Airbrush vs. Traditional Makeup


You have gotten to the point now where you have decided to hire a professional makeup artist and they ask you whether you want airbrush or traditional makeup. . . . wait . . . what? Now you are in a position where you’ve heard about these terms, but just do not know the benefits of each one OR this is an EXTREMELY novel concept that has your head spinning! Well, have no fear! I will be your guide to go over what airbrush and traditional makeup means and the pros and cons of each one just in case you are newer to the makeup game.

Traditional Makeup

Let’s start with the most commonly used form of makeup, and that is traditional makeup. This is when your base makeup (foundation, blush, bronzer, etc.) is applied with brushes, sponges, and other manual applicators. Some artists (like myself) do not offer airbrush services, and other artists provide both services.


  1. LESS EXPENSIVE – Most of the time, traditional makeup will be less expensive because the artist does not have to pay for and provide an airbrush machine or the products that go with it. They are pricey little tools and a lot of upkeep! If artists can keep their costs lower, they will most likely charge less. If you are on a budget, traditional makeup will be the way to go!
  2. MORE OPTIONS – Airbrush makeup is a fairly new concept to the makeup world (especially to artists who have been in the profession for a while). Therefore, there are not a lot of options when it comes to airbrush makeup products as far as formulas, finishes, and colors. Some traditional makeup brands have been around since the dawn of time and have had YEARS to improve their products. Many brands have at least 30 different shades of foundation to suit every skin tone, 2 different formulas of foundation (usually matte and luminous finishes), every tone of bronzer and blush, etc. Traditional makeup definitely wins in the versatility department!
  3. FULLER COVERAGE – This can be seen as either a pro or a con, but from my perspective it’s a pro! Traditional foundation can be layered and can easily be built up if needed. It provides a fuller coverage naturally (that does not necessarily mean it will feel super heavy). It is really great for people who have areas of their face that they would like to cover completely.


  1. LONGEVITY – Yes, the rumors are true! Airbrush makeup does indeed last longer than traditional makeup. However, I have applied traditional makeup for my entire career and it has held up on all of my brides.
  2. MORE HEAVY FEELING – I feel like this might be a no brainer, but putting foundation on with a brush or sponge is naturally going to feel heavier than something that is sprayed on. This is something that can be avoided if the artist knows how to properly layer products and uses a lighter hand.

Airbrush Makeup

Now for airbrush! It’s a SUPER hyped type of makeup application when it comes to the bridal industry. Airbrushing is done by the use of an airbrush machine (air compressor and airbrush gun). It is also referred to as “spray makeup” because of the way that the liquid sprays from the airbrush gun. Now the real question is…. is it worth all of the hype?


  1. LONGER LASTING – This is most likely the #1 reason why people opt for airbrush over traditional makeup! It’s known for being sweat and humidity resistant to make it withstand the elements throughout your wedding day. Airbrush normally lasts for up to 12 hours and should not have to be touched up. Also, most airbrush foundations are silicone based as opposed to water or oil based. (SIDE NOTE: I only do traditional makeup and one of the foundations I carry is silicone based as well. It also lasts for up to 12 hours so you don’t necessarily need airbrush to accomplish this).
  2. LIGHTWEIGHT – Airbrush makeup is more lightweight than traditional makeup since it is sprayed and not brushed on. It would be ideal for someone who does not normally wear makeup and or does not like the feeling of it.
  3. QUICKER – It is definitely a lot quicker than traditional makeup when applying it! This is great when you do not have that much time to get ready or there are a lot of ladies that need makeup done! (This will also depend on how quick your makeup artist is at applications in general).


  1. MORE EXPENSIVE – Airbrushing is considered a more luxury service in the bridal industry and with that comes with a luxury price tag as well! This definitely varies by artist so if your makeup artist provides both services, it would be a good idea to ask the difference in price. The price may only be different by $10, or it may be a different by $50 .
  2. NOT IDEAL FOR DRY SKIN- Airbrush makeup looks absolutely flawless on well moisturized and hydrated skin, but what if you are dry? If you have any dry patches or flakiness on your skin to begin with, airbrush makeup can tend to sit on top of it and not absorb like it should. Also, as the makeup dries down, it may make the dryness look even more prominent. So if you are really set on doing airbrush, just make sure to really focus on hydrating your skin beforehand!
  3. NOT PHOTOSHOP – The most important to note is that airbrushing is NOT Photoshop! If you’ve ever seen photos of brides in magazines where the artist has used airbrush and their skin looks flawless. . . .it’s probably Photoshopped! Airbrush makeup will only do so much for your skin, but with all face makeup, it cannot hide texture (only Photoshop can do that!).

*** FUN FACT: Airbrushing is only common in the bridal industry. Most of the time, celebrity makeup artists and those in film and television do not use airbrush makeup at all! ***

So which is better? I would have say that they are both equal . . . .Yes, I know that is probably not the answer you wanted to hear. It is definitely up to personal preference, your skin type, and budget!


PLEASE keep in mind that a highly trained makeup artist with a decent amount of experience will be able to make traditional makeup look just as “airbrushed” as airbrush makeup. They should be able to find a foundation that specifically suits you and your preferences to make it last as long as you need it to!


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