I am a Chicago makeup artist that specializes in both airbrush makeup and traditional makeup application. I am often asked by anxious brides about the difference between the two and which one they should choose for their wedding day.
Before I get into the differences, I want to clear up a common misconception: airbrush makeup has nothing to do with models and celebrities in magazines “looking flawless because they are airbrushed.” In this context, being airbrushed refers to the digital editing of the images – often referred to as Photoshop. This is a process by which photos are edited (airbrushed) to remove flaws, imperfections, and wrinkles; smooth and soften skin, add or reduce curves, decrease body size, lengthen body parts, lighten skin tone, etc. Again, this process of airbrushing photos has nothing to do with makeup.
Now, let’s move on…The main differences between airbrush makeup and traditional makeup, aside from the obvious – price and personal preference – are simply in their application and coverage:
Airbrush makeup seems to be one of those polarizing topics, much like Beyonce, people either love it, or they hate it. It is a lightweight makeup applied with an air compressor through an airbrush or “gun” in a thin, even layer. A fine mist of pigment lightly covers the skin allowing your true skin tone to show through, giving a natural look and the appearance of a flawless complexion. Airbrush makeup application is better suited for skin that is already blemish free and fairly even toned.
Once airbrush makeup is applied it is best not to manipulate or disturb it by applying excess powders as this will take away from its light and natural finish. Though airbrush makeup can be layered to provide more coverage, doing so may also affect the finish of the final look. Rates for an airbrush makeup application are typically more expensive because it requires specialized equipment, training, and products.
Traditional makeup on the other hand is a lot more versatile. It can be applied with a sponge, a brush, or fingers. The coverage provided can vary and be adjusted from extremely sheer/barely there to completely full coverage. A flawless natural complexion can also be achieved with traditional makeup but it will take a bit more time and skill. If you have a lot of imperfections, blemishes, and/or discoloration you want to camouflage I would definitely suggest traditional application.
Airbrush makeup is marketed as being waterproof, tear proof, and sweat proof. However, traditional makeup can be just as water/tear/sweat RESISTANT when properly applied, set, and maintained. I always educate my brides and clients on proper makeup maintenance to help extend the longevity of their application. In addition, the methods I use to apply and set BOTH airbrush makeup and traditional makeup applications will result in a long lasting makeup application that will last at least 12 hours – through tears, kisses, and champagne toasts.
Tell me: Which application method will you, or did you, use on your wedding day, airbrush or traditional makeup?