Airbrush makeup allows for the fastest, most durable and most undetectable tattoo coverage. In the video tutorial below you can see the process carried out mostly in real time. In this post I would like to go a little deeper into the details, but first an important disclaimer: while airbrushing as a technique is much easier than commonly perceived, I would definitely not improvise on others before extensive practice. Attend a class if you can, and if you can't be sure to check these pages for more information that may be useful in selecting the equipment and products that are best for you.
Airbrushing offers incredible coverage that will be practically imperceptible, thanks to the process of nebulization of the foundation. There are many brands that produce makeup that is specifically designed to be used with an airbrush, and that will dry fast and be more durable than traditional brands. My first advice is therefore to use a made for airbrush product rather than try to dilute and spray your normal foundation. Airbrushing traditional products will still save you application time, but traditional formulas will not gain more durability simply by being sprayed. While silicone based makeup will retain its water proof finish, there are specific products created by airbrush brands specifically to cover tattoo, and these are the ones that will allow for the best results. Among these, two are definitely worth mentioning: Tattoo Cover by Dinair and the Dura line by Temptu.
Tattoo Cover (formerly known as Colair Extreme) is a water based formula that becomes totally water and rub proof once applied. It is truly an extraordinary product that can also serve as blocking concealer on the most severe skin irregularities, as well as latex safe skin color for SFX prosthetic applications. The product is available in a range of shades matching almost every color in Dinair's beauty lines (Glamour, Radiance, Soft Glow and Neutralizer).
The Dura line by Temptu is an alcohol based foundation that is available in the 12 shades of the classic S/B line by the same brand. Adjuster colors for color correction are also available, but almost never necessary in that the product offers enough coverage even for the darkest tattoos.
Other products that can be used successfully for tattoo camouflaging are the Endura line by European Body Art, the Hydro Proof line by Kett and the Nebula line by Kryolan. Non-monetized links to all these brands are available in our LINKS page.
HOW TO COVER TATTOOS: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
The process of covering up a tattoo is pretty much the same for all the products listed above, regardless of their specific formulation. Each step will have a slightly different duration depending on the product you chose to use.
STEP 1: Shaving the area
Shaving the area you are going to cover is always necessary, even when there are no hairs visible to the naked eye. Even the tiniest, thinnest hairs will create texture unless we shave the skin first.
STEP 2: Cleansing the skin.
A couple of minutes after shaving the area you can move on to cleansing with IPA. This will eliminate any oily residue and the skin will be ready for the application.
STEP 3: Light layers
Now you can move on to layering the color in light passes. Color matching before starting is crucial in order to find the shade (or shade mix) that will be right for the skin tone. Don't be tempted to cover the whole tattoo immediately, as this will lead to hot spots and visible product accumulation. Proceed in light passes and keep the airbrush at the right distance. You will see the tattoo fade more and more with each pass, and by working this way you will allow each layer to dry before moving to the next one. As colors oxidize once applied and usually darken, this will give you a better sense of the final result. As I was saying, color correcting is almost always redundant with the products I have listed above.
STEP 4: Setting Powder
Once you have layered enough passes you can move on to setting the area with HD powder or any fine powder. This will eliminate any residual wetness or stickiness. I advise using a flesh tone powder rather than a white or clear one, as these will leave behind a whitish cast. You can apply the powder by brush and later remove any excess with a setting spray or even water.
STEP 5:Spattering (Optional)
Even if the airbrushed coverage doesn't add texture to the skin, its blocking power could create a very uniform effect that might look a little artificial also depending on the color scheme of the skin we are covering. In order to break up this seamlessness a to achieve a more natural result, we can break up the tonality by spattering darker foundation shades (or even blush shades if alcohol based). In order to spatter with your airbrush you simply have to remove the needle and nozzle cap and lower the air pressure to the minimum, then flick the airbrush lever. Of course you will have to be extra careful not to touch the skin with the exposed needle.
CLEANING YOUR TOOLS AND REMOVING THE MAKEUP
CLEANING YOUR TOOLS AND REMOVING THE MAKEUP
When working with alcohol based products or with Dinair's Tatoo Cover it is crucial that you clean the airbrush immediately after the application. Failure to do so will lead to a very long, in-depth cleaning of all the pieces later on, because these colors create a sort of stubborn film in the deepest recesses of the airbrush. Removing the makeup from the skin on the other hand is quite simple if you use IPA or lacking that a very oily makeup remover.
"BEAUTY" CAMOUFLAGE OR SPECIAL EFFECTS?
For best results it is important to keep in mind that covering tattoos for "beauty" purposes is rather a camouflage work, where the primary goal is to prevent the eyes from focusing on what would otherwise be an obvious feature. If your goal is an absolutely perfect coverage that may recreate the exact color scheme of the rest of the skin unto the smallest details, you most likely will not use the technique described above, but rather a a multiple layer spattering of sheer alcohol base colors. This spattering technique is used in Special Effects, and it is not the object of this tutorial.