky enough to be trained by her back in 2008 at her New York studio when she was still located in the city. Kett is still my favorite and my go to! Temptu is more widely used and used by a lot of beauty influencers. There is less of a learning curve because it’s a lot more forgiving. Kett needs one perfect, precise application from start to finish.

There are other brands but don’t forget with makeup, there are quality made products and there are inexpensively made products. You might want to ask your artist what brand they use and also where they learned to airbrush and if she/he is “certified”. Just remember though, certifications can be given at any salon or class so that doesn’t always mean something. Where did she/he train and who trained her/him? Do your research.

I heard that airbrush makeup is thick and heavy is that true? Well, it shouldn't be. Airbrush foundation, like any foundation can be "built up" or given more coverage, but it shouldn't feel heavy or thick. It might be that your artist used too many prep products on your skin first or they might have applied too much, or applied incorrectly.

What formulas are there? There are 3 different formulations of airbrush makeup: silicone based, water based and alcohol based. Alcohol based is truly the only waterproof airbrush makeup. This is ideal for tattoo coverage, but it can be too drying for the face. The other formulations, water based and silicone based are very water “resistant”. Water based will give a matte-to-satin skin finish. Silicone gives a satin-to-dewy finish. Adding other products, however, can alter the final overall look so you can use either formula and still achieve the finish your bride is looking for.

Which application is better for my skin, airbrush or traditional? If your skin is dry or flaky, airbrush can be the better choice. Yes, you should be exfoliating, but there are cases of over-tanning and medications when this can’t be helped last minute. Brushes will “pick up” the skin and the makeup can look patchy and uneven, whereas airbrushing will mist right over flawlessly. If your skin is normal or oily, you can use either airbrush or traditional, the formulation and your own skin’s needs will be the determining factor. If you have peach fuzz or vellus hairs on your face, you might want to go for traditional. Airbrush tends to sit on top of the little hairs making them more look more prominent, especially after the setting powder.

Airbrush makeup really doesn’t need a primer so you’re skipping a layer. If you don’t like a lot of product on your skin this is a good thing. Primers can certainly be used though, Your skilled makeup artist will know which primers, serums, moisturizers and other skin prep products can and cannot be used with which formulation.

I don't wear a lot of makeup so should I not choose airbrush makeup? Most clients choose airbrush not only for the flawless finish, but for the fact that it is a fine mist and the natural skin comes through, making it look natural. Airbrush should be misted in fine layers. The makeup should not feel heavy unless the client requires that. Even covering blemishes and flaws, when done properly, it should still not feel like there is heavy makeup on your face. If it feels like you need a butterknife to scrape it off, that's wrong. That defeats the whole purpose of airbrushing. But if it doesn't last all night, it might not be applied heavily enough.

So what is the answer? Well, there is no simple answer. All foundations can look beautiful when applied correctly. So take these things into consideration: Do I want a heavy look or a lightweight look? If you don’t want to feel like you’re wearing makeup, and it’s done properly, airbrush is for you. Other than that, it is just going to depend on your skin, the formulation, the product and most importantly, the makeup artist, This is just one of the reasons the bridal preview and makeup trial is so crucial. I hope this helps to explain a little bit.


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