There has been plenty of chatter between Make Up Artists' about airbrushing over the years, especially since HDTV took to our TV screens, in fact I remember there being quite a hilarious panic when really it meant 'work neatly, precisely, there is now 8 times more clarity'. These days some do it, some don't, some wouldn't and some haven't found their ideal kit.
I struggled for years contemplating the ideal airbrush gun and compressor for me, which sounds like a simple task but alas, I had the dilemma of my entire kit to think about practically. Compressors aren't light weight and easy to carry. To my mind it's like carrying a generator in your kit and with back issues and an ever growing hair and make up kit averaging 15kg, I was keen to find an airbrush solution that was reasonably priced and not back breaking.
Many years ago, oh crikey, maybe even 10 years ago, I frequently used SKII's Air Touch Foundation on fashion photo shoots but mostly for Black & White photography work with various photographers such as Terry O'Neill, the late Lord Litchfield and John Swanell. The nifty handheld pod was bite-sized, so I had no issues with keeping this in my work bag at all times. The effect was good although at times limited. It was often hard to control; one couldn't get a lighter touch for instance, it had to be one way and one way only. Another downside was that the shades weren't always well matched and being an Asian brand some shades would appear a little too yellow or peachy, though I would always contour and swap the foundation inserts frequently to get achieve the desired effect. It was good while it lasted!
After about 7 years of researching, I finally came across a kit I thought would suit my needs. It was compact, (yey) and the foundations that accompany it focused on ingredients such as Vitamins A and E, which improve the appearance and hydration in the skin, allowing the heat resistant Silicone to appear natural whilst actively longer lasting. The brand is Airbase and has been in my life for almost 4 years.
I'm not sure why I've not blogged about Airbase till now, maybe its because there has been sudden interest, plus I assumed it was geared to being a Pro only brand but alas the public want to know more about Pro techniques and MUA essentials more and more.
Above is a lady I made up for a shoot recently and this photograph was taken a few hours after make up application...yes, lovely eye colour, courtesy of Front Cover Cosmetics but take a look at her skin. From time to time I have people telling me, 'Oh yes, the make up used for TV and Magazines is heavier, right?' Er, no! But I often reply that my aim is for skin to appear as skin though flawless and merely enhanced.
Do I use Airbase in all my work?
No, but I get a feel for a job and lighting conditions etc and decide from that. I originally egged myself to research yet again into getting an airbrush kit after working on a week long Pokerstars TV Ad, which was studio based with dramatic lighting, over 12 players a day and on average 17 hour days. I thought, this is the type of job where an airbrush gun could really show its mettle and make life a little speedier for me with the added bonus of less 'touch ups' on set. (which makes the 1st AD very happy).
What type of jobs have you used Airbase?
I've not only used Airbase for studio based work but would recommend it's use for Black & White photography, it is second to none. I recently found the benefit of airbrushing for a bride and her upteen bridesmaids and mother of the bride too, this saved time and I knew the results would be received well. I have also had the experience of working with burns and scar survivors, who have benefited from airbrushing when their skin is extremely sensitive, therefore, non-contact application can be such a relief. I enjoy the reaction from well established actresses or ladies over 50+ who might have had a bad experience with airbrushed make up or declare it will make their skin look heavily made up, flat and add on years rather than take them away. Once they see how the foundation helps blur imperfections without clogging the pores and diminish fine lines, they are in awe.
What do you most like about Airbase?
I like the results I get every time, who wouldn't? It's fun to mix up the perfect shades and contour with such a nifty gun that is comfortable to hold and easy to determine the finish you want. I would say high on my list is the fact the compressor is no bigger or heavier than a small bottle of water so I tend to keep all my Airbase kit neatly tucked away in a clear plastic make up bag along with 7 shades of foundation, 2 blushers, 1 bronzer, Primer, Mitt and Cleaning/Thinner solution. That's compact!
What do you most dislike about Airbase?
I'm sure most would agree that worst part about any airbrush kit is cleaning it but it has to be done in order to avoid any clogging or damage! Although a little fiddly at times, once you get the hang of it it becomes less of a chore, though it is always good to know the Airbase team are on hand to give you advice over the phone or via email and always happy to assist with technical issues.
Who would you recommend Airbase to?
It is not the cheapest addition to anyone's kit, so I would firmly say Pro's working for Brides, it might change your life and for those in TV, Film, Beauty, Advertising and Fashion it is another dimension and medium, therefore, another useful tool.