This was my biggest takeaway when I first learned airbrush makeup 7 years ago this month.
After practicing makeup artistry for 25 years, and teaching others how to apply makeup, it was absolutely thrilling to learn a new form of makeup application.
I had seen airbrush being applied in Sephora and I thought how hard can that be?
I saw a people holding this metal device and drawing circles on people’s faces and I thought, well, that might be fun.
What I learned was nothing I had previously seen that day in Sephora.
There is familiarity with a tool and then there’s mastery of a tool.
The way someone holds their tool will tell you if it is just something in their hand or part of their hand.
Great carpenters have that relationship with their tools. Great hairstylists have that relationship with their scissors. Great musicians have that relationship with their instrument. And great makeup artists have that relationship with their brushes, especially the airbrush.
Some motor muscle habits are hard to break. That is why I was fortunate that the first time I used the airbrush I was trained in such a specific and highly effective manner.
The technique names don’t make much sense when you first hear them, but in practice make perfect sense.
The techniques are called dots & dashes. We worked on blank paper and perfected the result on paper.
With airbrush makeup that is all you are doing, either dots or dashes.
Not to undermine anyone who applies airbrush with a circular motion however I have found the dots & dashes technique superior.
When airbrush is applied in a circular motion the result is that your face is uniformly covered with makeup.
With dots & dashes, their is a purpose behind every dot and dash that selectively applies makeup specifically to the needs of the model.
The idea of airbrush makeup is that it is the most skin like application possible.
Airbrush makeup became a necessity when high definition (HD) became a household name. The reality behind high definition is that the eye sees four times more visual information than in day-to-day life. This means visual information is amplified in high definition, and if makeup is just a little too much in person, it is four times too much in high definition. Airbrush solves that dilemma.
Because the mist of airbrush is so fine, you are not able to see it go on the skin when applied. This is why you apply airbrush with your ears, not your eyes. You learn to hear how much product is being delivered from the airbrush so you know when enough is enough.
At my last airbrush makeup wedding party application I had a new assistant working with me to clean my airbrush in between clients. She remarked afterwards, I don’t know how you can see what you’re doing because from where I was sitting I couldn’t see anything happening when you were applying the airbrush. Her statement was validation completely of the mantra: apply with your ears and not your eyes. Something is definitely happening when you apply airbrush, but it is not until you step away from the model that you can see the results.
As a purist I always want to say no. As a realist I must say yes.
No makeup brush other than the airbrush can do what the airbrush can do.
This is why airbrush makeup is a big buzz word for wedding makeup.
The information out there is that you have to have airbrush if you want to look your best.
I don’t believe that is true. 95% of my bridal makeup has been done with traditional makeup and brides look and feel great and tell me so.
The difference is these days photographers and videographers are using high-definition lenses. What we see in person is not what we see in digital imagery. This is where airbrush makes a huge difference.
In person, an airbrush makeup still has an advantage over traditional makeup. Skin appears smoother, and if applied correctly, less ‘made-up’.
In high definition photos and videos there is no question that airbrush handles the HD visual information overload more gracefully than traditional makeup.
I don’t believe so. There is a constant stream of cool air when airbrush is being applied. Your face needs to be 100% calm without any tensing whatsoever. This is best achieved with eyes closed and calm thoughts.
I know there are people who apply airbrush to themselves everyday. And for a majority of the face their application may come out okay, but for those tight areas around the eyes and nose, it becomes impossible with the blowing of the air.
I am going to share the basics of using airbrush makeup on my Makeup Gourmet Live YouTube show Tuesday July 18th 2017. It will be recorded as well so you may watch it anytime. It will give you great insight into the subtlety and mystery of the airbrush.
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CHRIS SCOTT, M.A. is the creator of San Francisco-based Makeup Gourmet®. Over his nearly 30-year career, in addition to doing makeup for top models from every corner of the planet, he also had the honor of working for legends like Paul McCartney, US Vice President Al Gore, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Shirley Temple Black, Maya Angelou and Olympic Gold medalists Oksana Baiul and Kristi Yamaguchi. He was the creator and host of the TV show ‘Makeup Gourmet’ from 2008 – 2010. He was a leading Chanel Beauté national artist for over two decades, and is also the creator and guest teacher of Fashion Makeup at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He created his unique Makeup Gourmet line to ensure his clients and the public could have access to high-quality, ethically produced, ‘green’ makeup and skincare with a low-carbon footprint. Chris is also the author of Cosmetic Counter Survival Guide: How to Buy the Right Skin Care and Makeup and the international #1 bestseller Face with a Heart: Mastering Authentic Beauty Makeup.
‘The grass is always greener where you water it.’