Airbrush makeup is makeup sprayed onto the skin using an airbrush instead of being applied with sponges, brushes, fingers, or other methods.
Although airbrush makeup was originally only well known in the 1930s, as a real life alternative to photoshop, it has seen a sudden resurgence in popularity due to the advent of High Definition Television (HDTV). With such high quality pictures it becomes much easier to see imperfections in regular makeup and therefore many studios are now changing.
Airbrushed makeup was first used in the film 1925 Ben Hur, where the makeup artists used the technique to apply makeup to a large cast.
Traditional powder or liquid based make-up can settle and appear in pores and wrinkles and be visible on HD film. As the makeup is sprayed on, it connects with the skin as millions of droplets of formula. The formula can create an even, sheer, natural appearance to the skin that, if applied properly for a natural look, can appear natural and non-heavy like traditional makeup.
Airbrush makeup wears longer than traditional powder or liquid foundation, able to stay put upwards of 12–24 hours. It can be used to cover five o’clock shadows for men. Airbrush makeup is also available for eye shadow, blush, eyebrows and lips and can be layered, shaded, highlighted and contoured. Application wise, the technique is more sanitary than traditional makeup application due the artist never having to touch the skin. It’s also faster, if done by a trained artist.
Most of the time, they come in the form of a very thin, almost paint-like substance. This substance is highly colorized and is sprayed directly onto the skin of the subject. It is very important that the subject closes their eyes, and has cotton swabs placed in the nasal and oratory cavities, for obvious reasons.
It allows for precision and beautiful makeup application. In many ways, it is an art in itself.