Should You Use Airbrush Makeup on Your Wedding Day?

Airbrush makeup has become a popular choice for brides everywhere. We dive into the benefits of airbrush makeup, here.

By Emily Forrest

Should You Use Airbrush Makeup on Your Wedding Day
Photo by Zola

You have put in hours of research to pick the ideal venue, tried on countless dresses to find the right one, and tasted an array of options to select the hors d'oeuvres that your guests will love.

You have invested time and money to ensure that each element of your wedding day is as perfect as it can be, so we know you won’t skimp when it comes to your wedding day beauty routine. There’s extra pressure for your wedding day makeup to look flawless and withstand 12+ hours of photo-taking, crying, dancing, eating, and drinking—that’s a lot to ask of makeup. But, thankfully, the chemists, technicians, and beauty experts have come up with a solution.

Airbrush makeup application has become the popular choice for brides and their beauty teams, but what is it, and should you use it? We’ll answer these questions below by diving into the pros and cons of airbrush makeup, and comparing it to the old-school way of applying bold bridal makeup.

What Is Airbrush Makeup?

Traditionally, foundation is applied with a brush, sponge, or your fingers, but, thanks to innovative technology, a new application tool has entered the market: the airbrush. If you have ever received a spray tan, you are probably familiar with the airbrushing technique. The same technique used on your body, albeit on a much larger scale, when you get a spray tan is used on your face and neck when you get airbrushed makeup.

So, how does this type of makeup work? An airbrush gun is attached to a makeup air compressor, filled with product, and then sprayed onto the skin. And, although it sounds high tech, it’s pretty simple to use. So, it’s no surprise that professional makeup artists have adopted the technique. However, being the latest doesn’t necessarily mean that something is the greatest. There are plenty of benefits of airbrush makeup application that influenced the shift to it from traditional forms of application, but some brides and beauty professionals still opt for more traditional methods and makeup artistry.

Airbrush Makeup vs. Regular Makeup

Airbrush makeup is different from makeup both in how it’s applied (as mentioned, with an airbrush gun) and in its formula. Because the particles need to be small enough to travel through the airbrush gun during the application process, airbrush makeup is generally thinner and more lightweight than regular makeup.

Many brides prefer to go the airbrush makeup route because not only is the airbrush application generally more even than other methods (like a sponge or makeup brush), but the final result gives beautiful coverage without feeling heavy or cakey. Airbrush makeup also photographs well—another reason it’s a popular choice for wedding makeup.

Should You Use Airbrush Makeup on Your Wedding Day?

It’s natural to feel hesitant about any makeup you use on your wedding day. After all, you want to look your best. This is why setting up a makeup trial with your makeup artist before your wedding day is so important. It gives him or her a chance to get to know your skin, coloring, what you like, and test out all their products and techniques on you. And it gives you the opportunity to make any changes you want before committing to a look for the big day, plus the peace of mind that it will be just as you want it. You can also see how long the makeup will last, to ensure that it will hold up on your wedding day. If you’re considering airbrushed makeup, this is the prime opportunity to give it a trial run.

While it has become common, you will want to double-check that your makeup artist offers airbrushed makeup in the first place. It’s not a bad idea to get his or her input, too, to help you make your decision. He or she is the expert, after all. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of airbrush makeup application to understand why it has become so widely used and if it’s right for you.

The Pros

A Photo-Worthy Finish

Airbrushed makeup has an ultra-smooth finish that looks great in photos. It got its start on the red carpet and is used by makeup artists to the stars. They use it to make sure that their celebrity clients look their best for the cameras. If it’s good enough for the Oscars, it’s probably good enough for your wedding day. Airbrushed makeup will give your skin a red-carpet-worthy finish that will translate beautifully in all the gorgeous shots, both close-up and from afar, that your photographer captures.

Should You Use Airbrush Makeup on Your Wedding Day Photo Credit // Kristen Browning

It Lasts

One of the biggest benefits of airbrushed makeup is that it most often doesn’t require touch ups. On your wedding day, you’ll be busy getting married and all, so you don’t want to have to sweat the small stuff, like reapplying your makeup. Airbrush foundation formulas can be either silicone-based or water-based, and the difference can be key in ensuring that it lasts all day—even without setting spray. If you’re using a silicone-based airbrush foundation, it’ll be much more water-resistant than traditional makeup. This means that it can hold up against sweat, tears, and rain, so you can cry your eyes out or dance your heart out without giving a second thought to messing up your makeup. Like all makeup, it will survive even better with a primer and setting powder, but if you remember those steps, it shouldn’t falter at all. For makeup that will look just as good at your sparkler exit as it does when you walk down the aisle, airbrushed is a great option.

It Offers Buildable and Even Coverage

As we said, the airbrush guns are pretty high-tech. So much so that they offer a range of coverage settings and speeds to ensure proper coverage for a variety of skin types and face segments. While a spray may not seem easy to manipulate, these guns are built for accuracy and they really do offer an allover, even finish. The coverage is buildable, but lightweight, so don’t be afraid that you’re committing to a full-coverage or heavy look if you opt for the airbrush. In fact, due to the spray technique, it’s quite the opposite. It goes on in light layers that dry quickly so that you can continue to add, or not, as you go, and thus customize the coverage to your personal taste. You can experience better coverage with a more lightweight feel than you can achieve with traditional methods.

The Cons

It Is Expensive

OK, that all sounds great, but what’s the catch? Airbrush makeup requires additional tools and training for the makeup artist, so it often comes at a premium. This additional fee can range anywhere from $50 to $150. Ask for pricing and be sure that you are willing to fork over the funds for airbrushed makeup before getting your heart set on it.

There Are Limited Options

Because not every brand has created an airbrush tool to match their line of foundations, the formula options out there for airbrush foundation are far fewer. On the other hand, if you opt for traditional application methods, you have endless foundation options. You can pick a brand that you love and ensure the formula is safe for your skin. Plus, a talented makeup artist can make traditional foundation look just as flawless as airbrush makeup, and with the right pre- and post-products that make it last as long, too. After all, he or she probably has years of experience under his or her belt working with the old-fashioned methods, and less experience working with the newer airbrush. Once again, this is a great question to pose to your beauty professional. Ask if he or she is using the best wedding day makeup products for your skin.

It Can Look Cakey

If your makeup artist isn’t experienced with airbrush makeup, he or she may lack the light touch it requires. If applied properly, airbrush makeup can be light, natural-looking, and create a flawless complexion, but if the artist doesn’t have a proper airbrush technique, it can easily look thick and unnatural. It’s also important to note that an airbrush makeup look appears far better on well-hydrated skin. If your skin is on the drier side, it can look cakey, or flakey, neither of which you want on your wedding day. Make sure that your skin is well-primed and hydrated before using airbrush makeup, or opt for a traditional formula that seals in more moisture. See our guide to a bridal skincare routine at home for extra prep tips.

It Is Difficult to Re-Blend

If you do fall into the dry skin camp, or the waterworks are likely to start before your makeup has a chance to dry completely, it can be difficult to fix patches with airbrush makeup where the makeup flaked off or streaked. Traditional foundation formulas are much easier to reapply and re-blend with a sponge, brush, or your fingers. So, if you’re worried about needing to fix any minor imperfections in your makeup throughout the day, you may want to opt for a foundation that you can keep on you (or your MOH) for emergency reapplications.

When done right, airbrush makeup can provide a flawless finish that is long-lasting and leaves you photo-ready for your wedding. When else will you have the opportunity to try out this new savvy technique? If you confidently choose airbrush makeup for your wedding day, make sure that you find an experienced airbrush makeup artist (and plan a trial run) to reap all the benefits of airbrushed makeup.

Should You Use Airbrush Makeup on Your Wedding Day Photo Credit // Dolce Photography

For more makeup and wedding planning resources, see our helpful articles below:

Airbrush Makeup FAQs

Still have questions about the airbrush makeup process? Let’s take at a look at some FAQs brides have about going airbrush for their wedding or bridal makeup:

  • Is airbrush wedding makeup more expensive than traditional wedding makeup? Many makeup artists charge more for airbrush services when compared to traditional makeup—so if you opt for airbrush wedding makeup, you may pay a premium.

  • Do you need to touch up airbrush makeup throughout the day? When applied correctly, airbrush makeup should last all day and require minimal (or no!) touch-ups throughout your big day.

  • Can you apply your own airbrush makeup? A high-quality airbrush makeup application takes skill, experience, talent, and equipment—so unless you’re a professional makeup artist, you won’t want to try to DIY it (especially for your wedding!).

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