Stuck at home? Use the time to learn something new! If you’re feeling isolated at home due to social distancing and starting to feel a little stir crazy, channel your energy into the pursuit of knowledge and invest in your career by teaching yourself a new trade: how to use airbrush makeup properly.
For many artists, airbrush can seem like a daunting and intimidating technique for laying down makeup. It’s quite the contrary once you learn the basics. With a little patience and practice, an artist who is used to working with brushes can master the art of airbrush. This skill can be very beneficial and convenient, especially when working on a number of clients for an event.
Airbrush keeps things sanitary: no fingers, no dirty brushes, no physical contact required. Just spray and go.
1) Clean between each use or color. The number one problem most people have when working with airbrush begins before they even start to spray. Make sure the gun and needle are thoroughly cleaned out with airbrush cleansing fluid. Failure to do this will cause buildup and clog your airbrush gun. You know it’s clogged when makeup splatters in an uneven spray or sputter, instead of its usually smooth mist. Don’t allow the gun to sit too long with makeup in it because it will harden.
Tip 1: In between spraying foundation colors (ex: foundation shade change between bridesmaids) run Graftobian Airbrush Cleansing Fluid through the gun and then pour in a little extra to leave sitting in the cup while you’re prepping your next client.
Tip 2: A good overnight deep clean is the best way to properly take care of your airbrush gun. At the end of the day, pull apart the gun, including the nozzle and needle (take care not to damage the tip of the needle). Put all parts of the gun in a bowl of airbrush cleansing fluid. Allow to soak.
2) Practice: Use circular motions and work 6 to 8 inches away from your client or practice surface. The key to a good application is to barely be able to see any makeup going onto the skin. Practicing with the airbrush is the best way to learn how to do this.
Spraying with a light hand in circular motions will give the most natural look and will prevent heavy spots.
3) Apply with thin layers. Start out small by adjusting the psi (pounds per square inch) on the gun and setting it just below 10 psi (Graftobian Airbrush Makeup has micronized pigments and is therefore capable of spraying at pressures as low as 4-6 psi). You can do this by turning the dial to the right to lower the psi or to the left to increase it. A really high psi will result in overspraying and unwanted clouds of pigment. Keep it as low as you can while still being effective.
Tip: When spraying on skin at a distance of 8 inches, the pressure is too high if you can see the air indent the skin as you move your brush.
4) The Makeup: Use a reliable, professional line of airbrush makeup. Cheap makeup has larger particles in it which will result in constant clogging, and could even damage your gun. Graftobian has two kinds of airbrush makeup: GlamAire™ and F/X Aire™. The beauty line, GlamAire™, is a water-based formulation with a matte finish and is ideal for weddings, TV and film and even everyday makeup wearers because it creates such a flawless finish. The clean and gentle formula has a touch-free application process that will not irritate the skin. F/X Aire™ is a hybrid formula of water and alcohol, allowing for ease of movement and durability when creating face and body designs. We’ve also seen it hold up beautifully for underwater beauty shoots.
5) Choosing your gun: There are two types: single and dual action. Single action brushes are less powerful, but much easier to use and they have more than enough power for beauty applications. If you’re looking for a great beginner-friendly airbrush gun, we recommend checking out our Walk-Around™ Airbrush System, as it includes a single action gun. Dual-action guns, which more special effects professionals tend to use, require you to take two actions: press down on the trigger for air and then slowly pull it back to control the spray of makeup.
6) Choosing your compressor: An air compressor is a device that converts power into potential energy stored as compressed air. These machines allow you to set the pressure, in pounds per square inch (PSI), that will flow through your airbrush pulling a controlled mist of airbrush makeup with it. Multi-function heavy duty compressors with manifolds that hold up to 6 (12 when expanded) bottles of airbrush makeup at a time, allow face and body artists to work quickly with an array of different colors all at once. Smaller compressors and portable compressors use one color at a time. Graftobian’s best-selling compressor is the Walk-Around™ Airbrush Machine, which is a beginner-friendly option with a SA-35 single action brush. It’s solid, reliable, and can run continuously on battery for about 3 hours. Many artists find that an overnight charge for their Walk-Around™ System will last them all day, and love that they always have the option of plugging into an outlet if needed.
For an in-depth tutorial on Graftobian’s best-selling Walk-Around airbrush machine, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvCxCvgUSlQ&t=5s
Makeup above by Andrea O'Donnell of Bad Ass Stencils. Model is Tana O'Donnell.