Airbrush vs Traditional Bridal Makeup: Napa's Experts Weigh In

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Diane Askew Photography

One of the things I've discovered when it comes to bridal makeup is that many of today's brides-to-be have heard of airbrush makeup, but aren't exactly sure what it is or if it would be right for them. And of all days, the wedding day is not one for taking chances. Even after a bit of Googling to find out what a bride should go with these days—airbrush vs traditional application—for bridal makeup, I came up with no concrete answers. I decided to reach out to the experts—I contacted Audrey Crandell of Glowing Bridal and Sarah Hyde of sHe artists, two of Napa's most influential makeup artists, to hear their thoughts and to shed some light on the topic.

Why did you choose bridal makeup as your niche? What about it makes you love it so much?

Sarah of sHe artists: My background is in advertising and photography. I have always loved fashion and glamour. Red carpet is my favorite What could be better than that? A wedding! It's all about love and beauty. Audrey of Glowing Bridal: When I was first starting in the industry, I did so many weddings for friends and family just to build my portfolio and gain experience by getting my hands on as many people as possible. Once it seemed that everyone I knew was married off, I decided to pursue weddings as my specialty because they are so filled with joy and emotion, family history, and special laughs between old friends. When the bridesmaids and moms leave the chair and they have a little extra swagger about them, it completely makes my day. It's honestly the best day at work anyone could ask for.

How does bridal makeup differ from fashion makeup, television makeup, editorial makeup, etc?

Audrey: High fashion and editorial are most often very bold, dramatic, and much edgier. With wedding makeup, the key to success is finding the harmony between what looks beautiful and natural in person so that the bride feels her absolute best in her own skin but also using the right contouring and highlighting to make the photos the best they can be. Everything I use is designed for high definition filming, but the approach I use in my application makes it wearable and comfortable for the bride. Sarah: Although some brides are high fashion, most brides that come to me really want to look like themselves. The most important distinction is it needs to look great in person and in photos! Fashion, TV, and editorial project images that are not of the person inside. Makeup can be heavy or be applied to create an illusion.Weddings are the opposite of that. Our sHe artists have experience in all fields.

A few of sHe artists' recent brides by Sarah Hyde.

Catherine Hall Studios
Catherine Hall Studios
Catherine Hall Studios
A lot of brides are hearing about airbrush makeup, but many don't really know what it is. What is the difference between airbrush & traditional makeup?

Sarah: Airbrush makeup is basically just a different application method for putting on foundation. You can spray on layers which build up coverage on the skin and depending on how many layers you put on, you can obtain various degrees of coverage. It can really adhere to the skin and last longer into the evening. If you prefer your skin to have really full coverage it may be the choice for you. It does cover tattoos and birthmarks very well. Airbrush does not work on every skin type. Audrey: Airbrush is just a different way of applying foundation. The airbrush pixelates a fine mist of foundation on to the face resulting in a flawless, even, and long-lasting finish, as opposed to a traditional application with sponges and brushes. Both are beautiful and traditional can be made just as long-lasting as airbrush if done properly.

Which do your prefer for wedding makeup? Why?

Audrey: I have tried both and for me personally, I prefer the traditional approach. I like to have a wide variety of finishes and textures to use so I am able to customize the best foundation for each individual face. Plus, I love the glow that I get from my favorite foundations which I haven't found in airbrush...yet. I'm always hunting for the best new thing! Sarah: I often prefer the more natural dewey texture of liquid foundation. I am a fan of natural looking skin. I like to enhance. I also like the art of painting on the foundation, contouring, and highlighting with my brushes!

Napa brides by Audrey & Glowing Bridal

Diane Askew Photography
Diane Askew Photography
Diane Askew Photography
Diane Askew Photography
Diane Askew Photography
Diane Askew Photography
Diane Askew Photography
What are your favorite products to use?

Audrey: I cherry-pick from all of the different lines finding the best things for my kit possible. The products I can't live without in my kit are my primers and sealants. They are the big guns that keep the makeup looking flawless all day and night. CoverFX makes an amazing anti-aging, silicone-based primer. It smooths the skin so beautifully and helps the foundation glide on and stay all day. The All-Nighter by Urban Decay is one of the best long-wearing setting sprays I've ever used. Spray it on and don't think about your face again, even on the hottest wine country afternoon. False lashes are every brides' best friend. Little individual clusters are practically undetectable in person but they give so much impact in photos. Lastly, blush. Beautiful, healthy, rosy cheeks are key. I like to layer a cream blush under powder so my brides have a luminous "lit from within" glow to their skin. Sarah: I love products! Love! I use such a variety and my favorite thing is finding out your treasures too! I use Laura Mercier tinted moisturizers and foundations, NARS eye and cheek colors, Chanel glossimers and foundations, Makeup Forever HD powder and foundations, MAC lips and more, Stila shadows, Urban Decay pencils are the best, Christian Dior concealer, YSL touche eclat... I could go on and on. All of our sHe artists use their own hand picked products.

More sHe artists brides!

Gertrude & Mabel Photography
Stephanie Pool Photography
Rosemarie Lion Photography
It's not easy to choose their wedding makeup artist! What is your #1 tip for brides looking for a bridal makeup artist?

Sarah: #1 tip—communication! To be sure you feel comfortable with them and your photographer for that matter too. They will be a big part of your day. Audrey: My number one tip would be to ask for referrals from friends, co-workers—and then look for reviews online. Get a feel about the artist from their website and portfolio and then reach out to them. Do you love their photos? Do you feel like you can communicate with them openly and comfortably? I can't stress to my clients enough that they can't hurt my feelings when it comes to makeup. It's such a personal service and honest communication is the key to it all.

And finally, how will the bride know she's found The One

Sarah of sHe artists: Do a trial run of course! You will know when you feel comfortable with them and you have confidence that they can produce the look you want. Audrey of Glowing Bridal: If you feel like you want hang out with your chosen artist once your wedding is over, chances are you're going to get pretty great results from your collaboration!

Alright ladies, you heard it here. It seems that our expert Napa makeup artists, Audrey of Glowing Bridal and Sarah of sHe artists, are fans of traditional makeup for the wedding day, although Sarah advises us to keep in mind that airbrush makeup is great for the bride who has a need for 100% coverage due to skin defects, tattoos, scars, and the like. I've heard rumors though that airbrush makeup can cause breakouts as the skin can't breathe as easily, so those with sensitive skin should keep that in mind.

Thanks so much to both Napa makeup artists Audrey Crandell of Glowing Bridal and Sarah Hyde of sHe artists for helping us navigate the bridal makeup world!

Need more advicetips, or inspiration for your Napa wedding? We've got you covered!