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FAQ Friday | Is Airbrush Better Than Traditional Makeup Application?

WHOOOO! I've been waiting to write about this topic! As a makeup artist who's largest client base is brides, this question comes up FREQUENTLY. "Do you do airbrush?", "Is it better than traditional makeup application?", "Will it last longer?", are all questions I get on a semi-regular basis. But before I dive into my answers and explanations, let me give you a brief history and definition of airbrush makeup for those of you who are not familiar.


Airbrush is a makeup application technique where compressed air is pumped out of a machine to spray makeup onto the skin, instead of the traditional use of sponges and brushes. The first airbrush machine was built by Abner Peeler in 1879; originally named the "paint distributor". Peeler's original intent for the "paint distributor" had nothing to do with makeup application but rather to touch up photos of himself back in a time when film photography wasn't even a thought. Fast forward to today, the modern airbrush machine is used to apply makeup, spray tans, and other paints and pigments - all based off of Peeler's makeshift design. It is used widely in special effects makeup, for tattoo covering, and has gained large popularity in the bridal world. It is marketed as "light-weight", long-wearing, waterproof, build-able/high-coverage, makeup application. Sounds great, right? Its longegevity and water resistance makes it especially appealing to prospective brides, as wedding season is during the hottest, most humid months of the year. It makes sense why airbrush is so popular. And if you are a bride who wants to look her best on her wedding day, airbrush makeup seems like the best and for some, the only option. However, as with all things, there are pros and cons...and in my humble opinion, having both applied and worn airbrush makeup, it has more negatives than positives.

As a makeup artist, do I do airbrush? NOPE. I've had an airbrush machine for years. When I first started out in bridal, I thought to be a legitimate makeup artist I needed an airbrush machine and I needed to use it regularly. Confession: I've used my airbrush machine on a bridal client zero times. When a client asks me if I do airbrush I gracefully say, "No", and touch on these four points:

  1. If proper products are selected and applied correctly, traditional makeup application will last just as long as airbrush. A well-seasoned, professionally trained makeup artist has gained years of knowledge and experience and knows how to layer cream and powder products to create a beautiful, long-lasting face of makeup. *The one exception: If you are going to immersed in water at any point while wearing makeup, then yes, opt for airbrush makeup. I know that weddings can be over the top and unique these days, but I have yet to hear a bride tell me, "Yes, Rachel. I will actually be submerging my face in water at some point during the ceremony."

  2. Traditional makeup application will leave your skin looking like skin - airbrush not so much. Airbush, although marketed as lightweight, often looks very heavy on the skin. Waterproof makeup is formulated differently and contains an adhesive film made from silicones or acrylate based polymers, preventing it from being water and sweat soluble. If your goal is to have fresh, glowing skin, which is what most brides request, traditional makeup is the better choice.

  3. You do not see prestigious beauty makeup artists hauling around their airbrush machines to apply makeup to their high-profile clientele for red carpets and photoshoots. This alone should speak volumes.

  4. If you do end up hiring a makeup artist who does airbrush, a huge up-charge (or any increase in price, in my opinion) is a red flag! There shouldn't be in difference in price, whether a makeup artist is doing traditional makeup application or airbrush. Airbrush foundations and traditional foundations cost the around same per bottle and less product is used when applying airbrush foundations. Requiring a client to pay more for using less product doesn't add up. Literally.

I hope that you learned something new and can more confidently make hiring and makeup application decisions for yourself, whether you are a makeup artist, bride-to-be, or makeup lover.

Is there another topic you wish me to talk about? Comment below and let me know! Thanks so much for reading! XO,


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