Saturday, May 22, 2010


(as published in ZEN Health November-December 2009)

The beauty and makeup world shows no signs of being passé. With the latest innovations in machinery and technology, it has not failed to keep up with the times when it comes to face, and now body enhancements through the use of an airbrush.

The 1925 silent film Ben-Hur was the first to hire the services of airbrush. The movie’s makeup team needed to apply fake tans on thousands of extras, who were playing the role of buffed and tanned Romans. Result? The airbrushed cast looked naturally sun-kissed.

Airbrush what?

Usually intended for designing and primping shirts and automobiles, airbrush was said to have been originally designed and patented by Francis Edgar Stanley in late 1870s and was further improved by Abner Peeler.

Unlike the typical makeup technique where the artist uses a brush or a sponge to apply the makeup, this novel way uses a system consisting of a small compressor, sprayer or gun, hose, and small bottles and vials of liquid makeup.

Airbrush makeup is sprayed on the skin in the form of a very fine mist creating a sheer, flawless, natural, and effortless result. Also, it clings to the skin very well; it appears as a second skin, allowing it to breathe since it’s water-based; it can survive both moist and dry conditions; it stays on the skin for 24 hours without fading; and it’s beso-proof, making it perfect for bridal makeup.


These edges against the customary makeup amount to nothing

without electricity—a deterrent factor for artists.

“In a hotel, I experienced the lack of electricity where it’s not enough for my airbrush to function well,” shares Abbygale Arenas-De Leon, Managing Director of Personi-fi Image Studio, Inc. “If there’s no electricity, then I won’t be able to operate my airbrush. I’m dead.”

(Ms. Abbygale Arenas-de Leon in action)

Pinoy touch

In the Philippines, a number of makeup artists dared to trudge on the tricky path of airbrush makeup, among them is Arenas-de Leon, 1992 Supermodel of the World and 1997 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe.

“I went to the States to study airbrush makeup and I brought the entire set when I came back,” she shares.

Despite her lessons on the technical side and the nitty-gritty of airbrush makeup, this title-holder admits that it took her a lot of practice before she mastered the fine art of airbrush makeup application.

“Practice every day is the key,” she says. “I did a lot of free makeup for shoots where I tried my own technique. I did a lot of shoots for Jun [de Leon, my husband] and I also did avant-garde photos to test the capacity of the airbrush.”

Makeup miracles

Makeup isn’t just a vanity emblem.

A dab of lip gloss and a swipe of blush on the cheeks create a spark of magic in a person’s features. It amps the confidence and eventually improves the overall aura of the person. Such is what happened to one of Arenas-de Leon’s clients.

“All her life she hid her face in bangs because of a birth mark on the entire half of her face,” she shares. “So I did her makeup using airbrush and the result was heartwarming. She said ‘I’m going to show my face for the first time’.”

Available soon

To date, there is no airbrush system available in the Philippines yet. But driven by her passion to make all the Filipinas pretty and confident, Arenas-de Leon is working on manufacturing it locally and making it more affordable than its imported counterpart.

“If you buy airbrush makeup [system] you get free training,” she says. “You may have the machine but if you don’t have the training, it’s useless. Hopefully by next year I’ll be distributing the airbrush system.”

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