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A Quick and Complete Guide to Airbrush Nails

by ChloeElizabeth Reed 19 Dec 2022 0 comments
complete guide how to airbrush nails

Everything you want to know about airbrush nail art

Airbrush nails are back! Whether you are a nail art fan who wants to know more or, an aspiring airbrush nail artist we’ve got you covered! I have put together this complete guide to understanding the artistry and mechanics of airbrush nails. In this post, we'll explain what airbrush nails are, how it all works and the different types of nail art designs that you can create.

In this post we will cover: 

  • The history of airbrush nail art  & what it is 
  • The best  type of airbrush machines & paints to use for nail art 
  • Learning how to airbrush nails
  • Common FAQ about airbrush nails
Complete Guide to Airbrush Nails cloud airbrush nail art

Airbrush Nail History

Airbrush nail is gaining popularity, again. I can remember being from Detroit, all the nail techs that would do airbrush nail art would always be crazy booked. It was such an amazing time in the nail industry. It’s definitely a returning trend that has been bolstered with the new technology available to nail techs. From stencils that stick to airbrush gel! This art form is amazing and left up to the nail tech to determine.

Airbrush Nail Paints

There are a few different paint options from airbrush gel products to old faithful airbrush acrylic paints. Airbrush gels allow the user to complete their design and cure between applications to avoid a possible smearing of the paint medium. Airbrush acrylic paints have been reformulated,they have quicker drying times and unlimited possibilities when it comes to layering in color.

Airbrush Nail Machines

Let's talk about airbrush machine because there are many options on the market. I just want to say they are not created equal. Believe me, I have tried them all. I’ll rank them from awesome to OK

  1. Airtex by airgel for airgel
    1. Pros: Great system easy to use, Nice tight spraying radius.
    2. Cons: Expensive, learning curve 
  2. IWATA definitely a favorite
    1. Pros: Easy to use, Has plenty of types of hand pieces to get tight detail
    2. Cons: Learning curve, can get get expensive average $200+ for just a hand piece
  3. Apres (but use their hand piece and a regular compressor)
    1. Pros: German engineering hand piece, tight spraying radius, you can attach it to a different hand piece.
    2. Cons : Cheap compressor, not a good value for the money ..

The cheap ones from Amazon, Ebay and AliExpress…are just ok. They end up sticking, splattering paint. They are not created equal. Cheaper does not equal better!

If you're ready to learn more about airbrush machines and how to use them  Register for my complimentary class showing you How To Pick The Correct Airbrush Equipment!

How to Airbrush nails

Learning how to airbrush nails take practice, like many things but I promise it's easy enough!

  1.   Polish your nail with the gel polish color of your choice or client’s choice and cure
  2.   After the gel color is applied and cured apply your matte topcoat and cure.
  3.   Once the topcoat is cured, (remove the dispersion layer if there is one with gel cleanser) then apply your stencil.
  4.   Spray your design on the stencil using the airbrush paint or gel of your choice.
  5.     If the airbrush product you are using requires curing remove the stencil and then cure.
  6.   After your design is complete then topcoat.

Pro Tip

I don’t cure my design with the stencils on. If I need to for the design because I am going to be putting in a few layers I include the cost of the stencil in the cost of the nail art so that it can be replaced.

For more useful nail tech tips follow me on instagram @glamnailz210

how to airbrush nails

FAQ airbrush nails

These are the most common questions I get from students and clients about the art of airbrushing nails.

What is airbrush nail art?

The art of using an airbrush machine and paint to create mini nail art master pieces.

Can you airbrush real nails

Yes but you need at least a base coat of gel or polish before you start and airbrush application.

Do they airbrush nails anymore

It’s literally the hottest trend in nails right now and it is going to be around for a while.

How do you airbrush fingernails

First decide on your design, pick your colors and stencils and start your application.

Can you use gel polish in an airbrush?

You can but it is NOT recommended, there aren’t any studies but i’m sure that spraying acetone mixed with gel into the air is not good for the lungs. Also the fact that acetone evaporates when it is exposed to air can cause your machine to become clogged with thick sticky gel polish.

Can you use normal acrylic paints in an airbrush machine?

Yes and no…normal acrylic airbrush paint yes because it is formulated to be the right consistency to be sprayed in an airbrush. It also has it’s own thinner if that is required. Regular craft paint cannot be sprayed through an airbrush because of thickness. Besides you can waste a lot of time and money by not purchasing the proper products for your equipment.

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