The beauty business is said to have started with woman, and it has survived, stayed resilient and evolved through the ages. Hairstyles have and still change radically, hemlines rise and fall with amazing regularity, fragrances come and go, fashion accessories move with technology and now, even food supplements, pharmaceutical treatments and surgical procedures have become part of this business. A woman's need to beautify herself is as strong as ever. The one thing that hasn't fundamentally changed is – makeup. Aside from superficial changes in the color of lipstick or eye shadow, the woman's need to smoothen her face and cover any blemishes, whether it be with powder or a more expensive foundation remains the same. What may have changed is the way makeup is applied, and one of the most popular and versatile methods is the use of the airbrush.
Airbrush makeup is makeup applied using an airbrush. In principle, this does not differ much from the way the airbrush is used for painting fingernails or cars. Compared with makeup applied in the traditional way, airbrush makeup has these advantages.
Full coverage: Foundation applied with an airbrush provides full coverage and high opacity. Some stylists use as little as 12 – 15 drops of the makeup to achieve full facial coverage.
Sheer texture: Makeup applied with an airbrush is thin in texture and is dispersed in a sheer and even manner. This gives the skin a very natural look.
Refined, even pattern: Brushes and sponges, when used to apply makeup, leave a pattern composed mostly of straight lines. This may look fine to the naked eye, but when photographed digitally in high definition this is noticeable. Makeup applied with an airbrush, however, leaves a spray-dot pattern that looks better in high definition closeup.
Application time: Applying makeup with an airbrush takes only seconds, compared with several minutes when you use a brush or sponge.
Durability: Airbrush makeup lasts longer so there is less need for touch ups after a while.
The three main types of airbrush makeup formulations are:
a) Water-based: This formulation is preferred when the artist is after a matte finish. Water-based makeup does not really require applying powder after the application although some artists still do just to be on the safe side.
b) Silicone-based: More long-lasting than the water-based type, this formulation imparts a light, dewy finish. It is transfer resistant and is impervious to water, perspiration and smudging. Artists prefer this type for jobs where the makeup is supposed to last for some time.
c) Alcohol-based: This type is commonly used for body art and prosthetics but not for the face.
Because a very fine pattern is needed to cover the skin, an airbrush with a very small-diameter needle is required. A Suction Feed airbrush may be acceptable, but a Gravity Feed type is often preferred.
Beauty salons charge much higher for airbrush makeup than for the conventional kind. Airbrush makeup is still classified as a specialty product, and there is always the conventional kind for cost-conscious clients. The cost of the compressor, airbrush and makeup material justify the higher price. But, for the client, the superior end result is more than enough justification.