Can you use regular foundation in an airbrush?

As the methods of makeup application evolve, the products evolve as well. For example the more Airbrush makeup application is being embraced, the more products that are compatible with the Airbrush machine are being made.

 But in a case where you can’t find Airbrush foundation, can you use regular foundation in the Airbrush machine?

Stick around to find out.

What type of foundation does an Airbrush machine use? 

Regular foundation and Airbrush foundation are quite the same. The main difference between the two is the viscosity they come in. Due to the heaviness of regular foundation, it is hard to use it in an Airbrush machine. 

What type of foundation is used in an Airbrush, and how do you apply Airbrush foundation?

Feed in the makeup inside the airbrush makeup, press the trigger, and products are released from the gun. You don’t need brushes or sponges to blend in the makeup. The products such as foundations are in the right viscosity to be sprayed in mist form. 

1.Silicone-based foundation 

Silicone-based foundation comes in a lightweight liquid infused with silicone and other ingredients that are helpful to you skin. 

Silicone-based foundation is waterproof. 

2.Water-based foundation

If you skin clogs too fast, you should use water-based foundation.

Water-based foundation comes in a lightweight liquid form which leaves your skin breathing all the time. 

3.Mineral-based Airbrush foundation

Mineral based airbrush foundation is ideal for people with sensitive skin and normal skin. 

The minerals used in the foundation will sooth your skin as it makes you look good. 

As you know, most regular foundation come in a very heavy and creamy form. If the foundation is in liquid form, the liquid is too heavy. 

You can learn what separates regular foundation and Airbrush foundation in the section below. 

Differences between Regular foundation and Airbrush foundation

foundation and Airbrush foundation

Both Airbrush and regular foundation are applied on your face to hide imperfections and make you look good. 

The same ingredients used in regular foundation are the same ingredients used in Airbrush foundation. Despite of the similarities, there is some difference between Airbrush foundation and regular foundation. 

What are those differences;


Since Airbrush foundation is applied using a gun and in a mist form. For this to be possible, Airbrush foundation must be in a lightweight liquid. 

Most of Airbrush foundation offers sheer-medium coverage and is buildable. 

Regular foundation on the other hand come in cream or liquid form. Since you will be using sponges and brushes to apply and blend in the foundation, the liquid is a bit heavy. 

It cannot be used in an Airbrush machine unless it gets thinned. 

2.Method of application

From the nature of the two foundation, you can already tell which can be used in Airbrush and which traditionally.

Since Airbrush foundation is lightweight and in liquid form, you can pour it in the Airbrush machine and pull the trigger to release some foundation. 

The foundation is pressurized and atomized into mist form when it lands on your face. 

Regular foundation on the other hand is too thick to be used in an Airbrush. If used in the Airbrush machine, it will clog the nozzle. 

Application of regular foundation is done using brushes and sponges.


Although price is not a determinant in whether you can use regular foundation in an Airbrush. It is important when differentiating regular and Airbrush foundation. 

Since Airbrush makeup is made into a soft colored liquid for easy application, there is a lot of technology used. 

This makes Airbrush foundation quite expensive than regular foundation.


Although both Airbrush and regular foundation works the same way, Airbrush foundation is safer than regular foundation. 

This is not in the ingredients. Rather due to the method of application. 

Your brushes and sponges might have been carrying some bacteria. When you use them to blend your makeup, you transfer the bacteria to your face. 

Airbrush foundation on the other hand comes in a form that needs to be fed into the Airbrush machine, pull the trigger and makeup is applied on your face. 

You also don’t need to blend in the makeup. This way contamination is completely eliminated. 

Since Airbrush foundation and regular foundation are different, you will need to restock your Airbrush foundation if it happens to get finished. 

There is no way regular foundation can be used in an Airbrush machine. Unless you transform it into Airbrush makeup foundation. You as how, keep reading this guide to find out. 

How to transform Regular foundation into Airbrush foundation?

Forgetting to restock on if your depleted makeup products can bring about a lot of confusion when you are in the middle of makeup application. 

Since this will happen to most of us, it is good you learn to improvise what you have to work for you. 

Let’s say you realize your Airbrush foundation is finished when you are already prepped for makeup application. You might decide to switch back to traditional makeup application. Or, you can find a way to transform Regular foundation into Airbrush foundation. 

Yes. You can still feel the luxury of Airbrushing your makeup even with regular foundation. Here is how;

1.Adding a moisturizer

Since the only difference between Airbrush foundation and regular foundation is the viscosity, you can dilute your regular foundation until you attain the viscosity you want. 

  • In a mixing bowl, pour five drops of your regular foundation. 
  • Add ¼ spoon of moisturizer to the foundation and start stirring using a small brush. 
  • Continue adding the same amount of the moisturizer to the bowl and stir until you attain the viscosity same as that of Airbrush foundation. 
  • You can add a waterproof setting spray to ensure the foundation last longer
  • Pour the freshly made foundation into your Airbrush machine. 
  • Pull the machine trigger back and start applying foundation in strokes. 
  • Do so until you attain the coverage you are going for. 

A foundation made using a moisturizer will hydrate your skin when you are wearing it and also protect your skin against any toxic ingredients in the foundation. 

2.Dilute the foundation using water

If your regular foundation is water-based, you can use water to dilute the makeup. 

  • In a mixing bowl, pour ½ tablespoons of your water-based foundation. 
  • Add ¼ tablespoons of water and use a tiny brush to stir the foundation. 
  • You can keep adding small amount of water to the mixture till you achieve a viscosity same as that of Airbrush makeup. 
  • To ensure that the foundation last longer, spray some waterproof setting spray to the mixture. 
  • Use the same brush to stir the mixture till the setting spray is incorporated. 
  • Pour the freshly made Airbrush foundation into the Airbrush gun and apply the foundation on your face in strokes. 
  • Since the foundation is diluted with water, there is a chance the color will be a little dilute. 
  • You can apply 3-4 layers to achieve a full coverage. 

Do not mix water directly to the bottle of foundation. Water might facilitate the growth of bacteria in the foundation. This will make the foundation go bad faster than it should. 

3.Add the foundation to a glass of water

This has to be the most tried foundation hack on TikTok. 

Unlike where you are diluting the foundation in water, here you;

  • Fill a glass with water
  • Pour about five drops of your regular foundation into the glass of water
  • Use a brush to stir the foundation. 
  • The foundation sinks at the bottom. 
  • Use the brush you were using to stir the foundation to scoop the foundation. 
  • Apply the foundation on your face. You will feel the foundation softens. This makes it easy to apply.
  • Use a dampened beauty blender or your foundation brush to blend in the makeup. 

After the makeup is perfectly blended, you will have an Airbrushed flawless look. 

4.Using a thinner

Most brands that make Airbrush makeup products also make thinners. 

A thinner will dilute your foundation to make an Airbrush foundation without interfering with the color of your foundation. 

  • Pour about 1 tablespoon of foundation in a mixing bowl. 
  • Add ¼ tablespoons of the thinner. 
  • Use a tiny brush to stir the mixture. 
  • Keep adding the thinner until you achieve the viscosity you are going for. 
  • Once you are done, pour the freshly made Airbrush makeup into the Airbrush machine. 
  • Apply the foundation by pulling the trigger back. 
  • Do not use a lot of pressure to prevent your makeup looking cakey. 
  • Apply the foundation in strokes. 

Thinners come in different forms. You will find a water-based, Mineral-based, and silicone-based foundation. 

If you want your makeup to last longer, use silicone-based thinner. For those with sensitive skin, mineral-based thinner is ideal for you. 


Due to the difference in viscosity between Airbrush foundation and regular foundation, you cannot use regular foundation in your Airbrush machine. 

In a situation where you find you don’t have Airbrush foundation and you want to apply Airbrush makeup, you can thin your regular foundation. 

If you don’t know how, read the guide above. It contains the various approved methods of thinning regular foundation.

You should also consider subscribing to this page for more beauty related content. 


  1. Kajita, M., & Nakamura, S. (2021, November). Basic Research on How to Apply Foundation Makeup Evenly on Your Own Face. In International Conference on Entertainment Computing (pp. 402-410). Springer, Cham.
  2. Aung, T., & Than, S. S. Formulation of Foundation Makeup (Liquid) Using D-Optimal Mixture Design (Doctoral dissertation, MERAL Portal).
  3. Guichard, S., Roulier, V., Bodnar, B., & Ricard, A. (2022). Facial foundation. Cosmetic Dermatology: Products and Procedures, 231-243.

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