Believe it or not, you don’t need to be a professional makeup artist to master using an airbrush makeup application system. I would know, considering I tried three different airbrush kits for the ultimate airbrush makeup review. I spent three days reviewing Temptu, Luminess, and Mineral Air — some of the leading brands in airbrush makeup known for their ease of use and professional artist backing — sussing out these fancy gadgets, and weighing the pros and cons of each experience. And let me tell you, I have some thoughts.
Whenever I think of airbrush makeup, I go back to my freshman year of college. One of my best friends had a high-maintenance roommate, who would blast her airbrush makeup machine at 7 a.m. every morning before heading to class. Back then, my bestie complained about how she hated that airbrush machine. And as any best friend would, I, too, hated her airbrush makeup kit in solidarity.
Fast forward nine years later, and as fate would have it, I’ve become addicted to airbrush makeup application. The finish this type of product gives my complexion doesn’t even compare to the liquid or powder foundations I've tried, and after testing out three different brands, I suggest anyone looking for a more natural-looking finish invests in an airbrush makeup kit. But before you blindly click “add to cart,” let’s dive into the pros and cons of each magical machine I tested.
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With countless rave reviews, the Luminess Silk Airbrush System looks like the classic kind of airbrush makeup professionals use — intimidating, but the prospect of seeming like a professional is tempting. For starters, you'll need to use this device near an outlet, as it needs to be plugged in to turn on. When it’s ready to go, air is suctioned through the adaptor box and then released through the handheld stylus. When I applied my makeup, I held the stylus like I would a pen or pencil and moved it in circular motions around my face. It's very easy to add droplets of the foundation into the reservoir of the handheld device, and the product wasn't released until I gently pulled back on the applicator.
Overall, I loved the finish the Luminess Airbrush Kit offered — there wasn’t too much sheen or shine, and my skin definitely appeared more matte than it did with the other two kits I tested. This kit also came with a primer, and after checking my reflection at the end of the day, I could definitely tell that the primer was holding up and helping the foundation and blush not to pill or get cakey. Finally, this pick offered what was probably the most natural-looking finish of the three I tested. I used the Luminess Air Silk 4-in-1 Airbrush Foundation in Shade 020($22, Amazon) and thought it was an excellent match to my natural skin tone.
Sadly, I didn’t love the Luminess Air device itself. You have to plug it into an outlet for it to work, and initially, I was confused about where to even put the liquid into the device — I ended up having to watch a how-to video on YouTube. I also kept having to add more droplets of the foundation into the reservoir. Either the foundation doesn’t go very far, or I was underestimating how much I actually needed to cover my face.
I also found the Luminess Air to be more precise, but not in a good way. Perhaps I was holding the device too close to my face, but I felt as though the air stream was too targeted, and I ended up with a few splotches I needed to fix manually afterward. Although, I think practice makes perfect with this device. Finally, the maintenance and care this device needs is no joke, and even though I haven’t actually tried to clean it yet, there are thorough instructions for cleaning the Luminess Air after every use, so it applies foundation seamlessly each time.
Airbrush Makeup Review: Temptu Perfect Canvas Starter Kit ($195, Temptu)
The Temptu device is a favorite of many a professional MUA. It needs charging up (a USB cord is included in the kit) before you first use it, and then, you can go cord-free until the long-life battery needs charging again, which I absolutely loved. Rather than foundation droplets, the Temptu requires small airpods of complexion products like foundation and blush to be inserted into the device. First, you take off the tamper seal on the pod, shake it, remove the black cap on the back of the pod, pull back on the clear loop inside of it, and gently pull open the smaller black cap inside. Afterward, you insert the pod window-side up into the Temptu device while holding down the release button on the side. (You should hear a slight click.) Once I did this, I was good to go.
I found the overall experience with this device to be pretty pleasant. First up, the tool itself looks straight-up sexy, as do the sleek pods filled with multiple shades of foundation, blush, highlighter, and more. There are even eye and lip color options, which is pretty uncommon for most airbrush makeup brands. I also learned the device has multiple different settings — low, medium, and high air adjustment — which help when trying to figure out how much coverage you want. Even better, the brand's website has thorough how-to videos, which were very helpful throughout this whole process.
As for the actual color complexion products, I was obsessed with the Perfect Canvas Highlighter in Rose Gold. The shade was beautiful and looked incredibly natural when applied with air, and it’ll be in regular rotation in my makeup routine.
While my experience with Temptu was positive in many ways, it wasn't without its cons. The Temptu device was initially the most difficult to use out of the three I tried; I read the directions about three times before eventually having to turn to the videos on the brand’s website. And in the process of inserting the pod into the device, the foundation seeped out of the pod and got all over my hands and the device. It would have helped to know to be extremely careful when opening that small black cap.
Unfortunately, I didn’t order the correct shade (which was my own fault), and the foundation shade I tried — SilkSphere Airpod Foundation in 3 Warm Ivory ($45, Temptu) — ended up being too dark for my skin tone, though the finish was lovely. I also felt like the whole process of applying my makeup took longer than I’d expected, because I had to wait for each layer (foundation, highlighter, and then blush) to dry. I ended up putting wet layers on top of wet layers, which may have affected the overall look.
Airbrush Makeup Review: Mineral Air Complexion Starter Kit ($150, Mineral Air)
As a lover of mineral makeup, I was excited to try it in airbrush form. The Mineral Air device also charges with a provided USB cord. After it was juiced-up and ready to use, I shook up the small vial of foundation before filling up the reservoir (located under the black flap on top of the device) with about four or five drops of foundation, closed the tab, and then pressed down on the button on top of the device to release the air stream.
This is the device that ultimately made me fall in love with airbrush makeup. I love this product so much because it’s mineral makeup-based, which boasts a gentler formula and doesn’t irritate my acne-prone skin. I used the Four-in-One Foundation in Shade Light($60, Mineral Air) and thought it was a solid match to my skin tone. Another pro is that this device is compact and so easy to travel with.
As of now, Mineral Air only offers one blush shade, and I wish it was a touch lighter, because I felt it was too dark for my skin tone. However, I applied it lightly, and it still worked. While Mineral Air recently released a bronzer to use with the device, I’d also love if the brand provided options for a highlighter in the future as well.
Another issue I ran into involved cleaning the device. The kit comes with a liquid airbrush cleaner, and you're supposed to put a few drops into the reservoir, shake it, and spray it out of the device before using it again. While I’m sure this did help clean it a bit, I felt like I needed to use a Q-tip to clean out the reservoir more thoroughly. Unfortunately, after a full day of wear, my skin looked oily and shiny, so I’d say it’s best to keep an oil-blotter on hand when applying this foundation, just in case.
Airbrush makeup kits are not cheap, but the comfortable, clean finish you get from the device is worth the money. These devices will last you years, and after your initial purchase, all you have to do is restock the color complexion products. Just think, you’ll never even have to use or clean makeup brushes again! A dream come true? I think yes.
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