Makeup Applications: Traditional versus Airbrush versus Mineral Products
Please Note: While the following is an excellent synopsis of each system of makeup and its results, bear in
mind that all makeup is only as good or bad as the artist applying it. Application and skill will always be
the more significant factor regarding any makeup service. As neutral as this article attempts to be, other
makeup artists may agree or disagree with it depending upon their own personal experiences. The actual
makeup product does not make or break the look, regardless of what makeup medium is used; it is the
artist and their method alone that truly creates that long-lasting, flawless finish and natural beauty.
Therefore, more important than method of application, I believe that the Artist themselves should be
considered and evaluated with more care than the product or method of application used.
Today, there is a wide range of products at our disposal, from oil-free, non-transferable, medicated, and
even makeup that touts claims to be beneficial to the skin and make the skin look younger. Makeup today
has evolved so far from the 1970’s and years past, where a slick and oily foundation dominated the market
and therefore, by lack of option, determined what women wore.
When it comes to a big event, be it a photo shoot, wedding, or just plain fun, the claims of the makeup lines
today are confusing and can make it difficult to decide what product is worthy of your hard earned dollar.
Here’s the real scoop on the three mainstream forms and most requested types of makeup – Airbrush,
Mineral and Traditional.
Airbrush makeup became popular in the 1930s when MGM used it for painting hundreds of "Ben Hur"
extras. Since then, it has become the most efficient way of quickly painting larger numbers of people.
Airbrush makeup has hit a new wave of popularity recently in the entertainment world, as it is the only
makeup that looks the most natural on the ever-revealing and detailed High Definition televisions. As
pictures on the screens have gotten more detailed, the makeup and flawless look of the actors needed to
Airbrush makeup is a light-weight makeup that is applied through the use of compressed air using an
airbrush applicator to produce a very thin, even layer of makeup that creates a very matte finish.
A small amount of a very thin makeup designed for airbrush use is put into a chamber of an airbrush
applicator. When the machine is turned on and the applicator trigger pulled, a light spray of makeup comes
out of the applicator nozzle in a fine mist.
Airbrush makeup has become extremely popular in the past few years. This is largely due to the perfect
complexion of models and celebrities that are “airbrushed” to give every part of their body that flawless
finish, and of course, media marketing. Silicone or alcohol based airbrush makeup is, for the most part,
non-transferable, meaning that slight rubbing or brushing against something or someone will not cause the
makeup to come off of the face. Airbrush makeup, like any other makeup, has its ups and downs. On the
upside, once it’s on, dry rubbing usually won’t cause it to transfer, and unless it gets wet, it won’t go
anywhere until you wash it off. On the other hand, if it does become wet thru crying or sweating, you can
run the risk of it streaking. Since most of the face or body paints used for airbrush makeup are water based,
these paints can be washed off or sometimes wear off with perspiration. Hence, they are temporary colors.
In order to make them perspiration resistant, polymer additives or alcohol-based additives have to be used
and are somewhat drying to a person’s skin. There are certain paints that are oil based instead of being
water based. Water based paints do not need to be set. However, oil based paints have to be given a final
touch by using powder to set the makeup. Airbrush makeup is not for everyone; though I recommend it for
a bride with oily or combination skin because the makeup stays matte and looks fresher, longer, it can be
too matte for a client with dry skin or wrinkles and those clients who prefer a more dewy look. Airbrush
makeup can also be quite expensive.
Several minerals are treated through various oxidizing processes to create different shades, and then
crushed together to form fine powders that can be applied to the face and used as makeup. Mineral
makeup is usually applied with a brush, although it can be used with a sponge for fuller coverage and more
precise applications. Some lines offer different steps to wearing their mineral makeup, including primers
that are applied to the face before the foundation to provide holding power, create even porosity on the
skins surface, and a smoother, more matte finish all around.
Mineral makeup is another makeup that has taken the nation by storm over the past few years. With
science and research looking into the effect we have had on our planet over the past hundreds of years, we
are starting to become more aware of our environment, and therefore, more aware of our health and well-
being. The organic industry has soared to new heights as we search to become a healthier nation filled with
natural living options as opposed to chemically driven lifestyles. Makeup is no exception. When the
chemicals that were used to manufacture makeup were exploited in a whirlwind of propaganda, mineral
makeup became popular and the chemicals in our every day makeup caught some flack for why our skin is
too dry, too oily, too acnegenic, too wrinkled, and so on and so forth. Using mineral makeup creates a
feeling of good health, both on the inside and out.
As wonderful as mineral makeup is, it’s not suitable for everyone in every situation. Women suffering from
acne, or getting at any time facial treatments that compromise the integrity of their skin will greatly benefit
from the use of mineral makeup as their daily main stay. Its minimal ingredients assure that no
unnecessary chemicals are being added to their already sensitive skin. This also causes minimal reaction to
any treatments they may be under going. It is not appropriate though, to use mineral makeup in any
situation where photographs are an important part of the event. Its natural composition includes minerals
with reflective properties, creating an almost pearly, light-reflective finish. When worn while taking a
picture, the light from the camera and any surrounding light will reflect off those minerals, creating a bright
and distinctly lighter face than any other body part. This makeup, while a great choice for daily wear, is
simply not camera friendly.
Traditional makeup is composed of a variety of formulas and includes pancake, liquid, cream, or pressed
powder that is usually applied with a sponge, brush or fingers. Traditional makeup comes in the widest
variety of any other makeup, with every shade and formula 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 properties to create a makeup
that targets specific problems.
Traditional makeup is the only makeup that when the appropriate formula is chosen, can be used in any
situation at any given time. It can be applied many different ways, from sponge methods used with thicker
foundations, to fingertips or brushes used for light and well blended applications.
Ah, I remember the days as kids when we would sneak into our mother’s vanity to smear that liquid
substance across our faces and prance around as if we were going to a party. This is probably the makeup
that is sitting in your case right now. It can be liquid, it can be pressed, and it may even come in a stick or
compac form. Whatever form it takes, the right formula can do wonders for your look. Women with dry or
mature skin benefit most from the more traditional foundation selections. Dry skin types typically need
large amounts of hydration and the oils that compose a cream based foundation formula lend kindly to
their skin to create a smoother looking finish. Young adult women tend to prefer a more liquid, oil free
foundation formula or a pressed powder with good coverage. Nothing but good research and trial error
can lead you to the formula that’s right for you. There are too many formulas to list so just suffice it to say
that the formula that suits you best would be based on your skin type, needs and style.
Traditional makeup can be amazing or disastrous depending on what formula is used and how it’s applied.
This is the one makeup that is totally dependent on the person applying it- even a good, high quality
product can look awful if it’s not applied properly. And a low quality, inappropriate formula can some
times be adjusted with an experienced hand to create just the right look. And although traditional makeup,
unlike its main competitor airbrush makeup, may rub off slightly or fade a little over the course of the day,
it is highly blendable and therefore can be fixed and touched up within seconds. There are also ways to
make traditional makeup last and look fresher, longer. It’s my personal belief, that Traditional Makeup is
the most versatile and therefore the best option for wedding makeup.
Every makeup has its own virtues, and its own vice. Ultimately, your personal preference will be the
biggest factor in choosing what you wear on what occasions. Don’t buy into the propaganda about how
this versus that is so much better. In reality, that foundation may be great for their skin, but your skin
has different properties, different assets, and different challenges of its own. A great makeup artist won’t
have a set way of doing makeup; she’ll have a variety of styles to choose from so she can create the best
look for you and your event. It doesn’t matter if your sister-in-law had her makeup done with the fancy
airbrush machine, or if your chic co-worker swears by organic mineral makeup, or if your rich Aunt
swears by that expensive bottle of department store liquid foundation. What matters is what is right for
you. No one is going to look at your makeup and know if it was applied by airbrush or traditional means,
and no one is going to know if the product is mineral, airbrush or traditional makeup. All they should
know and see is how beautiful you Look. So, if you take nothing else from this article, understand that the
best kind of application you can have and the product you wear is the makeup that had been customized
for YOU to fit your skin needs and style so that you can look your very best.