Thursday, April 6, 2017

The truth about airbrush makeup: exposing false myths, lies and misconceptions (for pros and newbies).

Let's talk about all the misconceptions, false myths and flat out lies surrounding airbrush makeup. We just updated what we can proudly call the most comprehensive list of airbrush makeup related links in the world. Compiling it has required a lot of love, research and dedication, so allow me to indulge in a bit of a rant dictated by the very same love and dedication, hoping that it will be useful to both those who are approaching the technique for the first time, and those who have been using it for a while but have fallen pray to misinformation nonetheless.

There are mainly two types of false myths surrounding any discipline: those perpetrated innocently by people who still have to learn about it, and those spread more or less maliciously by some who practice the medium and have started pontificating and teaching others before gaining any real in-depth knowledge themselves. I have been using airbrush makeup -and only airbrush makeup- since 2011. In the last six short years I have traveled far and wide and met as many of the originators, makers and producers as I could find, often training with them, other times simply interviewing them. I have researched all the brands available and tried to acquire, test and demonstrate as many of their products as I could. It is an on going process, but the results are for every one to see in my videos, where the makeup is executed by myself and where no filters have been applied, and in the posts of this website, which were all written by me. So let's start debunking...

Myth number 1: Airbrush makeup is difficult to learn and execute, and is for professionals only.
FACT: It is no more difficult than using brushes. The idea that it's difficult comes from the fact that, unlike brushes, you probably haven't held one in your hand since you were a child. In fact once you have mastered a few basic techniques, you will realize that an airbrush is easier to use than a brush, in that it does the work of blending for you. All you have to do is learn to control it. Like Dina Ousley says, if you can hold a pen you can use an airbrush.

Myth number 2: Cleaning an airbrush is difficult and takes a very long time.
FACT: Once you get used to it, cleaning an airbrush takes no longer than cleaning a brush. In fact it can take less, because pigments wash off metal much faster than they do from bristles. The myth is born out of the fact that you cannot skip cleaning (at least minimally) an airbrush after each use, while people very often skip cleaning a brush. By the way, if you are a makeup artist who skips cleaning brushes, you should probably rethink your profession.

Myth number 3: You cannot, under any circumstance airbrush around the eyes (to conceal under eye circles).
FACT: If you don't know how to do it, I agree that you should not. The fact is, with the right amount of pressure and the right amount of care you totally can and probably should. Don't believe me? Watch any of my videos, I demonstrate it all the time and all my models are perfectly fine with it. So why should you do it? Because airbrush makeup products allow for a finer application, if applied correctly they do not cake on the skin, and once applied they generally do not move and settle in fine lines.

Myth number 4: Airbrush makeup is only for contour and base anyway.
FACT: That is utterly ridiculous. In fact it allows you to create the most amazing eyeshadow looks in the shortest amount of time imaginable. Once again it's about a little practice and product knowledge, the necessary amount of which varies for each person. I have had many students realize perfect eyeshadows on their second day of class, which makes me very proud as a teacher and a bit jealous as an artist, as I wasn't that fast when I started.

Myth number 5: You must NEVER/ALWAYS use a circular motion when airbrushing.
FACT: As long as you keep your airbrush moving you may use whatever movement is suitable for the area you are layering colors on. A circular motion is only wrong if you keep circling in exactly the same spot, but as soon as you move the airbrush all over the area it is in fact a very efficient way to obtain a uniform coverage. This is a myth initiated by airbrush painters who started teaching makeup expecting to apply the same exact rules they used for canvas to a face, and it has somehow stuck with some pernicious youtubers who took their recommendations too literally. In all of our videos we use circular motions, linear motions, "dagger stroke" like motions and whatever else is useful. Judge for yourself. 

Myth number 6:Real professionals never use "single action" airbrushes. 
FACT: "Single action" is a misused term that in beauty makeup indicates "continuous airflow" airbrushes. Belittled by some airbrush painters who teach makeup, these airbrushes are in fact more practical and easier to use, and that's why the beauty industry has embraced them. Actual "single action" airbrushes are only used in painting and in special effects, and no beauty brand distributes them (see this post for more on the subject). 

Myth number 7: You can NEVER do "this" or "that" with an airbrush makeup.
FACT: Whoever says that is either ill informed or knowingly lying. There are of course several things you may prefer to achieve in other ways, but if you say airbrushing can't do something, chances are you're just not doing it right...

Thank you for reading so far. I hope this didn't come across as too direct or heaven forbid contemptuous, once again at the end of the day it's all out of love for this amazing technique.

Daniel Pacini,


  1. Hi! Great article! But i noticed you didn't post the Khuraira Cosmetics logo? They are the No1 Airbrush Makeup brand for women of color. It's an American base company! Is it that you don't know about them or you had enough logos?
    Please reply!
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Saffron, I am so sorry but for some strange reasons I only just saw this post. Could you please send more info about Khuraira? I am very curious and would be happy to write about it. Please write to me at Thank you!

  2. Grazie per le informazioni!! Mi piacerebbe imparare questa tecnica perché si potrebbero fare molte cose lo trovo un ottimo metodo per risolvere molti problemi e ottenere degli ottimi risultati

  3. It's always useful to dispel wrong beliefs