Skin Deep Airbrushing
As face and body painters, it’s important to know how to work with various skin types! Everybody is made wonderfully different, and sometimes that means adjusting how we approach a painting. A great work of art starts with a solid foundation. Here we’ll go over foundational tips for creating a flawless body art composition.
As a face and body artist, the longer you're in the game, the more variations in skin tones and types you're going to encounter. Read on to learn how to make your masterpieces shine on any and all canvases.
If you haven't figured it out already, skin tone greatly affects the overall finish and coloration of makeup, regardless of it's opacity. Acrylics, oils, and watercolors on canvas generally begin with a white canvas, or what might be referred to as a "blank slate." The closest thing to a blank slate in face and body painting is very pale skin. With such a canvas, a vast array of ProAiir colors, applied directly to the skin, provide instant bursts of color. On the other hand, light colors, like pastels, are much more subtle on pale skin. If you desire a look somewhere between bold and subtle, consider outlining or highlighting pastels with bolder colors within the same spectrum.
On the contrary, some very colorful makeup applied to darker skin tones can appear muted. For example, dark red against brown or bronzed skin will not stand out very well. The good news here is that while color choices for direct application on darker skin may be a bit limited, dark skin provides a fantastic canvas for achieving beautiful, high contrast looks. As artists, our challenge is to overcome obstacles and use all the tools at our disposal to bring beauty to the world. In our profession, there really are no limitations.
Tips for Fair Folk:
- When using light colors like ProAiir Unicorn pastels, be sure to outline or embellish the design with slightly darker colors. Adding highlights, or should I say 'dark-lights' or 'lowlights', to light colors on pale skin may be just the thing needed to make the design "POP"!
- Use dark colors for line work over predominantly light backgrounds. ProAiir Black, Plumberry and Cobalt are examples of some deep, highly pigmented colors that show well over light backgrounds. Note that not all outlines and shadows have to be black. Slightly less bold colors allow the outlining to compliment the design rather than overwhelm it.
- Some pigments, no matter the makeup brand, have a tendency to stain when applied directly to fair skin. Red pigments within ProAiir Blood Red and Hot Pink are great examples. To alleviate this, simply lay down a light base of white first. This technique applies to blonde hair as well! YES ProAiir can be sprayed in the hair.
Tips for Bronze Beauties:
- Use vibrant, opaque colors like ProAiir Atomics. These are heavily pigmented colors that really stand out, especially on darker skin! As an added bonus, Atomics are UV reactive and glow magnificently under black light!
- When painting with darker colors like Blue, Green and Blood Red, apply a thin white base on the skin first. You'll be amazed how the finished colors almost jump off the skin.
- To make temporary tattoos stand out, add some color! A splash of light blue or pink can go a long way.
- Adding white embellishments like stars and dots to designs brightens up the look and customers love the little extras!
Tips for ProAiir Fluorescent colors:
ProAiir Fluorescents are slightly more translucent than the bulk of the ProAiir lineup of colors. Sprayed directly on skin of any color or tone, fluorescents glow fantastically under black light. This is the go-to makeup for party palaces and haunted houses with black light themes. In situations where vibrancy is desired both in and out of black light, apply a light white base before applying fluorescents and enjoy the best of both worlds. ProAiir Fluorescents glow like nothing you've ever seen.
Now that you know how to choose colors for your painting, let’s talk about application. For long lasting body art, face paintings, and temporary tattoos, always begin with clean skin!
By “clean skin” we mean skin that is:
- Free of natural oils
- Free of lotions and creams, including sunscreen
- Free of cosmetic makeup, even foundation
- Free of moisture, including perspiration
- Again, free of Sunblock (we can't stress this enough)
When working outdoor gigs, keep baby wipes (free of aloe and lotions) or isopropyl alcohol and paper towels handy to clean client’s skin before starting to paint. On warm, sunny days, kids are often COVERED in sunscreen and have likely been sweating in the sun. Clean the area you're about to paint!
When removing sunscreen, don't be surprised if parents ask if it can be reapplied over the design. The answer is "YES", as long as it’s aerosol sprayed lightly over the artwork. On the other hand, rubbing creams or lotions onto the skin will likely cause the artwork to smudge.
When body painting a model, ask beforehand that they arrive freshly showered and lotion free. If they arrive with oily skin for any reason, simply hand them a pack of handy dandy baby wipes and ask them to clean off.
In cases where you do NOT want the makeup to last all day, by all means, apply lotion to the skin before painting. The lotion will act as a barrier on the skin and make for easy removal of the makeup.
A clean surface is the foundation for a perfect makeup application. Now that we have gone over the prep work, here's one last trick to keep up your sleeve to top off your painting!
ProLong Your Art
For those not yet familiar with ProAiir ProLong, allow me to introduce you to it!
ProLong has many uses in makeup and should be in every artist’s tool kit. For the sake of this topic, let's just say that it magically increases the durability of face and body art. To use as a barrier spray, simply mist finished artwork with the included spray pump or spray it through a clean airbrush. ProLong seals in your design and makes it last longer!
When faced with extreme conditions like extra oily skin, heavy sweating, pool parties, bounce houses, etc, we recommend adding ProLong to your makeup for extra staying power. Under 'normal' conditions, ProAiir Hybrid lasts 1-3 days and ProAiir Ink lasts up to 7 days. Extreme conditions will almost surely lessen the durability but a few drops of ProLong added to the makeup may be all that's needed to compensate.
Whether misted over a finished piece or added to the makeup beforehand, think of ProLong as a sealing agent used to protect your work. For more information about the many uses of ProLong, check out our blog post that discusses differences between ProLong, ProLong Gloss and ProAiir Thinner.
With this "skin deep" explanation of face and body art skin tones, skin prep and color selections, hopefully you now have the basics to ensure a near flawless foundation - and how to preserve finished masterpieces. Please check out our other blog posts for additional tips and tricks or share your own here by submitting comments below. We would love to hear from you!