The Evolution of Beauty- Airbrush Makeup with Rob Closs

Whatever happened to Fay Wray? Professional Makeup Artist Rob Closs discusses the evolution of makeup, makeup artistry and the latest thing- Airbrushing.

What ever happened to Fay Wray? We've lost her in the tunnels of time, but the new starlet captured in these beastly arms is just as gorgeous as Wray ever was- and we've done it all with a little bit of air! Sounds light? You're right! Airbrushing! The flawless coverage and natural translucency that airbrush makeup offers is a huge step in the evolution of makeup art.

When the average person hears the word airbrush, we think of a car being painted, or the final stages of prints for magazines that are finessed into perfection. Today, these processes are accomplished digitally. The model's print (who already happens to be stunningly gorgeous) is color corrected, her teeth are made whiter, her pupils enhanced, her lashes made thicker, her skin tweaked to perfection, her legs thinned out and elongated. It's quite an artificial process and it leads me to the conclusion that I … or any farm animal in Bruce County, for that matter… could probably model for Vogue. However, what would you say if some of these adjustments could be made on your face instead of on your picture? I said prove it!

As I watched the tiny droplets leave the airbrush gun and dance in the air before landing on the subject's face I was intrigued. I was sold when I saw a pretty great result dry into flawlessness. "Lets just wait a minute and watch the paint dry to see the final result," the demo makeup artist whispered. (It reminded me of an episode on the original Star Trek with William Shatner hanging out with a colony of women taking "the beauty pill " and watching all the "Plain Janes" turning into sexy amazons with the blink of an eye).

Spending time with the system I discovered the secrets that airbrushing holds. The airbrush gun takes the tiniest, most fragile foundation molecule and oxidizes it into a high opacity. In other words, one can wear the sheerest of sheer foundations and have virtually perfect skin. When I took the airbrush foundation and tried to apply it by traditional methods (a sponge and my finger tips) it was too watery to work with. Yet the same foundation passed through the air system takes on a new characteristic and a strength that I have not seen in the twenty-six years I've been painting faces.

Our model, a mother of two in her mid-thirties is posing for a "beauty and the beast" concept photo shoot. Genny has had her foundation, contour, and eye shadow air brushed. This photograph has been slightly lightened but is untouched. Genny typically has darkness under her eyes, and an uneven skin tone.

  • Maximum coverage with minimal product
  • Delivers a natural and translucent look
  • Great for oily skin
  • Fantastic for overly active skin that tends to "eat" makeup
  • Lasts ten to twelve hours - excellent for bridal makeup, it's a bride's best friend
  • Does not require powder, which can be aging
  • Some foundation formulations are silicone based
  • Silicone is as smooth as silk

  • Set up fee for airbrush makeup artist/technician: $500 to $800. Requires a skilled technician/artist or a lot of home practice
  • Airbrush make-up session $80 to $200

  • Beauty airbrush is slowly making its way into the television and the film industry. With the transition of high definition television, it's definitely a makeup artist's and television personality's new best friend.

    To view a video clip of airbrush makeup, log on to and click on "fashion air brush".

    Rob Closs is the founder and managing Director of The School of Professional Makeup, one of the premier makeup schools in Canada. In addition to classes in airbrush makeup, the School of Professional Makeup also offers courses in special effects, prosthetics, bridal makeup and fashion makeup. More information can be found on the school's 2007 course calendar. Rob's personal profile and a video presentation of "Makeup with Rob" can be viewed here.

    The above article and images copyright and courtesy of Due North Magazine. You can read the original article here.

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