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When it comes to cosmetics, almost everyone is familiar with the concept of traditional makeup and its application using brushes, sponges or fingers. However, a lesser known technique is the airbrush makeup where cosmetics are applied using an airbrush system.


The first airbrush was invented in 1879 by Abner Peeler. He used spare parts from a jeweller’s workshop and called it the ‘paint distributor’. Later, his wife, Phoebe renamed it as an airbrush. Four years later, a company by the name of Liberty Walkup began marketing Peeler’s invention. In 1893, Thayer and Chandler Art Materials presented the first modern airbrush at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The device resembled the body of a pen and operated a lot like the modern airbrushes today.


An airbrush makeup machine consists of three main parts – the airbrush stylus, the air compressor and the air hose – which connects the two. Most of these are designed to maintain constant energy to and from the air compressor. While the air hose and compressors do not differ much between kits, a stylus can be bought separately as well. Styluses come in various varieties, although most styluses for airbrush makeup are very similar.


The product is filled into the system either through suction or with the help of gravity. The most common type is the gravity-fed system. It needs less energy than other methods. In this method, the product has to be put into a reservoir sitting on top of the stylus. It is then drawn down into the chamber by gravity. The product and air combine either within the air chamber or outside, at the tip of the stylus. Airbrush makeup kits generally use the internal meeting point, since it is most suitable for gravity-fed systems.

In an airbrush makeup machine, the feature which most often varies is the action of the trigger. There can be two kinds of actions: single or dual. A single action releases the air pressure and product at once. If the air pressure varies, it is generally controlled by a dial on the air compressor. Alternatively, a dual trigger stylus is capable of altering the air pressure and the product. For instance, it pushes down to release the product and pulls it back to control the pressure. A dual action stylus allows more control that helps make a line thinner or thicker in one movement.


Of the many benefits of airbrush makeup, the lighter feel and natural look make it a preferred choice when compared to traditional makeup. Since the products used are ink-like, one is able to mix two or more products to get colours that perfectly match the skin tone. Many airbrush products are fragrance free, suitable across ages and can last up to 15 hours! Investing in an airbrush kit is also more economical in the long run. It uses minimum amount of product and gives results which are flawless and crease free.


The airbrush, depending on its size and the object that needs to be airbrushed, is used for a range of applications, from painting cars to decorating cookies!

ELGi’s compressed air solutions are used extensively across industries. To know more about our compressors, click here.


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