Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tickled Pink Airbrush Makeup Kit Review and Video Tutorial

Tickled Pink Airbrush Cosmetics is a family owned and operated company based in Oregon with a very simple mission: to provide an affordable airbrush system that the average person can purchase and to keep the makeup prices reasonable without sacrificing quality, all the while treating customers the way we ourselves would like to be treated.
Having read this, I was expecting a nice experience with this company. What I wasn't expecting is that I would find one of the best water based formulas I ever had a chance to try, and as you know I have tried many, if not all of them. Let's get started...

100% Tickled Pink Airbrush Makeup
The Company
Ticked Pink was founded in 2008 by Kathy and Patrick Tope. The company has office in Salem and a lab in Portland, and employs pretty much the whole Tope family in various capacities. From their start as a local business, Tickled Pink built a growing online presence thanks to their website and Amazon store. The family business approach still pervades their policies, and hopefully always will, as it offers customers some unique advantages: this is the only brand I know of to offer a lifetime warranty on their airbrushes and a two year warranty on their compressor. A licensed esthetician is also on payroll to assist the customers indefinitely with any concern they may have about the product. In 2018 Tickled Pink started a general re-branding an an update of their website that is still ongoing at the time of writing, and that will doubtlessly allow them to reach an even broader audience.

The Makeup
100% Tickled Pink Airbrush Makeup
Tickled Pink started out by offering a water based line of airbrush foundation. As the company grew, more colors and products were added to the line, from concealers to blushers and eyeshadows. Today they offer a comprehensive catalogue of skincare, traditional makeup products and tools together with an airbrush tanning product, however my curiosity peaked when I heard of the addition of a whole line of Aloe Vera based airbrush cosmetics. This product is unique on the airbrush makeup market. While other brands offer natural based formulas, none of them as far as I know has Aloe Vera as their first ingredient. I received an extensive sampler of foundation shades to try, together with some blush, bronzer, highlighter and eyeshadow colors which are also all Aloe based, and you can see them all being used in the enclosed video tutorial. I have already given away my verdict at the beginning of this review, but it bears repeating: the foundation formula is extraordinary. Its finish is so soft that you can hardly see it being applied. It almost literally fuses with your skin with zero texture, not even in the finer lines around the eyes, yet it covers unevenness and blemishes very efficiently and once set it is as durable as the any of the best airbrush formulas. The Aloe base gives it a wonderful intrinsic glow that recreates the appearance of supple, healthy skin rather than makeup.  If you are a fan of matte formulas however, all you need to do is apply a thin veil of HD powder and you will inhibit any unwanted dewiness. The finish of the product is so natural that it looks perfectly undetectable even on a man, and its "softness" makes it particularly easy to use for beginners as it less prone to creating hot spots or visible accumulations on the face. Such a high presence of Aloe makes this foundation a hybrid between makeup and skin care, leaving your skin actually better than it found it when you take it off. As for other ingredients, the formula is 89% organic and totally animal free. It actually reminds me a lot of my favorite airbrush foundation of all time, the legendary OCC line which was discontinued several years ago to everyone's dismay. The names of the foundation colors are all inspired by different kinds of coffee, but the website doesn't yet offer a clear guideline for shade selection, something I am sure will be fixed as soon as the full site update rolls out. In the meantime you can use our swatch photo at the bottom to have an idea, and I would suggest getting sampler packs (available in Fair, Light/Medium, Medium or Dark) to have more mixing options.  Another amazing feature of this product is its price. At a very honest U$ 19.95 for one ounce, you simply must give this a try.
As far as the other products in the Aloe line, the bronzer, blush and highlighter colors are all very subtle and help creating a perfectly natural to undetectable makeup. When it comes to eyeshadows, the colors are again lightly pigmented and very easy to blend, but in this case the aloe element renders them a little unstable, with a glossy finish that has a very interesting editorial aspect but does not necessarily help stability. You can still have lots of fun with them by taking a little care: spray very lightly, dry with air after application, and apply a light veil of HD powder to set.

The Kit
Tickled Pink Airbrush Cosmetics Kit
Tickled Pink kits come in several reasonably priced kit combinations, all offering the same compressor and airbrush with a De Luxe option also offering a tanning airbrush. The compressor is very light and quiet, and features three pressure settings. Its maximum output is 18-20 PSI which is what is needed for the Tickled Pink formulas. It is very easy to use and very suitable for a beginner airbrusher, especially for personal use. The continuous flow Airbrush all stainless steel and once again works great with the Tickled Pink makeup. Buildups are very easy to clean with minimal maintenance, and as I mentioned earlier the airbrush benefits from an incredible lifetime warranty by the company. All the kits come with samples of Airbrush Cleaner, Water Proof Sealer and Airbrush Moisturizer. I would definitely advise you to buy a full size bottle of cleaner as an add on from the start. Another complement you may not want to miss is the Flawless Finish setting powder, a very fine HD powder made up of cosmetic silica only, unlike others which often feature needless ingredients.

I look forward to working some more with this line, and I look forward to the complete update of the website. In the meantime the Aloe Foundation will take a very prominent spot on my busy desk...

Tickled Pink Airbrush Foundations Swatches

Tickled Pink Airbrush Colors Swatches

Tickled Pink Aloa Infused Foundaion Ingredients
Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Simmondsia chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Iron Oxide, Mica, Emulsifying Wax, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), Stearic Acid, Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam) Oil, Daucus carota sativa (Carrot) Oil, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary Extract), Azadirachta indica (Neem), Tetrasodium Edta, Citric Acid. Setting Spray Ingredients: Aqua, Denatured Ethanol, Acrylic Polymers, Aspalathus lineans (Organic Rooibos Tea) Extract, Camellia sinensis (White Tea) Extract, Camellia sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Essential Oil, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Dimethlaminoethanol (DMAE Bitartrate), Sodium Hyaluronate Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Easy Witch Makeup Tutorial with Ben Nye Pro Color Airbrush and Camera Ready Cosmetics

Ben Nye Pro Color Airbrush Death and FX Series
Halloween is approaching fast and what better excuse than this to play around with our new range of airbrush colors from Ben Nye and with many amazing products purchased from Camera Ready Cosmetics, our favorite online store in the world with its ever increasing selection of pro brands at an amazing price, the best customer service you could wish for, and fairly priced world wide shipping out of their Texas, USA head quarters. Please notice that despite of what I just wrote, this post is not sponsored by either company. I just genuinely love these brands and I am happy to spread the word about them in any way I can. So now that we have established that, let's dive in with some more details on how to create the look you see in these photos and video...

Pre made foam latex prosthetics are a fast, easy and inexpensive way to create incredible looks with a super professional finish. You can apply them to great effect even without a lot (or hardly any) experience in SFX makeup. All you have to do is make sure you have the right products and tools, which will not cost that much considering the level of the results you will achieve. Of course I am using a kit with a compressor and several airbrushes here, but please know that you can perform any of these steps with regular brushes, it will just take a little longer. 
Safety disclaimer: please test all of the products you will be using to make sure you or your model are not allergic to the materials. Please be very careful when working with an airbrush without the needle cap. Also remember never to spray directly on open eyes, or on the ear and nose canals. Have the model hold their breath while you spray around the nose.

Prep the prosthetic by carefully cutting out extra latex pieces that are left in by the manufacturer (such as over the eye and mouth openings). Be mindful to leave as much as the thin edges as possible attached to the mask. Prep the skin with a skin protector such as Kryolan Pro Shield before attaching the prosthetic, and protect the eyebrows with Kryolan Eyebrow Stick smoothing the wax over the brows with a flat spatula.

Apply Pros-Aide glue to the nose area inside the prosthetic, then apply that to the face first and use as a reference to place the rest of the application. Brush a thin layer of Pros-Aide directly on the area of the face that will be covered by the foam latex, then blow dry it on low heat until the glue is clear. Now you can place the rest of the prosthetic. The Pros-Aide will remain tacky and allow you to move the latex around if need be. Just be careful to lay the thin edges without having them fold under themselves. Correct placement will take some time, so be prepared. Once the prosthetic is in place, use more Pros-Aide along the edges to make sure they are flush against the skin. Once this last layer is dry, fill in any gap or discrepancy with Pros-Aide cream, and smooth everything down using a spatula. When the Pros-Aide cream is dry, you can brush a layer of clear powder along the edges to get rid of any tackiness (Pros-Aide will stay tacky indefinitely unless powder). 

Once the prosthetic is on, you will need to seal it with a layer of straight Pros-Aide, or you can use Pax Paint, which is a Pros-Aide based paint, to also lay a base color. This will be necessary of the latex might start to break down from the colors you will apply on top. Either way, the whole prosthetic will need another dusting of clear setting powder to set, and then you will be able to paint. There are several ways to paint the prosthetic to stunning effect. I chose to use a flesh tone base coat of Pax, then several layers of spattering and then some mottling, lowlights, highlights, veining and yet more mottling to break up the final effect. Like I was saying, applying these layers with an airbrush is definitely faster and easier for me, especially with the special Spatter Cap by Harder and Steenbeck which makes spattering super fast, clean and easy, but you can also use traditional brushes to achieve the same results. As far as colors are concerned, I have often used PPI's alcohol based palettes for these kind of jobs before, but this time I decide to try out Ben Nye's new range of water / hybrid based colors created especially for airbrushing, called Pro Color. There is an especially large selection of colors for special effects. The lines are eloquently called "Death", "FX" and "Classic", and within them you can find pretty much any color you might need for a great SFX paint job. Because of the water based composition, these colors are also more pleasant for the model, and can be sprayed on the eye area without any fear of irritation. The color tonality and pigmentation is fantastic, as you can expect from a legendary brand such as Ben Nye. 

The order in which you lay the colors is pretty much up to you and to the final effect you wish to achieve. You will inevitably find yourself going back and forth and adding a further layer with a technique (such as spattering, for example), long after you thought you were finished. Every artist has its own technique, but the rules are far and few in between. At the end of the day, what really matters is what works. Once you are finished painting, you will need to seal your paint job. Ben Nye is also the maker of Final Seal, an industry staple and one of the best makeup sealers around. Of course this is also ready to be applied with an airbrush, so that is just what we did. If we had used alcohol based paints we would have probably chosen PPI Green Marble sealer, which can be used after each layer of alcohol paint in order to protect it from the subsequent layer, as it basically prevents the new alcohol being applied from breaking up the alcohol in the layer previously applied.

To remove the prosthetic, loosen a hidden edge with a bit of PPI's Telesis Super Solve, then gently pull the latex off the face dusting the skin underneath with clear powder with a fan brush as you pull away. Use Super Solve to remove the residue of glue, then a good makeup remover for the rest, and proceed to restorative skin care. 

I hope this video and text might be of use to some of you makeup artists who are taking your first steps in the amazing SFX world. Whichever style of project you will embark on this Halloween, I wish you a fun experience and a wonderfully creative time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Makeup For Ever Color Airbrush & Water Blend Review and Video Tutorial

MUFE Color Airbrush
100% Trucco Aerografo con Color Airbrush e Water Blend di Make Up For Ever

When I started my makeup journey over 20 years ago, the first super pigmented eyeshadows I bought were those by a relatively new brand called Make Up Forever. The colors were trendy, intense and durable, and the line, called "Star Powder" quickly became a staple of the pro makeup world. It was an amazing and much longed for surprise to find, all these year later, a line of airbrush colors by the same company that mirrors the very same qualities that had originally turned me in to a fan.

Make Up For Ever has featured several colors that could be airbrushed in its past catalogs, including -and most prominently- a popular mixing medium called Airbrush Thinner that artists could use to reduce (i.e. dilute, for the less technically versed) cream products and powder pigments and make them usable through an airbrush.
Last year however, MUFE launched its first line created specifically for air application, calling it simply Color Airbrush. The range includes twenty shades, from classic primary colors (black, white, blue, red, green and yellow) to vivid secondary and tertiary shades such as purple, fushia and Turquoise. This line joined another product in the catalog called Water Blend, a foundation line that while not specifically created for air application retains all the characteristics of an airbrush product and can be very easily atomised. I used both these products to create the look you see in the enclosed video tutorial. Have a look at it, and then keep reading more about these lines and my personal opinion on them.

Color Airbrush Product Facts
Color Airbrush is a hybrid water / silicone based product of medium/light viscosity, and can be applied with any airbrush with a nozzle of 0.35 and up, at a low pressure starting from just 3 or 5 PSI. The product is fragrance free and has virtually no smell. The colors come in very generous 2.2 /60 ml sizes with a twist cap similar to Kryolan's Nebula that needs to rest for a few seconds before it is twisted shut to avoid spills.

Color Airbrush: my experience and opinion
MUFE Color Airbrush Water BlendAs I was saying before, the colors are incredibly pigmented, yet among the easiest to blend that I ever tried. If you control the airbrush lever correctly, you will be able to create very subtle and sheer layers and to intensify them to maximum payoff very easily, just like I do in the video. The product feels very light on the skin, yet it is very resistant to sweat and rubbing, with hardly any transfer and no effect on the finish once it has set, even if rubbed intensely.  It is obvious from the size of the bottles and their marketing campaign that these products are intended for body art application before anything else. Yet their brilliance and durability makes them very viable for creating beautifully vibrant eyeshadow looks, and the formula is so efficient that I really wish the company would embrace airbrushing even more and expand this range to include more neutral shades as well.

Water Blend Product Facts
As the name suggests, Water Blend is a water based foundation line that does not contain any silicones. The range features 20 shades for every skin tone, and the product comes in 1.69 fl. oz /50 ml glass bottles with a very hygienic pump applicator.

Water Blend: my experience and opinion
Make Up For Ever Color AirbrushJust like the best made for airbrush products, this foundation feels incredibly light, looks absolutely natural and and it's very long lasting. While this product was not officially intended for airbrush application, like I said before, it surely lends itself to atomization and benefits greatly from the process. You can pump it directly into the airbrush reservoir, and with a normal .35 nozzle and a pressure of 10 to 15 PSI it will apply well, however because of its consistency the product will tend to rest on the sides of the airbrush cup, so it is much better to dilute it simply by adding a few drops of deionised or purified water. Once diluted the product will apply so lightly that it will be virtually impossible to create hot spots on the skin. It will take a while longer to reach full coverage than it would with made for airbrush products, but the wait will be worth it. To top it all, the foundation smells gorgeous, but those who aren't fond of fragrance should not worry, as the clean scent will dissipate completely in a short time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ben Nye ProColor Airbrush Makeup Review and Video Tutorial!

Founded by legendary makeup artist Ben Nye upon his retirement from the film industry, the Ben Nye Makeup Company is one of the most widely recognized brands of professional makeup in the United States and across the western hemisphere.
While several products from the extensive catalog of this brand were always usable in an airbrush, I was very happy to find out that about two years ago Ben Nye finally released a whole range of products that were designed specifically for this medium, called ProColor.

The line is divided in six main groups totaling almost a staggering 100 different colors, and making this range one of the most complete in the airbrush makeup sector.
-ProColor Beauty:16 foundation shades, 7 blush tones and 7 contour colors
-ProColor Shimmer: 6 shimmer colors
-ProColor Classic: 38 matte shades with vivid colors for all uses
-ProColor FX: 30 further specific shades for SFX makeup (Vein, Blood, Bruise...)
-ProColor Death: 16 specific shades for death and monster SFX makeup
-ProColor Tattoo Cover and Concealer: 6 specific concealers and neutralizers for tattoo cover
Completing the line are a Mixing liquid and the classic Final Seal finishing formula repackaged in an airbrush ready format. All the Pro color shades are available in 1 fl. oz (29ml) or 2 fl. oz. (58 ml) bottles. There are also some intro kits of smaller .33 fl. oz. (10 ml) bottles for some of the groups of colors such as foundations and shimmers, and bigger kits of six larger 1 fl oz (29ml) pre selected colors for practicality and convenience. As Ben Nye does not sell directly through its website, you can search online for a trusted authorized distributors that stocks these products.

I would describe the formula of the ProColor line as mainly water and polymer based, with the addition of only one type of silicone (Cyclomethicone) that serves as medium and evaporates quickly after application. The product has a low viscosity and a light texture, allowing for a very subtle application of buildable, sheer layers in the case of the foundation colors. Colors from the FX and Classic lines are of course much more pigmented, but still very easy to apply without looking heavy in the case of a beauty makeup. 
The ideal airbrush nozzle size for these colors is a medium .35 or .40 while the best pressure setting for beauty makeup with this product is of course very low, approximately between 3 and 10 psi depending on the area you are covering. 
The formula does not contain any fragrance, and right out of the bottle has a scent that I would compare to that of cookie dough. Some may love it, others may like it less, but it will dissipate within seconds from the application anyhow. The finish of the foundation is matte, and the texture overall is very light and natural, offering medium coverage that can be increased with more sheer passes. The foundation formula used by itself has an average resistance to water, rubbing and perspiration consistent with that of most water based airbrush products. 
All these aspects I just mentioned can be significantly improved with the addition of Final Seal. This product is one of many Ben Nye staples in the makeup industry, and it is basically an alcohol based sealer that smells gorgeous and works wonderfully. Added to the makeup directly in the airbrush cup with a 1 to 1 or 2 drop ratio it will significantly increase its durability, but also render the texture even smoother and add a beautiful intrinsic luminosity to the finish (that can easily be matted down again if so desired with a light pass of Ben Nye Neutral Set or your preferred HD powder). The Final Seal fragrance will also neutralize the formula's initial scent making it the application even more pleasant. I would definitely recommend adding Final Seal both for special occasions and for warmer climates, and I would most definitely advise it for eyeshadow or eye area application, where it will render the makeup crease free and more durable. This will be especially useful if you are going to use the beautiful shimmer colors on the eyes, as their formula tends to crack easily on the eyelids if applied on its own. You need not worry about the alcohol content around the eyes as Final Seal is very gentle and of course you would apply it while the client's eyes are closed.

You can see several colors from the Beauty and Shimmer groups in action in enclosed video tutorial. As always I wanted to show as much of the line as possible in one single tutorial, so I went for a full beauty look using just ProColor shades. It was great to see how well the colors worked on the darker skin of our beautiful model. I only applied a light layer of Banana contour (it was great to find out that the legendary Banana Powder now exists in liquid form!), and the colors I chose for the eyes looked amazing with just minimal layering, with no need for a thick concealer base underneath as you would probably have to apply if you were dealing with traditional makeup. The foundation looked beautiful and extremely natural, especially out of the studio in natural light. This allowed me to post these photos with no added filters whatsoever.

I will post another tutorial using the very extensive FX range closer to Halloween. In the mean time I would like to thank Mr. Dana Nye for the amazing opportunity of reviewing this product, and of course my dear friend and mentor Mary Erickson (of Camera Ready Cosmetics) for her indispensable help in facilitating this collaboration.

Ben Nye ProColor Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Acrylates Copolymer, Peg - 12, Talc, Propylene Glycol, Kaolin, Potassium Sorbate, Cyclomethicone, Trisodium Hedta, Phenoxyethanol. +/- (May Contain): CI No. 77891, 77491, 77492, 77499, 77007, 42090, 77289, 77288, 7742, 19140, 15850, 73360. (Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Ultramarines, Blue 1, Chromium Hydroxide, Green, Chromium Oxide Green, Manganese Violet, Yellow 5, Red 6, Red 7, Red 30)

Ben Nye ProColor Airbrush Foundations Fair/Medium Swatches
Ben Nye ProColor Airbrush Foundations Fair/Medium Swatches

Ben Nye ProColor Airbrush Foundations
Ben Nye ProColor Airbrush Blush & Contour Swatches

Ben Nye ProColor Airbrush Shimmer Swatches
Ben Nye ProColor Airbrush Shimmer Swatches

Friday, July 6, 2018

How to fix, unclog, and maintain Temptu Airpod and Airpod Pro: airbrush makeup troubleshooting

Airpod Trouble shooting

In 2015 Temptu changed the airbrushing game forever by introducing the portable, all in one Temptu Air system: an ultra quiet, compact, cable free and USB charged device that can be used anywhere with three selectable pressure settings. The system uses Temtpu's patented Airpods, pre filled color cartridges that dispense product through a self contained airbrush mechanism, with a needle being operated by a piston that clicks onto the main body of the device. Of course the use of the pre filled Airpods is limited to whatever color they contain, so in order to allow for more flexibility, shortly after the Air launch Temptu came up with the Airpod Pro, and open reservoir Airpod that can be filled with any other airbrush product, thus allowing shade mixing and creative freedom. 

The main advantage of the Airpod and Airpod Pro system is their practicality: while not exactly ecological, these devices can simply be popped in and out of the applicator and do not require any further maintaining or cleaning. Or do they?

The fact is, any kind of airbrush device, from the simplest and cheapest down to the most sophisticated and expensive, is going to run into some sort of maintenance issue eventually. So yes, the Airpods can get clogged, or rather more frequently have output issues that cause the makeup to come out in an irregular, spotty pattern, especially when you don't use them every day, and if you don't take proper care of them. The good news is, with a tiny bit of maintenance and care you can get them to work again beautifully, and performing this maintenance is easy and fast, definitely quicker than servicing a traditional airbrush. This video shows exactly the step by step process of using an Airpod and Airpod Pro for the first time, and of restoring them to full functionality. Have a look, then keep reading for a few extra pro tips.

Alcohol versus Temptu S/B Cleaner
I like to use alcohol for cleaning the Airpod tip because it's quicker to melt the hardened makeup. I don't mind a drop or two also working down the needle tip if I am about to discharge it right away, because it won't really reach the rest of the makeup inside the pod. Not much would happen if it did, but I would rather keep the formula as pristine as possible. When dealing with a hard clog, especially on highlighter pods which contain shimmer particles and tend to get blocked more easily, the easiest way to solve the problem is to pour some S/B cleaner on the needle tip and let it sink deep into the mechanism for a few minutes or even hours. This will loosen the hardened residue and it will restore the needle functionality for a perfect output. I prefer S/B cleaner in this case because it is nothing but pure silicone, so even if it seeps in the color reservoir it will not impact the silicone based formula.

An Airpod Pro for each type of makeup
While I prefer a traditional airbrush to apply water based formulas from other brands, there are occasions when for practicality I might still want to or have to rely on my Airpod Pro. In this case it's always better to have a specific Airpod dedicated solely to each type of makeup. Most of the cloggin issues in airbrushing, regardless of the type of airbrush, are due to the residue that forms when different formulas mix in the smallest recesses of the airbrush. By using only one type of base in each airpod this risk is avoided altogether and you can expect fewer issues with the flow.

Storing the Airpods
The Airpods' shape is sleek, futuristic and elegant, but it also makes them among the most confusing items to store.  I don't like to just squash them all together in a bag because while their plastic shells are very tough, cracks on the inside parts are still possible and lead to nasty leaks. In addition the needle tips are protected by the shell but still exposed, and I don't want to risk bending them. Finally, what would be the point of using such a good looking item if it came out of a messy old bag?
This is why I came up with the storage system shown on the video. I was inspired by an Instagram post from Temptu's own CEO, who took a photo of SymiCat's amazingly organized Beauty Box-type kit a fashion show. I topped her own OCD by adding some easy to make individual inserts that protect the Airpods from banging against each other. I also added labels on top of the chrome caps for two reasons: first, the caps often fit the pod they came with but slack on different pods; second, there is little that I loathe more than endlessly pulling off caps to see what color the pods are when I am working. It annoys me and bores the client. So I can only hope Temptu takes me up on the suggestion, and comes up with an official Temptu Airpod Kit Case. Do you think they would send me one after this?

Temptu Airpod Storage Suggestion

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What is the best Airbrush Makeup in 2018? -My favorite products

Google "What is the best airbrush makeup?" and you will get at least three pages of computer-generated blogs, all made up of cut-and-paste reviews with only one goal: to refer you to the relevant page and cash in on your final choice. There are even a few computer generated YouTube videos with those hideous electronic voices if you feel like a laugh. If I don't really blame these hackers for trying to make a buck while at least providing some information, I do prefer a more human approach -meaning an actual person giving you an actual opinion. The fact is, the question itself is a little silly, and it is indicative of a niche market mentality that sees airbrushing as a sort of single brand affiliation business. So, whether you'll ever see this article or not, I am going to tell you the only reasonable answer to that ever recurring question: the best airbrush makeup is the one that works best for you.
As I share the latest update of our non monetized LINKS directory, I think it's high time we established one cold hard fact: the best airbrush makeup products may not be all from one brand.  Hardly anyone uses one brand of traditional makeup exclusively and most of us definitely enjoy picking what we consider the best and mixing it up. It is time to start applying this same criteria to our airbrush makeup experience, and to open up to the possibility that while claiming to be "the best" might be a necessary marketing strategy for a brand, we are not joining a cult when we buy a kit or take a class with any of them. We are simply learning a whole new way of doing what we love: makeup.
The good news is that quality standards in the airbrush makeup world are significantly high, and that if we factor in the necessary learning curve that each different product might require, it's going to be hard to be truly disappointed by any of them.
For me personally, after seven year of being passionately and exclusively devoted to working with this medium in all its aspects, I can say that it's almost never a case of not liking something, but rather of liking something more than something else. So, while it would be foolish of me to tell you that there is a brand of makeup that is "the absolute best", I can definitely reveal some of the things that I prefer in a medium where excellence is more often than not the common denominator. Oh, and please feel free to click or not any of these links: they will take you straight to the official product pages. Like I said before, no monetizing whatsoever is happening on this website. 

For glamour makeup: Temptu SilkSphere Foundation
Ever since it was reformulated in 2015, this silicone based product has never ceased to amaze me. The finish it provides is simply incredible, so much that I like to call it "model skin". I have tried an indefinite number of products that promised to "reduce the appearance of fine lines". This is the only one in my experience that actually does. Its intrinsic glow is so powerful that it provides a smoothing, uplifting effect even on the most textured and uneven skin. While it is being overlooked in Temptu's marketing right now in favor of their newer Perfect Canvas formula, you really need to give this one a try.
Temptu SilkSphere

Most common objection: Too shiny, too tacky.
Pro reply to objection: The glow will naturally diminish as the formula dries, and settle on a level depending on the skin type. The formula can easily be matted down with HD powder or setting powder, which will also reduce the slight adhesiveness that some might feel, also depending on their skin type.

For invisible/natural makeup: Dinair Glamour Foundation
This is the very first line that Dinair made available when it started the airbrush makeup revolution over thirty years ago. The formula has since been updated and improved, retaining its main advantages: great coverage with no texture whatsoever. If applied correctly, this foundation immediately disappears in the skin covering the bad and letting all the good shine through, providing such an imperceptible finish that even men can wear it without fear of it being detected.

Most common objection: Too dry, too matte.
Pro reply to objection: Moisturize the skin well with a light, non oily cream. If the finish appears too matte and you have dry skin, airbrush two drops of jojoba oil or of Moist & Dewy (Dinair's own post application moisturizer). If you have oily skin, natural oils will even out the finish within a little while.

For Water Proof Foundation: Nebula by Kryolan
This recent addition to the Kryolan line is the most water resistant foundation I have ever tried. Nebula is silicone based, but has the thin consistency and fast drying time of a water based formula. Its finish reflects the classic style you have come to expect from Kryolan, which some will prefer and some won't. However it is bomb (or at least water-bomb) proof, with no budging or smudging even after great quantities of water.

Most common objection: Too thin, sprays too fast.
Pro reply to objection: apply only with a selectable pressure machine. Amazingly, Kryolan does not provide a pressure regulator with their kits, making its own product very hard to use, especially in smaller areas such as eyes and cheeks. A pressure regulator valve can be easily attached to its kit, as we show at the end of this video

For Correctors: Temptu Perfect Canvas Color Correctors [Game Changer]
Please forgive my enthusiasm but this product is just insane, with its stunning ability to instantly neutralize any imperfection without creating build up and without showing through the foundation, which you can layer seamlessly on top. There are eight classic color correcting shades in total, available in .25 fl.oz (7.5ml) or 1 fl oz. (29 ml) bottles, and in Airpod format. Like I was saying, and as I show in my video tutorial, you will not see the color you are applying, you will simply see the pigmentation disappear, and the light consistency of the fast drying formula will not create build up on fine lines, nor settle in them as time goes by.
Most common objection: You should not airbrush around the eyes.
Pro reply to objection: If you don't know how, you certainly shouldn't. If you educate yourself you will see how not only it is doable, but also preferable.

For Contour and Blush: Kett Hydro Contour and Blush Shades
With four options covering any skin shade, Kett's water based contour set is one of the most effective, natural looking shadowing product, with a buildable intensity that can go from barely perceptible to the most structured editorial designs. The blush pack in Kett's Hydro line is also a true classic, and the soft, skin like texture of the praised formula makes them particularly comfortable to wear and natural looking.

Most common objection: The Kett colors are not durable and transfer easily
Pro reply to objection: Keep your application light and if need be sett with HD powder, you will have no problem.

With their subtle, now you see it / now you don't, gorgeous glow, Temptu's highlighters are in my personal opinion simply the best available, and they beat any other product whether traditional or airbrushable. The hues are delicate and beautiful, and the effect on video and photography is stunning.

Most common objection: None. Everyone I showed them too or tried them on agrees with me.
Pro Solution: Buy them.

For Eye Shadows: Dinair Colair Matte and Opalescent Colors [Game Changer]
These incredible, water based colors are as durable and easy to apply as they are beautiful to look at. They work wonderfully even on the most textured eyelids, which will require little or no preparation. They are totally crease proof, rub proof and water proof despite being water based. The pigmentation is extraordinary, and they can be mixed to obtain new colors easily. This product is a vastly underrated game changer. Let's just say this: if popular influencers knew about this, and learned to apply them, eye makeup and palette peddling would never be the same.

Most common objection: Airbrushing eyeshadow is difficult/should not be done.
Pro reply to objection: Once you know how to blend, doing a multi toned, graphic eyeshadow will take one fifth of the time you would need with traditional, the effect will be more durable, and the product will not stain your eyelids.

For Illuminators: Airbase Illuminators
Airbase Illuminators
An illuminator is like a highlighter and can be used as such, bur it can be layered to have a little more presence and can be used as an eyeshadow as well. This year British brand Airbase launched a set of four beautiful new shades, and one in particular, Exotic Bronze, is among the most beautiful and versatile colors I have ever used.

For Tattoo Cover: Colair Tattoo Cover (Formerly Colair Extreme) [Game Changer]
This is another incredible product to come out of Dinair in the last few years, and one of the most underrated. It is a water based formula offering incredible coverage and total water and rub resistance. This product is so pigmented that you do not need to color correct underneath when covering a tattoo, thus saving an incredible amount of time. It is also healthy enough that it can be used to cover severe hyper-pigmentation anywhere on the body before applying your preferred foundation. It can also be mixed with any other Dinair foundation line to improve their coverage and resistance. In special effects it can be used on prosthetics for a super fast coverage that will not degrade foam latex. I call this product a more cosmetic, healthier version of PAX, and to this day I do not understand why such few YouTube videos exist about it, and why isn't everyone both in the beauty and SFX world screaming in joy about it. 

Most common objection: Finding the right shade is hard.
Pro reply to objection: I concur, but you will get better and better the more you use the range. If you are buying this for yourself be sure to get a lighter and darker shade as well as your own,  so that you can adjust if necessary.

European Body Art
For Body Painting: Vibe and Endura by European Body Art
Recently reformulated, Vibe is an ultra pigmented, water based product that is -don't ask me how- very water resistant. If you need something that is atomic bomb proof you can also try Endura, EBA's alcohol based line that has some stunning metallic colors. I would advise you not to use Endura colors on the face though unless absolutely necessary, as removal can be problematic and take a very long time.

For Body Art: Graftobian FX Aire, Neon Shades
These super vibrant colors by Graftobian are insanely pigmented and will glow under Black Light. The formula is alcohol based but can be used quite safely on the eye area as well (just make sure the eyes are closed when applying). It is very durable yet easy to remove, and the generous 2 fl. oz. size will last you a long time. The consistency of the product is very fine, so low air pressure should be used.

What are your own favorite airbrush products? Please let me know in the comments, and please share this post with whomever may enjoy it.

Keep spraying the world beautiful,

Daniel Pacini,


Monday, May 7, 2018

Elementwo Airbrush Makeup Kit Review and Video Tutorial

Elementwo is an international airbrush makeup brand that made its debut in 2012, and has kept a relatively low (but very stylish) profile catering mostly to professionals in the several countries where it is distributed. The brand was created in Taiwan and immediately distributed in the United States. Since then it gained a remarkable following in eastern countries such as Kuwait, Bahrain and even Japan. I had a first meeting with the brand at the Makeup Show in New York in 2014, and I am very happy to be able to review it in these pages now. 
Please know that a Pro Program offering 20% discount on all purchases is available from Elementwo Website. Elementwo ships to Europe at reasonable rates directly from its website (Custom fees and limitations apply).

High Quality Instruments

elementwo airbrush makeup review tutorial
                  Elementwo Airbrush Makeup PRO System          
The first thing that stands out about this brand is the high quality of the tools comprised in the kit.
Elementwo has a very close relationship with  manufacturer Sparmax (also from Taiwan), which is the company that provides tools for most of today's popular brands of airbrush makeup. The reason of Sparmax's ubiquitous presence in the beauty industry is simple: they provide the best value for money around when it comes to tools for airbrush application. Elementwo offers two versions of its kit. The Perfect Skin Airbrush System features a one-setting compressor and a continuous airflow ("single action") airbrush. The PRO System, which is the one I received and that is featured in these images, features the same powerful compressor (up to 35 PSI output) with the addition of a pressure valve regulator right on the chassis of the compressor itself. The regulator has the same sensitivity of the hand held pressure valve typically found on quick-connect adapters, and will require a minimal practice to get used to the range it offers.  
The airbrush is the very reliable and sleek workhorse SP35, and is provided with a double action valve that is easily modifiable into a continuous airflow mode if  so desired. Both compressor options have a pre-disposition for a battery unit, which can be purchased for Elementwo's website and which can be extremely useful for location or on set work. The kit comes in a very sleek, elegant packaging that includes a strong, long air hose, a power unit, an airbrush holder and a nozzle wrench, and a concise printed page with operating instructions. 

Elementwo Makeup Lines

elementwo airbrush makeup review tutorialThe idea at the core of Elementwo, (and the reason behind its name, I suspect), was to offer the same exact lines of makeup in a water base option (Skin Harmony) and a silicone based alternative (Canvas Blend), in order to cater to everyone's preferences and resolve once and for all the eternal struggle between silicone and water. Today the Skin Harmony line seems to have been put on hold in favor of the silicone based Canvas Blend option, which is the product we received and the one you can see being used in the enclosed video. 
elementwo airbrush makeup review tutorial
         100% Elementwo Airbrush Makeup     
The range of makeup by Elementwo features 16 foundation shades, 10 blush colors, 3 bronzers and two highlighters. To complement these, an impressive range of 11 shimmer and 18 matte pigments have been added to be used for any option imaginable, from eyeshadows to body art. 
The Canvas Blend makeup is very fluid and the application feels very light, with a consistency that is very similar to that of water based products. When applying foundation, this allows for a very fine, imperceptible finish and a very natural overall effect, with the ability to cover imperfections well without having to color-correct first and without the risk of creating unsightly accumulations. You can see how well the coverage works when I am addressing my model's acne breakout in the enclosed video. The foundation shades have a mostly neutral undertone which adapts beautifully to most skin colors, with more pink or yellow options available as well. The blush and highlighter colors are very subtle and delicate, and again they create a very natural effect that allows them to be applied without fear on top of the foundation (as opposed to underneath, which I usually prefer). The bronzer  options are more pigmented, but still very natural looking when applied carefully.
                      100% Elementwo Airbrush Makeup                        
Finally the pigments offer endless creative possibilities, with an easy to blend,  sheer finish that can be built up to full intensity and brightness simply by layering light passes, as I am doing for the eyeshadow in the video. As with any silicone product, it is a good idea to prep the lid with a mattifying lotion, dry each pass thoroughly and set at the end with a fixing spray or with a light dusting of HD powder. Once set, the eyeshadow will be water proof and stay perfect until removed. 
Like most silicone based products, the Canvas Blend colors are long lasting and once fully dry they become virtually water proof. Because of their light texture they are able to set in place quickly and the tendency to gather in fine lines is very reduced, requiring very minimal or no setting at all even in delicate areas such as under the eyes. This allows for a very natural finish while retaining high coverage. All the product lines are also completely fragrance free. The colors from each group are available individually in 1.15 fl.oz. (30 ml.) bottles, but they can also be purchased in pre selected, generous Starter Kits of .34 fl. oz. (10 ml) which are very convenient and which will allow you to try most shades with a smaller investment. You can select several of these Starter Kits for an even more convenient price when you purchase your kit from the Elementwo website.

Elementwo Kit Complements

There are a couple more products that you can purchase directly from the website individually or as part of your kit. 
The H2O Infusion Moisturizer is a very light, clear liquid enriched with Hyaluronate Sodium and Aloe Extract that can be airbrushed before or (preferably) after your makeup application to add extra hydration and a very natural sheen to your foundation. The Flawless Finish HD Translucent Powder is a very fine fixing product that will set your makeup without altering its texture in any way. It is not absolutely necessary for foundation, as the makeup is pretty stable by itself, but it can provide you with added security and it will help a lot to maintain a matte finish on oily skin types trhoughout the day. Finally the Elementwo Airbrush Cleanser is the ideal solution to keep your airbrush in top shape. You will not need it at every color change, but it will be useful when switching from a dark to a light color, and of course at the end of each session.

Elementwo Ingrendients:

Purified water, cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, methicone, isoparaffinic hydrocarbon, glycerin, polyisobutene, cetyl dimethicone copolyol, acrylates copolymer, isoparaffinic hydrocarbon, talc, VP/VA copolymer, methylparaben, disodium EDTA, propylparaben.
May Contain (+/-): Red 40 lake CI 16035, yellow 5 lake CI 19140, yellow iron oxide, CI 77492, mica CI 77019, black iron oxide CI 77499, red iron oxide CI 77491 titanium dioxide CI 77891

100% Elementwo Airbrush Makeup