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Ancient Greek women started the use of foundation centuries ago. But of course, the formulation of that foundation was way different compared to the foundation that women of today use. In fact, the ingredients of the makeup foundation have evolved with the help of science and technology. Even the way cosmetic makeups are being applied onto the skin has evolved too, from fingers to sponge to brush and now, airbrush. People new to this technique often wonder, “Can you use regular foundation in an airbrush?

We all agree that airbrush makeup is an easy and fast technique to apply a liquid type of makeup such as foundation, illuminator or blusher. If you’ve noticed, airbrush makeup is largely used by professional makeup artists especially in weddings, movie productions, and other special events. Since the tool is way expensive compared to branded beauty blender sponges or brushes, does it mean it also requires a specially formulated foundation or can you use a regular one? You’ll never guess!

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Can You Use Regular Foundation in an Airbrush?

Surely, not everyone would agree to this, but the answer is YES! In fact, any type of standard liquid foundation can be used in an airbrush makeup as long as it’s thinned. Although, due to its thick consistency, this process wouldn’t be a walk in the park.

Since the foundation is sprayed out of an airbrush gun through a needle-sized opening and comes out in a form of a mist, the foundation really needs to be thinned out. So, how do you do it?

You Can use the Following:

Airbrush Makeup Thinner

As mentioned, traditional liquid foundation is thick for an airbrush. This product is used to make that possible. Just make sure to read and follow the instructions. Otherwise, you may kiss your airbrush makeup gun goodbye.


Guess what? Your favorite moisturizer can also be used to thin out all types of makeup foundation! Just mix a few drops to the foundation, enough to change its consistency. It will also provide more hydration to your face! Just be careful not to put too much as this may change the quality of your foundation.


If you’re planning to do your own airbrush makeup and you only have a standard liquid foundation available, then you can mix it with a few drops of water. This way, the airbrush gun will be able to spray out the foundation easily and according to your desired coverage.

Thinned foundation prevents your makeup from creasing in the harsh lines and wrinkles that normally develops around the mouth and underneath the eyes. In case you don’t want to go through this process of mixing and blending, you can always use airbrush foundations which are readily available in the market.

Types of Airbrush Foundation

Prep Prime and Powder Foundation

There are a growing number of people looking for all natural makeup options. We think that’s great and found a company offering a foundation free of all the bad stuff. Here’s a quick summary of the foundation we discovered and where to find it.

Multi-functional, hydrating, liquid foundation that gives a beautiful, matte, airbrushed yet hydrated skin look.

  • Improves skin health and reduces inflammation
  • Provides potent environmental protection from free radical damage
  • Calming plant based enzymes
  • 3 in 1 treatment
  • Smooth, silky air brushed powder finish
  • Reduces shine
  • Non-chemical sunscreen
  • Waterproof
  • Recognized by Plastic Surgeons/Dermatologists

More details can be found here: Leilani White Sands Foundation

Many people choose to use airbrush makeup to create a gentle and natural look where one can hardly tell if there is any makeup at all. But what base of foundation goes well along with the airbrush tool? Below are the main types of foundation that work best with an airbrush.

Silicone-based Airbrush Foundation

This type of airbrush foundation blends in flawlessly with skin. This results in a natural and dewy finish that stays for up to 12 hours compared to other varieties. It provides a little heavier coverage though than mineral-based or water-based airbrush makeup, so you may need a more powerful compressor.

Silicone-based airbrush foundation can also be used with any skin preparation product like primer or serum. It’s water- and smudge-resistant as well.

Alcohol-based Airbrush Foundation

This type of airbrush foundation is rarely used on the face as it can make your skin dry, but it’s known for its incredible stay-on ability. This is primarily used for body paintings or special effects make up on the body. It can cover body marks or tattoos. Thus, this is the type of foundation that’s commonly used in movie-making.

Water-based Airbrush Foundation

This type of foundation is easy to wear and usually has a matte or shine-free finish. It sets on the face quickly. Its formula doesn’t require a high-pressure compressor to be sprayed out of the gun.

Tip: Always set your skin with water-based products before application of the main makeup so that the outcome will not be cakey and flakey.

Mineral-based Airbrush Foundation

This type of foundation provides sheer coverage whether used as traditional makeup or airbrush makeup. It’s good for dry, oily and combination of the two skin types and can last up to 24 hours amazingly.

Whatever type of airbrush foundation you find best for you, there’s always that one thing you must never ever forget–cleaning up. Every tool needs TLC and your airbrush is of no exception. There will be times when you won’t be able to clean it regularly, which may lead to clogging. But don’t fret yet, the makeup gods hear you!

How to Unclog an Airbrush?

Usually, the airbrush makeup kit comes with a cleaner. If you still have it, then put in a few drops every time you’re done using it. If you don’t, then here are your alternatives:

  • Water
  • Alcohol
  • Acetone or Nail Polish Remover
  • Paint Thinner

Try them in that order. The idea is again to put in a few drops, let it sit for a few minutes, and using a q-tip, clean the bowl. Make sure that all traces of the makeup foundation as well as the cleaner used, especially the last three ones listed above, has been fully removed.

Final Thoughts

So, can you use regular foundation in an airbrush? Yes, you can. 

For some, airbrush makeup may seem costly and tiring as it requires a lot of preparation. However, you can always find tips, techniques, and alternatives to simplify things.

For example, if you have an airbrush gun and you ran out of airbrush foundation or for some reason, you don’t have the right foundation, then you can use whatever makeup foundation you have. All you need are a few drops of clean water or even your favorite moisturizer plus some mixing skills and voila! You have yourself an impromptu airbrush foundation.

Of course, this is not to say that the airbrush foundation is easy to make. Arguably, it may take a few tries and practices before you achieve the right consistency. Just remember to achieve the correct thin consistency and you’ll be looking all dolled up in no time! Oh, and don’t forget to clean it up after each use to avoid clogging!