Is Airbrush Or Traditional Make-Up Better For My Wedding?

Pros and Cons of Airbrush and Traditional Makeup for Brides

You’re planning your wedding and it’s time to choose a makeup artist.  You’re at your pre-bridal trial appointment and she asks- ‘do you wanna do airbrush’?


How do you decide between airbrush and traditional makeup for your wedding day?


First things first: What does ‘traditional’ makeup even mean?

Traditional makeup is an all-encompassing term for any cream, pressed or loose powder, balm, or shadow applied with sponges, brushes, hands, and makeup applicators.

 It’s literally everything you find at your Nordstrom’s beauty counter.

 Airbrush makeup is applied with an air compressor and spray-gun.

(sounds dangerous- it’s actually quite relaxing).  Specially-formulated liquid makeup is dropped into a small metal cup in the spray gun, and compressed air carries the makeup through a very small opening resulting in a light ‘spray’ of makeup.  

 So, now that you know what the heck it all means, how do you choose between airbrush and traditional makeup for your wedding?

Let’s start with the finish.  

Traditional makeup comes in literally HUNDREDS of formulas for a really customizable finish.  If you’re a bride who doesn’t normally wear makeup, a traditional application might be your best bet- it will look the most natural, and you’ll be able to let your skin shine through.  This is ideal for you if you want to look and feel like you’re not wearing much makeup at all.

 Airbrush makeup formulas have a few customizable finishes: glowing, matte, and full coverage.  Additional tonics can be added to create a dewy effect or to add a ‘waterproof’ feature to your makeup.  Airbrush is ideal for you if you want a more flawless-looking finish and it looks FANTASTIC in pictures. This can still look ‘natural’, but not AS natural as traditional applications.

Your second consideration when choosing airbrush or traditional makeup for your wedding is durability.  

Traditional makeup MUST be layered in a very specific way to last all day- so it’s up to your makeup artist to make sure that happens.  (If you’re looking for a good one, I know a gal :0).

Setting sprays are great and create a longer-lasting look for traditional makeup- however, additional touching up may be necessary (especially if you’re sweating at an outdoor ceremony or break-dancing at your reception).  A simple powder touch-up will keep everything in place, and in general, if applied well, traditional makeup can be reasonably durable for your wedding day.

Airbrush makeup is very popular for its durability.  When applied on properly prepped skin, airbrush makeup will. Not. Budge.  It’s an excellent choice if durability is your main concern with your wedding-day makeup… read on for the ONE exception on this…

Tears…are you planning on crying them?  Is airbrush or traditional makeup better for brides who KNOW they’re gonna cry?

You step around the corner to see your beau for the first time and here come the water-works: rivers of tears stream down your perfectly made-up cheeks, and your makeup artist is long-gone.

How does the makeup fare?  Is airbrush makeup or traditional better for a sloppy-crier?

 Well… it depends.

 Traditional makeup WILL move when you cry.  Tears dissolve makeup pretty quickly- and while waterproof formulas work well for eyeliner and mascara, foundation is generally another story.  The good news is, if your eyes erupt like Mt. Vesuvius and you’re wearing traditional makeup- it’s VERY easy to blend and patch. Yes, even by an ameteur.

 Airbrush makeup is (potentially) a little more messy.  

While some airbrush formulas are water-resistant (some you can apparently jump into a pool with and climb out looking like nothing happened..) not ALL of them are.  TALK TO YOUR ARTIST and ask him/her how the airbrush makeup holds up with tears. Many airbrush formulations will leave streaks down your cheeks if you let your tears run free, and once it’s streaked it is VERY tough to blend.  

In short- if you’re planning on crying a river- traditional makeup is your best bet.


When it comes down to it- either option will look beautiful on your wedding day.  

Consult your makeup artist for his/her professional recommendation, or leave me a comment here!  I’d love to answer any questions you have about which type of makeup is a better choice for you.