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When it comes to choosing foundation for your client you have to be knowledgeable enough to offer the best option possible, especially when there is such a large variety available on the market! When selecting the best type of foundation you have to take into account many things:

·         Skin type of your client

·         Skin condition

·         Event (the lighting there, weather conditions, etc.)

Depending on these factors will help you to choose between traditional and airbrush makeup for your client.

Traditional makeup is a liquid, cream or powder type of foundation that you apply with fingers, brushes or sponge, while airbrush foundation is the one that is dispersed from a stylus pen connected to a compressor with a hose.

           · The first difference you can see is that an airbrush system is a touch free foundation application method which for some clients may play a beneficial role as they may prefer their faces to be touched with the least amount of brushes as possible.

            · A traditional liquid foundation is usually thicker in consistency (cream or liquid) while airbrush foundation is more lightweight (being silicone based or water based) and sits on your face like tiny pixels making your skin appear smoother! On the market right now there are still many more options for traditional foundations while for airbrush there is only a few. That is why sometimes women as well as makeup artists prefer traditional makeup over airbrush. It is more convenient for them to get the right shade and formulation as the variety and selection is much larger. As for airbrush you have to mix 2-3 colors together in 98% of the time to get that perfect match (which we do discuss throughout our Essential course at the Online Makeup Academy in the Bridal makeup module!). 

Some makeup artists may feel more comfortable with applying only traditional foundations, even though sometimes it requires much more time for application and blending of liquid than airbrush, the application is traditionally more familiar in technique.

           · Skin concerns: airbrush makeup usually requires an almost perfect complexion as it is really lightweight and will primarily cover to only even out your skin tone (if you, let’s say, have discoloration of any kind) just a little bit without dramatic changes. As a result this may not suit a client who has problematic skin, dark spots, acne, scarring or rosacea. Here you will have to cover them first using correctors or even a very thin layer of traditional foundation and then apply airbrush after to “seal it”, creating a perfect surface if your client prefers that airbrush application. If your client has texture on their skin, then more than likely you will also have to use primer under the foundation. Depending on the intensity of texture you will have to decide between traditional or airbrush foundation after the primer (or both)!

           · Staying power: it is believed that airbrush foundation will stay longer, especially if it is silicone based (a silicone base is meant to be smudge and waterproof), but with the experience of a professional makeup artist traditional makeup will stay put without budging within the same amount of time. Also to help both foundation types stay longer we have such helpers as primers, setting powders and setting sprays.

Among one of the main reasons why clients tend to choose traditional makeup application above airbrush is that airbrush is also much more expensive! The system itself, and the materials are not inexpensive, so a makeup artist who provides airbrush services usually charges more. Of course some clients will not be stopped by this with the knowledge that airbrush makeup application may photograph better, and if it is a bride having her once in a lifetime moment, or a model that needs makeup for a very important photoshoot, they will likely go with airbrush. Keep in mind that we also now have HD foundations and powders which also photograph very similar or even the same to airbrush. Of course, there is a chance for your client to have pictures with “flashback” as HD makeup contains silica which in flash photography may cause these white spots. HD makeup will photograph perfectly in the studio with soft boxes but not on the event where only flash photography is used. So again makeup artist’s experience and event lighting play a very important role in choosing the right foundation.

If your client is a model looking for a “bare face” makeup look, airbrush foundation will be a great choice. It is hard to blend traditional foundation to the level when it looks as natural as airbrush. If you are experienced with applying airbrush foundation, your client will leave with the most natural looking skin!

           · If we talk about skin types then airbrush will definitely not be a good option for dry skin! As it tends to pick up on any texture, and would make the dry skin look flaky. Traditional foundations can be found for all skintypes, so this may be the best selection for a drier skin.

         · Application: to apply airbrush foundation perfectly you need to practice a lot, as if you lack experience you may end up with not blended spots and it will be very hard or even impossible to fix it, in addition, if you didn’t let enough time for the airbrush to dry and will touch your client’s face you will ruin the foundation and to fix it you will have to wash it off and start all over again.

As traditional foundation is buildable, it is also easier to apply (we are also more familiar with using our brushes or fingers as the tools!): you apply it and blend with a brush or beauty sponge to the level you are satisfied with blending. You can go over it as many times as you want to make it look perfect!

Contouring as well as under eye concealer application with an airbrush system is also much harder than the same type of application with traditional foundation. However, as with anything, with necessary practice you will get there and can become an expert in airbrush as well! 

       · Cleaning: an airbrush system requires cleaning after each use! Otherwise the product in the gun (stylus pen) will get dry and you will never be able to use it again! As for traditional foundation you may clean your metal plate and brushes/sponges whenever you have time (between each client, of course, always sanitize in between appointments!), the product can be dissolved with makeup cleaning solutions even if it is dry.

         · Coverage: airbrush foundation can be buildable but not to the full coverage point that some traditional liquid foundations can. So if your client doesn’t wear makeup at all on a daily basis or has mature skin it is better to choose airbrush so that they do not feel as much makeup on their faces, and especially on mature skin, airbrush application will not accentuate fine lines and wrinkles as much as traditional foundations may. If a client asks for a full glam with heavy contouring? Then traditional foundation will be the best choice!

As a bottom line there are pros and cons of any type of foundation, and the final result depends on the makeup artist and his/her experience. So it is very important that if you offer certain services you are experienced enough in the actual application and can recommend your client the best option, always taking into account their needs, skin type, occasion, etc.