Most Popular in:

Cosmetics Treatments

Email This Item! Print This Item!

Cosmetic Counter: Airbrush With Greatness

By Ameann DeJohn
Posted: May 23, 2008, from the July 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

In late 2006, while at Planet Blue in Malibu, California, I met a wonderful salesperson who shared with me the latest in makeup technology. I was thrilled to learn that foundation was now being airbrushed on to the skin, and that because of the professional results of the process, the store was unable to keep the aerosol cans of foundation in stock. Their demand was greater than their supply!

I listened as the salesperson explained in detail how the foundation was formulated, why it worked so well and how it left such a flawless finish. She then airbrushed foundation onto me while also instructing me on how to use it. The results, as promised, were spectacular. She matched me for color, suggested a bronzer, and I rolled over like a puppy and said, “Yes.” Ever since that application, I’ve been using airbrush makeup for special occasions and to even out tan lines.

Attending a major cosmetic company party, I again decided to check out the airbrush makeup offerings. This product sprayed out lighter than the other I had bought previously. Enthused once more, I attempted to purchase this product and found it was also low in stock, signifying a troublesome recurring theme. However, as a consolation, I witnessed an airbrushing demonstration where an entire body was airbrushed using a professional compressor complete with portable aerosol can techniques, finishing with an incredible look.

With results—and consumer demand—as exciting as those, spas everywhere are beginning to incorporate airbrush makeup offerings into their own treatment menus. And why not? As long as it is applied onto well-cared for, hydrated skin, airbrushed makeup can appear more natural-looking, stay on longer with a matte finish, and work quite well for special occasions. And in addition to those benefits, by retailing aerosol canisters, a spa can create a new profit stream and cultivate repeat clients through add-on sales. So if you are the first and the best in your area at applying airbrush makeup, your spa has a niche service and an edge on the competition.

The basics

First, though, it is important to get a grasp on the basic terminology that is required to understand the concept of airbrush makeup. Once you build a solid background, it will be easier to understand how to best utilize this service for your spa.

    What is an airbrush? An airbrush is a small, air-operated tool that evenly sprays fluids, such as liquid foundation, and is held in the hand like a pen. The airbrush works in conjunction with a compressor for in-house makeup application and must be attached to the air source in order to spray. The user activates the airbrush by depressing a trigger, which regulates the amount of spray delivered. As the user pulls back on the trigger, a combination of air and fluid are sprayed, creating a look that is very difficult to achieve with a sponge or fingertips.
    What is an air compressor? An air compressor pushes pressurized air to create a moving force. This pressurized air occupies a smaller space inside the compressor or in an air tank connected to the compressor, thereby pushing the liquid foundation through the airbrush so it can be atomized into a fine mist for application onto the skin.
    What is spray can makeup? Spray can makeup performs in the same manner as traditional aerosol cans. A sealed metal can is filled with a propellant as well as a product, such as makeup. The propellant gas is then pumped in at a high pressure, pushing down on the liquid product and dispensing it through the atomizer. Spray cans with an interior plastic tube work in a similar manner with the high-pressure propellant gas driving the liquid product up the plastic tube and out through the nozzle. The narrow nozzle serves to atomize the liquid, breaking it up into tiny drops which form a fine spray.
    Differences. The airbrush and compressor together can provide sustainable, repeatable use, as the tank may be refilled with foundation. Spray can makeup is only good until the product in the can runs out; however, spray can makeup can be sold for retail and is much more portable.

Airbrushing in time