Monday, December 22, 2014

Ultra glam airbrush makeup look with Liquid Metals by Kett: video tutorial

Made with Kett Liquid Metals
The Holidays are upon us and metallic shimmers are back in the spotlight, so it is only natural that we would focus on the fantastic Liquid Metals series by leading airbrush makeup brand Kett.
We had been eyeing these gorgeous colors for a long time, and we were finally super excited to get them from the always fantastic Camera Ready Cosmetics, with the added bonus of free and super fast shipping. The Liquid Metals line was launched by Kett a couple of years ago and we feel that in spite of the wild acclaim  received from every blogger that tried these colours, there is still a little room for yet some more celebration. There are six gorgeous shades in the line (Iron Maiden, Mercury, Stardust, Rush, TNT and Purlple Haze) , each color coming in a generous half ounce (15 ml) bottle priced st jus 16 dollars each. The colour payoff is simply amazing. For once you get a product that looks even bolder and more vibrant out of the bottle. 
The staying power of these pigments is definitely above average. The colors don't budge or crease, and you can touch them once applied with no fear whatsoever of them transferring. 

Airbrush Eye Makeup with Kett Liquid Metals
What's even more impressive is their versatility: you can apply them in sheer layers with your airbrush, or create stunning "liquid metal" effects by using your traditional brushes. In the video demo posted below we did just that. The look is inevitably bold and trendy, but of course these colours can be used as subtly as any airbrush eyeshadow... except that being subtle in a demo with such powerful pigments is like going half the speed limit on a Ferrari, so we decided to go for a bold eyeshadow look and a more layered approach to blush and highlighting, also achieved using liquid metals. The makeup was completed using other classic Kett products from the contouring and foundation lines. The shade "Shape" is a wonderful colour to contour Caucasian complexion, creating very natural lowlights. Finally we blended everything with the foundation 03 from the Kett Hydro line. This product, available in five olive based shades and five ruby based tones is one of the most highly praised water based foundations ever, with its soft, natural texture and perfectly balanced hue. Of course everything was applied with Kett's Transformer Airbrush, an excellent and versatile tool that we reviewed in the last few months. The Kett products are compatible with any professional system featuring a compressor with a minimum output of 10 PSI and an airbrush nozzle of .25 and up.

This video tutorial was co-designed and assisted by our collaborator Angela Rosa, and our wonderful model Silvia. From all of us at Airbrush Makeup Guru, all the very best for the forthcoming Holidays!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Airbrush maekup kit review and video tutorial: Belloccio airbrush kit

The Belloccio Airbrush Kit
Tri City Paints is a company established in 1976 and distributing paints and airbrushing tools for the most diverse uses, from architectural and automotive to fine arts. With the growing success of airbrushing in the field of cosmetics, it was only natural that this company should develop its own brand of airbrush makeup, and so Belloccio was born. The Belloccio brand is proudly marketed for the general consumer, and this is great as more competition in the market can only mean constant improvement and a better quality-price ratio. As a professional I am happy to report that this product exceeded my expectation as far as the makeup is concerned, and that many a MUA would appreciate and find good use for this line. Let's take a closer look at the Kit.

Unretouched before and after with Belloccio Aribrush Makeup
The first thing that has to be said about the Belloccio kit is that the price is really very honest. Their most basic option, now called Beauty System, is only U$D119,  and the other kits go up from there varying in price according to the size of the makeup bottles and the number of shades included. The mini compressor and airbrush will be exactly the the same for every Kit option, but a professional and much more powerful alternative (Model TC-32 Air Compressor) is offered in the equipment page of the the website for a reasonable price. The kit that I found at the New York Makeup Show and that I am reviewing here is called Standard Kit, and has the same exact contents as the Beauty System, but with the foundations in 1/2 oz size instead of 1/4 oz. To give you an idea of what you can get right out of the box we created the look demonstrated in our video tutorial using only the contents of this kit.

Natural look with Belloccio Airbrush Makeup Kit
The Makeup was the best discovery for me. It is practically fool proof, allowing for multiple layers with no danger whatsoever of a caked result. The water based formula is sheerer and thinner than a lot of comparable products, but offers very good coverage and stability, and results in a totally undetectable application. To give you an idea it is thinner than Dinair and thicker than Luminess, and the shades have an excellent tonal balance. If you are a home consumer daunted by the idea of airbrushing yuor makeup you can rest easy: it is almost impossible to look overdone using this product, and the application will feel as easy as the ads promise. If you are a makeup artist, you will find this line to be a very strong contender when tasked with a corrective job for HD that needs to be undetectable, such as for a "no makeup" period piece or for men's grooming in general.  The finish of the foundation is matte, but not overly dry. As for the formula composition, we definitely love and appreciate the addition of Aloe and Hyaluronic Acid in a list of ingredients that does not include fragrances, oils or parabens. The formula, while water based, is not entirely silicone free as it contains Dimethicone, something you should be aware if you have an intolerance to silicone. As with any water based formula you will benefit from priming and moisturizing before application. An airbrushable primer is included in the package, and it works reasonably well for everyday use on normal to oily skin. Its formula contains anti aging ingredients as well as Hyaluronic acid, Aloe and also Dimethicone. The same characteristics are also true of the other makeup products that you will find in the kit. The blush, bronzer and shimmer all apply in very sheer and buildable layers, as you can see in our video demo.

Made with Belloccio
The application tools provided are of course intended for home use and for this brand specifically. The very slick looking mini compressor has three different pressure settings: medium for foundation, low for eyes and details and high for tanning or cleaning. It has a maximum output of 15 PSI, the same as the Dinair and slightly less than Luminess, but it is significantly louder than both the other brands. The low-noise claim in regard to this machine is the only statement I have to disagree with in the Belloccio marketing. While not offensively so, this little devil is definitely on the loud side.

Made with Belloccio
As far as the airbrush goes, the .4 mm nozzle airbrush provided is once again adequate for the makeup, and its maintenance very easy if used with Belloccio products only. If you are wondering about compatibility with other brands of makeup, this kit will be fine with any water based makeup of similar viscosity to Belloccio's, but I would not recommend using thicker or silicone based formulas as the compressor may not be strong enough to guarantee a smooth application. As always, also be aware that using other brands of makeup may void the Belloccio warranty on the equipment. 

The kit also features a 4 oz bottle of airbrush cleaner, a sample of Belloccio highly praised self tanning formula and a makeup bag where you can store everything comfortably. It does not feature an instructional DVD, but you can find a good selection of tutorials both on YouTube and directly on the Belloccio Website. Of course you can also watch our own, we hope it will inspire you to try this brand for yourself. Belloccio ships in all the approved FedEx countries, including the UK, Spain, Mainland France and most of Europe. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Airbrush Makeup Kit In-Depth Review: Temtpu 2.0 Starter Kit

We have written extensively about Temptu in the last few months, which should not be any wonder given their status as world leading brand in silicone based makeup, among many other things. Today we are going to review Temptu's latest kit offering, called 2.0 Starter Kit, which is currently being offered on their website for 250 U$D. 

Temptu 2.0 Starter Kit
Let us get this out of the way right at the beginning: in our humble (but quite informed) opinion, this is simply the BEST kit combination being offered right now on the market and featuring a mains reliant compressor. The quality and quantity of the components and their value make this the best choice for a starting professional contemplating airbrush makeup. In a rather comical twist of fate, we had assembled this very same combination (with a compatible airbrush) for the students of our classes a almost a year before Temptu came up with this package, so we can't help but feel a little proud and a lot validated, even though of course we never told them about it. Let's look at this beautiful bundle up close. 

The compressor is Temtpu's standard 2.0 model. It is in short a slightly improved version of their very first mini compressor, gutsier and quieter than its predecessor but with the same maximum power of 30 PSI, a very remarkable strength for such a small and light unit. The 2.0 compressor will allow you to use any kind of airbrush makeup (water based, silicone based and alcohol based), and it will allow you to execute a full body painting with no major problems. It has a security shut off system that will turn off the machine after 15 minutes of continued use, but I can assure you that in years of extensive usage It never shut off on me once. The reason?  It is almost statistically impossible that you will keep it running for that long without switching off if only to recharge your airbrush. So unless you have to body paint twenty people in a single session, or to do extensive FX using paints rather than makeup, this compressor will be more than adequate. Another plus of this latest edition is the colour choice, which is not restricted to black anymore, but also offers White, Hot Pink, Poppy Red (more orange than red) , Lime Green, and Light Blue. 

Temptu SP-40 Airbrush
The airbrush included in this kit is a brand new model made for Temptu for this specific release, the SP-40. It looks exactly as the SP-35, the brand's trusted workhorse, but as the name suggests it has a slightly wider nozzle. You will still be able to do detail with this size, please keep in mind that we are talking a difference of points of a decimal, but the slight difference allows for a better flow, which is great especially with thicker silicone based products. A peculiarity of this airbrush is its "hybrid" mechanism, which means it is a continuous airflow airbrush, but you can also push down the trigger to make it work, as you would in a standard dual action airgun. I am saying that you can push down, not that you have to, as the act of pushing down does not have any effect whatsoever. I suspect this mode was chosen to create a transitional tool for people who are used to dual action airbrushes. If it bothers you in any way, all you have to do is unscrew the valve (easy to find in specialist shops)  and replace to turn the gun in a standard dual action or a simpler "continuous airflow" tool. [For further clarification on these terms, please read this article on the subject].  The airbrush comes with a custom hose connector that will allow you to plug it in the standard hose provided with the 2.0 compressor. What is great is that you can use this very same connector to attach any other airbrush with a standard 1/8 fitting (that means most models and brands around). 

Also included in the kit is an AIRpod airbrush tool, that will allow you to use Temptu's proprietary AIRpod capsules. While the AIRpod line is still the one originally conceived for consumers and has a different formula and colour system than the pro S/B line, it is absolutely great to be able to experiment with it, as it can be a real time saver and a great commodity in many a situation. 

As for Makeup, this package includes the S/B Foundation Starter Set which means all the 12 colors in the S/B Foundation range in 1/4 oz. bottles, and a bottle of airbrush cleaner which is indispensable for silicone based makeup. We love the S/B line and have written extensively about it here. The Kit also includes an AIRPod highlighter in Gold, an excellent choice to familiarize yourself with this proprietary technology, as highlighters are really quite wonderful in this line. The presence of both the SP-40 airbrush and the AIRpod make this kit much preferable to another bundle being offered, the "Starter System " with the SE-50 Airbrush that we have also tried to less than exciting results (this model seems to be from another manufacturer and is not up to par with the SP airbrushes).  

We have used the 2.0 Starter Kit and many more Temptu products in our latest video tutorial, the very first fully airbrushed drag makeup video every made. We hope it will give you an idea of how fantastic this brand really is. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Drag Airbrush Makeup video tutorial with Temptu Pro Multicolors!

100% airbrushed eyes with Temptu
Is silicone based airbrush makeup really viable for eyes? A lot of makeup artists love airbrushing foundation, but quite a few still have doubts when it comes to eyeshadows, especially with silicone based makeup. Maybe they are just too fond of their brushes, or maybe they haven't experimented at length with the possibilities that silicone colours can mean to eye makeup. More realistically, they may be wary of the challenges that the very mobile and often uneven skin on eye area poses, especially when using a medium that requires a relatively long drying time. 

Airbrushed with Temptu
When Temptu Pro came out with a collection of new S/B shades called Multicolors I couldn't wait to try them and confront those very doubts for myself. As always I purchased my set from wonderful CRC Makeup, who ship worldwide. Drag makeup has always been the perfect context in which to test the possibilities offered by any makeup line, stretching them both creatively and technically. I was inspired by the makeup of LaLa McCallan, which is always airbrushed in its entirety (with water based colours) safe for an undercoat of creme products used to create an even canvas for airbrushing on top. I decided to pursue a very classic (and hopefully classy!) at this stage, leaving more experimental looks for the next round.
Airbrushed with Temptu
The results of the experiment are in this video, of which I am also proud as it is, as far as I know, the first entirely airbrushed drag makeup tutorial ever. The colours used for the eyes are all from the Multi Colors set. The set consists of 12 wonderful shades, which you can see in the airbrushed swatches posted below. The colours are of course extremely pigmented and vibrant, and like the rest of Temptu's S/B line the coverage is fantastic. There are ten matte shades and two shimmers, Pearl and Platinum, created especially for this set and not included in the standard Shimmers Set they offer. Application, as you can see in the video, is extremely smooth. 

Drag Airbrush Makeup
Drying the colours with air only after application is essential, as is a light dusting of clear setting powder. An extra step that I took off camera and totally on a whim was a couple of spritzes of Makeup Forever's Mist & Fix setting spray. After taking these precautions, the makeup did not move, crease, or smudge for the entire time of filming and the extensive photo session that followed. It was still perfect when our model went to take the makeup off. For giggles, I told him to soak his face with water and dry it to see what would happen. Nothing moved in the least. Silicone eye makeup offers perfect and super fast blending possibilities, and when properly set is indestructible. I hope this video will inspire more makeup artists to experiment with it, as it is definitely worth it. 

The whole tutorial was shot using Temptu's starter kit with the 2.0 compressor and the brand new SP 40 airbrush. We also used AirPod for blush and final highlights. We will post an in depth review of the system very soon. You can also find a review of the whole S/B line here and here

Swatches of Temptu Pro Multicolors, Part 1

Swatches of Temptu Pro Multicolors, Part 2

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Airbrush Makeup Guru Profiles: an interview with RJ Haddy from Face Off

Long before it became popular in beauty makeup, airbrushing has been a staple in the special effects industry, as the amazing show Face Off demonstrates in every episode. We will be talking more and more about FX on these pages, and what better way to start on the subject than an interview with one of our favorite Face Off alumni of all times: "RJ" Haddy!
Please click on each image to see every amazing makeup in full size.


Robert "RJ" Haddy
Robert"RJ" Haddy is a terrific special effect artist with extensive movie credits and impressive teaching experience. A native of Charleston, West Virginia, He has become a household name to FX fans world wide thanks to his double stint in Face Off, the SYFY hit reality competition show that has played such a major role in bringing the world of special effects makeup to the mainstream public. RJ was one of the three finalists of season two, and returned for a further five episodes for the show's fifth season, an atypical "veterans vs newcomers" edition. His Bell Hop makeup, inspired by the imagery of Tim Burton, was one of the most memorable looks ever featured on the show, and in my opinion it sums up RJ's most prominent trade mark, with its mixture of perfectly executed makeup, inspired fabrication and superb attention to details, all accompanied by an irresistible underlying sense of humour. Since the show RJ has kept an incredibly busy schedule, teaching highly praised courses and seminars and being featured prominently in the most important makeup related events around the US. RJ has his own product distribution website,, and has also achieved what to us airbrush makeup fans is the ultimate accomplishment: he has designed a signature airbrush called "The Shadow" with Leading American airbrush brand Paasche. We are very excited to be able to ask RJ a few questions on his life and his art.

-What made you decide to become a makeup artist?
 Well I started out as a puppeteer when I was very young building and creating puppets, and it sorta transformed (or transgressed if you will LOL) to FX make up because the techniques and materials for more advanced puppetry are almost identical. In fact it's FX artists that create all the animatronic monsters you see in films.

RJ's unforgettable Bell Hop Face Off Makeup
-During the course of FaceOff you often described the beautiful relationship you had with your parents. Were they immediately supportive of your passion for FX?
Not from the get go. I think my mother still wants me to become a dentist or a doctor at some point, lol but once they saw what I could do that I was pretty decent at it and could make things with my hands they became very supportive.

-You are a graduate of the celebrated Joe Blasco Make up Artist Training Center in Hollywood. How difficult was the transition into the professional working world after leaving school?
Actually, if there was one thing that was the best help of attending Joe Blasco it was the preparatory for how to find and procure jobs: that was the most valuable information parlayed to me through the courses ... I was already a pretty decent make up artist by the time I got there but had NO clue about how the business of films worked or how we as make up people were to find jobs and work in the industry. So for that reason above all others it was beneficial and worth being in school. This is business stuff that you can either learn by getting thrown to the wolves and making lots of mistakes, or from someone a little older and wiser, and that was a HUGE help!

-Your original creations seem to be conceived with performance in mind, as opposed to static beauty, and I know you have some acting experience already. Do you imagine yourself pursuing acting more in the future?
RJ in his super popular Penguin cosplay
 Actually yes, I just finished filming a cameo role in a very neat thriller by Fist In Post productions called “Old Baby” and I am currently working on producing my own film “The Family Business: Blood is Thicker” for my own production company Rad F/X Pictures. I will star in the film in a way reminiscent of an Eddie Murphy or Mike Meyers vehicle where I wear several character makeups and play 3-4 different characters throughout the film. The difference between those guys and me is that I can design and apply the make up AND act in it ;) It's going to be a wild ride of a film Id love it if you could check it out a little more by visiting our facebook fan page for the film and there you will find lots of behind the scenes photos and exclusive stuff that I won't be posting anywhere else. What we do is only 50% completed when we pass it off to the actor. The actor has to create that character based on the script and what you have physically transformed them into. Many times they do not have the complete puzzle until the first time they see themselves in make up: Now think of a make up artist, who is also an actor, creating the make up for the many weeks prior to the first application. That person will SOAR in the role because of all the prep time they have had to think about the physical direction the make up is going into and I think its honestly the purest form of BOTH arts. I love acting make up artists like Lon Chaney, for example... and even Tom Savini... Actors who intrinsically KNOW how the make up is created and how far they can push the boundaries are usually very seasoned in wearing FX make up and have been doing it for many years. Stuff like that usually only comes in time... but an acting make up artist knows both sides of that coin and can hone in on a character BEFORE ever seeing himself in make up and once he is ... stand back and watch the show ;)

-I would like to move on to our favourite subject now, which is of course airbrushing. Face Off did an incredible service to this technique simply by showing how much it is actually used in the FX world. A lot of our readers, especially here in Europe, had no idea of the extent of its use until they saw the show. When did you first learn how to airbrush?
 I picked up my first airbrush, a Paasche VL, when I was 13 years old. I was instantly hooked, but I was also a stupid kid, lol ... I didn’t understand the importance of or how to clean one properly until after I went to Joe Blasco. Cleaning is VITAL to keeping your brush in proper working order! Not tomorrow, the next day, or next time you use it but IMMEDIATELY after usage and before you store it. TRUST ME! It really is a key component in speeding up the entire process.

-What aspects of airbrushing that you like most, and what in your opinion is the greatest misconception in regards to this technique among young makeup artists today?
18 to 88 Aging on actor Jordan Nickles 
 Well That's a tough question.... but I guess I can summarise it in this way: an airbrush could make a MONKEY look like they know how to paint. I recently did a make up that was a typical “cracked doll make up” for a client. I decided I would paint the cracks in by hand the first day. The second day I used the airbrush to paint in the cracks and the difference was astounding. I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference, but it was just a more complete, uniform look. Also I love the process of painting in thin translucent layers. You can get the thin washes of colour layered one on top of each other until you have sufficiently created the illusion of the translucency of real skin. That is VERY important. It has to be broken up. You can't just leave a porcelain doll finish on a character make up (unless its a porcelain doll, lol ) and think that's finished. The look is created by layering many many thin washes of colour in organic patterns. Ve Neil would say to me on the show: “Your paint jobs are nice but they’re a little flat ...” well I learned how to fix that throughout the 2nd season on Face off. This was the most invaluable technique I took from the show. The way something is painted can destroy a beautiful sculpture, or save a mediocre one.

-You had the amazing opportunity of creating your own signature airbrush with a major company. What makes "RJ's The Shadow" different from other airbrushes?
RJ Haddy's The Shadow Airbrush
 Well first and foremost, Paasche is an American Made product. (SORRY EU! lol) but honestly that is very important to me, keeping people in jobs and manufacturing a high quality product at the same time. Secondly the price is VERY affordable at US $155 its FAR less than other brands of the same quality. Third point it has a 3 year warranty not the usual 2 year warranty. About specific stats, the cup is smaller because I specifically asked for that. As I blow through colour quickly and want to move on to a new choice its much easier than emptying out the cup cleaning out the residue and when you are on Face OFF trust me, time to clean an airbrush is NOT available. We also have developed a special needle and tip for the gun that sprays at .32mm, which is in between the Talon airbrush standard of .25 (fine) and .38 (medium). This is a neat little bonus that the Shadow has over the other guns. The gun comes installed with that set at time of purchase but it also includes in the box a tip, needle, and cap for the size .25mm fine spray, if you wish to get down to finer details. All Talon Parts will interchange with the Shadow as well. So if you already own a Talon this is a perfect complementary gun to set up next to it. I set up three or four guns when I am working and have the quick change fitting on my hose and I just pop back and fourth between those guns.... its so much easier!

-Is there a kind or brand of paint/makeup you prefer to use in your airbrush?
European Body Art, the Endura line specifically. It's amazing and it paints anything! Skin, Silicone, Hair, Latex, Foam Appliances, Fabric. Its tough as nails but gentle on the skin. It's the best paint out there. I always cut it with 99% and thin it because its just a great highly pigmented paint.You can use it full strength if you want to but I prefer to thin it, you can essentially stretch a 1oz bottle into a 2 oz bottle so you definitely get your moneys worth!

Actor David Selby made up as Lincoln by RJ 
-We follow you on Facebook and Twitter, and we love to see how phenomenally busy you are. What future goal would you like to reach in your career?
I’d like to start producing and directing my own films more regularly.That's why “The Family Business” is going to really be a proving ground so to speak. We will definitely show the world what we can do here in West Virginia with a little drive, ambition, skill , and just plain ol stubbornness to not give up! :)
-Finally, going back to Face Off, is there an aspect to the show that is less apparent to the public, but that was important for you as you actually went through the experience?
I think definitely the one thing none of us realised or counted on was the fact that we would become such good friends and close through the experience. Now after seven seasons it's become like an exclusive fraternity/sorority where you all have a common background of having been through this “trial by fire” so to speak. That's been the biggest reward of it all as well! I'm incredibly close to several members ... Beki Ingram, David Greathouse, Roy Wooley, Nix Herrera, Frank Ippolito, Rod Maxwell , Jerry Macaluso, Scott Ramp, Brea Joseph and Athena Zhe who was crucial to my team in the season 2 final. And of course I cant forget my fellow finalists from season 2 Rayce Bird and Ian Cromer.... that's just to name a few. They are all wonderful. They have become wonderful confidants and friends because of the experience. The friends we’ve made at SYFY and the production company Mission Control ... the casting company Pittman Casting ... All amazing people and truly wonderful friends!

RJ's love for fun in his work and his unassuming, lovable character make him the makeup artist you would love to work with and the teacher you would die to learn from. We look forward to meeting him at one of his courses one day, and to reviewing "The Shadow" on these pages soon.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Airbrush Makeup Kit In-depth review: Graftobian GlamAire and Walk-Around System

Graftobian is one of three major American companies that have made theatrical, FX and professional beauty makeup available to the public at large. As far as airbrush makeup is concerned, what makes Graftobian unique among its competition is mainly one thing: their Glam Aire line has the widest range of foundation shades of any other makeup company, period. 

GlamAire 1 oz sizes and matching cremes
We are talking 58 colours divided in Warm, Neutral and Cool tones, plus six blushes (also divided by undertone) and 6 adjuster colours, totalling a staggering 70 shades. This color system was conceived in collaboration with Hollywood makeup artist Brad Look to be perfectly matched with Graftobian's celebrated High Definition Glamour Cremes, an excellent series of creme foundations that has become an industry standard. This means that not only you are going to find your perfectly matching tone, but you will also be able to integrate a cream product for that same colour, which is something you may want a need to do for a number of reason. For example, the less experienced airbrush user will be able to use the cream colors in areas where airbrushing can be problematic  (such and the sensitive  under eye area), or for effective spot concealing prior to airbrushing. The color range is so wide that it was used by Mary Erickson and Suzanne Patterson as the base for a multi brand foundation comparison chart in Gretchen Davis' seminal book  The Makeup Artist Handbook

Foundation: GlamAire in Prima Donna
The GlamAire range is water based. The formula is very smooth and finely pigmented, with a light texture that is buildable in sheer layers to achieve the desired coverage with a very natural effect. The finish is matte but not overly so, and does not feel nor look at all dry like some water based formulas tend to do, although of course it is always better to moisturize prior to application on naturally drier skin. GlamAire's durability is very good, it does not settle in creases and has a great resistance to transfer. The foundation shades come in 1 oz bottles, but an extensive range of .25 ounce samples can also be purchased if you wish to try it before you commit to larger sizes. Oh, and did I mention it lasts practically forever? A few months ago I accepted a challenge: Two hours to do a complete makeup on ten women (ages ranging from early 20's to late 50's) who had been selected for a historical costume parade. As I was in northern Italy, the women turned out to be all Caucasian of fair to medium complexion. There was zero time for colour matching, but they all turned out beautifully using just three GlamAire shades from the neutral/fair range. After doing ten different faces I thought I had used a lot of product, but then I looked at the bottles and they all still looked totally full! 
On a more technical note, the product does separate quickly and needs quite a bit of shaking after sitting idle, but I found that if you store the bottles laying flat, the pigment settles on a larger surface and mixing is much faster. The only thing I am not crazy about in regards to this product is the blessed screw caps that tend to make a mess every time you use them, so I hope they will honour my OCD and change them one day.

Graftobian WalkAround System
As I was saying in my review for the F/X Aire line, I purchased my HD Glamour Walk-Around™ Kit at Crc Makeup.Com, where the whole Graftobian product range is available. Eric Coffman, Graftobian's owner, shot a very exhaustive video on the contents of the kit, so i will just advise you to watch it here as I could not illustrate it better than he does. I personally enjoy the kit a lot. The design is very compact and it feels even more powerful than its maximum 26 PSI output. The pressure can be adjusted right from the valve via a tiny knob. This takes a little practice if you are not used to it, but some end up preferring this way of controlling the output for its immediate proximity to the hands. The detachable battery works beautifully and the unit performs exactly the same when on battery power. Finally, the airbrush is the very reliable and seemingly ubiquitous S35, an excellent airgun chosen by Graftobian and many a great brand, and that together with the strong pressure output makes the system compatible also with any kind of airbrush makeup available, including silicone based colours. Four different plug adaptors included in the kit will allow you to use it pretty much anywhere in the world.

Graftobian WalkAround System package
As Eric shows in the video, the HD Glamour package does come with a great lot of makeup, consisting in three sample packs of five shades each with matching creme colour palette (Cool#1 from the lightest of the pink undertone range, Warm#2 from the middle of the yellow undertone range, and Neutral#3 from the darkest of the neutral undertone range). This is a very generous bundle making up an excellent starter kit catering to all ethnicities. The Walk-Around Kit is also available in an F/X Aire package and a Student/Character package with different colour selections.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Video tutorial: fast Sugar Skull airbrush makeup with Graftobian GlamAire F/X Neon colors for black light

Airbrush Sugar Skull Makeup with Graftobian
Summer holidays are over, school is in and Halloween is approaching fast! And talking of speed, I was recently chatting with a makeup artist friend about a Halloween gig where she had to paint Sugar Skull makeups on a bunch of people in a very short time. I said to her that airbrushing would probably have been a good idea, and that with a few stencils and a couple of extra airbrushes to avoid time consuming color changes the whole endeavour could have turned into a whole lot of fun. 

A year later I am challenging myself to "walk my talk", and the results are in this video. The process is not exactly super fast as I chose to experiment with detail and decorations, but I hope it gives you a fair idea of how fun the process can be. In this video I am using stencils that I made by myself, and I decided to make the templates available to you our new FREE STENCILS page. Graftobian of course distributes the great BadAss Stencil line, and I would have used some of those too, but they were scheduled to arrive after the shooting deadline for the video. 

El dia de los Muertos Aribrush Makeup
In this look I also wanted to try out my new Graftobian GlamAire F/X Neon colors, and of course to use my new Graftobian Walk-Around System that I purchased early this summer at The colors are fantastic. They have an amazing payoff, they are super resistant and have a very low viscosity, which in layman terms means that they clear out of your airbrush beautifully, with hardly any residue. I did not have a hint of a clogging problem while using them. The bottles are a large 2 oz. size, which of course you need if you are going to do body painting. The formula is an alcohol and water base hybrid, and dries fast to a matte finish. I found it to be very gentle on the skin and odor free. 

Another great thing about these products is that the pigment does separate when they lay idle, but unlike the other GlamAire beauty formulas a quick shake is all it takes to get it perfectly mixed again. Oh, and did I mention that the Neon colors are made to glow in back light? Unfortunately we weren't equipped to show you that in the video, but it sure is a great plus. We will write more about Graftobian, its amazing color range and the Walk-Around airbrush system in our next post. Stay tuned...

Halloween Sugar Skull Airbrush Makeup with Graftobian F/X Aire

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mistair: Full Airbrush Makeup Bridal Video and in depth review

Bridal Airbrush Makeup with Mistair
We first got to know Mistair a couple of years ago at Cosmoprof in Italy, and we were impressed by the range of airbrush products offered by this pioneering British brand. From polymer based nail colours to an extensive self tanning line, and from amazingly pigmented body art palettes to hair highlights, you can satisfy almost any beauty need with this company's catalogue.

Bridal Airbrush Makeup with Mistair
As far as beauty makeup is concerned, Mistair offers a silicone based line with 14 foundation colours, 9 blushes, 8 highlighters and shimmers, 11 adjusters and correctors and 7 eyebrow shades. This is an excellent variety of colours which make Mistair comparable to any of the big US based companies, and a very valid contender in any pro kit. Directed exclusively at professionals, the silicone based beauty range features delicate and blendable colours that can be applied with very subtle and natural results, or built up to bolder shades thanks to the extensive range of colour correctors.  After experimenting with them for a while, I found these colours particularly ideal for bridal makeup, and I decided to use them to film the brand new tutorial posted below. I also thought of swatching the colours from the Blusher and Shimmer packs, hoping that they will give you an idea of what the colours look like when sprayed. Please notice: each swatch is made up of 3-4 drops of product airbrushed in very small patches, so keep in mind that the intensity of the colours is maxed out, at least in some cases. Please scroll to the bottom of this page to view pictures of the swatches. As always you can click on each photo to enlarge it. 

100% unretouched screen shot
The texture of these liquids is quite luxurious, and they are atomised well at a medium pressure of 6 to 12 PSI, as is to be expected of a silicone based product. I only encountered a problem with one shimmer colour (the otherwise delightful S03 Cornsilk) which would inevitably clog my airbrush, but perhaps I just got a quirky batch that I am sure would be swiftly replaced by Mistair's customer care. The liquids have a very pleasant and delicate scent that will dissolve almost immediately leaving no aftertaste whatsoever. They offer excellent coverage and very good wear, and they are of course water proof. One negative aspect that I found (and that is common to many other brands, unfortunately) is the effectiveness of the sampler size (starter kit) bottles, which could be greatly improved by making them more air tight, thus preventing the aqueous part of the solutions from evaporating after only a few months.            
100% unretouched screen shot
As for the equipment, Mistair has partnered with the best manufacturers of professional airbrushing equipment and is offering a very slick looking SL1000 airbrush that allows you to quickly switch nozzle and needles to obtain up to 3 different output sizes (.2, .4 and .6 mm) for different paint jobs. The "floating" nozzles of this airbrush are also easier to clean, as they are disassembled much more quickly than traditional airbrushes. 
100% unretouched screen shot
This double action airbrush  also features two easy to switch cups, allowing less refilling for bigger jobs. For beginners or budget minded customers, Mistair also offer the excellent MA 35 airbrush, which is the same great tool also offered by the best airbrushing brands under slightly different names. Mistair's original, proprietary website that was dedicated exclusively to the airbrushing line has been closed for the time being, but while we wait for its return we can browse all the products and prices on the website of Skin By Sterex, the larger beauty brand of which Mistair is a division. I look forward to meeting Mistair's great team at Cosmoprof 2015!

Mistair Blushers Airbrushed Swatches
Mistair Blushers Airbrushed Swatches
Mistair Shimmers Airbrushed Swatches

Mistair Shimmers Airbrushed Swatches

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Airbrush Makeup Review: Kett .25 Transformer Airbrush

Kett's .25 Transformer Airbrush
Having a reliable airbrush is a fundamental prerequisite for any makeup artist who wants to add airbrush makeup to their skills. Actually, it is indispensable for anyone who is dabbling in this art even if only for personal use, as there is nothing more frustrating than a clogging airbrush preventing you from enjoying the wonderful results that the technique allows. If you are approaching airbrush makeup for the first time and you are thinking of building your own pro kit, or if you have bought a kit for personal use from one of several consumer oriented brands and the included airbrush is starting to "act up" on you, you may be confused as to what to choose from the relatively wide range of tools available from different outlets. You might have read about the double action versus "single action" (or rather continuous airflow) diatribe, and you might be wondering if you should go for a low cost or of for a top of the range instrument.  Well, the answer to all your doubts is happily at hand and it is called Kett .25, a.k.a. the Transformer Airbrush

Kett's .25 Transformer Airbrush unboxed
If you have read these pages -or indeed if you have researched airbrush makeup at all- you know that Kett is one of the best brands out there, with a tradition of innovation and commitment to the highest standards for High Definition makeup. The Transformer is perfectly in line with these standards. It is manufactured especially for Kett by Sparmax, the Taiwanese company supplying excellent airbrushes to the best makeup brands. The package assembled for Kett includes a stylish and useful box, a set of indispensable quality pipe cleaners (which are almost always sold separately and for a steep price by other companies), a nozzle wrench, a "plug in" hose connector and most importantly a spare double action valve, that you can easily switch with the already assembled "single action" valve to take advantage of this mode. The presence of both valves is what gives this airbrush its "Transformer" nick name, and it is a huge commodity. The .25 part of the name refers of course to the nozzle size, which is ideal for finer, more detailed work (although of course you can easily cover larger areas too). Another thing we greatly appreciate is the very honest pricing for this set, which considering all the accessories actually turns out to be cheaper at Kett than its general release version. 

And now for some impressions deriving directly from my experience. Please be sure to read our disclaimer in our About Me page. You've been warned. Let's go: I love this airbrush. I have used this little workhorse for just about any kind of makeup for over two years, with absolutely no major problems. It almost never clogs, and when it does, inevitably due to shimmers, it is quickly cleaned and back in action in a very short time. While it was chosen by Kett for its own highly praised water based makeup, I have also used it with silicone based formulas with no problems. Of course it is preferable to use larger nozzle sizes with silicone (such as the other airbrush offered by Kett, the also excellent .4), but in a pinch this will more than do. Moreover, thanks to its standard 1/8 ' fitting and its plug in connector it is absolutely compatible with any compressor that works within makeup's PSI range of 2 to 30 PSI. Yes, that includes consumer brands. I used it for years with my Dinair compressor, and it changed my whole experience of that brand for the better.
So, I most definitely recommend this both as part of your pro kit and for home use. You can buy it through the Kett website, or at any kett retailer. If you live outside the US I would strongly recommend buying this at Camera Ready Cosmetics, who will ship it worldwide for the best and most honest price. 

My little Workhorse: the Kett .25 Transformer Airbrush
A while ago Kett released this video, where the fab Sheila McKenna shows the airbrush in detail:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Airbrush Makeup Guru Profiles: an interview with Dani Fonseca

Our Profile series continues with the amazingly talented Dani Fonseca! Please click on each image to see every amazing makeup in full size.

Amazingly talented: Dani Fonseca
One of the reasons why I decided to go to the New York Makeup Show on its first day rather than the second was so I could attend Dani Fonseca's seminar "Airbrushing Beyond Foundation". Like many other airbrush fans around the world, I had become familiar with Dani's work thanks to the many videos she has starred in for the wonderful brand Temptu Pro, so I was excited to meet her in person. Dani has a very impressive list of credits, including one that is actually listed among Temptu's own highlights timeline: the iconic skeleton makeup on Lady Gaga for her Born This Way video. Dani also regularly collaborates with some of the world's top brands, and she is a proud member of the Make Up For Ever Artist Alliance Team. She has her own body art and event production company (The Body of Art) and she creates incredible Halloween looks in seasonal workshop called the Monster Mash Salon. In spite of her very busy schedule that day, Dani took time to answer a questions from the many people who filled out her seminar, and kindly agreed to answer a few questions focusing on airbrushing for our readers.

You are so incredibly talented with airbrushing. When did you decide to add this technique to your makeup skills?
-I started considering using airbrush techniques in 2004 when I started my company The Body of Art. As most may know, body painting can take an extremely long amount of time to complete, so I thought airbrushing would help make that process faster. I chose Temptu almost 10 years ago as the brand to explore this new possibility and not only fell in love with the possibilities for my body art but also discovered an amazing new way to do my beauty makeup.

How important do you think airbrushing skills are for new makeup artists, what doors do you think it could open for them?
Makeup by Dani Fonseca
-I think that airbrushing is an amazing tool. I stand by the belief that every makeup artist should of course learn how to do everything conventionally first, however airbrushing is an extension of what you can do with more ease precision and expedience. I do believe that most artists would be missing out if they did not know the advantages of airbrushing, however there are many make up artists out there who know how to airbrush and still choose conventional which is perfectly fine. Everyone has their own style and choice of technique. However what sometimes concerns me is that people will not try airbrushing because of the myths they have heard out there about it. I say to those people take a class and try it out before you shun it completely, because you may be pleasantly surprised and wondering what you have been doing all your life without it.

Body Art by Dani Fonseca
What do you consider to be the single best advantage of airbrushing as opposed to traditional application?
-The best advantage to using airbrush depends on what formula you use and what kind of makeup you are using it for.  As for beauty, I have always been a big fan of the silicone-based make up like Temptu's SB formula. It mimics skin in such a way that you can barely tell anyone is wearing foundation yet creates beautiful highlighting and con touring with ease, in a way that doesn't look overworked. Not to mention that it is water resistant and flexible so will not crack or run under adverse environmental conditions. As for body painting, as I mentioned before airbrushing helps me to do things precisely and much faster. Highlighting and contouring faux fabric or objects that I've created as an illusion on the skin is so effortless with an airbrush because of the gradient quality it gives with such ease. It takes a lot of practice to hold your hands still and create strokes that look clean but it's just like riding a bike: you just need to do it over and over again until you get it.

I always admired your makeup, but now, seeing you up close, I can see how incredibly flawless it really is. How much airbrushing do you like to include in your own routine?
-To be honest I used to airbrush my skin quite a bit however I find there is less and less room on my kitchen table which is actually my make up vanity. A little bit too much for me (and my husband) to have an extra machine sitting out all the time. Airbrushing has actually taught me how to apply makeup to myself with the "airbrushed look" technique using certain synthetic brushes conventionally. I think I've mastered it at this stage. I'm a big fan of cream make up whether it be foundations or blushes for highlighters so that ends up being my alternative to airbrush makeup. However I still do use it when I'm going to big events.

In Europe, where we are based, airbrushing is still a very new technique and like many new things some false myths are often quick to spread. Which would you consider to be the greatest misconception about airbrushing today?
"The Kiss" by Dani Fonseca
-I think we can attribute all the false myths to the type of airbrush makeup that first came out on the market in the 90s. It was very dry and matte, and if you put 1 drop of water near it it would completely destroy it. Not to mention if you put too much on and your face moved it would crack. There have been so many amazing advancements in airbrush makeup products since then. If you are buying a water based make up today, like from Kett Cosmetics, you will find that it's very beautiful and flexible.  Another myth that I have come across is that if you use a silicone-based airbrush makeup it looks like oil or grease on the face. This is because silicone-based makeup happens to be one of the thicker formulas on the market. It's purposely thicker so that it can do what it does. Some people have compressors that are not powerful enough, and often think they need to dilute the product in order to get it to pass through the airbrush gun. Again if they have not sat in a class, people often think that they can dilute such a product using its very greasy cleanser,  which is the cause of the oily pay off people hear about. I cringe when I see or hear of people using the product like that.  If you use the SB make up from Temptu properly and with its proper equipment it is one of the most beautiful foundations on the market made for all skin types and meant to last for hours. Why on earth would you not want to use that in your make up? One last myth I've come across is that it is too hard to clean your gun and you will often get clogging issues. Again you need to not be lazy and take the time to clean your gun properly. If you do not know how to do this yet again there are plenty of videos online as well as classes you can take that will help you to learn how to properly service your own equipment.

Makeup by Dani Fonseca
When it comes to airbrush makeup there seems to be a big a lot of disagreement over the water based versus silicone based formulas. Where do you stand? Do you prefer using one over the other?
-Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of silicone-based make up. I've been using it for 10 years and has very rarely found any issues with it. It mimics skin, it lasts for hours, it's lightweight and flawless and is very flexible on the skin.  Every student that takes my classes falls in love with it instantly because they taught how to use it properly. It's just a personal preference for me. It doesn't mean that I do not think a water-based formula is good. There are amazing water-based formulas on the market, and they're absolutely dreadful water base and silicone formulas on the market. You need to go to trade shows to test them out and/or do your research to find the people who are actually using the formulas and see what they say. Be careful of bloggers and You tubers who don't have any idea what they're talking about when they're reviewing airbrush products. Find actual airbrush makeup artists who use it all the time and learn what their opinion is.

Makeup by Dani Fonseca
While we are mentioning Europe, I know you have been here many times with different projects. Are you coming back soon? Will you be teaching any seminars here?
-I just finished doing a three day airbrush beauty workshop at the Academy of Freelance Makeup in London in May. I also did a demonstration master class while I was there.  My next trip to Europe will be at the end of September when I travel to Paris to be a guest instructor at the new Make Up For Ever TV and Cinema Academy.  I am very excited and honored to be working with this new Academy twice a year. However it's a week long class that is part of a program so unfortunately it would not be open to the public.

You have worked on many high profile projects and with many celebrities. Would you share a fun memory or a lesser known fact about one of these remarkable achievements? 
-To be honest for the most part when I work with celebrities I very rarely have a memorable moment with the celebrities themselves. My memorable moment is always with the team I work with. People always ask me "What's it like to work with Lady Gaga"? As you can imagine the woman is so busy and focused on what she's doing that I barely ever had a chance to have intimate memorable moments with her. I usually have more fun hanging out with my partner Will Lemon, or the dancers, or my friend Sarah Tanno who keys the dancers, and my assistants backstage. It's a job and I love it, but usually when I work with celebrities its quick, its business, and people have to keep it moving. One of the nicer moments was when I was body painting girls for a 50 Cent video and he put his arm around me and gave me a hug cuz he thought the work looked so good... I thought it looked hilarious (big cat faces painted on "well endowed" backsides), but as long as he was happy!

Lady Gaga and Zombie Boy, Makeup by Dani Fonseca for Temptu

What is your ultimate professional dream?
-I just would love to get to a point where my business is running itself, I have made a my impact on the world by inspiring other artists to make a difference, and I'm a mom who lives in a house with my husband by the park so I can go running whenever I want.  I'm getting there.  I have launched my new makeup artist leadership program called The Body of Artists this year, and I continue to educate people around the world on ways they can follow their dream in this insane industry we have chosen to have a career.  I am very blessed and put a lot of hard work into what I want, and do my best to not allow any excuses to get in the way.  If I could body paint Pink before I die, that would be cool, but that would be a bonus. 

I really enjoyed meeting Dani. I was already a big fan of her work, but I found myself quickly won over by her off beat sense of humour and by her personable approach, which left me hoping to see more of her and her fantastic work soon.