Cincinnati Wedding Makeup artist

Airbrush Makeup- Is It REALLY All That?

For years now, bridal magazines, photographers, YouTube 'gurus' and blogs have been touting airbrush makeup as a 'must have' for brides on their wedding days. Claims that it is a long-lasting, natural-looking foundation that makes your skin look like perfection have all brides clamoring for it, even to the extent where they will only hire a makeup artist that offer this technique. But as a professional makeup artist with almost 20 years of experience under my belt, I have seen the pros and cons of airbrush makeup. Here are my thoughts on the whole debate...

Airbrush makeup, while easy for a trained professional to apply, is not formula-specific for more than one skin type. So if my client has very oily or dry skin, it's not nearly as effective as a foundation that is made for those specific skin types. It won't control oil, and it won't hydrate dry skin. Also, if you have very textured or more mature skin, I find it has a tendency to settle into fine lines and wrinkles, effectively aging the client. Since it's only sprayed and not actually worked into the skin like a traditional foundation, it can initially look great, but then gravity takes it's toll, and, BAM, all of those textural tiny flaws in your skin really stand out. Anyone over 35, take note, and don't be offended if I try to steer you away from airbrush. I don't even use it on myself. 

Your skin itself, and this is a big factor...Makeup can cover color, but not texture. What does that mean? It means that if you suddenly get a zit the day before your wedding, we can cover the redness but the bump will still be there. If you have the slightest bit of facial hair, even baby fine, airbrush makeup can make it look more prominent than it is. So please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, take great care of your skin leading up to your big day. If you have acne, see a dermatologist. Flaky skin? Exfoliate and moisturize daily, even if you have oily skin. Peach fuzz? Own up to it and try dermaplaning to get rid of it. While we might seem like magical fairy godmothers with glitter, makeup artists are not a walking version of Photoshop. Give us a great canvas and we'll give you a great makeup. 

Maybe it's because I am old-school, but I often prefer to 'hand paint' my clients, even though it takes me longer than simply blasting a client's face with my Iwata compressor and gun. I carry an arsenal of different foundations in my kit, including Armani, Face Atelier, MAC, Urban Decay and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics which allows me to custom blend a foundation specifically for their skin type, coloring, and the effect they want, such as matte, natural or radiant finish. It also allows me to use the least amount of product necessary to get the coverage they want.  With the correct application technique, priming and finishing products, any foundation will give an 'airbrushed' or flawless appearance and should feel light on your skin. And as for the claim that airbrush makeup lasts all day?  Any experienced artist will have a treasure trove of primers and setting sprays that will make all of your makeup last for at least 12 hours! 

 Don't get me wrong- airbrush makeup, when properly applied, is great on certain clients! But when consulting with your makeup artist (Notice I said your makeup artist, not your wedding planner or BFF or Pinterest) about your wedding day makeup, ask them what your options are, and which one would suit your skin the best. Like your wedding itself, it's not a 'one size fits all' technique.

Complexion- RCMA Foundation applied in a stippling motion using a damp Beauty Blender

Complexion- RCMA Foundation applied in a stippling motion using a damp Beauty Blender


Neutral Vs. Natural

 It happens almost weekly- an awesome client comes in for a makeup consultation. We always begin with a Q&A session where I inquire about their skin, their typical makeup routine, and what they are wanting from me as far as their makeup application that day. So often I hear things like "I want it really natural, but I want my eyes to pop!". And then they show me inspiration pictures of looks that they like that most often resemble something like this: 

She doesn't exactly roll out of bed looking like that... 

 Now, while I think Kim K is a totally gorgeous woman, there is nothing natural about her makeup. She tends to like a very dramatic smoky crease, as well as that smoky liner underneath her lower lash line, as well as a dark liner in her waterline, which are two of the key elements of a dramatic look. In fact, it's a pretty well-known fact in the dark and secret underground of professional makeup artists that Kim's makeup generally takes 2-3 hours to apply, during which she typically dozes off or gets married. 

 So upon chatting further with my clients who do indeed like this look, (And I agree that it's gorgeous), what they are really meaning to say is "neutral makeup". A range of creams, golds, bronzes and browns....aka, earth tones. 

A more natural looking makeup application would look more like this: 

A standard natural, clean beauty look. Makeup by Rachel Lisa, photo by Kenneth Sweeney

  Also keep in mind that any makeup you are wearing that will be professionally photographed is going to lose at least 35% of it's 'oomph' depending on lighting. 

So what lesson have we learned today? Mainly that communication is key with your makeup artist. What I think is dramatic might be completely different than what you have in mind, so reference pictures are invaluable to us to get you the exact level of fabulousity you want.