Why this application method works so well for so many
Before filming even started, makeup artists on the set of the 1959 blockbuster “Ben-Hur” faced a conundrum. They needed to tan the bodies of a cast large enough to fill a Roman Colosseum and the application had to be fast, even and durable enough to stay camera-ready all day. Their solution was to use an airbrush gun to apply the makeup.
It was the first time the technique was used for a cosmetic purpose of this scale, and the idea quickly took off. Today, airbrush makeup has become a beauty staple of a bride's wedding day, which, let's be honest, can feel as epic as a four-horse chariot race that your whole world's watching.
“Airbrush makeup is popular because it powers through sweat, tears and kisses, much to the relief of already-stressed brides and their squads,” says Leigh Ann Ehmann, owner and lead makeup artist of Make You, LLC.
Airbrushed foundation offers brides a flawless, natural look because of how it's applied to the skin. The air pressure from the compressor releases the makeup in a super-fine mist that spreads thousands of tiny dots of pigment over the skin. This leaves a thin but powerful layer of foundation that will stay put for hours.
Digital cameras, which capture images through millions of other tiny dots called pixels, photographs airbrush makeup really well—whatever the bride's individual style.
“My brides typically expect a combination of end results, which makes the dynamic abilities of airbrush so marketable,” says Ehmann, who can use the airbrush to dial the drama up or down. “They can expect to be matte in certain places while being dewy in others, light and bright while being contoured.”
Makeup stores sell airbrush kits and foundations, but a bride who is a novice to the application technique or would only use the equipment on the big day might find a professional to be a more practical investment. Makeup artists can use their arsenals of foundation colors to find the perfect foundation blend, define your preferred palette and determine if airbrush is even the best makeup type for your skin.
Airbrush is excellent for covering blemishes and uneven skin tones, for example, but those with dry skin might find a foundation with moisturizer to be a better option. A primer, which typically isn't needed for airbrush foundation, might benefit brides with oily skin that quickly oxidizes traditional foundation. A trial run with your makeup artist will help determine what works for you.
Most airbrush makeup is waterproof and typically doesn't require a touch-up, though Ehmann says that can depend on the wearer. She recommends packing a pressed powder that matches your airbrush foundation color, just in case.
And, of course, you'll want a stash of tissues for any surprise waterworks. Just remember: You never need to swipe right or left again, and that includes wet makeup. Blot instead!