Can you use any liquid makeup for airbrush? | Complete Guide

If you are Airbrushing, the confusion you will get when looking for answers as to whether any liquid makeup for your Airbrush machine is overwhelming. 

However, based on my 6 years experience in Airbrush makeup application, I can tell you that any liquid makeup will work for your Airbrush machine provided it has the right viscosity to be sprayed from your gun

You can thin out your liquor makeup to achieve the right viscosity for your Airbrush.

This guide will be so much help if you don’t know how. 

What type of makeup does Airbrush use?

Airbrush machine uses a specific type of makeup that is in liquid form.

This liquid is thick enough not to flow when applied on your face but thin enough to be sprayed from your Airbrush.

The Airbrush makeup are classified into; water-based, silicone-based, alcohol-based, oil-based, and mineral-based. 

Each of this Airbrush makeup is aimed to be used in different skin types. They are as discussed below.

Water-based Airbrush makeup

For my girlies with sensitive and oily skin, you need to be extra careful when choosing Airbrush makeup. 

If you use an Airbrush makeup that has harsh ingredients, you might start having irritations. 

Luckily, you can use water-based Airbrush makeup.

Water-based Airbrush makeup will not only be gentle on your skin, it will also lock in the excess oil and prevent it from reacting with your makeup. 

When choosing a water-based Airbrush makeup, ensure the makeup has a viscosity that can work with an Airbrush. Otherwise, you will have to say bye-bye to your Airbrush machine. 

Silicone-based Airbrush makeup

For those with oily skin and wants makeup that will last longer, you should choose silicone-based Airbrush makeup. 

Silicone-based Airbrush makeup has some alcohol content that will absorb some of the excess oil on your skin making your makeup last longer.

As we know, silicone is waterproof. You can hit the swimming pool when wearing silicone-based Airbrush makeup and cone out with your makeup still intact. 

Before applying silicone-based Airbrush makeup, ensure you have prepped your face to ensure the Alcohol content does not react with your skin. 

Unfortunately, people with dry skin types are advised against using silicone-based Airbrush makeup. 

Alcohol-based Airbrush makeup

Alcohol-based Airbrush makeup is a bit different from silicone-based Airbrush makeup.

Silicone-based Airbrush makeup main component is silicone while Alcohol-based Airbrush makeup main component is Alcohol. 

This Airbrush makeup is ideal for people who cannot control their sebaceous glands.

Alcohol content in the Airbrush makeup will deal with the oil which makes your makeup last longer.

You should however prime your face before using alcohol-based Airbrush makeup as it might lead to your skin drying and end up cracking your skin. 

Oil-based Airbrush makeup

For those with severely dry skin, your only solution is using an oil-based Airbrush makeup. 

Although the Airbrush makeup is oily, it is still lightweight. This is to ensure that your skin and the Airbrush machine is not clogged. 

Most of the common oils used in oil-based Airbrush makeup includes; Jojoba oil, macadamia oil, essential oils, and vitamin E oil. 

Mineral-based Airbrush makeup

Mineral-based Airbrush makeup is the ideal Airbrush makeup if you want to avoid clogging, reactions, and skin drying. This type of Airbrush makeup can be used for all skin types. 

What makes this type of makeup special is the types of ingredients used on the Airbrush. Once you wear the makeup, you will not only look good. Your skin will also benefit from the ingredients. 

What will happen if I use any liquid makeup in my Airbrush?

liquid makeup for airbrush

If you are Airbrushing your makeup, it is better to use the types of Airbrush makeup listed above.

This Airbrush makeup should have the right viscosity to be sprayed from your gun and thick enough to stick on your face. 

Using a liquid makeup that does not have the right viscosity night lead to;

  • Your Airbrush clogging: As we said before, Airbrush makeup should be flowy enough to be atomized and sprayed in liquid form. Failure to that your Airbrush might get clogged. 

If your Airbrush is clogged, no makeup will be released from the gun. This can lead to frustrations. 

  • Your makeup will look cakey: Your gun might release the makeup even when it is too heavy. However, the particles will be too big which might result in your Airbrush makeup looking cakey and unnatural. 

If you want to prevent this from happening, you should dilute your liquid makeup to the right consistency. 

Below are some of the common methods used to thin liquid makeup. 

3 ways to thin out liquid makeup for airbrush at home

Adding drops of water, commercialized Airbrush thinner, moisturizer, are the common ways you can thin out your liquid makeup for Airbrush (read how to do airbrush makeup at home). 

Before you decide to thin out your liquid makeup to achieve the right consistency for Airbrush application, ensure the makeup you are buying matches your skin tone and that it is formulated using high-quality ingredients. 

Once you are sure the liquid makeup is right for your skin type, you can then go ahead and match with the following products to thin out your makeup. 

Mix water and your liquid makeup

If you are afraid that your oily skin will interfere with the liquid makeup after thinning and applying it, you should use water. 

Water will make the makeup stick to your face once it dries up which in turn locks in the oil. Water is also lightweight meaning you won’t feel the weight of the makeup. 

  • Put about five drops if liquid makeup in a clean mixing bowl. 
  • Add ¼ tablespoon of water to your liquid makeup. 
  • Ensure the liquid makeup is not silicone-based. Otherwise, the two won’t mix. 
  • Use a tiny brush to stir the mixture while adding water bits-by-bits.
  • Once you have achieved the right consistency to be used in an Airbrush, you can load your Airbrush machine and start applying makeup. 

Water harbors the growth of bacteria. Do not mix water with the whole bottle of your liquid makeup. 

After applying the freshly made Airbrush makeup, use a waterproof setting spray to ensure your makeup lasts longer. 

Mix Airbrush makeup thinner and liquid makeup

When buying a commercialized Airbrush makeup thinner you will realize there are silicone-based, water-based, and mineral-based thinners. 

  • Pour about five drops of your liquid makeup into a mixing bowl.
  • Add about ¼ tablespoon of the thinner of your choice.
  • Stir the mixture using a small brush. 
  • You can keep adding the thinner in tiny bits while stirring to ensure you get the right consistency. 
  • Once your Airbrush makeup is ready, you can prep your face and use the gun to spray your makeup. 

Each of the thinner is aimed to be used for different skin types. 

If you have dry skin, use a mineral-based thinner, for oily skin use silicone-based thinner and for sensitive skin use a water-based thinner. 

Mix a Moisturizer and liquid makeup

Moisturizers are formulated using the most safe and most quality ingredients. It is for this reason you can use a moisturizer to thin out your liquid makeup for airbrush use. 

  • Add about five drops of your liquid makeup to a mixing bowl. 
  • In the bowl, add about ¼ tablespoon of your favorite moisturizer. 
  • Use a tiny brush to stir the mixture while adding the moisturizer until you achieve the right consistency. 
  • Once the makeup is ready to be used in an Airbrush machine, feed the machine, prep your face, and then apply your Airbrush makeup. 

A moisturizer will not lock in the makeup for long. To make your makeup last longer, use a setting spray over your makeup.

Other self care products you can use to thin out your liquid makeup include a;

  • Primer
  • Setting spray
  • Baby lotion
  • oil

When thinning out your liquid makeup, ensure you use the right amount of the products otherwise you will damage your Airbrush or your makeup will become runny.

For more info, read our separate guide on how to thin Airbrush makeup.


You will never find a constant answer as to whether you can use any liquid makeup on your Airbrush machine. 

However, if you don’t want to say goodbye to your Airbrush machine before it’s time, ensure you use a liquid makeup that had the right consistency to be used in an Airbrush. 

You can also use my guide above to learn how you can thin out liquid makeup to achieve the viscosity right for Airbrush makeup application. 

Once you are done with the guide, you should subscribe to this page for more beauty hacks.

You may also enjoy reading..


  1. Aung, T., & Than, S. S. Formulation of Foundation Makeup (Liquid) Using D-Optimal Mixture Design (Doctoral dissertation, MERAL Portal).
  2. Safford, B., Api, A. M., Barratt, C., Comiskey, D., Ellis, G., McNamara, C., … & Tozer, S. (2017). Application of the expanded Crème RIFM consumer exposure model to fragrance ingredients in cosmetic, personal care and air care products. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 86, 148-156.
  3. Christian, F. (2016). The Effects Of Bacterial Growth In Liquid Makeup Foundation Vs The Bacterial Growth From The Foundation Brush Applicator On Pig Skin.

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