Tattoos have been a favorite form of body decoration and self-expression by people through the ages, from primitive tribes to more sophisticated societies. There were times when persons with tattoos were frowned upon, especially in more puritanical circles. Today, however, tattoos are an accepted fashion accessory, not just for men but also for women. Celebrities, athletes, teenagers and even conservative businesspersons proudly show off their tattoos. Tattoos have come a long way from the simple anchor or heart on a man's forearm to intricate designs on the legs, arms, torso and even covering practically the entire body. Tattoos have gone beyond decoration and have found a place as a means of identification or as an advertising medium.
The dramatic growth in society's acceptance of tattoos would not have been possible without the development of the temporary tattoo in which the airbrush plays a major role. The temporary tattoo is a non-permanent image on the skin which looks like the real, permanent type. It may be drawn, painted or even applied as a decal. But the preferred method is by applying it with an airbrush.
Temporary airbrush tattoos have been around since 1998. Today they are a preferred form for promotions, advertising and celebrities who want to add character to the roles they play at the time. Temporary airbrush tattoos use specially formulated paint, not dyes, and are applied directly onto the skin without doing it harm. A stencil with the chosen design is placed on the skin and the paint airbrushed onto it. Unlike other forms of temporary tattoos, the airbrush variety affords the artist a high degree of control resulting in more complicated colorful designs. Temporary airbrush tattoos which can last for 2 – 7 days look so much like the real ones that many people cannot distinguish between one or the other.
Either a Single-Action or Double-Action type airbrush may be used to apply a temporary tattoo, depending upon the proficiency of the artist. Newbies should start out with a Double-Action type airbrush because it would not be necessary to adjust the amount of paint while doing the tattoo. For the opposite reason, the more experienced tattoo artists, striving for different levels of color, might opt for the Single-Action type where they can adjust the amount of paint as the design demands.
Because the temporary airbrush tattoo involves intricate patterns and fine detail, a Gravity Feed airbrush is the preferred choice. This type of airbrush allows the artist maximum leeway in choosing the complexity of the design. Moreover, the Gravity Feed airbrush allows the artist to switch to different colors in the course of the job without having to replace the paint container.
To make the tattoo last longer, putting baby powder on it several times during the day will extend its life. Because the paint is alcohol-based, it can be easily removed by applying an oil or alcohol-based product like baby oil, ordinary mineral oil or suntan lotion. Rubbing alcohol also works, but it can dry and irritate the skin.