Airbrush Makeup Vs. Regular Makeup

The most asked beauty question I get is “What is the difference between regular makeup and Airbrush makeup?”

I am going to share with you my honest opinion on the two different makeup styles. Let’s start with Airbrush Makeup. I can best describe the formula of Airbrush Makeup as a very thin liquid, almost water like material. Airbrush formulas need to be thin if they are going to spray properly out of the Airbrush Gun. Airbrush formulas come in various finishes from ultra matte to radiant glowing. Airbrush is applied by dropping in 3-4 drops of the formula into a gun, air pressure pushes the formula through the gun into an invisible stream on your face. Tiny microscopic circles of color are fanned onto the skin. The result is a very natural, weightless look on the skin. The skin still looks like skin but more perfected in skintone. I usually describe it as a liquid veil that’s been placed on the skin. Any skin types will benefit from airbrush, mostly combination to oilier skin will see the best results. Here are some points on the formula:

  • The formula is best for those seeking a natural look on the skin. Color correcting and perfecting skin tone with light coverage is the main purpose of Airbrush makeup.

  • Most formulas are long wearing- you can expect Airbrush to last for hours.

  • Airbrush photographs well, most formulas do not contain sunscreen which is perfect for avoiding flash back in photographs.

  • Airbrush for the most part in non-transferable. However, if there is colored setting powder on top, that can possibly transfer.

  • Airbrush makeup can look drying on mature skin or very textured skin. I don’t recommend it for these skin types.

  • if you sweat easily on your face or live in a humid client, Airbrush will do well for you.

  • If you want a natural makeup style or are not use to wearing a lot of makeup, this is a good choice.

Traditional liquid and creme formulas have come a long ways since the days of “pancake makeup”. The technology that we see today in formulas is impressive. Traditional makeup comes in all types of formulas from very sheer to maximum coverage. Formulas today have added benefits of built in primers, different finishes, extra hydration, mattifying properties, and even peptides that give the skin a more plump and youthful look. Makeup Artists love using traditional makeup because their formulas can be manipulated. What this means is that a Makeup Artist can customize a formula for you. For example, let’s say I have a client that has very dry and dull skin and for the most part her skin is clear except for a few troubled areas on her chin. I can take a foundation that I know will give her a nice medium finish and adjust it to create more coverage if necessary. I can also add a few drops of oil if needed for hydration and to create a glowing skin I can add in a few drops of highlighter. Once the foundation is applied i can go in and makeup adjustments as needed right on the skin. This is not as easily done with Airbrush. Once you disturb the Airbrush finish, you can end up with blotches. Here are some points on the formula:

  • Traditional makeup is great for those looking for a medium to fuller coverage foundation. If you need coverage, this is the way to go. For example, with Airbrush makeup your freckles will shine through the skin easily. Traditional makeup will cover them. Traditional makeup can also be sheered down to a light coverage, so again these formulas are moldable.

  • Mature skin is better off with traditional makeup. Airbrush makeup can fall into fine lines and wrinkles easily. Traditional makeup offers more emollient formulas to give a more youthful look for this type of skin.

  • Traditional makeup also photographs very well, it’s favored in photography shoots.

  • Any skin types can wear traditional makeup, there is a formula for everyone.

I would never say that one type of formula is better than the other, they are totally different. It really depends on your skin type, the desired coverage, and the overall look that you are trying to achieve. If you approach your Makeup Artist with a picture that resembles a Kardashian, then you won’t be happy with the outcome of Airbrush. That type of overall style is achieved with traditional makeup. An Airbrush makeup Style would be more of a Kate Bosworth or Jessica Biel type of look.

I have posted two clients that had the different formulas. You can see that they both photographed well and it’s really hard to tell the difference in formula. They are both good options. Once you have a conversation with your Makeup Artist, they can help guide you in the right direction.

Hope this helps to clarify some differences for you! xoxo- Ana Bazan

Traditional makeup Style- Misty McLendon Photography

Traditional makeup Style- Misty McLendon Photography

Airbrush makeup- Christina Carrol Photography

Airbrush makeup- Christina Carrol Photography

Should I let my friend do my wedding day hair and makeup?


Having a friend that can style your hair and makeup is truly an awesome perk! There are
a few things that you should definitely consider before taking the plunge and saying
"I do" to the offer.
My recommendations are based off of personal experience and working in the wedding industry for 10 years. I have seen almost everything imaginable! I was that friend that could always do makeup and hair, I think every group of friends has that one friend. In High school,
I was already getting requests for homecoming and prom makeup. It was truly my first experience in doing makeup on other people. I had no idea what I was doing as far as sanitation, but I certainly could put together that highly sought after smoky eye. In college,
I was the go to gal for my friends to get that fierce cat eye for the evening or for that date they had been looking forward to all week. I never minded doing the makeup and genuinely wanted to help out my friends.
I started working in weddings 10 years ago, it was until this point that I started to realize all the planning that goes into weddings. I’ve seen a lot and learned so much about the importance of what each wedding vendor contributes to the wedding process.
There are a few things to consider if using a friend as your hair and makeup artist for your wedding day.

1     Is your friend punctual? If your friend is the type that’s always running a good 45minutes late to everything, as she is walking in with her Starbucks drink; then you need to really think hard if this is a good idea. I have worked weddings where the bride decided to have a friend do all the hair at the same time as hiring a professional for makeup. The difference between the two was night and day. The friend arrived late, forgot her curling iron and caused major delay in the timeline. Not only did she cause the bridesmaids to run late, but she delayed the professional Makeup Artist in the hair and makeup rotation. Ultimately, the bride was late for her own wedding. Bottom line: If your friend is not punctual.... then stop here in your decision making. Think about all the efforts that have been put into creating a schedule from the getting ready time, to the first look and the start of pictures. I’ve seen brides forfeit their pre-ceremony pictures because of delays in the getting ready process. Your friend needs to know how to plan out how much time he/she will need for each person and start on time.

2     Does your friend do well in a high stress situation? Weddings are a joyous occasion, but occasionally they can become potential ticking time bombs. Weddings carry a huge emotional element, and this can change the vibe of the room throughout the day. Typically, the day starts out fun and relaxing...but as time gets closer and closer to the ceremony the atmosphere changes. I know that by the time the bride gets into my chair, the butterflies have started and the realization that she is about to walk down the aisle has kicked in for her. Professionals can tune out the emotional aspect and focus on getting the job done. I’ve had crying moms and brides in my chair many times, and not because they didn’t like what they saw aesthetically. They were stressed over a planning situation or an unforeseeable issue that arose. We as professionals keep the show going and know exactly what to say to help them to remain calm. We take on a therapy role all the time.

3     Can you be honest with your friend? Really honest? We always recommend getting a trial run done. Trials are the best way to visualize your ideas and see if they are truly going to work for you. Trials typically take longer than the wedding day application. There is a lot of discussion involved in developing your wedding day look and what you think you originally wanted you may end not wanting at all.

Professionals only want the best for the client. They want the client to feel good and love their look, this is how we rate our overall satisfaction with the job. Of course, we love the creative aspect and seeing what we can do with our hands. Ultimately though, we want YOU to love it. Most professional that are really good at their job will welcome any and all feedback. We are all ears. Sometimes it’s a little tweak here or a small change there. Sometimes, the bride completely changes her ideas and realizes she really didn’t want that smoky eye after all. Regardless, we don’t take it personal. It’s part of the job. We want to make it right. Sometimes, I can tell when a bride is holding back because she is such a nice person.
I will eventually pull it out of her and we both feel better about it. This comes with experience and confidence in your artistic ability. If your friend is not the type to take constructive criticism well, this will be challenging for her. As the bride, you shouldn’t have to settle for something that doesn’t excite you just because you want to spare someone’s feelings. If he or she is your best friend, and you can be completely honest in your feedback with that person then go for it. Otherwise, you may not end up with what you want. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a bride ask for my advice on how to get out of getting her friend to do her hair and makeup, because the trial did not go well.

4     Does your friend have a workable hair or makeup kit? An organized and properly filled kit is imperative to getting the job done correctly and efficiently. If your friend isn’t use to packing a kit, she may not have all the items that are necessary for completing the job. Artists don’t just pack the basics; they pack anything they will need to get them out of a sticky situation. The other issue to consider is sanitation. Brushes should be kept clean in between clients to stop the spreading of possible infections. Brush cleaner, alcohol, and disposable are completely necessary to apply makeup to multiple people in a sanitary way.

5     Will your friend care if she doesn’t look very good on your wedding day? Every wedding that I have worked and attended I was either late to or I had to get ready in 10 minutes, and didn’t feel like I looked my best. It’s just the truth- if you are getting everyone ready, you won’t have very much time for yourself. I’m the kind of person that was OK with not getting to spend an hour on myself, but for others they want to look amazing at your wedding too! The other truth.... weddings are tiring. Really tiring. Standing on your feet for hours, not eating, and cranking out person after person will leave you famished and exhausted. Don’t be surprised if your friend can barely make it to 9pm at the wedding.

6     Is your friend knowledgeable in bridal beauty? Bridal beauty is different than regular everyday makeup. It’s different than fashion or editorial beauty. I describe bridal beauty as the art of making someone look their absolute best while still maintaining their authenticity. Bridal beauty entails making sure that the hair and makeup can withstand for hours, waterproofing everything. Hair and makeup has to be able to stand up to heat, wind, rain, and dancing.
How do we do this? Well, we all have our beauty secrets on this. It’s not something you read out of a book or watch on YouTube. It comes with years and years of completing weddings in every kind of season imaginable. The other part of bridal beauty is how the hair and makeup will transfer to Photography and video. Will your friend know how to style you to look proper in both types of media? There are Do’s and Don'ts for both of these types of media.

These are my basic recommendations when considering to use a friend for your wedding day. There are of course exceptions. If your friend is a working hair or makeup professional, then by all means go for it! If your friend is just concentrating on you the bride and not 5 other people then you will probably be fine. I understand that everyone has a budget, and sometimes hair and makeup will get cut from the budget. You gotta do what you need to do, hopefully this will help you and your friend to plan accordingly.

Good luck and Happy Planning!