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Hoping to keep your grandmother from being scandalized by your body art during your holiday visit? Worried your ink will clash with your best friend’s choice of bridesmaids’ dress color? You love your tattoos, but they aren’t always conveniently hidden when a certain event calls for plain skin.

No, you won’t have to wear long sleeves or sweaters to cover up tattoos anymore. Airbrush makeup is an effective and flawless way to make your tattoos disappear for special occasions.

Read on to find out how you can cover even the most vibrant and outline-heavy tattoos.

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Choosing the Right Tattoo Cover up Makeup

There are many different products out there that claim to help you cover your tattoos. You can try creams and tattoo lighteners, but these products come with some downfalls. Creams can be too heavy and removable while lighteners do permanent damage to your art.

You need highly concentrated coverage with less chance of being rubbed off and no risk of affecting your tattoo. Airbrush makeup is by far the best choice for covering tattoos because a large amount of product is applied in very thin layers.

The first step to covering your tattoos with airbrush makeup is to choose the correct formulas and materials. There are several important things to keep in mind as you go forward, including ink color, skin tone, and technique:

Color Theory for Tattoo Coverage

Your tattoo artist does a whole lot more than put a needle to skin. The art of tattooing has a science behind it that includes using the right colors, pressure, and techniques for different types of skin. The same amount of science has to be applied to covering these works of art properly.

Everyone has unique tattoos, so you will need to assess the colors that your body displays and apply some general rules. There is a chart called the color wheel that shows which colors are opposite to each other. Colors that oppose each other on the color wheel cancel each other out when applied.

This color theory is often used when applying face makeup. People who struggle with facial redness often use green concealer sticks to mask it. Yellow concealer can be used to cover dark under-eye circles because they tend to appear purple. In the same effect, orange cancels blue.
You will need to keep this color theory in mind as you choose your airbrush makeup tones and colors and begin applying them to the area.

Airbrush Makeup to Match Your Skin Tone

You will also need to make sure that the makeup formula you choose matches your skin tone. You might go about choosing a foundation or concealer at the store, you’ll need to apply some basic principles to match your skin.

Matching your skin includes not only choosing the right lightness or darkness but the correct undertone. You will need to determine if your skin has a warm, cool, or neutral undertone.

People who have a warm undertone will have skin that is more yellow, peachy, or golden. They tend to have veins that appear greener and look better with gold jewelry.

People who have a cool undertone have more pinkish or bluish tones to their skin and have veins that appear more blue or purple. They often look better with silver jewelry.

People with a neutral undertone will have a harder time deciding because their skin’s undertones match their overall skin tone. Using a warm or cool foundation on the skin like this will not look good because it is too extreme.

Sometimes it can take trial and error to find the exact shade for you, but going to the store to compare your skin to different shades can help decide before you purchase.

Tools for the Best Tattoo Coverage

At first, it might take practice to get used to using airbrush makeup. You should try applying it before you need coverage for the event so that you can learn the technique and try out the shade you bought.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re buying a high-quality airbrush gun. It should have different settings so that you can adjust the flow of the makeup as you apply it. It’s also important to find a gun that is small, lightweight, and quiet, especially if you’re covering a large area.

Make sure you’re looking for high-quality airbrush makeup. You’ll want to find makeup that can stay put and not clog pores, so look for oil-free makeup. If you will be sweating a lot or your tattoo is in a spot that is prone to more perspiration, consider trying primers and look for finishing makeup that will seal it.

Look for Hypoallergenic Formulas

If you have sensitivities to certain makeup, make sure to look for hypoallergenic brands and avoid fragrances. Primers can also help to protect your skin from the airbrush makeup you apply.

When it comes to matching your tone, one great piece of advice is to buy more than one shade. Everyone’s skin is unique and it’s logistically impossible for companies to make as many shades as there are skin tones.

Buying around three of the closest shades to your natural skin tone will help you get your coverage perfect. You can try mixing the different shades as you apply layers to your skin to keep adjusting until the match is exact. One great kit for this is the Belloccio airbrush kit, which includes three different shades of your choosing.

Airbrushing Process to Cover up Tattoos

To cover your tattoos, there are several steps to follow and some tips for a long-lasting stay. You’ll want to keep in mind the texture of your skin and keep practicing using the airbrush gun to get a perfect finish:

Shave the Area Thoroughly

One might only think to shave the area of your tattoo if it is on a hairier part of your body, like your arm. Almost all of our body, however, is covered in at least a layer of peach fuzz. Some people have thicker peach fuzz than others, but no matter how much hair you have, you’ll want to shave as well as you can.

Anything that is on top of your skin will affect the way airbrush makeup looks and stays. Even peach fuzz will catch the airbrush makeup differently than bare skin and cause you to have a weird texture. Instead of a smooth surface of bare skin, you will have rough and uneven coverage.

Make sure to shave any hair from the entire area, and even a little bit more than you need, to make sure the airbrush makeup blends flawlessly with your skin.

Prepare the Area

Once you’ve shaved, you’ll want to make sure you remove all the clinging hair and any other particles that will get in the way of a smooth finish. Depending on the area, you might want to take a shower or use the sink to clean as thoroughly as possible.
Once the area is dry, apply a toner to the area so that any oils are removed. Your skin needs to be as bare as possible so that the makeup can be applied for long-lasting coverage.

Set up Your Airbrush Gun

Attach the airbrush gun to the hose and plug it into the outlet. Luckily, airbrush guns are simple tools that come with instructions, and you can find many tutorials online if you need help.

Make sure you have all your colors and shades set up and ready to use. You can also keep a blending brush on the side in case you need to manually blend or fix errors.

Airbrush makeup is all about layers. You will want to use your airbrush gun by applying light passes of makeup onto the skin. Remember, it doesn’t matter how many layers you put on as long as they are thin layers that blend well with the skin.
Read more here on how to setup your gear.

Begin to Color Correct

Using the color theory discussed above, begin to subdue the most vibrant colors in your tattoo. You will have to be precise about which colors you choose to layer on your skin, but you do not have to completely cover the tattoo yet.

One of the best colors for color correction is orange. It can help to fade any dark outlines and blues in your tattoo. If your tattoo is overwhelmingly red, try green. Any purples can be covered with a yellow shade.

The amount that you can subdue your tattoo’s colors will decide how the final product looks after layers of your own skin colors are added. Be careful, though, not to apply too much. It can be tempting to keep adding product, but using too much can lead to visible accumulation and dark spots.

You should take your time and go slow, allowing each layer some time to dry before you apply the next one. This will allow the layer to set and the color will darken. Allowing a layer to dry will give you a better idea of the appearance before you continue.
It should be noted that color correcting is not always necessary. Some airbrush products meant for tattoos instruct you to only use your skin tone shades and skip the color correction step. Many tattoos can be covered this way if airbrush makeup is applied properly.

Add Your Skin Tone

Begin using your skin tone shade, or a mix of shades, to start covering your tattoo. It’s important to keep applying only light passes and take your time. Allowing layers to dry is important to see the true color you are applying and allow the makeup to set.

Don’t fall into the trap of applying heavy amounts of product to cover the tattoo quickly. You want the edges of the product area to blend with the rest of your skin. You also want to avoid any dark spots and product buildup that will create an odd texture.

If you start feeling that the layers you’re adding match your skin correctly, remember to utilize your other shades to correct this.

Also, if you feel that the area you’re covering is looking too flawless in relation to the rest of your skin, you can attempt to add texture with a technique called “spattering.” Spattering is when you use a slightly darker shade to add some other tones and imperfections to the area.

To try spattering, you need to remove the nozzle cap and needle from the airbrush gun and lower the air pressure all the way. Flick the lever to create the desired effect.

Setting the Product

Once you are happy with the layers of product you have applied, you will want to set the product so that it stays. You will want to buy a setting powder that is close to your skin tone rather than clear or white. White and clear powders can leave a sheen or lighten the area visibly, calling attention to your coverage.

Using a fine powder will help dry the area and remove the wet and sticky look of product. Use a brush to dab on a generous amount of powder. Because the product you’ve applied is alcohol-based, you can use water or setting spray to remove the extra powder without affecting your coverage.

Cleaning up

Are you ready to reveal your tattoos once again? Removing airbrush makeup is extremely easy. When removing makeup, you always want to use the same base that makes up the product.

For example, when you are using a water-based product, the makeup is easily broken up and removed with water. Oil-based products are similarly affected by oil-based removers.

In the case of alcohol-based airbrush makeup, you’ll need to use an alcohol-based product to easily remove the coverage. Try using a toner or rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to break up and remove the product.

One interesting detail about having an alcohol-based product, however, is that you have to be careful not to drink too much! When we drink alcohol, we sweat it out through our pores. You could end up accidentally sweating off your tattoo coverage.

Use Airbrush Makeup to Cover up Tattoos

Now that you know how easy and effective it is to cover up tattoos with airbrush makeup, it’s hard to resist this solution for your next special occasion. Start matching the right shades for your skin and practicing with an airbrush gun now so that you can apply perfectly when it counts.

We have a great selection of different airbrush kits to get you started.