Makeup Magic at Home with the Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System

Published in: Guest Post, Makeup Tips/How To, Makeup Tools


Written by Sam

Welcome to Makeup 2.0. The future is now! Upgrade your makeup point of view with the subject of today’s guest post from Sam.

The Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System

How often do you glance at a magazine photo spread and enviously draw your fingers over the page? No one’s skin can be that perfect, you think, studying the model’s face. It’s like the pores have all been airbrushed away!


What is the Temptu?

Now you can have pro-caliber post-production skin, and you can get it from the comfort of your own home. Skin nirvana is just a Temptu away. With their AIRbrush Makeup System, you’ll be staring at yourself in the mirror, wondering if you’re seeing something real, or a cruel trick of light.

The Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System ($225) is available exclusively through Sephora or Temptu’s own website (I prefer to deal with the brand itself).

Dealing directly with the company

Using the company’s Shade Finder tool, you can upload a picture of yourself (don’t forget to smile!) and list your current brand of foundation, as well as the shade you use. Within a day or two, you’ll receive an email recommending the Temptu foundation, blush, and highlighter shades ($55 for two foundation AIRpods; $30 for each blush; $35 for highlighters) they believe you should try.

Temptu Shade Finder

One reason I prefer to deal with Temptu directly is that I’ve never had much luck with Sephora’s shade matcher girls. I’m not sure whether to attribute it to the lighting in the stores (shows every blemish, rough spot and acne scar I have), or to something else, but whenever I try to match my foundation in Sephora, I end up walking out of the store with a shade that’s either too light or too dark.

Temptu’s online tool, however, picked the shades I would have chosen for myself, and their online color representations look spot-on.

With Temptu’s “Build-a-Bundle Starter Set,” rather than purchasing the system, the foundation duo, the blush, and the highlighter separately at MSRP, you can bundle your shades (hopefully the ones you were matched to) from three drop-down menus, and they’ll combine them for you to the tune of a $50 savings.

The packaging

Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System PackagingIf you’re a packaging nerd like I am, I think you’ll be impressed. The system itself is housed in a magnetic closure box, and nestled in a fitted plastic container that rests over the other components: air-hose, power source, instructional DVD, and warranty. Glossy minimalism at its best.

The DVD wasn’t what I expected, and I think the printed instructions are much more useful overall. Airbrushing and applying makeup with a brush or sponge are totally different beasts, and the DVD isn’t much more than pretty cinematography. Sure, it’s well laid out, but the model has nearly perfect skin already. Fine for a fashion spread or a virtual look book, but for real people like us who want to learn how to conceal a blemish or dark under-eyes, I recommend reading the manual or looking up a YouTube video posted by a consumer instead.

The airbrush that comes with the Starter Set is the same one that comes with the Temptu air professional compressor, sans the battery pack. Instead, a rubber muffler is glued to the underside (thank goodness, as this thing produces a rather loud rumbling noise when turned on) of this model. If you had hoped to purchase a battery for it, quash them now. This version must be used near a power source. That said, the power cord is rather long.

The proprietary gun rests inside a stand above the machine, and its beautiful! That is, until you pick it up. The shiny, brushed-metal-esque plastic attracts fingerprints like mad. Not that that affects its performance in the slightest, but if you have issues with that type of thing, be prepared to keep a microfiber cloth nearby at all times.

Using the system

To begin using the system, take the rubber hose, and push one end into the hole underneath the PSI regulator (that knob with the white ring around it on one side), and the do the same with the other end and the gun. Next, take your first AIRpod (I assume you’ll be using the foundation one first), and remove the black cap on one end. Inside this cap is a little tool, held back by a piece of sticky tape. I needed a pair of tweezers to remove it, so be prepared. Take this tool, and poke it in and out of the red-rimmed hole on the now exposed end of the AIRpod (this is where the gun will connect to the product). Make sure to also remove the tape from the other end of the AIRpod as well (I learned this the hard way… So much product wasted!)

Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System Compressor
Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System Compressor

Now, here comes the tricky part. Hold down the small button on the side of the gun (this is extremely important), and slide the AIRpod in until you hear it click. You won’t know if it worked or not for another few seconds. ..

Push the button on top of the machine, and aim the gun at the back of your hand (you should be holding the gun like you would a large pencil or pen). You should feel a cool, gentle blast of air. With one finger, pull back the lever on the top of the gun itself. If it seems to kind of click instead of move smoothly, the AIRpod didn’t latch properly, and no product will come out. In this case, you’ll have to remove the AIRpod and reinsert it (I once had to do this four times to get it to work).

A gripe

And this is where one of my major gripes with the system comes in. It’s nearly impossible to get those little devils off! You’re meant to hold down that button on the side of the gun (make sure the machine is turned off for this) and simply slide the AIRpod right off. Nope. It’s a struggle. I often have to work it so hard that the hose pops off. I’ve tried wiggling it back and forth, pulling straight back, wrapping it in a towel and pulling… And if you have any sort of slippery material (lotion, etc.) on your hands, forget it. I think

Temptu AIRpods
Temptu AIRpods in Ivory, Pale Pink, and Champagne

Inside one of the Temptu AIRpods
Inside one of the AIRpods

I’ve honestly spent more time trying to remove these things (either to reinsert them to get them to latch, or to switch products) than actually applying what was in them! I get that they need a tight seal to work, but there definitely needs to be an easy-release tab or something.

Actually using the brush

The Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System Brush

Assuming, though, that the lever did move smoothly, you should see some product start to slowly build up on your hand. That’s good. Release the lever, and move it toward your face. The brush has a continuous airflow, so you’ll feel air being pushed from it even when you aren’t distributing product. Adjust the machine’s PSI regulator for whichever product you’re currently using (I prefer the middle to the high position for foundation; the middle to low setting for blush, highlighter, and concealing).

Hold the brush about six inches away from your face and completely perpendicular to it, and pull back on the lever. I prefer to start at the middle of my face and move outward and around, but how you do it is up to you. Move the gun in medium, circular motions to avoid harsh lines or uneven distribution, and do one entire “layer” over your entire face first. I usually end up doing two full layers before going back to target problem areas. And never stop moving as long as the lever is pulled back.

Using it to conceal blemishes and dark circles

To conceal blemishes and under-eye circles, turn that PSI regulator down, and move the brush until it’s about two inches from your face. For blemishes, aim directly at them, and pull back lightly on the lever, moving the device away from your face at the same time (to avoid a harsh edge). Do this as many times as needed until the blemish disappears. For under-eyes, tilt your head down and look up, widening your eyes as you do, and move the unit in tiny circles, starting from the inner eye and working out, until they’re bright and cheery.

The product has a mild floral scent which doesn’t bother me in the least because it assists in knowing when product is actually being sprayed as opposed to just air (after a while, you’ll get used to it and just know).

What makes the Temptu so special?

Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System

The products themselves are completely buildable, so you can move from sheer to full coverage depending on your needs, without it looking cakey. But the best thing: it looks real! Like real skin. It’s not overly dewy or matte; it has a subtle glow that works on skin from oily to dry. And the blush isn’t overbearing or unnatural, but somehow mimics the exact flush that appears on your cheeks when you walk inside after a brief jaunt in the cold. The highlighter is a bit shimmery, but the particles are extremely small. So as long as you use it sparingly, you should never end up looking like a glitter fairy got angry at your face.

Getting used to it

With the Temptu, it’s important to remember that you’re not actually looking to see the makeup on your skin. Rather, you’re looking for a change from broken out, uneven, etc., to smooth and even. Believe me, it takes a few days to get application down perfect. The first few times you try it, you may end up mottled and with big patches of product (called hot spots, from when you allow the brush to linger in one area for too long without moving it). I know I did. It’s probably not a good idea, then, to use this for the first time on the day of an important board meeting, or a first date with that guy/girl from the next office you really like.

Moving on to blush and highlighter

After you apply your foundation with the unit, remove the AIRpod, and switch it out for the blush, and then the highlighter. For these, simply turn down the PSI, and move in to about four inches.

Starting up near your temple for blush and on your brow bone for highlighter, move the brush in tight circular motions down and onto the top of your cheekbone. Two layers often seems sufficient for a healthy glow, but you can certainly build it up for more color if you wish. And all of this can be achieved in less than five minutes (excluding the time it takes to change those darn pods).

Now, take a step back and examine yourself. Yes, it’s you. That gorgeous skin is actually you. No pores, no blemishes, no unevenness. Although this stuff definitely works best on normal, combination, and oily skin, those of you with dry skin can still reap the benefits if you apply less product with a touch more care.

What about wear time?

Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System BrushWill your makeup still look this wonderful in a few hours? Wait a few minutes for the product to settle, set with some translucent powder, and yes, yes it will. As the ultimate test, I wore this to a four-hour-long dance rehearsal where I was sweating and generally going through something I wouldn’t expect even my best normal foundation to withstand (side note: this foundation is described as being water-resistant, not waterproof). However, coming home, exhausted and in need of a shower, my face still looked amazing. Not nearly as perfect as when I first applied, but there were no smudges, no drips, and no oxidation. Just a bit of fading near my hairline and on my chin and cheeks. But (assuming I wasn’t all smelly and gross), I would have been perfectly happy to wear this out again right that minute without washing and reapplying.

And on a normal day? Even with my extremely oily skin, I didn’t need to blot at all until about eight hours in, and my skin looked better than it ever had (other than with my pro airbrush routine) at 12 hours. And truthfully, I did fall asleep with this on one night (sorry!), and it still looked good the next morning… No kidding. Not good enough to just walk out the door and go through the rest of my day, but definitely good enough for walking the dog or picking up some coffee. Plus, I didn’t break out at all from having worn it as a nighttime face mask!


Running off on a loose tangent, a huge plus about this system is that it requires absolutely no cleaning at all. You never have to wash, soak, or scrub any single part of it, making this one of the most hygienic options around.

The bad stuff

And yet I have a few problems with this set-up (aside from the tricky pod removal…). The first may be more of an issue for pros and has to do with the colors. You can’t mix them. At all. I almost always custom mix shades for myself or for clients to achieve a perfect match, but because these products are housed in completely self-contained pods, they’re impossible to remove and combine.

Of course, the average consumer probably won’t mind. As long as you don’t pull out your palette and mix together a custom shade every morning, you’ll probably be perfectly happy to use the closest shade Temptu offers (and Temptu offers a great range of shades in both undertones that look like real skin).

Temptu AIRpod colors
Temptu AIRpods in Ivory, Pale Pink, and Champagne

Portability may be a bigger issue, however, because although the system may save you some counter room, it’s certainly not as easy to disassemble and carefully wrap the delicate components as it is to throw a few brushes, a compact, and a bottle in a bag.

As for noise, the rubber pad on the bottom helps, but the Temptu is not something you want to use in the room next to a light sleeper.

My biggest problem with the system is by far the price of the products. I could easily see myself working through one foundation pod (using it to achieve medium coverage) in three to four weeks, and six weeks of product for $55 is a lot for someone on a budget. This rivals many of the top tier consumer brands, and those can often last even longer between repurchases.


Is it worth it?

So…is it worth it? I think it totally depends on your needs and who you are. I know I won’t be switching over from my pro airbrush or from regular makeup and brushes to the Temptu permanently. But I will be keeping it around for performances and for times when I’m in a hurry (my regular routine certainly takes longer, but that’s the price I pay for mixing my own shades).

Ask yourself this: Do you want long-lasting coverage that won’t oxidize, run, or cake? Do you need to speed up your morning routine to get out that door in a jiffy? Do you not want to worry about having to clean and wash brushes or sponges anymore? Are you willing to shell out $55 for new foundation every six to eight weeks? And do you mind having to struggle and tussle with removing and attaching these AIRpods at seven a.m., and not being able to mix them together?

As long as you don’t take serious issue with any of those and can bear to part with the initial $225 for the system itself, then go for it. Your face will thank you, even if your bank account won’t.

Visit me at Finally Indigo in the coming days for even MORE on the Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System and what it can do for you. -Sam

Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System Unboxing


Written by Sam

Sam is a 17-year-old, oddly tall guy whose love of all things skincare, makeup, and fashion started when he entered the modeling world at 14. Since then, he’s established himself as a freelance makeup artist in the theatre and fashion worlds, and started his own blog to preach the wonders of orange eyeshadow, Asian skincare, and designer fragrances to the masses.


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So far, 15 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Jessi says:

    I wish I had the patience for this because it seems awesome. I am pretty low maintenance which is in direct contrast to how many cosmetics I own, haha. I know they let you try out the Temptu at Sephora so I may just do that, though. Thanks so much for the thorough, thoughtful review.
    Jessi recently posted … Underrated Product Alert- 99 cent Sally Girl Eye Shadows

  2. Doreen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing, Sam. I’ve been curious about the Temptu, and although I probably won’t buy it anytime soon (I live in the college dorms, so there’s not much space and my roommate’s a pretty light sleeper!) I really appreciated reading your post. Love how you’re super thorough and articulate.

  3. Vijaya says:

    I’ve never been interested in using machine for foundation. xP
    Vijaya recently posted … Linnaeus Cosmetics Review- The Green Mantella Collection

  4. Kate & Zena says:

    Oh yea, that is definitely NOT a system for Katie. I would kill it in two minutes flat with my clumsiness (um, I murdered one of those Goody unbreakable combs. If I can do that….one of these is DEFINITELY NOT for me). That and it would definitely exacerbate my Cerebral Palsy.

    It also doesn’t come pale enough. Grrrrrrrr.

    I love how thorough you are!

  5. mkdallas says:

    Zomg, my head just exploded from all the steps! Seriously, thank you so much for this very thorough, informative review, Sam…that being said, I think this would mainly benefit people who have more patience and brain cells than me. It was fascinating to read throught the process, though!

  6. Ireland says:

    I have always been fascinated with the idea of air brushing foundation. The first time that I saw anything like this was at an Estee Lauder makeup counter. The makeup artist was using a system to air brush bronzer. The results were amazing.

    You review leaves me thinking that this is a bit too complex for me. I would probably end up breaking the machine within a day or two.

  7. Vanessa says:

    Awesome review, Sam! I love your guest posts 🙂
    Vanessa recently posted … Happy Hair

  8. Sam says:

    Before you all knock it… Once you get the hand of it (takes about a week), a full face can be done in about FIVE minutes with this. I’ll be doing a tutorial and posting it on my blog soon, so check that out if you don’t believe me 😉

    • Kate & Zena says:

      No no no no, I’m not writing it off because of the time (trust me; it looks nifty), it’s the disability(ies) first (more than one actually may apply). I have spastic Cerebral Palsy in my legs and possibly ataxic CP (we’re still debating) in my wrists. Doing a repeated action like pressing a button and holding it down can exacerbate the pain I’m in; I’ve learned to live with the pain that I have from having it since birth (which you know, is nothing to me, but it’s probably something like a 5 or 7 to other people), but the Temptu reads “1 Vicodin, a cold pack, and a wrist splint followed by a nap due to Vicodin knocking me out” to me.

      It’s a lot of fun being me (I mean it as a compliment sort of…kind of. It’s hard to explain). Lots of restrictions (the number one being NO LASER TAG. I’ve always wanted to play laser tag!!!)

  9. Fefe says:

    So Sam… I currently use Origin’s VitaZing as my “foundation” kind of, even though it is a tinted moisturizer that matches anyone’s skin tone. Would I just cut that out of my routine completely and use a regular moisturizer or use that before this Temptu thing? I always wondered what would change in my “routine”. I really only use VitaZing, some Mabeline matte powder, a little Origin’s bronzer on my pale days and then Urban Decay setting spray. I do want to go to the store and try this out but to be honest… I trust you more than the Sephora reps Lol.
    Fefe recently posted … Photography- Attempt Numero Uno

    • Sam says:

      If the VitaZing gives you a dewey look… Then no. I’m not gonna go into the chemistry here, but when you mix water with silicone you basically get plastic.

      My routine with this is sunblock (which for me is plenty of moisture, though those with dryer skin should of course use a moisturiser), silicone primer (totally not required, as this stuff lasts like a champ), then the foundation, blush, highlighter, and powder.

      IF the VitaZing absorbs completely and works for your skin, then you certainly do not need to cut it out. However, I’d recommend investing in some better powder than Maybelline; preferably a colorless one that won’t change the color of this foundation. I have recs if you want. 🙂

      Did that answer your question? I tend to ramble lol
      Sam recently posted … Review- Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

      • Fefe says:

        Yeah… Got it. I actually started using the cheap powder because this girl on YouTube who is fab at make-up recommended it. I tried it out and it definitely keeps my oily face looking good. I would like a colorless one, what do you suggest? The one I use sometimes makes me too white and the next shade up is just a no go Lol. I do love VitaZing especially on the days where I don’t want to apply a lot of make-up but the days that I do, I’d LOVE this Temptu thing for.
        Fefe recently posted … Photography- Attempt Numero Uno

  10. Jess says:

    Thanks so much for writing this review! I’ve been curious about this for the past few years but hadnt had the courage to buy it.

  11. Helena says:

    Am I the only one for whom the links don’t work and the upload-my-picture-to-Temptu-and-they’ll-match-me feature is invisible? o.o Derp.

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