Monday, April 8, 2019

Teaching (and learning) the power of airbrush makeup: a multi-brand approach


A literal "hands on" approach to teaching airbrush makeup
Very shortly after I started publishing the Italian version of this website, I received a call from a makeup artist asking me to teach her the technique. I was both flattered and surprised. I had started posting about airbrush makeup out of a simple consideration: the web was lacking a truly independent, comprehensive and in-depth source of information on this aspect of makeup. I decided to fill in the gap and share what I knew and what I was still learning, trying to produce the kind of reference bible that I would have liked to find for myself when I first became interested in airbrushing. I mentioned the "Italian version" of the site because Italy is where I live most of the time. Of course if I wanted to have a broader audience I knew I also had to publish in English, which is why you are reading this very page.

Back to that first phone call, the girl's name was Angela, she was a Cosmetologist and a makeup artist, and had heard about the technique but couldn't find a course that seemed reliable to her. I told Angela that I would be happy to teach her, but in order to make it worthwhile for me and not too expensive for her, perhaps we should try to put a small group together. Flash forward to a few months later, and my very first class was formed. I had prepared a program and a manual, but of course I was almost more scared than excited at the idea of teaching a bunch of makeup artists. After all my own background was more in the performance field than strictly in makeup. Yet I couldn't -still can't- contain my enthusiasm for airbrushing, since it had completely changed the way I used to do makeup and it had done so for the infinitely better.



I decided from the start that I wanted to teach this discipline in all of its aspects and with as many brands and formulations as possible, in order to give a truly objective idea of its potential. Each students would learn basic application techniques first, then experiment on themselves and on each other with the different brands. While working out a deal with a single manufacturer would surely have been easier and possibly much more financially rewarding, I always thought that it would be tantamount to trying to teach traditional makeup with one single brand as if it was the only one available and the best one in every aspect. We know this would be absurd for traditional, so why should we apply it to airbrushing? The final results of an airbrush application vary distinctively depending on the formula (water based, silicone, hybrid or alcohol), and on the brand that is being used. I am not discounting the importance of single-brand training of course.That remains the best way to get to know a certain line in depth, and there's nothing as exciting as learning directly from the creators of the product. However, since those weren't available anyway in my country, I decided to offer a multi-brand approach as this was the best way to promote the idea that airbrushing is not a novelty or a marketing gimmick, but a whole new  and very effective way of approaching makeup, and that it can be easily integrated with traditional techniques but also replace them altogether if one is so inclined.

Teaching airbrush makeup in Italy
I always say at the beginning of the class that I am going to treat the group as if they had decided to throw away their brushes, and that in order to show the medium's full potential we will be doing absolutely everything (except inner waterline) with their airbrush. They always look to me as if I was crazy, but they inevitably leave with a new perspective.
This is inevitably what has happened since that first group.
Their response was both enthusiastic and excited, and word was quick to spread. Five years later I am not only teaching classes that I organize directly, but many of the best beauty academies in my country have taken an interest in what I do and have started hiring me to teach courses for their own students, whose feed back is invariably and overwhelmingly positive. Teaching has become a substantial part of my calendar, and it has given me the perfect excuse to continue obsessing with any new product being launched by the various brands. After all, if I am to be the "Airbrush Makeup Guru" I have to be up to date, don't I? At least this is what I tell myself any time I am about to spend a small fortune in makeup.

The fact is, teaching me has made me immensely better as a makeup artist. The process of explaining techniques to my students, and that of exchanging opinions and information with them, has allowed me to learn almost as much as I have taught.
And so now you know the reason why there are hiatuses, and sometimes long periods of time pass between posts. If I am not editing a new video or reviewing a new product, I am probably teaching courses around this country and hopefully more soon, since languages are not an issue for me.
And Angela? Well, not only did she become an airbrushing enthusiast, but also a very dear friend, who is now helping me in most of my videos. Whenever you see female hands on the screen, they are hers. 

Special thanks for the photos in this post to my friend and inspiration Regina Azizova @reginainneverland

Airbrush makeup students at work

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