Despite the obvious jokes about state fairs and unicorn T-shirts, people have been using airbrush machines to apply red-carpet makeup for years, and they're a given on film and television sets. But most women outside Hollywood don't know much about them, and they've traditionally been prohibitively expensive. Recently, though, there have been a couple of less pricey (though still far from cheap) entries to the market, so I decided to take a look at them. If you're curious about what it takes to get made up like a celebrity, just keep reading.
Why airbrushes are great:
- Because you're using a spray of air to apply your makeup instead of brushes, the bacteria count is almost nonexistent. Nice if you have breakout prone skin or can't be bothered to clean brushes.
- Totally even coverage. The sprayer, also unlike a brush, is always going to put the same amount of makeup on your skin.
- You can use them to fake abs, create definition, cover up tattoos, and a bunch of other fun, sort of off-purpose tricks that are usually reserved for the cast of 90210 when they're shooting beach scenes.
Why they're not so hot:
- Even the cheapest ones are expensive. There's a new, more economical machine out called the Temptu AIRbrush ($225), which is a steal compared to the professional-grade Kett Jett machine ($784) that's the at-home standard. But still . . . 200 bucks when I can buy really, really good sponges for $12? I dunno.
- Airbrush makeup is pretty heavy-duty. Yes, you can vary the thickness of your coverage, but it's not going to be like tinted moisturizer or dabs of concealer. Unless you're a real, daily foundation wearer, you probably don't want this machine.
- You have to use airbrush-specific foundations. With the Temptu machine, the makeup's already loaded into pods that have to be attached to the end of the airbrush hose. Not fair—I want to use my custom-blended foundation with SPF, and it seems like an anticompetitive measure instead of a necessity. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure some enterprising product junkie (wink wink, nudge nudge) can crack this thing and repurpose it her way.
Photo by Flickr user grilledcheese