How to Create the Airbrushed Look With Makeup

In my years of experience I have tried hundreds, if not thousands, of different cosmetic products. Of all of the foundation techniques out there, I am a firm believer in the flawless finish created by an airbrush gun. However, unless your last name is Kardashian, you probably don’t have a makeup artist waiting on you to roll out of bed to create a personally tailored look for you each morning. You probably also don’t want to drop several hundred dollars on an airbrush gun and a few hundred more on a compressor. All of that being considered, I want to share with you how to create beautiful, flawless airbrushed skin, with just a few products, that will last all day (and night!)

{The always flawless looking Kim Kardashian. Image via Pink Chocolate Break blog}

First, start with freshly exfoliated skin. You should be habitually exfoliating about three times each week. St. Ives Apricot scrub is one of my favorite, inexpensive exfoliators that can be found at your local drugstore. Once your skin is cleansed and exfoliated, apply your daily moisturizer (right now I’m using Moisture Surge by Clinique. I’m a little on the oily side so this lightweight formula never feels too heavy).

Now that your “canvas” is ready, it’s time to prime the skin. There are a lot of primers out there to choose from, but I will share just a few of my favorites with you:

  • MAC Prep + Prime skin, this works like double-sided tape in that it helps lock moisture and oils into the skin while keeping your foundation wearing longer.
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. I love the varieties that this primer comes in. There’s a green tinted primer to combat red or irritated skin, a bronze primer for those of us who don’t see the sun too often, and an oil-free primer for oily skin like mine.
  • Make Up For Ever HD Primer. This is a great primer for when you need to be camera ready. Not only does it keep the makeup lasting longer, but it also diminishes the appearance of fine lines and pores for a superbly flawless finish.

Adding a primer into your makeup routine is an integral step in creating a flawless finish. Most primers contain silicone which makes for a silky smooth skin surface. This allows the foundation to glide effortlessly on the skin for fool-proof application. Since you most likely don’t have an airbrush gun at home, I strongly recommend investing in a stippling brush.

My favorite version of this brush is #187 by MAC. At $45, it may take a minute to get past the sticker shock, but it is absolutely a worthwhile investment. The most important thing about this brush is that it contains a combination of natural and synthetic fibers that helps blend the foundation into the skin. Pour a small amount of any liquid foundation onto a small palette { a small, sturdy piece of metal or plastic works too}. Dip just the very tip of your brush into the foundation, then dot on your forehead, cheeks, and chin. In a quick, swirling motion, blend the foundation thoroughly all over your face. Make sure to blend well at the hairline and jaw line. Because there are millions of foundations out there, and choosing a foundation can take up another entire blog post, I will leave you with one recommendation about foundation. It’s worth the investment to pay a little more and choose a department store brand where a trained beauty advisor can match you up to the perfect formula and shade. Most department store cosmetic counters will even make you a sample to take it home and try for a few days. Once you find a good foundation, the brush will do the rest of the work for you!
Finally, you want to seal your look by applying a small amount of setting powder over your makeup. Setting powders differ from translucent powders in that they are white, but apply clear, not skin-toned. They also contain ingredients that are equipped to remove all excess moisture off the skin (i.e. oil or sweat) to seal the foundation. You can find a variety of setting powders at your local Sephora or MAC counter.

Try this technique at home, and let me know what you think! What techniques do you incorporate into your makeup routine when you need your look to go the extra mile?

Questions for Melissa? Contact her at melissa[at]
or join her on Facebook

Linking here:


Miss Young said...

I love this "confessions of a makeup junkie feature"! I looked through all of the older posts too - so many helpful tips! I find that I most often buy makeup when I see it positively reviewed somewhere else, so this info is great :)

Linda @ theLENNOXX said...

What an amazing post! I just discovered primer last winter (only season of the year I wear any skin paint) and it really makes the foundation stay super long!!

xox Linda

Breeanna @ a brilliant melody said...

Great make up advice! I use a stippling brush with my Lancome foundation. I think I need a different primer though.

Thanks Jennifer for following my blog!

Melissa said...

Thanks for all of the great feedback everyone!! I love hearing that the tip and tricks I share are being incorporated into your own makeup routines... I am VERY excited about next month's blog post. For those of you that *love* product recommendations, you will want to tune in! Thanks to Delightfully Noted for allowing me this forum to share with its readers about my makeup OBSESSION!! ;)

I'd love to hear from you!