Airbrush Makeup Has Been Around Longer Then You Think

For a spectacular flashback to Biblical times in the movie Noah’s Ark in 1929, Max Factor was suddenly called upon to make up over 2,000 extras before the day’s shooting began. Although Max had personally trained 40-plus makeup artists to handle studio requirements, few could be called in from their assignments on such a short notice, and the process of doing full body makeup was a lengthy one. With little time to solve the problem, Max and his son Max Jr. hit upon the idea of “mass makeup.” By adding a liquid solvent to their regular foundation, they could spray the actors’ bodies and faces just as car manufacturers painted their products. Spraying provided a quick solution for large groups of extras. Although the stars and featured actors that required close-ups had to be carefully and individually made up, the extras lined up and were sprayed in groups.

Airbrush has become a mainstream for makeup artists, especially for those in television and film. One of the first TV shows to use airbrush makeup on set was “Ally McBeal”in 1998. One of the artists started experimenting with it and once the actors saw how flawless they looked (on and off camera) the entire cast insisted upon it. Therefore, the shows makeup staff was required to quickly learn to airbrush, or be replaced! Word spread through Hollywood fast about how amazing skin looked that was airbrushed. Soon after the Ally McBeal cast became believers, the cast of Friends was introduced to airbrushing. Of course, once they experienced the results, there was no going back. Airbrush makeup has since snowballed into becoming a staple in the entertainment industry. The demands for airbrushing started becoming greater than the number of artists who knew how to apply it, and the makeup artists union found themselves having to offer classes to the “old-school” veteran artists. Today with the majority of productions being filmed in High Definition, airbrush makeup is not just popular but considered the only option.

Of course, the American public wants to have whatever celebrities are using, so there have been many attempts to launch smaller, simplified versions to retail consumers. Several companies have failed in their first attempts to make it mainstream infomercials and malls. The results an airbrushed foundation gives is truly unsurpassed, especially on clients with blemishes, acne scars or wrinkles. Coverage is necessary when trying to camouflage issues such as raised blemishes. When applying foundation with fingers or a sponge, the bumps and blemishes end up getting the most pressure, therefore getting less coverage then the rest of the face. That is why when foundation is blown on via a compressor, the raised blemishes get equal coverage giving the client a flawless appearance with much less foundation.

Many brands of cosmetics claim to have their own airbrushes, however they tend to just purchase them in bulk from a handful of distributors and put their name on it. Airbrush technology has come a long way in the last 10 years. Similar to computers, there is a constant stream of newer, improved models being introduced. They keep getting smaller, lighter and less noisy. There are several companies that claim you can only put their brand of foundation through their airbrush,. In most cases this is untrue and just a way to get you to spend more money. If you invest in a good airbrush and a specific needle (referred to as a beauty needle), you can use many different retail brands of foundation. A popular makeup artists favorite is the Face and Body makeup formula by a Paris-based professional brand called “Make Up For Ever.”

True airbrush foundation (formulated to be sprayed on with a compressor) is extremely watery and does not work for old fashion hands-on method. The finish can be dewy, matte or even semi matte. A brand called Aircraft allows for you to actually move the foundation around after application, which is impossible with most airbrush foundations. If you want the best, most up to date airbrush possible, shop where the Hollywood makeup artists get theirs. Coast Airbrush is located in Anaheim California and can be found at

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