What Is Spray Foundation?

Judith Smith Sullivan

Spray foundation, or airbrush foundation, is a type of makeup used to create an even skin tone on the face. It is sprayed on the face using a pressurized spray can or compressed air system. The product is available through many cosmetics companies, in stores, catalogs, and online.

Spray foundation may still require a makeup brush to blend.
Spray foundation may still require a makeup brush to blend.

There are basically four types of foundation: power, liquid, cream, and spray. Spray foundation is the least commonly used by the average consumer. Power, liquid, and cream foundations are typically cheaper than spray foundation, but even so, many professional makeup artists use spray foundation on a regular basis.

Spray foundation can be used to cover vitiligo spots.
Spray foundation can be used to cover vitiligo spots.

This type of foundation was a later development in the technology of makeup. Cream and liquid foundation has existed since ancient Roman times, although the high levels of mercury and lead used at that time were toxic. In the early 20th century, Max Factor introduced a makeup foundation for movie stars that made them appear more life-like in film. It wasn't until the late 20th century, however, that spray foundation became common.

Spray foundation is popular with makeup artists.
Spray foundation is popular with makeup artists.

The main reason that spray foundation is most popular with professional make up artists is that it gives the smoothest, most natural finish. Since it does not require an applicator, there are no smudge lines, streaks, or other imperfections. Individuals who appear on television can have perfectly even skin tone even if they have a very poor complexion.

An added advantage for professionals is that spray foundation is sanitary. Neither a sponge nor the stylist's fingers have to touch an individual's face while applying the makeup. This cuts down on additional equipment that the stylist has to purchase, carry, and throw away. An experienced makeup artist can apply the foundation in a matter of minutes. Typically, spray foundations are very light and dry quickly, cutting down on the time between applying foundation and applying additional facial cosmetics.

At-home spray foundations are usually not of the same quality as professional brands. The main problem is with the application method itself. Professionals use airbrush kits which spray a misting, even layer of foundation. At-home brands typically can't compete with the power performance of a compressed air system.

Even so, at-home spray-on foundation is still an extremely effective and light product. Cream foundations are often heavy and cake-like. Liquid foundations can be messy to use and also result in a heavily made up look. Spray foundation gives excellent coverage without the added weight, dries quickly, and blends to a matte finish. It does, however, still require a makeup brush or sponge to blend.

Failure to properly remove spray foundation may result in clogged pores and acne.
Failure to properly remove spray foundation may result in clogged pores and acne.

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Discussion Comments


@spotiche5- Though spray foundation that is for home use does not provide the same finish that professional spray foundation does, it is still worth using. If you invest in a product that isn't too cheap, you should be able to get by without having to rub the foundation in too much. Just make sure that you apply it before you get dressed for the day, or you could get it on your clothes.


@spotiche5- I occasionally use spray foundation, and I really like it. I do think that it is complicated to use though, because you have to rub it in after your spray it on your face. That's why I save it for special occasions.


I haven't used spray foundation at home, but it actually sounds messy to me. I like that spray foundation is light, but is it really worth the effort to apply it?

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