One of the most common questions I get asked as a makeup artist who specializes in airbrush application is.. What is airbrushing? What is the difference between airbrush makeup application and traditional makeup application?

In this blog post we will explain the differences between airbrush makeup and traditional makeup. As well, as benefits and disadvantages of using either method enabling you to make an informed decision of what method you choose for your makeup application.

Each individual makeup artist will have differing opinions and methods on makeup application as a whole, airbrushing is the same. This blog post contains my opinions and favourite methods of using each application. Ultimately, the choice between airbrush makeup and traditional makeup comes down to personal needs and preferences of both the client and the artist.



Traditional makeup is application of liquid, cream, gel or powdered products that are applied to the skin with a variety of makeup tools including sponges, synthetic and natural hair brushes and even fingers and hands.Traditional makeup comes in the widest variety of any other makeup, with every shade available. It’s also the most versatile of all the makeup; it can be as basic as a sheer tint of coverage, or combined with other ingredients to create a makeup that targets specific problems. Most traditional makeup is sweat, tear and transfer resistant. Traditional makeup can be more beneficial for those have facial hair or very deep lines/wrinkles as the product can be pressed into the skin.

With all of the amazing technology and advances in traditional makeup it is unlike the older formulas that were not friendly to High Definition cameras. We are very lucky to have such wonderful formulas to work with that will work in any condition and still be appropriate for the HD needs of today’s world.


Airbrush makeup refers to the use of specifically formulated airbrush makeup that are applied with an airbrush gun and air compressor.

Airbrush is a light-weight liquid makeup applied through an air gun and compressor that produces a thin, even layer of makeup in a spraying motion. It is the most high definition foundation created. The fine mist of color covers the skin and gives the appearance of a flawless complexion.

Your artist will mix foundation colors for a perfect blend to match your skin tone. Airbrush is ideal for clients who are not used to wearing makeup or prefer a more natural finish and feel. Airbrush makeup is sweat, tear and transfer resistant and photographs beautifully.

Airbrush makeup is not to be confused with the ever so popular "airbrush" tool used on the program "photoshop" to smooth texture of the skin. Airbrush makeup will even out skin tone, but does not correct texture problems with the skin such as pores, acne, moles, scars etc. Other products will be applied to smooth out the skin’s texture as much as possible if texture is an issue.


My perspective of both application methods is simply this.. it’s up to you. I absolutely adore both methods, and in certain cases I will make advise a client of the recommended application method in certain circumstances, but 9 times out of 10 it really is personal preference.


Airbrushing is more expensive…Why? The products are more expensive, maintenance of airbrush machines are expensive and cleaning the machine is time consuming. Airbrushing is a luxury service and is priced as such because it is more work and requires a very high level of skill to operate.

If I don’t choose airbrushing, will my makeup still last as long? Yes. Airbrushing is a method, not the promise of longwearing makeup. The makeup is not the reason for a long lasting makeup application. Your artist holds the knowledge, tools and products to make this happen.

Will airbrushing make me look airbrushed? No. If your artist is skilled with both application methods (traditional and airbrush) they should look the same. Looking “airbrushed” is a common misconception that airbrush makeup blurs the appearance of imperfections. Neither airbrush or traditional makeup will get rid of texture to the skin. Makeup in general can help with discolouration but it cannot airbrush away a pimple, scar or blemish in the same way as facetune or photoshop can.

Is there an option to do both? Yes! Typically I use BOTH. I usually use traditional primers, concealers and powders on each client. I use airbrushing as foundation to seamlessly blend skin tones into the skin for the most natural appearance. Some artists may argue that this is not considered 100% airbrush technique but I have found it to be the most comfortable and beautiful method to airbrush makeup application. Airbrushing near the eyes can be very uncomfortable to the client so I always opt for traditional methods insead.

Bri Stein