Sunday, September 10, 2023



new Dinair One Variable Speed System
The new Dinair One Variable Speed System

It's rather extraordinary how some of the most revolutionary innovations are introduced quietly, without any fanfare, and sneak into our daily routine where they slowly take such an important place that we can't imagine ever doing without them again. 

The new Dinair One, variable speed compressor is one such innovation for us Dinair loving makeup artists. I received my testing unit over a year ago and I kept quietly waiting for a big launch to share my thoughts. The big launch never came, and the new One model simply and quietly started being sold on the Dinair website, replacing the single speed unit that had been available up to that point without any special announcement. Therefore I'd like to take it upon myself to tell that this is the most fantastic innovation to hit the airbrush makeup market in the last few years

If you follow my page you might have seen my rave reviews for the first version of this applicator. I had been in touch with Dinair about the next version and I knew it was going to feature more than one pressure setting, so I was expecting something along the lines of the "three speed" mini units that are already present on the market, where the fixed selectable pressure levels are not very powerful, nor particularly useful. What I got instead, to my amazement, was a completely versatile unit that does everything that the Dinair table top mini compressor does, and has as much power, without the encumberment of cables and hoses, and keeping the same form factor of the first Dinair One model. Thanks to one single multi tasking button, this little powerhouse can produce anything from the softest PSI output to full flushing out mode, and anything in between. 

The functioning of the button being so articulated, I had to take a little time to get used to it, but after using the unit for a couple of full face makeups it became second nature. The unit basically operates in two modes: I will call them Variable Pressure and Pre Set Pressure modes. In the variable mode you can press the top edge or the bottom edge of the button to achieve any pressure output you wish and the air strength increases gradually and smoothly as if you were using a normal dial. In the Pre Set Pressure mode the compressor immediately jumps to the strongest output (flush out strength /cleaning mode) or to a medium preset that comparable to  the one produced by the first version of the Dinair One.To switch between the two aforementioned modes, all you have to do is press the same button for a couple of secongs. In the video posted below you can see a more detailed illustration of how the multi function button works. 

All of this versatility is packed in a form factor that, like I said, is almost identical to the previous version, maintaining for this unit the title of most ergonomic hand held compressor out there, and remarkably improving the game in terms of product overall durability. The battery of this new version of the Dinair One offers a performance comparable to the one of the first model. Of course changing the pressure often and using a stronger airflow has an impact on the battery duration, but don't forget that this unit also works when plugged in the mains, and having a long charging cord, it will allow you to continue using it with almost the same freedom as if it was cable free. 

To accompany the soft launch of the new Dinair One, a new Dinair airbrush model called DLX was selected. This replaced my much beloved JX2, which is still the only airbrush I never had to take apart and which still performs amazingly after over three years. The new DLX airbrush has a press-on nozzle, which makes it a lot easier to deep clean for novices and those who are not very technically inclined. 

DECEMBER 2023 UPDATE: The above mentioned DLX airbrush model was quickly followed by an updated version. The brand new "DLX Gold Tip" is made with even stronger materials than its predecessors in order to minimize maintenance and optimize performance. The DLX Gold Tip also features a press-on nozzle to facilitate deep cleaning, which becomes super easy and fast thanks to the custom designed Cleaning Caps System. I have used this new model for many different kind of makeup looks, from HD proof, undetectable skin correction to full theatrical glamour, and the airbrush has performed flawlessly throughout, maintaining its initial "brand new airbrush" smoothness, responsiveness and feel even after many uses. The spray pattern of the DLX Gold Tip is easily the finest I have experienced in an airbrush designed for makeup, making this the ultimate Dinair airbrush.

I have been using the new Dinair One for just over a year now, and in several projects and demos, the latest of which I am pasting below. During this time, and a keen observation of the airbrush market in general, I have not seen anything comparable being produced anywhere else. I cannnot help but use the word genius to describe George Lampman's incredible new design. I will close this by saying that for a Dinair airbrush makeup lover or professional there is only one thing better than having the new Dinair one, and that is... having two!

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Airbrush Makeup is still the best kept secret in the beauty industry in 2023... and why it will stay that way.

In 1025 we will celebrate one hundred years since Max Factor reportedly used airbrush makeup for the first time on the set of Ben Hur. In all likelihood what he did was more akin to spray painting, since the goal was to darken the bodies of the many extras involved in the production in the fastest and more natural way possible. Still, he demonstrated a  principle that was never to be forgotten, establishing for the first time the many advantages of applying color on skin through air. While the most innovative professionals in the Hollywood makeup industry continued to experiment with airbrushing beauty makeup, as demonstrated by the photograph of Monty Westmore working on Olivia De Havilland on the set of Gone With The Wind, the technique survived mainly in the realm of special effects and prosthetic design, where the speed and subtlety it was able to achieve became an essential asset to the specialized teams in the budding SFX world. 

With the advent of High Definition in the late seventies, everything started to change for the makeup industry. The new digital recording medium allowed for a level of definition of the image that the contemporary products available to makeup artists were struggling to live up to. Makeup suddenly became obvious on camera, and huge changes were needed. It was at this moment that airbrushing came to the foreground, as a way to achieve the undetectable result that was now needed, and the first innovators such as Dina Ousley and her team began producing formulas that were made specifically for this type of application. The mainstream beauty industry meanwhile began its long attempt to catch up by creating the first HD formulas that had subtlety and true to life color matching as their goal, all without having to use a much dreaded mechanical instrument such as the airbrush.

These attempts remained pretty underwhelming throughout the '90s and early '00s, when the awareness of airbrushing among professional makeup artist was at its peak. Then in the following years the industry (almost) caught up, producing formulas for traditional application that now yield more comparable results to those obtainable with an airbrush. More importantly, they managed to promote the idea that more and more products were necessary to achieve the desired results, as the personal image culture shifted thanks to social media and the beauty industry as a whole reached unprecedented earnings in the western hemisphere. 

In my years of teaching airbrush makeup, I have often been asked why doesn't every pro makeup brand adopt and promote airbrushing, seen as the results are still above those obtainable any other medium, and the time, resources, hygiene practices and environmental impact needed to achieve them considerably less. The answer is the same as always: money. With single made-for-airbrush products that effectively do the job of three or four traditional ones, much longer expiration dates and PAOs, remarkably smaller quantities required, and fewer tools and sanitization needed, airbrush makeup is simply too efficient for its own good. Then of course there is the educational aspect: unlike brushes, an airbrush is still a tool that was not given to us to play with from a very young age, therefore we perceive it as scary and difficult to use. The opposite is true, as those who give it a try soon find out. 

It is now September 2023 and I have just updated the LINKS DIRECTORY of this website, the most complete listing of Airbrush Makeup brands and related companies on the internet. The update was long in the making, because the global pandemic had severe implications for the beauty industry and even more so for the independent companies that keep this medium alive. Year after year, as I give thanks for their continuing presence, these courageous innovators confirm my now deeply held belief that while airbrush makeup will never be "mainstream", the undeniable advantages it offers to those who know how to use it ensure that it will continue to be our best kept secret for the imaginable future. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

ROCKCANDY AIRBRUSH MAKEUP review and video tutorial

Rock Candy Airbrush Makeup
Rock Candy Airbrush Makeup

Introducing Rock Candy Airbrush

Based in California, Rock Candy Beauty is the first new airbrush makeup brand to come into the post pandemic market. Founded by former TV producer and beauty entrepreneur Kathy Burke, RockCandy offers a product with a formulation focussed on vegan, organic, cruelty free and clean ingredients. More than makeup, better than skincare is Rock Candy's ambitious claim, which I was lucky to be able to put to the test in the last few months.  

The Product Lineup

Rock Candy offers 16 shades of  foundation produced in both a matte and a satin line. The product lineup is rounded up by two blush colors, two highlighers (illuminators) and two bronzer shades.The foundations are available in 7.5, 15 and 30 ml sizes (1/4 oz, 1/2 oz and 1 oz) and the other colors in 7.5 and 15 ml sizes. Also available is a Setting Spray (15 ml or 50 ml) and a 120 ml cleaning solution. 

The kit that Rock Candy offers is a standard, 3 pressure setting compressor with a generic airbrush. The compressor has a stated maximum output of 25 PSI., 10 LPM (liters of air per minute). The kit comes in a very nice packaging with a few of little extras that will delight the average consumer. 

There is a very reasonably price starter kit option that includes the tools and four foundation colors, and then there are several more purchasing options for the makeup, including a complete line bundle aimed at professionals. 

My experience with Rock Candy

I was truly happy to see a new brand emerge in what has been a very difficult period for the beauty industry and the whole world. The great courage and effort that it must take at any time to launch an alternative product deserves even more kudos for the timing in which this effort was carried out. I like how Rock Candy presents itself, and the great care it shows both in the formulation and the packaging. 

As stated, the Rock Candy formula aims to deliver high quality makeup with organic, vegan, cruelty free and clean ingredients. The many certifications the brand went through attest to the quality of the ingredients (posted below). The formula is of course water based and very rich in plant based components. It has a light but rich consistency and a viscosity that is low enough for the product to run through any airbrush set up without any worries. The coverage is comparable to other water based products in the market, while the two available finishes differ significantly. The matte formula is a luminous matte that creates a very natural (if not completely indetectable) result. The satin line has a texture that is very similar to silicone based products, it is more obvious on the skin and is definitely dewy, which is excellent if you like this finish. The color range is excellent for light to medium skin tones, while it probably could use an expansion of a few additional darker shades for deeper tones, but don't forget that as always with airbrush makeup, every shade can be mixed to achieve near -infinite color combinations.

Several reviewers have found issues with the staying power of the foundation and the texture. I can concur that the transfer and rub resistance of the products as applied with the Rock Candy airbrush kit is below what we have come to expect from airbrush makeup standards, especially for the Satin line, but (and it is a huge "but") we can't forget that the natural and vegan formulation must impose a slight compromise. Moreover, these problems are easily corrected with the use of the Rock Candy setting spray and a setting fine powder (Rock Candy is about to launch its own). Having tested the products with different tools, I have come to believe that this brand's choice of compressor and airbrush, while perfectly fine for the general consumer, may not be up to standard for professional use. The products performs a lot better when applied in very light layers at a higher pressure than the Rock Candy compressor is able to produce. With a finer nebulization, the Rock Candy formula can give its best results, and become a very valid alternative for those who wish to use on themselves, or offer their clients, a formula of such high standards. 

I would definitely encourage my fellow airbrush artists to give this product a chance, as it can become a very good asset for a makeup artist who works with a more natural minded clientele. Another product I would encourage fellow muas and personal users alike to try are the blush, highlighter and bronzer tones. These have beautiful tones, great pigmentation and sparkle, and very good resistance too, so much that they can be used as eyeshadows with no problems, like I did in the featured video tutorial. I definitely hope that Rock Candy will expand on the shade range available for this product in the future. 

Rock Candy INCI (ingredients) and Swatches

Matte Finish: WaterGlycerinHydrolyzed Rice ProteinPropanediolHydrolyzed Jojoba EstersPalmitoyl Tripeptide-5Benzyl AlcoholMicrocrystalline CelluloseAcrylates/Octylcrylamide CopolymerPrunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed ExtractJojoba EstersTetrasodium Glutamate DiacetateTromethamineSalicylic AcidXanthan GumCellulose GumAvena Sativa (Oat) Bran ExtractSorbic AcidSodium BenzoatePotassium SorbateCamellia Sinensis Callus ExtractPanax Ginseng Callus Culture ExtractPhyllostachys Pubescens Meristem Cell Lysate Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)Iron Oxides (CI 77492)Iron Oxides (CI 77491)Iron Oxides (CI 77499). 

Satin Finish: Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Brassica Napus Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Glyceryl Citrate/Lactate/Lineolate/Oleoate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Acrylates/Octylcrylamide Copolymer, Benzyl Alcohol, Mica, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polyglyceryl-3 Caprate, Polyglyceryl-4 Cocoate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Jojoba Esters, Tromethamine, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Salicylic Acid, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Camellia Sinensis Callus Extract, Panax Ginseng Callus Culture Extract, Phyllostachys Pubescens Meristem Cell Lysate, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77499). 

rock candy airbrush swatches
Rock Candy Foundation Swatches

rock candy airbrush swatches
Rock Candy Foundation Swatches

rock candy airbrush swatches
Rock Candy Blush, Bronzer, Illuminator Swatches