Airbrush Vs. Traditional Makeup

As millennials living in a selfie-obsessed, narcissistic world, we can’t help but wonder how those Instagram models achieve their flawless look. Or how celebrities always manage to have perfect, glowing skin. Is it airbrush makeup? Is it traditional makeup? Both methods are commonly used but what makes them different?

Airbrush Makeup:


Airbrush makeup is a light-weight makeup that is applied through an air gun. It is designed to deliver a thin layer of makeup through a consistent, fine mist. How is this done? A thin, airbrush-intended foundation is put into the airbrush gun chamber. This foundation solution can consist of one or many colors. Pulling the trigger will release a light mist of makeup from the gun. The gun is moved in circular or sweeping motions along the face to slowly build a perfect complexion.

Traditional Makeup:


Traditional makeup comes in a cream, liquid, or powder form that is applied by fingers, sponges or brushes. This form of makeup is the most accessible and comes in the widest variety of pigments and brands. It is extremely versatile and can range from very sheer to very intense coverage. How is this used? This form of makeup can be used in any situation at any given time without restrictions.

Pros of Airbrush Makeup:

Airbrush makeup is amazing because you can custom blend your foundations to create a person’s exact skin tone. The drops of foundation that are placed in the chamber can be completely customized to each individual. For example, you may choose four drops of “sand” and two drops of “beige” to achieve the exact tone you desire. Another benefit of airbrush makeup is that it is a much finer product than traditional foundation. The pixilated spray from the airbrush gun actually mimics the way a camera would capture your face. Airbrush is also, in many cases, waterproof. This is especially advantageous if you sweat heavily or know you will be emotional. This also prevents transfer of makeup onto your clothing, which is always a plus.

Pros of Traditional Makeup:

Traditional foundation is great because it has very rich coverage. You are able to better blend the product into your skin, which is great for skin types with texture issues. This is quite difficult to achieve with a machine. Using traditional methods also allows you to be more detailed, relying on the skill of the artist instead of a machine. Coverage is also more flexible. This is important because you can actually manipulate the viscosity of the makeup through a hands-on technique. Another plus is many brands are now offering formulas that are silicone based. This allows the makeup to be water resistant while giving you more resilience against wear.

Cons of Airbrush Makeup:

Airbrush makeup is known for its clean, skin perfecting finish. However, like most things, it has its cons as well. For those with vellus hair, airbrush can leave an unwanted finish. Traditional makeup adheres to pores whereas airbrush adheres to smooth, moisturized skin. Skin with hair can leave someone looking like a fuzzy peach. Airbrush is also not ideal for those with acne, scarring, wrinkles, dry skin or fine lines. Airbrush delivers an even flow of product and, in these cases, traditional foundation would be more suitable. The downfall is that it really only works on skin that is in pretty good shape, and it should never be applied heavily.

Cons of Traditional Makeup:

Traditional makeup requires a good makeup artist to achieve satisfactory results. The consistency of foundation is usually much thicker and this can lead to a cakey look. Also, traditional makeup is not always waterproof, which can lead to a lack of durability or transference to clothing. Often, SPF is an ingredient in this type of makeup and can cause your face to look white or ghostly in pictures.

Each type of makeup has its pros and cons. The key is to make your decision based upon which makeup is best for YOUR skin type. Consulting a professional is your best option. Every person will have their own preferences, but this knowledge should aid you in making the best decision for your makeup needs!

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