Let's face it, airbrush makeup is growing, lingering for some or just won't go away for others. No matter where you currently stand with airbrush, your clients are still demanding it. Why is that?
We'll let's break it down, how do people view airbrush makeup? Luxury is the first thing that pops in most peoples mind. If you haven't witnessed or personally felt the experience of airbrush application, then it's probably hard for you to agree to this. Technically, airbrush is the application of a product through means of a mist, or air. It's literally blown onto the skin, in micro particles. This renders the product to sit lightly on the skin, blurring and diffusing imperfections and texture and when applied properly, invisible.
You might now see where luxury could come to mind, it's applied with an expensive tool, requires hours and hours of training and numerous amounts of practice to perfect it's craft. To a client it feels weightless, looks natural, and appears expensive. It has become the go to technique for brides, and a great option for camera work.
As we ascend into a technically driven culture, it's no wonder we keep seeing a rising demand for technically driven products and services. Now you may still find yourself removed from this topic. You either don't airbrush or do not want to learn airbrushing. That is absolutely okay, you can stop reading and go about your day. Or you could continue to read to fully educate yourself on this form of makeup application so you can better serve your next inquiring client. Not to say "I absolutely hate airbrushing, blah blah." We don't do that right? We don't discredit other artists skill and talents because we don't offer those same services. We can do one of two things, keep the job and hire on an artist who can do airbrushing, or pass the job on. However, here is a better option...learn airbrushing.
I'm an airbrush artist, have been for nearly 13 years. I've been educating airbrush for 8 years now. I want everyone to airbrush, I think it's an absolutely amazing skill for any working makeup artist to have under their belt. I believe that there will be so many varying degrees of airbrush artists out there and the bad is not where I want any of you to be. I want you all to be good, hell! I want you all the be great! So let's break down why won't we?
- Luxury service
- Expensive service
- Ultimate blend-ability
- HD Camera approved
- Flawless coverage
- Technology driven
- Technically challenging
- Expensive tools
- Separate products needed
- Education required
- Constant practice needed
- Kit heavy
- Poor technique
- Troubleshooting issues with clients
- JUST PLAIN BAD TECHNIQUE. Let's face it, if you cannot confidently airbrush a face chart without welding circles, utilize blush, highlight, contour and eventually eyeshadow without picking up a brush, just don't airbrush.
- Charging clients more money for a product you blew onto the skin, then touched up with your Beauty Blender and applied blush, bronzer and highlight with a brush, then you shouldn't be charging a client an extra fee. If you only feel confident airbrushing foundation, cool, you just wasted a lot of money on a tool that can easily be replaced by a brush or sponge. You must proceed to the next step, or cut your loses and sell the machine to someone who will push it beyond the rudimentary levels of just foundation.
Are you still there? Cool! So you want to know more, want to get better, or want some tips? I can do that for you. Hell, I can teach you from the ground up if you like, just keep your eyes peeled for my traveling workshops.
What I can do right now is a few things. First some tips. These are some rules I strictly live by every time I go to blow air product upon someones face and body.
101 TIPS FOR AIRBRUSHING:
- Do not touch a sponge or brush to the skin after you have airbrushed. If you must do this, then you aren't ready to airbrush someone.
Okay, I have to stop right there, because I feel like this needs a little explanation. I make this a number one 101 tip because it's simple, to the point and direct. This may even be pointing directly at you, and if it is good! Because you need to get a refresher, you need to practice more before you offer a luxe service and especially before you charge someone more for a service you aren't quite ready to offer. Putting a sponge or brush to someones face after airbrushing them means a few things. You over applied product, mostly this is the main culprit. You speckled product on the client, due to starting the gun on the face, rather than starting air flow away from the face. This is a completely amateur move. You never start the gun pointing at someones skin, NEVER. Another reason you are using a brush or sponge for touch up is probably because you are trying to bronze, blush or contour without skill and practice. Again, don't do it if you aren't ready.
(Now back to the tips)
101 TIPS FOR AIRBRUSHING: (continued)
- Do not touch a sponge or brush to the skin after you have airbrushed. If you must do this, then you aren't ready to airbrush someone
- Get the right equipment. This I will elaborate on another post soon.
- Etiquette, yes there is etiquette to keeping your client/model/actor happy during application
- Don't ask them to hold their breath, have them breath normal. If they are flinching a lot, your pressure may be too high
- Always start air away from the face, then blow on neck or collar bone and ask if the pressure feels good to them. Always begin in this order, never directly where you left off on the face
- If airbrushing body parts, don't have them hold out their arms or legs while you work, hold it for them. They should always be relaxed.
- Don't airbrush in circles. This form of application is taught so dreadedly often, mostly for the means to sell product to consumers. Circles will only get you into horrible habits you cannot break.
- Practice beyond practice, troubleshoot your errors and find solutions to all your problems before accepting money for your service.
- Before ever airbrushing on your next client, practice on paper, facecharts and above all, master these worksheets: (Yes, these are for you, by me, for free. Your welcome.)
First things first: You should start practicing on paper. Tape it to a wall, get a large sketch pad and place on a easel, I don't care. Print my worksheets out too. Make copies because you will find that you definitely need more than one sheet to get a technique down.
Here are some ways I love to practice:
Print out some face charts, or better, print them on watercolor paper. The absorption quality is great for airbrushing. Practice airbrushing the face in strokes, not circles. Utilizing the dots and dagger techniques you learned from my worksheets.
Get out some large size poster paper or sketch pad, tape to a wall and try all sorts of techniques. This will help you gain control of the start and stop of air flow and paint flow.
SINGLE-ACTION GUN - Only allows you to control the start and stop of paint flow. Air will constantly blow through the gun
Common Single-Action airbrush guns.
DOUBLE-ACTION GUN - Allows you to control air AND paint flow. Air does not continuously flow. This is a more preferred gun and allows for better control of product.
Popular Double-Action guns.
I personally prefer a double-action gun like Iwata eclipse, but I also work to death the Temptu Air which is a single-action style machine. Because of my training with a double-action, I can utilize ANY airbrush gun. That is a bonus.
Temptu Air is a new revolutionary machine created by TEMPTU
It is a completely cordless, yes cordless machine which you hold in your hand like a juice box and use your index finger to control the paint flow exactly like we do with a traditional airbrush gun. It has three settings with a maximum air flow of about 15 PSI. Perfect for beauty makeup. It's my go-to for bridal airbrushing and on camera makeup. I am simply obsessed with the easy of color change, no cleaning, and versatility. Don't believe me? I wasn't a believer that this would live up to my vast use with my Iwata system, but check this out:
Wait, did I trip you up and say something you didn't quite understand? PSI...if you do know what this it, please skip over and continue reading. If not, damn Gina! You neeeeeeeeeeeeed to educate yourself on your airbrush. Okay here you go, PSI stands for Pounds per Square Inch. It is the measure of air pressure blowing out of your gun. Most airbrush compressors have a regulator that reads the pressure. Some don't and you have to know the feeling of air pressure. Here are some helpful pressure ranges to do makeup with:
- 10-12 PSI - Foundation
- 5-10 PSI - Blush, Contour, Highlight, Eyeshadow
- 15-20 PSI - Light body makeup
- 20-40 PSI - Body Painting
So I leave you with this, a breakdown of the good, the bad, and the complicated life of airbrushing. You now have my best laid tips, worksheets to get your hands flexible, and the confidence (hopefully) to move forward with booking all of the airbrush jobs. Just reading this will not do much good, you must stop, and go practice. Now! Now! NOW!!