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How-To: Incompatibility of Makeup Product Lines


Incompatibility of Makeup Product Lines

by Bradley M. Look


Recently, I received a question forwarded to me, from a makeup artist by the name of Christopher Russo, on the topic of High Definition makeup. I’ve included a portion of his letter here so that I could respond to it for the benefit of other readers:

“I have used Revlon Color Stay* base with a 50/50 mixture of 244 Fluid and a bit of Silicolor (available from Michael Davy). Works great using Eclipse HP BCS siphon feed. I use Dinair Glamour colors for cheek color and underbase shading. I’ve had problems when it came time to do a good cleaning between these color changes. The airbrush clogged because colors are incompatible and turned to gum. 244 Fluid does not mix well with Dinair. Would like to line upper eyelids for finer work with my airbrush. Can’t get it to work, I think that the makeup is too thick to get through the nozzle opening. Do you have any suggestions on reducing colors and or other products to try?”


Well, Christopher, you’ve discovered a very important first lesson when airbrushing makeup. All product lines are not created equally! It’s an incredible misconception makeup artists have, that to be able to thin down any airbrush product line (with disregard to its chemical structure) is to dump some 244 Fluid in it! 244 Fluid is not the cure-all for airbrush product lines! For those who are unfamiliar with what 244 Fluid is, let me explain. The Dow Chemical Company created 244 Fluid as a base fluid that is used in a number of personal care products. It’s chemically classified as a cyclomethicone. The reason that it will readily mix with Revlon Colorstay is because that product is a dimethicone base. Dimethicone and cyclomethicone are defined as silicones. So 244 Fluid is only compatible with product lines that contain those ingredients.


NOTE: I contacted Dow Corning Product Service Department to have them double check the accuracy of my chemical analysis. Lacy Hardy, of product services, read over this article and wrote back that I am correct on the matter. However, your 50/50 ratio is too high, as you will over thin the product so it no longer has enough binders to hold it together. In makeup, the binders give a product longevity so that it will last longer. Colorstay, which comes in a 1.25 oz size, I found, can be thinned down with 3/8 oz. of 244 Fluid. If interested, I have an entire recipe worked out for the process. (Contact AirbrushTalk and they will forward your request to me).

The reason 244 Fluid will not work with the Dinair Glamour makeup is that line is chemically a polymer-water base. So it’s water based, not silicone based and in there lies the rub. Those two are completely incompatible. Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymers act as a film former. Once the airbrushed makeup dries, the polymer vehicle produces a continuous film on the skin. It’s this synthetic plastic ingredient that will give the finished makeup the longevity of a shooting day. Note: When in doubt, always contact the company as per their recommendations to properly thin down their product.

Graftobian Makeup Company has produced an extensive line of glamour makeup, which they call, GlamAire. It’s somewhat similar to the Dinair line; however, they make a thinner that is actually the base ingredients without any pigment added. So by using their thinner you aren’t lowering the binder. Also, I can’t stress this point enough: Never add tap water to any airbrush makeup product, as it can contain minerals that can contaminate or, worse, compromise the chemistry. Only use distilled water if a company instructs you that water can properly thin down their product.

Concerning your wish to be able to airbrush the eyeliner: I would strongly caution you against this because of the extreme danger! I would advise you use the more traditional approach to create your eyeliner, namely the old-fashioned makeup brush. Some things never go out of fashion! And you won’t be looking at a possible lawsuit, either.

I would suggest you peruse some of the back issues of AirbrushTalk, for past articles I’ve written that you might find right up your alley. I also wrote an extensive article for Makeup Artist Magazine titled “Air Essentials” (issue#44) on all the airbrush makeup lines up to that point. I am in the process of up-dating that article for a future issue in the magazine, as there are many more product lines available now.

Lastly, I have been working with the Zazzo Company to produce an entire line of stencils for both beauty and character makeup work, called the “Makeup Masters Series.” Look for those early in 2007.

I hope that this information was of help. If anyone else out there has any questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer each and every one of them. Good Airbrushing!

*Disclaimer: Commonly being used by makeup artists both in film and television for its longevity, though not with Revlon’s corporate approval for this method of application of their product line to the skin.

Reprinted with permission of ARTtalk.com


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