Airbrush makeup: All you want to know but are afraid to ask

What is it?

An airbrush is a small, air-operated tool that sprays various media but most often paint by a process called nebulization, which converts liquid into a fine spray. Airbrush makeup is makeup sprayed onto the skin using an airbrush instead of being applied with sponges, brushes, fingers, or other methods.

What’s the difference?


Unlike traditional makeup (where you rub makeup into your skin), airbrushing sprays a fine mist of makeup that sits evenly on your skin. It provides flawless coverage (sheer or opaque), by minimizing skin imperfections while giving skin a natural finish.

You can expect experience including:

  • High definition close-up friendly finish.

The spray dot pattern the airbrush puts down on the skin registers less on camera than the patterns and trace lines that brushes and sponges leave behind. However invisible these marks may appear to the naked eye, they can be quite noticeable when your face is shown in Hi-Definition close-up or in a High Resolution Digital Photo. See the comparison of finishes from different application methods below. Left to right: Sponge, brush and airbrush.

  • Superior coverage with light weight.

Dark spots, pigmentation, freckles, acne scars, broken capillaries, bruises......You name them. Discolorations of all kinds can never be covered with such ease within a short time frame. But most importantly, the finish stays light and natural.

  • Unbeatable longevity and durability.

Although traditional makeup can be long wearing and water resistant, airbrush still wins over not just by a notch. Due to its unique formulation and application, airbrushed makeup can literally last for a full day and stays fresh without sliding over, even under extreme weather conditions. It’s a life saver for people with super oily skin without the need of frequent touch ups.

  • Idea for problematic skins.

For skin with irritable conditions, such as rosacea, eczema and inflamed acnes, airbrush application does not cause further sensitivities through physical contact. It’s also superior at hiding uneven skin textures. Opposed to traditional application, it does not sink into the skin and will not exaggerate undesired textures such as dry flakes and enlarged pores.

Is airbrush for me?

It is your choice if you:

  • Will be filmed or photographed closely by HD camera;
  • Have skin problems;
  • Need extra coverage and/or superior longevity;
  • Just want to try it.

Does airbrush application guarantee better makeup?

The answer is no. A good makeup relies on the craft of your makeup artist, not the method of application.  But always ask your artists whether they provide airbrush, if you have the needs listed above.

Seeing is believing?

Here is a photo of my bare skin (left) in comparison with one very thin layer of foundation applied with airbrush. To honestly show how it covers skin discolourations and textures,  there was no primer applied underneath or powder applied above the foundation. It just wears and looks like skin, and is literally inconceivable to naked eyes.

Airbrush compariosn close up web

Your friendly makeup artist,


Copyright © 2013 Mary Li Makeup artist, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Nothing within this post, including text or images may be reproduced without my expressed permission.