Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How to airbrush a Zombie makeup: easy Step by Step guide for Halloween and beyond

Halloween is coming, so let's have fun with an easy, step by step tutorial for a fantastic Zombie makeup. No airbrush? No problem, you can still realize this look by traditional methods, although it may take you a little longer. You can see all the steps in our video tutorial as well. In this post we will give you more information on the materials we used and their possible alternatives. All the materials we will use come from our favorite makeup store: Camera Ready Cosmetics, who ship fast all over the world and have the best customer service imaginable (and no, they did NOT pay us to say this, lol). Let's Start!

WARNING: Safety first. Make sure that you or your model are not allergic to any of the materials used. We will be using alcohol based colors: eyes and mouth must be kept closed when spraying these areas, and be careful not to inhale when spraying around the nose. When blow drying someone else's face always keep your other hand in between the airflow and their skin, to ensure the heat remains tolerable. Finally be very careful of both your instrument and your skin when exposing the needle tip of your airbrush for spattering and veining. Contact lenses must meet safety standards and used according to guidelines.

STEP ONE: Prosthetic application
We are using a foam latex prosthetic called Whoochie Face. These are ready made, professional quality applications distributed by Graftobian. They adapt well to any face shape and the final result is amazing! Start by removing any excess oil on the skin. Prep the application by spreading a thin coat of Graftobian Pro Adhesive all over the prosthetic. Be very careful with the thin edges: they will easily fold and stick to themselves, so try to avoid this at all costs. Use a blow drier on low heat until the glue is clear, then position the prosthetic on the face and use more Pro Adhesive to glue the edges down. Once you have done that, fill any gaps between the edges and the skin with "Bondo" (Pro Adhesive mixed with silica powder), and blow dry on low heat until all glue is clear. Set the edges with Ben Nye Neutral Set, and brush the excess powder off.
ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS: Graftobian's Pro Adhesive behaves exactly like Pros Aide but is less expensive. This glue remains tacky so you can move your prosthetic a few times for optimal positioning.  Spirit gum is a cheaper alternative but it is less flexible and harsher on the skin. If Bondo is not at hand you can stipple a few layers of liquid latex to fill in the edges of the prosthetic. This will take longer as you will need to dry and powder each layer.

STEP TWO: Base Coat 
You will need to make sure the prosthetic and the face are color before starting the actual paint job. We started using alcohol based paints but found them too sheer and not very effective for this purpose. So we decided to use a product called Colair Extreme by Dinair. This is an amazing cosmetic with total blocking power, and we were able to achieve a uniform effect with just a couple of passes. Once applied, you may want to powder lightly with Neutral Set before proceeding. We actually didn't, and it worked out just fine.  
ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS: Pax paint (a mixture of Pros-Aide glue and acrylic paint) would have been the traditional choice for blocking out the application. However Colair Extreme is just as effective, much easier to clean from the airbrush, cheaper, gentler on the skin and comes in a wider variety of colors than Pax. 

STEP THREE: Color Application 
Spattering is the best technique you can use to create a multi layered, more realistic effect, because it mimics the natural texture of the skin. It is also ideal for blending the edge of the prosthetic into invisibility. Spattering basically means achieving a color tonality by layering a multitude of translucent speckles of color, much like the printing process where what looks like one color to the naked eye is actually obtained by tiny dots of different shades laying next to each other. While some airbrushes have specific tips to do this, but you can easily obtain a spatter effect with any airbrush simply by removing the needle cap and the nozzle cap (the two parts that unscrew at the tip), and setting your compressor on very low pressure, then use a flickering action on the trigger. We have used European Body Art's Endura colors. These are alcohol based paints used by some of the best professionals, and most famously on the set of Face Off. They are already sheer, but you may want to dilute them more with Alcohol 99% in order to get a finer, more natural effect. We didn't and we should have, but we wanted our work to "read" more quickly for the purpose of the video. If the spatter is too saturated and individual dots too visible, you can dim the effect by blotting the application, but be fast as alcohol based colors dry very quickly. Spattering can be a lengthy process, but the result is worth it. We wanted a classic "green" zombie, so we layered yellow first, then blue, then green to add more punch. 
ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS: You can used an old toothbrush or a cheap brush with short bristles to achieve a spatter with your fingers without an airbrush. We find that airbrushing offers more control and less contact between paints and skin, which we always welcome.

STEP FOUR: Highlights and Shading 
We used a less diluted amount of Endura color to create lowlights and shading. The process of is very easy as the prosthetic's sculpted shapes will make it very obvious. For a final highlight, and to simulated the thinness of the skin stretched on the features, we used Endura Face Off flesh tone in Warm Two.

STEP FIVE: Veining
Airbrushing is a wonderful, fast and easy medium for creating realistic veins. Remove the needle cap (the outermost removable part of the tip of the airbrush) and use distance and pressure to create veins of different size and intensity. Practice on paper first. Achieving a purple-ish vein color was easy: simply mix Endura Red and Blue colors.
ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS: Fine brushes. ...Yawn.

STEP SIX: Eyes and teeth 
You can create very realistic redness around the eyes with a product called Glazing Gel by PPI/Skin Illustrator. This is water based, so it will not irritate the very delicate eye area. For further punch use a red lip liner pencil on the rim of the eye. Finally, nothing is more effective to complete the makeup than a pair of Zombie lenses. We used some great disposable ones by a British company called MesmerEyez. Whatever brand you choose, make sure they meet safety standard and beware of cheap ones that can cause severe damage to your eyes. 
To achieve a more believable Zombie mouth we used black from PPI's On Set FX Palette. Be sure to dry the teeth before applying the color, and right after application use your airbrush on air only to set it.

No Zombie look would be complete with a little bit of fake blood. We used two types: Ben Nye Thick Blood for a head wound effect, and a capsule from Ben Nye mouth Kit to create the gory mouth effect that you see at the end of the video. Ben Nye's fake blood is an industry standard, it is safe and even tastes good!

Have a fantastic, fun filled and safe Halloween!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Airbrushing and special effects makeup: learning online with the Stan Winston School

The reality show Face Off, now in its 9th season, has the undoubted merit of having brought the world of special effects and creature making to the attention of a much larger audience. While the show hardly focuses on any given technical aspect, it has contributed to make another thing clear for the masses: airbrushing is a fundamental skill in the creation of special effects makeup
The uninitiated who wants to tackle FX and creature making, but isn't ready or able to enroll in a professional school is left with one big question: is there another readily accessible, fairly priced, and above all reputable source of training and information?
The answer is yes, yes, and and even bigger YES. The source exists and it is called "Stan Winston School of Character Arts". 
Founded by the Winston family in honor of their legendary patriarch, the "School" is not a physical place, but a subscription base website with a wonderful core principle: offering comprehensive, detailed training in the form of professionally filmed web courses held by some of the very best in this field. Every aspect and technique related to special effects makeup and creature making is discussed and explained in depth: from mold making to animatronics and everything in between. I was a subscriber of the school myself for several months, and what follows here is a brief account of my experience, and a little guide to the courses that focus on my passion, which is of course airbrushing. As always these are my genuine, unsponsored opinions.

How it works: no catches!
I always approach subscribing to anything online with great caution, after I was scorched a long time ago by a bad experience with a web service offering "auto renewal". The Stan Winston School Website offers an incredible, unlimited 3 day free trial that is jut that: three days of unlimited access to its contents. This means you can watch as many courses as you like, and really get a feel of what the contents are like. You can cancel your trial at any time after it started. If you do so, you will not be billed anything, and you will still be able to enjoy your full three days. I am writing this because it is not repeated too often during the subscription process, but you can rest assured that the School is a highly ethical enterprise, and it is in no way out to defraud you of anything.
If you decide that you want to continue with your subscription, you will simply let it run and it will turn into a regular subscription at the end of the trial. There is no minimum subscription requirement, this means you can cancel any time before the next monthly renewal and your subscription will end with the current month (or year, if you selected the annual plan). There are three levels of membership: Apprentice gives you 4 tutorials on demand per month for a low price, meaning you can select up to 4 courses and watch them all or in part. At the beginning each month your total will be zeroed and if you want to finish watching a course you had started in the previous month, this will be counted against your month's 4 total.  "Monthly" and "Annual" give you unlimited tutorials. If you don't wish to subscribe at all, but are interested only in watching and keeping selected courses forever, you can also buy each webcourse in streaming or DVD format. It is always a good idea to subscribe to the school's newsletter to receive limited time offers and special promotions.

The Content: amazing teachers
The content of the website is divided in Live Web Courses and On Demand Web Courses. This is self explanatory. What you may not be prepared for is the fact that these are true seminars broadcast in real time, so the live sessions last anywhere from two to seven hours or more, with technical breaks and pauses, and moments dedicated to live interaction with on line students. The On Demand versions of the web courses are slightly edited, and of course no live interaction is possible, but you can always ask a question in each course's page and you will receive an answer, often by the teachers themselves. With a lot of courses lasting over six hours I found my Apprentice membership more than enough, and in some months I wasn't able to watch  more than a couple. The teachers are all amazing. We are talking the very best in their field, including many Academy Award and Emmy winners. I expected them to be knowledgeable ad passionate, but I wasn't prepared for how entertaining they all were. Almost each course is enriched with anecdotes, personal stories and fun tidbits that made learning really fun.

Airbrushing in Special effects: a guide to the courses
If you are new to airbrushing and want to learn it as a tool toward the creation of special effects, this by far one of the best places you could visit.
If you have some knowledge of airbrush beauty makeup or airbrushing in general, you will still be surprised to find out how many "rules" are changed or broken altogether when it comes to application for FX and creature design. While almost every course features airbrushing, a few of them give specific in depth information on techniques and tools, so these are the ones you may want to watch first:

-How To Airbrush by Craig Fraser. This is the best place to start learning about airbrushing from a true master who is not only incredibly passionate and informative, but also seriously entertaining. This course is all about introducing basic airbrush painting techniques that are the foundation for any subsequent application. Tools, materials and sources are all discussed in details. Six hours will just fly!

-Hyper Realistic Silicone Painting Techniques by Tim Gore Another exceptional artist guides you through the rather complicated process of painting on silicone. After a somewhat shy opening, Tim warms up and draws you into his passion sharing a world of useful tips, and a treasure of knowledge on what materials to use and how to make them or purchase them. While the subject material is silicone, the layering techniques shown here are fundamental for reproducing realistic skin tones on any kind of material.

-Zombie Makeup by Bill Corso This course shows very practical uses of airbrushing in creating a zombie makeup. Once again you will be able to decline the techniques you learned here into a variety of different applications. This is actually the second part of a very extensive workshop by Oscar winner Bill Corso, and I definitely suggest watching the whole thing, even though not strictly airbrush related, to get a sense of how a makeup for film is created from concept to screen test. 

-Airbrush Veining Technique mini tutorial by Steve Wang The amazing Steve Wang takes you through the process of creating veining effects with an airbrush. This is a basic technique that you will be able to use in a myriad of projects, taking full advantage of the potential of your airbrush versus slower traditional methods. 

Paiting Silicone Skin-Realistic Flesh Tones by Jamie S. Grove Antother in depth tutorial by another amazing teacher, who will illustrate all the techniques and materials used to create an ultra realistic skin texture on silicone. The methods shown will of course apply to any other material, provided you are using the appropriate paints.

The Garage Monster's Guide to Airbrushes mini tutorial by Shannon Shea   This mini tutorial focuses specifically on equipment. While all the other teachers describe their preferred tools in depth in all the other tutorial, it is good to have a further opinion by the great Shannon Shea on what prioritize in your shopping list.   

With Halloween approaching fast, I hope you will take advantage of this fantastic online resource, born of passion and following the sharing principles so dear to the legendary Dick Smith. My final advice is to start your three day trial on a quiet week end with lots of time at your disposal. You will NOT want to leave your computer screen...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: Dinair Colair Extreme and Colair Electric -with Drag airbrush makeup transformation video tutorial

"Extreme Drag" with Colair Extreme
Colair Extreme is a revolutionary new product offering total blocking power, with maximum durability and resistance to friction. As our month dedicated to the wonderful brand Dinair comes to a close, I am very happy to bring you this fun new video tutorial dedicated to the newest products offered by this company, and inspired by the "extreme" look of drag performer Nina Flowers. Colair Extreme is the most recent addition to Dinair's lines, and includes 14 shades that can be mixed to find the best match not only with each other, but also with any other Dinair airbrushable product, opening a world of possibilities. The colors are identified by the letters XT followed by numbers matching the ones used for the Colair Radiance line, so it's easy to find your shade using the original Glamour line as a reference. For example the color Olive Beige in the Glamour range becomes C110 in the Radiance line, and XT110 in the Extreme range. With an incredible amount of pigment in its formula, Colair Extreme offers the strongest blocking power imaginable, and does not require color correction underneath. 

100% airbrush makeup with Dinair
I was lucky to be able to try Extreme during my last visit to Dinair, and I was amazed at the amount of pigment that this product contains, and by how smoothly it applies inspite of the richness of its formula. The product dries very fast with a very slightly tacky finish that will need to be powdered with clear HD powder, or with a light layer of Colair Radiance foundation. Extreme wears comfortably and has no scent whatsoever. What I wasn't prepared for was its durability: two days after their application the swatches on the back my hand were still perfect, totally unchanged by repeated hand washing and showers. Considering its strength, I simply could not believe that this was still a water based formula, containing no alcohol or silicone. 
Colair Electric is the new version of what used to be called the "Bright" range. There are seven super pigmented, ultra vibrant shades that lend themselves to a myriad of applications, from FX to body painting, and from drag to fantasy. These can also give a "pop" to any other shade in other Dinair ranges. For example, try adding just a drop of  Electric Pink to your normal blush, and watch it brighten up and become more radiant. 

Nina Flowers inspired Airbrush Makeup
Personal user tips: Colair Extreme will cover any skin defect, and because of its pigmentation the result will be very seamless, creating an absolutely even coverage that may easily look too perfect and artificial, if not properly applied. It was created to conceal tattoos and serious skin imperfections, while every other kind of blemish will best be served by Dinair's Camouflage Colair Radiance lines. You may also mix Extreme with these other lines in order to find the best solution for your need, but I would advise talking to Dinair's great Customer Service to find the best product combination for you.  

Pro Tips: Professional makeup artists will find Colair Extreme amazing, and will wonder how they ever did without it. Please be aware that you may have to experiment with mixing to find the perfectly matching shade to a given skin tone, and that the colour changes slightly as it dries. Makeup artists dealing in special effects will also find this product a revelation. In the enclosed video tutorial I used it to cover a bald cap, eyebrows that had been blocked with spirit gum, and I even used it to perfectly block out a beard shadow with no other concealers or beard blockers whatsoever. In short, this product will achieve what you would only have been able to do with PAX before, but it's much easier to use, less expensive and infinitely easier to clean with Dinair's newly reformulated airbrush cleaner. 

Application Tips: Because of its consistency, after extensive use Colair Extreme tends to collect at the very tip of your airbrush (in the needle cap), causing it to sputter. This is very easily fixed by pulling the lever all the way back and cleaning the needle cap with a Q Tip. Always remember to clean your airbrush immediately after using Extreme, and you will not need any further special cleaning. Using Dinair's simple cleaning system will ensure that your airbrush stays healthy and efficient for the next use.

It's all about the PIGMENT: unshaken bottles of Glamour, Radiance and Extreme side by side reveal the quantity of pigment contained in each formula. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Airbrush makeup for mature skin and Age Spots video tutorial: Dinair Colair Review

Dinair Colair unretouched before and after
Hyperpigmentation, commonly known as "age spots", is one of the most common skin conditions and can actually afflict anybody regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. The spots are essentially "clumps" of melanin, the dark pigment produced by the skin to protect its outer layer from exposure to the ultra violet light produced by the sun or by tanning lamps. The spot can vary in size and color intensity, but are generally harmless and no more than a cosmetic nuisance (for more medical information on age spots please read this post). The problem is that once they appear they can only be lessened or eliminated with costly dermatological procedures that may not be suitable or even affordable for many. Enter airbrush makeup, and specifically Dinair with its Colair Radiance line. 

Age spots gone with Dinair Colair
Colair Radiance is a range of foundation shades created recently by Dinair to complement its original line called Glamour. There are twenty colors available, providing a perfect match for most people, and of course the possibility to mix colors for those whose shade falls in between. 
The main differences and great advantages of the Colair Radiance line can be summed up with three words: pigment quantity, coverage and finish. These shades contain approximately double the pigment of the Glamour line, offering an even more powerful coverage and longevity. The finish is also softer and more "dewy", while it is even more resistant to rubbing. In short, it gives Silicone based formulas a real run for its money, offering pretty much the same advantages and none of its drawbacks, such as its potential pore clogging and skin breathing issues.
Dinair conceals hyperpigmentation
Because of its richness the Colair formula tends to be slightly more obvious on the skin, and less expert airbrushers need to pay close attention to avoid overspray and to layer it evenly and lightly, but please keep in mind that we are talking about a very small difference, that would never be perceived outside of the closest HD scrutiny. When applied properly, the product simply looks amazing, and wears very comfortably. In many cases it will not even require much priming or spraying hydrating mists (like Dinair's own Moist and Dewy) after the makeup.  I find this product great for everyone, but because of its qualities it lends itself perfectly for problematic and mature skin, while for an absolutely undetectable makeup (such as a no makeup look or men grooming) I would stick with the original classic Glamour line.  Our last video was a tutorial on how to conceal acne related blemishes using Colair Radiance.
With the tutorial you find here below we tackled larger blemishes caused by hyperpigmentation of our beautiful lady model, who is also featured in these photos. The before and after shot was not retouched in any way. We believe the results speak for themselves. [Please click on each photo to view it in full size]

In our next article we will up the game one step further by using Dinair's newest and most revolutionary line called Extreme in an out of this world look that will demonstrate its amazing blocking power. 

PRO TIP: The Colair line matches the original shades of the original Glamour line, but the colors are named with a number rather than a name: even numbers for warm tones, odd number for cool and numbers ending in 0 or 5 for neutral shades. For the less mathematically inclined, thankfully Dinair also specifies the name of the matching color in the Glamour line so you can't go wrong.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Guru Profiles: an interview with Dinair founders Dina Ousley and George Lampman

Today is one of the most exciting days of my beauty reporting career: I am sitting in Dinair's video studio in North Hollywood with the very founders of this history making brand, Dina Ousley and George Lampman.

Dina and George at Dinair Studios
Dina Ousley is a true innovator, an inspiration and a game changer for a whole industry. Together with her partner George Lampman she started the airbrush makeup revolution, developing this new medium and taking it out of the confines of the professional world and into thousands of homes across America and the world at large. No matter how remarkable her achievements, Dina never rested on her success, but maintained a steady and uncompromised commitment towards innovation and improvement that have made her product one of the best kept secrets in the makeup world. Working in a very tough industry, she also kept her sense of humour, her joyful creativity and her compassion, being directly involved in a variety of charitable initiatives in her community. Her life and business partner, Dinair CEO George Lampman is the man that made all of this possible. A former engineering student, George is the brain behind all the technical breakthrough brought forward by Dinair, from product formulation down to equipment design and devising the training.

Dina, you started your career as an actress in film and television series, and you were also a hairdresser and a licensed cosmetologist, When did you think about airbrushing for the first time?  
DINA: When HD started to happen, makeup started falling behind. It started to look obvious on camera, and people were starting to look better on camera without makeup than with traditional makeup. [On set] They would never give you enough time to do makeup anyway, they were always hurrying us up to the point where you would ask yourself if they really needed us. So I thought that airbrushing might help us keep our job, and it did. I had always been in love with airbrushing, but I wasn’t really an airbrush painter. Then one night we were talking about airbrushing and how it really works, and we knew that digital images were all made up of pixels, and my genius life partner George said: “when you spray color it works like pixels. I’ts basically dots, and we realized that that was IT! That was what made it so compatible. And the rest is history. We just fell in love with it... 
Dina doing her magic for the 64th Emmys Governor's Ball
How did you and George meet?  
DINA: We were country and western dance partners.

So you were already partners in life when airbrushing came into your lives you became business partners as well…  
DINA: Basically that’s it

George, you are the "technical brain" behind all the breakthroughs that Dina has brought forward with Dinair. We are all incredibly grateful to you, even people who are not aware of it. My first question for you would be what’s your background, how did you become involved with airbrushing?  
GEORGE: Well I never would have thought of airbrushing makeup personally. Dina was talking about some difficulties she was having with the chemistry aspect of the makeup, and I don’t know where it came from but I told her I could fix it. 
DINA: And I said do you want to get married? [laughs] He was a contractor and he always thought out of the box. We worked with many chemists (I did before I met George) and they couldn’t make it work. I was on jobs and my makeup would come and it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t spray. That’s why when I met him and he said "I can fix this…" we stayed up nights and days fixing this problem…

Airbrushing had always been associated with special effects up until that point. Almost like it is now in Europe, where everybody watches Face Off but too few are aware of airbrushing as a viable or preferable option for beauty makeup. When you started offering airbrushing for corrective and beauty makeup you brought about a major breakthrough. Were your ideas met with excitement or did you experience a certain resistance from your peers?  
DINA: we did [experience resistance]. The union thought it was going to take people’s jobs. But really in the end it made jobs for people. And now it’s really mandatory to airbrush to stay on top of your game, and people from all over the world come to learn it. Airbrushing just addresses all the issues today: it’s more sanitary, it’s fast, it provides that flawless look… so yes we were met with opposition.  
Dina's make up on  Miss California
GEORGE: In 1989 Dina was doing a protest in the form of entering a hair and makeup competition in the Long Beach hair show. In those years that was THE big west coast hair show. Dina airbrushed a model, and won the competition. Marvin Westmore was judging the show, with Johnny Carson’s makeup man. Dina’s work was beautiful, but they made a decision that they weren’t going to allow airbrushing at the next show, because it wasn’t going to be fair. The unions were very alarmed at the time with what we were doing. When you break in new technology it’s just the nature of the thing. We didn’t know that then, but that’s how it is.

I'd like to touch a little more of a technical aspect now. There’s a big debate among people who use airbrush makeup weather to use water based formulas or silicone based formulas. Of course you produce water based formulas so I know where you stand. How would you explain the difference?  
DINA: I’ll just say one thing, then George can take over. Silicone wasn’t around when we started, it was just greasepaint and powder, so water based was a perfect solution for airbrushing because our makeup was not going to be wipe-on, but sprayable. 
GEORGE: People define it as water based versus silicone but it’s not really what it is. The question is do we want our makeup to be silicone based or carbon based? Our makeup is carbon based. And it’s carbon based with water, or possibly water with some alcohol for quicker dry. The idea is that our makeup is very eco friendly. A gazillion years ago we started ditching the preservatives because we realized they weren’t necessary. Our formula is so pure… we don’t really have things that would go bad in it, so we can minimize the amount of preservative and so we just kept making it more and more friendly. I found that the skin agrees with carbon based products better. We have more and more stories about people’s skin being less irritated… it’s a story we are going to tell in more detail in the future. For Spraying purposes I really believe in the carbon based approach. For rub-on and for some occasions I think there is still room for silicone, but I really don’t want silicone in my body. I am made of carbon. So we’re just in favour of carbon. We are in favour of recycling, and carbon recycles beautifully. 
DINA: And it’s long lasting. And doesn’t clog pores of collect in to the fine lines. It allows the skin to breathe... concealing while healing! And it doesn’t rub off… 
GEORGE: That’s one of the reasons why we like the idea of the makeup setting on contact. You spray it and it doesn’t move, so you don’t clog pores. We want it to be “touch-finish”. People wonder what looks you can achieve. They think you can get a dewier look with silicone, but then they just don’t know what we do. We are able to achieve any look from the most dewy to the most matte, we can teach you tricks to make you look android if you want. It’s all there.

Beauty Guru Kandee Johnson used Dinair for this Maddona inspired look on Glamour Magazine
Yes, I like to say that if you have a problem with airbrush makeup, it’s probably because you’re not doing it right... 
DINA: Yes, probably overspraying. We teach you not to overspray. 
GEORGE: …and how to combine the products in a unique way. If you have a goal or something you need to get done, call our customer service, they will tell you how to get there. You don’t have to figure it out alone. We share what we know, everything you need to know. There’s a lot to learn, but when you break it down in small steps no one needs to worry about it. I just think it’s beautiful, and if you go about it the right way it can be a really beautiful experience.

Which brings me to the next question. What do you thing is the most common misconception regarding airbrush makeup? 
DINA: They think it’s hard.

I totally agree. When I publish a video tutorial one of the most common comments is “Beautiful, but I would never be able to do it. I think you both can attest that yes, one would be able to do it with the right training.
GEORGE: If an artist feels a curiosity towards this they should follow it. It doesn’t mean they that they will have to just do airbrush from then on. The fact that we can do airbrush eyeliner doesn’t mean that everyone has to do it. Learn the foundation. Start somewhere where you’re comfortable and the progression will be natural. You will start with foundation, then blush, and work your way up at your pace. There is no rush.  
DINA: little baby steps.

However in your workshop you take all these baby steps very quickly. You learn to do eyes very quickly. I would say one of the biggest fear is how to do eyeshadow. They don’t realize it’s actually easier because the airbrush does the blending.  
DINA: That’s right. It does it for you. How could It be any easier?  
GEORGE: When people leave the workshop it’s not over. All the videos that we have on our channel will actually make more sense. The workshop is like a grounding experience after which people will be able to continue on their way.

3D Makeup with Dinair at IBS New York
You know I think it's amazing to come here on a Sunday and find you guys as excited and passionate about what you are doing as if you had just started last month, instead of over 30 years ago. The passion that you guys radiate is contagious!
DINA: That’s the feedback from all of our students.. they love it. [For us] it’s a love story. It’s passion. That’s what makes it not feel like work. 
GEORGE: well we feel like we help people, and thinking that we are helping people makes it easy to keep doing it.

Dina you have worked with many celebrities in your career, and of course you have use airbrushing on many of them…  
GEORGE: ALL of them! 
DINA: All of them, no traditional makeup, I was a terrible traditional makeup artist!
I’m sure you weren’t!
GEORGE: She was happy doing airbrushing and unhappy doing anything else. (laughs)

Out of all the celebrities that you have worked on, did you have any reactions from any of them that you remember most?  
DINA: Well I got hugs from Clint Eastwood, I don’t think it could get any better than that… They all loved it. Peggy Lee… Meryl Streep… everyone could see the difference.
So Meryl Streep… do you remember what movie?  
DINA: It wasn’t for a movie, it was for a political event. Cher, Bette Midler, everybody was there and they all came with their makeup artist, except Meryl Streep. She didn’t want to come in a limousine. She just wanted to come to the makeup tent and get made up, so I was there and I did it. I’ve done her makeup on a few other occasions, for interviews to promote movies and stuff…
And what did she say?  
DINA: She loves it! She thinks she looks real and natural, and I was fast! 

I think if we have Meryl Streep’s seal of approval, and talking about it here in Hollywood makes it even more real, we can rest assured about the advantages of airbrushing... Now you were mentioning Clint Eastwood, Airbrushing is an amazing tool for men. We’re not talking makeup as such here, we are talking correction of natural defects and camouflaging with ultra natural results. I don’t think there is a way to achieve the same natural effect.  
DINA: There isn’t. Dinair works under any kind of lighting, because your natural skin is showing around those little “pixels”, and dots are the ultimate camouflaging, and it’s beyond makeup.

Dina's whimsical hair creations and Makeup
One of the most amazing thing about Dinair is innovation. It’s the amazing pace at which you improve your product offering. Let's talk about the lines you have introduced in the last two years, like Colair Radiance, Hair Colair and Colair Extreme...  
DINA: Well Colair Radiance has no talc, no oils, long lasting and more moist, it’s more comfortable and longer lasting, more pigment. Colair Extreme has a lot more pigment, and doesn’t rub off. And I’m a hairdresser so we had to add some hair color right? The fact is there are so many colors and you can intermix anything to match any kind of trend, from purple hair to natural colors.

I just experienced Colair Extreme thanks to you last week and I was stunned by the resistance of the formula. The swatches you tried on my hand lasted for two days and didn’t come off until I decided to remove them, because they wouldn’t budge. I thought this is a major break through, because it can cover major skin issues with no need for color correcting. And all of this from a product that is still water based! Are there more colors planned for this line? 
 GEORGE: There are 14 colors available matching the most popular colors of our main line., you can mix them to get all of the mid tones. When you have 14 shades there are thousands of possibilities. Extreme is extreme, it can cover tattoos by itself. For someone with port wine we might recommend using half extreme and half Colair Radiance, because just Extreme would be overkill.

So even this formula can be mixed with the others right?  
Dina's Magic enjoyed by Meryl, Clint and... ME!
GEORGE: People can mix into our foundation shades some of our opalescent shades or shimmer shades to give a softer shimmer, and at a professional level these are all some very wonderful options.

This also looks like it could take care of the one objection that some artists seem to have in regards to water based lines, that is that water based finish is dry... 
DINA: yes. You can also take care of that by spraying moist and dewy over the makeup, instead of under. A touch of opalescent may also make it look more natural, more like your natural skin is showing through.

Stilll on the subject of innovation, what can we expect from Dinair in the near future?
GEORGE: We're going to be enhancing the online education, so that it will be easier for people to learn. Our news letter is being revitalized and will be coming out more frequently. Our online training is becoming more organized, and we are launching an internet forum where people will be able to exchange information interactively. As for everything else you can expect lots of new toys. The first in line to be released will be the new Dinair Pro Grip. I created it to help professionals spray better and beginners learn faster than they imagined possible. Pros and newbies will feel totally in control of the airbrush and will be able to really focus on the makeup, and learning more advanced looks will be easy and fun. Also it will fit all similarly shaped aibrushes!

Introducing Dinair's newest innovation: the Pro Grip

Now Dina and George, I want to thank you again for this opportunity to talk to you right here at Dinair’s head quarters in north Hollywood. Now is there any any dream, any goals you have set for your selves that you haven't achieved yet?  
DINA: We are still dreaming. We will never stop!
GEORGE: The game is on!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Dinair Airbrush Makeup Kit with acne coverage and summer look video tutorial

Dinair was the first brand to offer airbrush makeup for personal use. 
In over thirty years since its foundation one thing has never changed for this company, and that is its strong commitment to innovation. 
This commitment has never been as strong as in the last two years, when the brand more than doubled its makeup offering and completely re hauled all its equipment. Today Dinair remains one of the best kept secrets in the makeup industry, being used on set in many important TV and film productions, and being loved by many pros and home users alike. We met with the brand earlier in the spring (see our full report here) and I was very happy to upgrade to the latest version of their kit. What follows is my unbiased and unsponsored opinion, hoping that this review will be helpful to both pros and home users who are considering buying for the first time or upgrading. We are also enclosing a video tutorial so you can see this very kit in action, and its results.

Options, options...
Dinair Colair airbrush makeup
There are currently several different options on offer. On the Dinair Website you will find a budget version of the kit called Personal Basic for just 99 dollars, and two pro versions called Personal Pro and Studio Pro with the same type of compressor but a different quantity of makeup included. So what is the best choice? Unless you are on a very tight budget, I would definitely opt for one of the pro version. The Personal Basic kit has incredible value for money, offering a variable speed compressor at only 99 dollars, and gives everybody a chance to try the airbrush experience. The Pro options however offer a significantly better compressor (much quieter and more powerful) and a much bigger makeup bundle, , namely 8 shades for the Personal Pro and a whopping 16 shades for the Studio Pro. Amazingly you can choose all these makeup colors yourself and from any Dinair line, even the most expensive ones,  so if you can afford it at all you will be rewarded in the long run for your investment. I opted for a Pro version myself, so let's look at the equipment in detail.

The Compressor
Dinair Colair airbrush makeup
Dinair's Digital + Pro Compressor is the latest version of what was already the most portable option on the market. In this new incarnation, it has also become the quietest. It is so quiet infact that it becomes almost inaudible on the its lowest setting. To put it in terms that anyone could understand, you could use this in your bathroom without fear of waking up anybody sleeping nearby. A custom compressor foam mat makes it even quieter by absorbing vibrations on any kind of surface. The design is super sleek and the size is tiny, barely bigger than a single packet of cigarettes. For such a small size, its power remains unchanged from the previous models. With a 15+ PSI output this little devil will be more than capable of spraying any water based airbrush formula, and most silicone based ones. (Please read the relevant disclaimers: using any of Dinair equipment with any product other than Dinair's will void the warranty). I have had the previous model of compressor for almost four years, and it has been used very intensively at times. It is still in perfect working order, so I can only assume that this will follow suit. It certainly feels very reliable, and you can do pretty much any kind of application with it, though for extensive body painting, special FX and park work I would obviously choose a different model. If looks are important to you, there are 16 color choices available, some included and some at an extra charge. We love our own in Champagne color, wich is one of the standard options that we find very elegant. 

The Airbrush
Dinair Colair airbrush makeup
The new CX series airbrush recently replaced the previous JX model, and it is a remarkable improvement from its predecessor. This new version has a "floating nozzle", which means that its nozzle is not attached to the main body of the airbrush but rather fits snugly within the nozzle cap, and no wrench is needed to detach it. Cleaning is therefore made a lot easier, and it becomes a breeze with the new proprietary Cleaning System. Overall it performs very smoothly, and atomizes all of Dinair's products very efficiently. It is still a proprietary design, which means that if you are used to other types of airbrush it will take a little getting used to. I would definitely advise you to stick to guidelines and only use it with Dinair products, as recommended.  Pros who are fond of their standard airbrushes should not be discouraged though, because they can still attach them to the Dinair compressor via a simple plug in connector, and have more options for backup in case of problems (once again, please read the relevant disclaimers).

The Cleaning System
Standard Pro Kit contents except makeup
This simple, yet incredibly smart little piece of equipment is truly a game changer, and Dinair's CEO George Lampan should win some award for designing this. With a few simple moves that you can see at the end of our video tutorial, it takes the boredom out of the most dreaded aspect of airbrushing: the cleaning. All you have to do is pour a few drops of cleaner, squeeze a silicon cap a few times and let the fluid work its magic through your airbrush. A few minutes or hours later you can remove the cap, flush out the cleaner and rinse with water and you're good to go. Actually this is so effective that I wish Dinair made it available for any kind of airbrush anywhere in the world!  The new Airbrush Cleaner solution by Dinair is another thing that has been greatly improved: I found its previous version slightly irritant. This has no smell whatsoever and works very well removing every type of Dinair makeup, even the very tough Colair Extreme products.

The Packaging
Dinair Kit presentation box
Finally, another aspect that has been changed for the better is the packaging: the kit is still shipped in the white mailer box, but this now contain a sleek, nicely designed black presentation box with the compressor and the airbrush, while all the makeup and add ons are packed next to it in a clear plastic makeup bag.

Colair Opalescent Eyeshadows
We have illustrated Dinair's product lines in our previous article, and we will review the Colair Radiance foundation in detail in our next post, but you can already get an idea of how effective it is by watching the speed with which we can cover the blemishes on our model's face. We have used eyeshadows form the Colair Opalescent line in a bundle called Island Getaway Collection to achieve the look in this video. These eyeshadows are incredibly pigmented, yet they allow for a very fine application that will not budge. They don't transfer and most importantly they do not crease, crack, or set in the eyelid folds. Their shimmering texture makes them wonderful on young skin, and they should be the highlight on any look from prom to every day. The key to the best results, as with most airbrushable products, is the famous motto "less is more". The finer the application, the more amazing the results.

Please visit these pages again soon for more reviews on Dinair Airbrush Makeup!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Inside DINAIR Airbrush Makeup: in depth company review and product guide

Back to the originators
In 1981 Dina Ousley and George Lampman founded Dinair inc, the first company to offer a proprietary airbrush makeup formula and to make it available to the public at large. Over thirty years later Dinair has become synonym with airbrush makeup not only in the United States, but all over the world. It is now one of the "best kept secrets" in the industry at pro level, being used in countless productions (including a very, very famous period drama that we all love) without actually being credited. At the same time Dinair has reached hundreds of thousands of home consumers, who have turned from skeptical to addicted in the space of a makeup session.
Dina Ousley wecomes us to Dinair
Like so many other makeup artists and enthusiasts, I started my own journey in airbrushing when I opened a white cardboard box sent to me exactly from these very premises we are about to visit today. We actually stopped here two years ago, but having just started this website we wanted to build our content, our experience and our reputation with our followers before offering a closer look at this fundamental company. A few phone calls to Dina's wonderfully efficient assistant Dasia and a 15 hour flight later we have come full circle as we step through the door of the Dinair Studio at 5315 Laurel Canyon Blvd.
[Please click on each image to view in full size. Scroll to the bottom for more photos]

A warm welcome
The Dinair building blends well with the others on its street, with only a small sign indicating the brand's presence on the premises. Once you park at the back and walk through the green Studio door however, you immediately realize that you have arrived at the heart of this legendary company. The Studio itself is a well equipped, medium size room where walk in customers can come and not only shop the entire product line, but also have a skilled Dinair artist help them try the products on, and receive valuable information on how to achieve the same results at home. As we step through the door, this is exactly what is happening. 
 Tips from the originator!
Dina Ousley herself is supervising a color match on a visiting makeup artist who is trying out the product for the first time. Dina welcomes us and we are immediately swept away by her energy, her warmth and her enthusiasm. If you have seen videos featuring this lady, know that you will not be disappointed should you be fortunate enough to meet her: she is exactly as she appears, embodying the spirit that drives her company with such a joy and a vibrancy that you would think she started the whole operation just three months ago, rather than over 30 years back. She immediately makes us feel right at home, and then... we're off to lunch! As she very often does, Dina is showing her support for a charitable cause today, and she is kind enough to take us along with her. This gives us a chance to chat and to get to know each other, and for me it is a great opportunity to gather more information for the profile interview that I have planned and that I will publish soon.

Inside Dinair
Dinair Workshop in progress
We are back at the Studio, and it is now time for our tour of the operation. Dinair actually occupies five adjacent buildings on the same lot, where everything that the brand needs is produced or assembled. Having everything on site cuts production times significantly and gives the company amazing creative freedom. For example a new colour for any given line can be formulated, mixed, bottled and labeled right here on the premises, and a fully equipped video studio means that the promotional material can be shot on site. Dina takes us through the color mixing room, the equipment assembly and maintenance line where each airbrush kit is assembled and manually tested, and the huge stock room where thousands of bottles of color are ready to be shipped, and where the kits and the Internet orders are assembled. There is also an IT room where many technicians are busy at the computers constantly updating the website, and of course a mini studio set up for live video Skype lessons, a service that very few companies can boast. There are about one hundred employees at Dinair, yet the atmosphere is happy and informal, and everywhere we go we are met with warm smiles. This is nowhere truer than in the large Customer Service room where many operators are assisting customers from all over the Country and the world. The girls working here are Dinair's front desk and they know it: all of them wear beautifully airbrushed makeup that they expertly applied, and looking at them is like watching a live presentation on Dinair's latest products. 

The importance of training
George Lampman and the Dinair class
All of Dinair's Customers Reps are of course certified Dinair instructors, like the amazing Tasha Boyd who will be one of the teachers at the next course in just two weeks. Education is a truly fundamental part of Dinair's activity. Courses are held regularly all over the US and in many foreign countries, but nowhere more often than right here in the perfectly equipped room that opens up right from the Studio. We will be back here in two weeks to finish our interviews and we will witness some of that in person. Students flock here literally from all over the world, from South America to Japan with translators in tow. The  training is intense, but it takes place in an exciting, positive atmosphere that will leave everyone elated with a great sense of accomplishment. There are some great makeup artists ready to assist the students and to give them the necessary individual attention, and of course there are Dina and George themselves, so you can really say that you have trained with the originators.

Innovation never stops
We often say that Makeup is a very dynamic business, where innovation is vitally important. I have never seen this applied more to the letter than at Dinair. Since I started following them this company had done nothing but grow, but never so much as in the last two years, when every single aspect of the production from makeup to equipment and even packaging has been improved and expanded. 
Just over two years ago a new, sleeker and quieter version of the Dinair compressor was launched, and the makeup bottles were redesigned with new lids that finally allowed a completely mess free dispensation of the makeup. Shortly after the Colair line was launched, and later still a new airbrush started being distributed in the pro kits, later to replace the old JX model for good. The Hair Colair line was then added, and shortly after the Colair Electric colors finally replaced the old Bright line. A first successful foray into lip stains called "Pucker Up!" is being followed right now by new colors, and most importantly a revolutionary product called Colair Extreme was introduced just weeks before our visit.
Over the next few weeks we will publish much more content dedicated to Dinair, and we have shot three video tutorials demonstrating its amazing lines. Until next time, here is a breakdown of the many products this company offers.

The Dinair product line explained
If you are considering this brand for the first time I realize that you may feel confused by the very wide range of products, so here is a recap of the product line to help you choose what is more appropriate for your needs:

Glamour line: Water based. Finest, most undetectable application, with great coverage and staying power. 20 foundation shades plus 5 adjusters and  5 concealers. 24 matte colours for blush, lips, liner and eyeshadows, and 20 more Shimmer colours for eyeshadows and highlights.

Paramedical /Camouflage line: alcohol based for more durable, water proof coverage of skin imperfections, can also be used for tattoo coverage. 20 foundation shades (same colors as the Glamour line above), 5 concealer colors and 2 adjusters.

Fantasy line: alcohol based for special effects and body painting. 12 matte colors.

Colair Radiance line: water based. More pigmented for improved coverage, comfort and durability. 20 foundation shades (same colors as the Glamour lines, but identified by numbers).

Colair Opalescent line: water based. An ultra pigmented, ultra durable line of opalescent and shimmering colors. 12 basic shades always available, but many more special edition colors are often released for a limited time and available in the "collections" part of the web store.

Colair Electric line: Alcohol based. Ultra pigmented neon colours for face painting or for bold eyeshadows. 7 matte colors.

Colair Xtreme line: Water based. The most durable and blocking coverage available. Water proof, rub proof. Suitable to conceal serious skin imperfections and for tattoo coverage with no need for prior color correcting. 14 shades available identified by numbers, matching the most popular colors in the Glamor and Radiance lines.

Hair Colair Highlights line: 12 shades allow you to create highlights on visible on any color of hair, even dark tones.

Hair Colair Shadows line: 7 shades allow you to temporarily cover visible scalp patches or hair roots.

Please click here to access a comprehensive illustrated printable color chart directly on Dinair's Website.

PRO TIP: If you can't find a particular color from any of the lines, or if you wish to purchase a color that only seems available as part of a collection, insert the color name in the Dinair website search engine: you will find what you are looking for in its own individual page and ready to be added to your basket. 

Training at Dinair: the lovely Heaven Thorton demonstrating smokey eyes
With the amazing Tasha Boyd

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Temptu Airpod and True Color Lipstick review and video tutorial!

Our latest visit to the Temptu Showroom in Los Angeles allowed us to add more products from the Temptu Airpod line to our collection, and once we were there we just couldn't resist stocking up on the brand new True Color lipsticks, which we had been lucky enough to preview on our trip to New York the year before. 

Flawless & Natural with Temptu AIRpod
The AIRpod technology was originally conceived by Temptu to provide consumers with an easier way to obtain the much sought after airbrush finish without any of the drawbacks that come from having to use an actual airbrush, and that require a minimal learning curve. In many ways the technique is nothing short of genius: each shade of makeup comes in an individual "capsule" called AIRpod that already contains its own propietary airbrushing mechanism. Each Pod can be slotted on a sleek looking AIRPod airbrush tool, and easily taken off when you are done with that color, with no need for cleaning or disassembling any parts. The system is powered by a very compact yet very powerful compressor delivering up to 30 PSI of pressure. After an initial distribution deal with Sephora that contributed to make Temptu a household name in the States, the system was improved, reconceived and repackaged with a more professional slant. The AIRpod airbrush in this new system called 2.0 looks even sleeker, and the compressor is quieter and has a higher initial setting, producing an overall more powerful feel. With a simple hose adaptor it can be used to power any other type of airbrush, offering pros an excellent replacement for heavier, more cumbersome models, as we already discussed in depth in a past article.

The obvious advantage of the AIRpod system is of course immediacy: with no need for cleaning, measuring or mixing, nothing can quite beat the speed with which you can achieve a flawless application with the AirPod.
Temptu AIRpods and lipsticks
The AIRpod makeup is still silicone based, but slightly different from Temtpu's own S/B line. While it also has 12 foundation shades, these do not correspond to the S/B line exactly, and are more on the neutral side to allow for easier color matching, which is needed as you cannot mix shades before spraying them. To make up for this limitation you can layer two different shades on top of each other: the slower setting time of the Pod formulation will allow the makeup to somewhat mix on the surface, but this will require good practice and great care during the application. A slower setting also means that the finish of the makeup will remain slightly tacky for a longer time, and that in most cases it will need to be set with translucent HD powder. Once set, the coverage and durability of the makeup remain top notch, as will the resistance to transfer. Finally, another characteristic that separates the AIRpod line from the S/B range is the scent, which in the Pod case is a floral perfume that will linger for a while after application. This is by far my least favorite aspect of the AIRpod makeup, but once I got used to it I have definitely grown to appreciate this amazing technology. With the speed and practicality it offers, it's no wonder it has become a favorite backstage at many fashion shows, including the prestigious New York Fashion Week. You can apply a full professional looking makeup literally in minutes thanks to this tool, and it is almost unbeatable for nude, flawless looks on younger skin, as you can see from our own video tutorial, which was edited very minimally and where a beautiful look is achieved incredibly fast.

Temtpu Color True Lipstick Vivid Collection
The soft, "nude" look I created with the AIRpod was also the perfect canvas to showcase the amazing lipsticks from the Color True line recently launched by Temptu. There are eight beautiful shades ranging from the most delicate natural tones (Blushed Suede) to the boldest ones (Jet Rouge) and the most colorful (Violet Storm). The lipsticks were recently divided in two groups and offered at a discounted price: The Vivid Lip Collection including the shades Imperial Red, Pink Hype, Violet Storm and Coral Blaze, and the Marsala Lip Collection including Rose Velveteen, Blushed Suede, Plush Plum and Jet Rouge. I asked my collaborator Angela Rosa to play with these beautiful colors, and she produced the three looks you see in the video, one from each group of shades, and a bold retro glamour look that uses colors from both groups. To finish this last look we also used Temptu's Color True Lip Gloss, which can also be used to turn any color from the S/B range in a fantastic, durable glossy lip stain.  Just like myself, Angela was immediately won over by the amazing pliability and pigmentation of these lipsticks, which also offer excellent durability, and which have already become another reason to absolutely love Temptu.

Temptu Color True Lipsticks
PRO TIP: As easy and practical as using AIRpods is, don't forget to follow the easy instructions for their maintenance. The Pods can become stuck if you don't use them for a while, but a few gentle moves will quickly have them running again. I recently restored a Pod to full functionality simply by placing a drop of Temptu S/B cleaner on the tip, then pulling the needle's piston inside the pod back and forth a few times. Also don't forget to line the Pod with the AIRpod airbrush properly: the capsule must "click" in before you can use it, if it doesn't the trigger will slack and no makeup will come out.