Traditional vs Airbrush Makeup: Why One Technique Stands Out Above The Other

May 8

Brides have a myriad of big decisions to make for their special day…destination or hometown, kids or no kids, traditional or airbrush makeup. While we can’t help you make a decision on the first two, we can help you choose the best makeup coverage for your wedding day.

Go to any wedding and there’s always one central focus — the bride. So it’s no wonder that a perfect, blemish-free complexion is top of mind for them.

Whether brides are going for that dramatic, full-glam look, a natural, glowy complexion, or the Audrey Hepburn classic look, they should feel show-stopping beautiful (and camera ready) all day long. Yes, their makeup should look just as flawless while they’re dancing the night away as it did when it was first applied hours earlier.

If you’re a bride-to-be, you’re likely wondering which makeup technique is right for you: airbrush or traditional? 

Here’s what you need to know so you can confidently make a decision on your wedding day makeup.

What is the main difference between traditional and airbrush makeup?

Before we get into the pros and cons of each style of makeup, let’s first understand how the two techniques differ. The main difference between the two types of coverage is how they are applied

Traditional Coverage

Traditional makeup is applied with a brush, beauty blender, or sponge, which is worked into the skin for an even tone. With traditional coverage, you can achieve any look — from a light natural dewy glow to a full-coverage dramatic look. The traditional cream or liquid foundation is typically easier to control and is best for all skin types.

Airbrush Coverage

Airbrush coverage uses a spray applicator and is applied by softly and evenly misting a thin layer of foundation over the face. The coverage is easily adjustable, allowing the makeup artist to apply the exact thickness the bride is looking for. But beware, the more product used, the more likely the complexion will look cakey.

There’s a bit of misconception that airbrush is the way to go if brides want a flawless, lightweight finish that lasts all day. The truth is, experienced makeup artists can get that same finish with traditional makeup. Plus, there are clear advantages to traditional makeup that surpass many of the benefits airbrush makeup has to offer.

Let’s review what each makeup technique has to offer and why we believe traditional makeup is the clear winner when comparing the two.

Does airbrush or traditional makeup last longer?

Many brides assume that airbrush makeup is more water-resistant and long-lasting than traditional makeup.

However, this isn’t the case.

Traditional makeup can last just as long with the right finishing touches (a primer, a sealer, and a setting spray). And with a professional makeup artist who knows what they’re doing.

The truth is, it’s not the technique that creates a lasting look, it’s the formula. And experienced traditional makeup artists use the best, high-quality products that are designed to withstand heat, humidity, and sweat. For example, a silicone-based formula (like this one) is long-lasting and great for humid weather conditions.

Additionally, the longevity of any makeup technique is only as good as the artist who applies it. Skilled artists will know how to apply flawless makeup that lasts all day.

More Control

So yes, both traditional and airbrush makeup can last all day. However, a clear benefit of traditional makeup over airbrush is that makeup artists have more control over the final outcome. When brushes, sponges, and blenders are used, the artist can be much more precise than with a spray applicator.

Traditional artists can easily blend different shades and textures into the skin, customizing it to the bride’s skin tone and texture — all while creating a more natural-looking finish. On the other hand, the spray applicator for airbrush makeup can be difficult to control.

Touch Ups

One appeal to the airbrush technique is that it rarely requires touch-ups. But even airbrush makeup doesn’t always withstand tears (happy tears, of course!). If an airbrushed face ends up with makeup streaks, it’s difficult to touch up and re-blend.

While traditional makeup melts into the skin, airbrush coverage sits on top of the skin. So when touch-ups are needed, traditional makeup can easily remove or reapply certain areas while airbrush is not easily manipulated once it’s dry.

Whether or not you need a touchup on your wedding day, all of our brides will be prepared with our unique and handy care kit, included in every bridal package…just in case.

Which makeup coverage should you choose for your wedding?

Before making a decision, consider these two things:

  • What kind of look are you going for? 
  • What skin type, texture and tone do you have?

Why desired finish matters

The makeup technique you choose for your wedding day plays a big part in achieving your overall desired look. After all, makeup can be a transformative tool to help you achieve the best, most gorgeous version of yourself. And it starts with a flawless complexion.

So before choosing the technique, decide on the look you’re going for. Do you want matte or dewy? Full coverage or a light finish?

Here’s a quick tip: for brides who want a lightweight natural finish, airbrush coverage will do the job. However, it’s very limited to the type of finish it offers. Traditional makeup, on the other hand, offers a wide variety of textures, shades, and finishes — like lightweight, full coverage, dewy, or high glam.

Why skin type matters

Skin texture

While airbrush makeup works great on a blemish-free, well-moisturized face, it doesn’t extend beyond that. Why? Because it sits on top of the skin and doesn’t hide fine lines, texture, dry skin, facial hair, or blemishes.

On the flip side, traditional makeup melts into the skin and provides more coverage. And because it easily conceals blemishes or imperfections, it’s ideal for all skin types. The versatility of traditional makeup makes it easier to customize to fit the bride’s exact skin needs (and all her bridal party members).

Diverse Skin shade

Unfortunately, airbrush makeup is still limited when it comes to shades. There aren’t as many options, which means it doesn’t always match certain skin tones. Traditional coverage is more manipulative and artists can blend multiple shades to reach the exact tones needed.

Talk to a Columbus, Ohio makeup artist

If you’re still unsure about which option is best for you, we’d suggest talking to a professional makeup artist on our team in Columbus, Ohio. And remember, do your research and ask plenty of questions.

It’s also important to remember that coverage is only as good as the artist applying it. So when finding a makeup artist, ensure they’ve got the experience needed to create the exact look you want — so your skin looks just as radiant as you feel on your special day.

At The Lovely Artistry Collective, we only offer traditional makeup because we believe it far surpasses the airbrush technique. Our professional makeup artists are devoted to curating a one-of-a-kind look that enhances and elevates every bride’s unique and natural beauty.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the services we offer, we’d love to chat! Or check out our Instagram to see some of our most envied complexions!

The Lovely Team