By borrowing airbrush techniques from illustrators and photo retouchers and employing revolutionary water- based cosmetics, makeup artists have discovered the potential for limitless creations. No longer categorized solely as a tool for the graphic arts industry, today airbrushes are found in the trained hands of professional cosmetologists, cosmeticians, and freelance makeup artists throughout the world. Airbrushing provides them with a time-efficient, versatile, and accurate way to apply cosmetics. Recognizing the potential for airbrush application in cosmetics, Dennis Hoey, of Santa Barbara, California, began ex-perimenting with the technique in 1980. While working as a graphic artist, Hoey set about developing a method to translate his vision into reality. He was determined to create a cosmetic product more suitable for use with an airbrush than any that were commercially available, one giving the required coverage without clogging the apparatus. Since that time, Hoey has been hard at work developing a market while practicing his crafts and intrusting others in the art of air-applied makeup. Through his company, Starmist Air Tech Cosmetics, Inc., he markets his own brand of cosmetics and also conducts two-day seminars for professionals in such U.S cities as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York and in foreign markets including the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Austrailia, Venzuela, Canada, and Singapore. Starmist cosmetics are manufactured in a variety of mat-finish foundations and contour shades, as well as in a color spectrum line suitable for daytime, evening, and fantasy makeup looks. Easy to apply and easy to remove, Starmist cosmetics also provide the benefit of being quick to alter or touch up for exacting results. “Airbrush cosmetics create a porcelain-like finish, making models look as if they have flawless complexions,” says Hoey. “They’re also ideal for corrective makeup effects, including slimming and heightening facial contours.” The speed and precision with which airbrush cosmetics can be applied make them perfectly suitable for commerciaJ applications. The technique is now being used for high-fashion photography, enabling “pretouching” to be done directly on the model, rather than retouching on the resulting photograph. The entertainment, motion picture, and music video industries endorse the use of air-applied cosmetics because of their time-saving qualities.
With training, an entire makeup can be completed in less than half an hour and complicated body designs can be sprayed in two hours or less, rather than in the four or five hours required if done by hand. Recently, Hoey was called upon to de- sign and apply makeup for a group of actors in Me1 Brooks’s latest movie, Spaceballs. Working with custom-de- signed stencils, he and another makeup artist were able to do in 40 minutes what normally would have required over two hours to accomplish.
The results attainable are stunning, limited only by the imagination and skill of the artist. Many of Hoey’s own creations are surrealistic images set against airbrushed backdrops of natural backgrounds for an ethereal effect. His methods have been used in rock videos. movies, and advertisements.
In his workshops, Hoey encourages creativity but emphasizes confidence, proficiency, and attention to detail. Once familiarized with the fundamentals, his students perfect their new abilities using the technique. The makeup sprays in a fine mist, allowing for delicate shading and gradations of color without building a thick texture. With the aid of stencils, intricate designs can be created and layered for a unique look. Working around the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth requires an understanding of the proper safety procedures, which necessitates professional training.
Perhaps the most universal use of air- applied cosmetics will soon be found in beauty salons around the world. Already available in innovative salons in major cities, airbrushing is being used to create picture-perfect results for patrons who desire a total-image look. As Hoey puts it, “Welcome to the future of cosmetic artistry!