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A model demonstrates an airbrush. The device sprays a fine mist of make-up onto your face for an exceptionally smooth, even finish that looks natural.

The pros and cons of airbrush make-up – perfect, flawless looks without a brush or sponge as long as you’re willing to pay for it

  • The flawless make-up that celebrities tend to sport? It’s probably done with an airbrush wand – but you don’t need a make-up artist on hand to achieve it
  • Airbrush devices spray a fine mist of make-up onto your face that will last for hours without touching up. The downside? They’re a pricey alternative to brushes or sponges

For a lot of people, airbrush make-up can seem daunting to try – especially on your own. However, thanks to advances in beauty technology, it’s an application technique that’s easier than ever and no previous knowledge is required.

Airbrush make-up entered the mainstream when make-up artists began to use it on celebrities and bridal studios started offering it to brides.

The technique delivers long-lasting results and an exceptionally smooth, even finish that still looks natural – a goal that can sometimes be hard to accomplish with cream and liquid products.

Here’s how to choose the right kit for you, and what’s important to know before jumping on the airbrush bandwagon.

Airbrush make-up formulas are usually thin and liquid-like to pass through an airbrush device easily.

What is airbrush make-up?

Airbrushing is a method that uses the power of air instead of actual brushes, sponges or any kind of applicator to apply make-up. It involves loading an airbrush wand with make-up pods that spray specially formulated foundation, highlighter, blush or contour on your skin. The result? An even layer of make-up across your skin and the capability to build coverage as you like.

“The benefit of airbrush make-up is that it is long-lasting and gives a smoother appearance to the skin,” says celebrity make-up artist Nydia Figueroa. “It applies a buildable layer of lightweight make-up such as foundation, blush, and more.”

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How is airbrush different from traditional make-up?

Airbrush make-up formulas are usually thin and liquid-like so they can pass through an airbrush device easily, but tend to be more concentrated than traditional formulas you’d apply with a brush or sponge.


That’s precisely why mastering the technique is essential to accomplish the look you desire.

Airbrush make-up spray from Luminess.

Figueroa believes one of the main differences between these two types of make-up is longevity.

“Since it’s not applied using conventional methods such as brushes or sponges, you can guarantee that the product spreads evenly on the face and stays put.

“It prevents any smearing or gaps that could be caused by the bristles of a brush or the absorption of a make-up sponge.”


Airbrushing techniques can take some time to master. It might take you a while to get your make-up done to begin with, so traditional make-up can be a better choice if you need a fast and practical alternative.

Airbrush make-up spray from Dinair.

The benefits of airbrush make-up

Airbrush make-up offers longevity that’s harder to find in traditional formulas. You can expect it to last an average of 12 hours when properly applied, which makes it a perfect answer for those who want to avoid constant touch-ups.


On the other hand, its lightweight texture gives you the ability to create a natural, almost imperceptible look or layer it up for a full-coverage result.

Airbrushing is a method that uses the power of air instead of brushes or sponges to apply make-up.

Airbrush make-up became popular outside the entertainment world when bridal agencies started using airbrushing to provide brides with a natural face that looks good in photos and doesn’t wear off easily.


The fine, mist-like make-up offers even coverage that sits on top of your skin without altering its natural texture.

Additionally, most airbrush make-up is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about sweat or tears ruining your look.

Airbrush make-up pods from Aeroblend.

The cons of airbrush make-up

As impressive as airbrush make-up can be, there aren’t many options out there yet, both in terms of the number of brands offering non-professional airbrush devices and pods and the range of formulas for different skin types and shades.

In addition, given that it applies a thin make-up layer, you’ll still need a traditional concealer or colour corrector if you are looking to cover dark circles, pimples or redness.

Finally, one of the main reasons many remain reluctant about getting a device for themselves is their price point.

Both the airbrush machine and the make-up pods you’ll need to buy can be pretty pricey, especially when compared to traditional make-up. You can expect to spend between US$150 and US$500 on the device and US$40-US$60 for each pod.

Airbrush make-up set from Luminess.

Choose the right formulation

Formulas can significantly influence the results you’ll get from your airbrush. So, before jumping the gun, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’ll go for water-, alcohol- or silicone-based make-up.

Water-based formulas provide a more matte finish and can be easily layered to increase coverage, making them ideal for those with normal, combination or oily skin.

In addition, they can keep shine under control and usually feel very lightweight and natural.

Still, given their water-soluble nature, they can fade faster than other formulas, especially if your skin is prone to sweating.

Airbrush make-up set from Temptu Pro.

Alcohol-based formulations stay put the longest, but can be harsh on your skin if not used properly. The high levels of alcohol make the formula waterproof, smudge-proof and non-transferable, so they are perfect if you need your make-up to last long periods of time.

However, alcohol can be very drying, so this may not be your best option if you have dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin.

As for silicone-based formulations, they’ll provide you with a fresh, sheer finish that stays put and is water-resistant, but may feel heavier on your skin.

On the other hand, this kind of airbrush make-up can help your skin look smoother, so you’ll get coverage that’s similar to regular full-coverage foundations but with the sheer glow of an airbrush.