Let's talk about eyeshadow for hooded and textured eyelids. Is airbrush makeup still an option for these types of features? What special actions should you take to avoid cracking and stamping, and to ensure durability? Here's a simple step by step guide as a complement to my latest video tutorial. I like to keep my videos short and to the points, so I made this guide for those who may need further clarification on the the on-screen directions that you will find in the video here below:
STEP 1: Prime the eyelid
Airbrush makeup is a fine mist of nebulized liquid pigment. As such, oily skin makes it harder for the product to perform at its best, especially in the case of hooded eyelids where the skin folds onto itself creating a potentially problematic crease. To best prime the eyelid, cleanse then moisturise the area with a minimum quantity of non oily moisturiser, then apply a mattifying lotion, and finally prime with the smallest amount imaginable of mattifying primer. By "smallest amount" I literally mean the minimum quantity to cover on your brush or sponge so that it can be dabbed lightly on the eyelid. No visible amount should be left on the skin. If the primer used is silicone based (most primers are) it will not cause any problem for water based products, so long as you didn't exceed the quantities and you layer the eyeshadow in light passes, giving each pass a moment to dry. If the skin of the lid area is particularly oily, a very light dusting of HD (silica) powder will also help improve pigment adhesion and durability. We skipped filming the eye priming part on the video, and went straight to the general face primer, Smash Box Primer Water, which was perfect for our model's skin due to its water like, oil free formula.
STEP 2: Plan the eyeshadow design
If you know how to do traditional eyeshadow on hooded lids, you will know what to do with an airbrush: basically to create an illusion of depth you have to recreate the illusion of a lid crease above its actual natural seat, which is hidden by the over hanging skin. If you are not used to airbrushing color on smaller parts of the face, you can spray only air at the appropriate distance to see where the color will lay: the pressure of the air creates a visible depression on the skin which will help you get accustomed to the direction of the color. Once you have decided where you will apply the eyeshadow, evaluate the potential problems with skin texture: natural creases both horizontal and vertical will have to be opened up for correct application. In order to do that, you may have to gently stretch the skin by raising the eyebrow or the skit at the temple. For finer vertical lines near the tear duct, you can also stretch the area by gently pulling from the bridge of the nose.
STEP 3: Apply color
At this point you are ready to apply the color. Remember to set the pressure at a minimum strength to atomise the color correctly (without visible dots) and comfortably. Actual setting will depend on various factors such as product viscosity and equipment type. Practise on yourself first to ensure you know what you are doing before attempting on someone else. Barely rock the lever until you get a minimal output of color, which you will build up in intensity and coverage with repeated passes. Distance creates the blending, so practice spraying closer and gradually distancing your hand while spraying to create a seamless blend. Remember to dry the color by spraying air only after each layer. If you are stretching the skin to open up folds, remember to dry the color before releasing the skin. For a subtler result, start with lighter colors and use the darkest color for last. When applying on the mobile lid, start from the outer corner, which is always the darkest point. For the lower lid, you can also airbrush eyeshadow creating a very subtle gradient. In order to do this without discomfort for your client, you will need to use a stencil as shown in the video (check the FREE STENCILS page of this website to download a free template and recreate the very one I am using in the video). The technique is totally problem free and much easier than it looks, so long as you are gentle in placing the stencil and always aware of your air flow. If you are using a double action airbrush, always remember start the air away from the face before you get close to the eye area.
STEP 4: Final touches
Once you have finished your main eyeshadow application, have the customer open their eyes and observe how the texture of the skin changes. If you see gaps due to the change in the skin position, as it often happens with mature skin, you can reapply while gently stretching the skin to open up those areas. In some cases, depending on what formula you are using, you may be able to touch up with a detail brush using a tiny quantity of liquid product (a steel palette is essential to pour a drop of pigment in these cases). If you have trouble doing this of course you always use powder product in matching colors.
I have always been a huge fan of airbrush makeup for eyeshadow as it offers amazing possibilities for an impeccably blended and super fast application. The formulation of the products you are using will determine the steps to take in the application. Both water based and silicone formulas offer beautifully different possibilities. Unlike powder eyeshadow, which very often must be built up in intensity, airbrush product offer 100% pigment intensity almost immediately, which is why you have to be particularly gentle in layering passes. Practice is essential, but becoming proficient takes a lot less than you think.