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What is the difference between single action and dual action brushes?

When choosing an airbrush, you may have to choose between a ‘single’ or ‘dual-action’ airbrush. In this short article, we hope to illustrate the key differences between the two.

What you need to know

Single action airbrushes are the ‘point and shoot’ variety of airbrushes. They allow you to pull the trigger and get a consistent, stable flow of makeup from the end of the gun. Dual-action airbrushes, on the other hand, allow for a more nuanced application of makeup. With dual-action airbrushes, you are able to control exactly how much pressure you want to apply, allowing you to more precision when applying makeup.

Single Action Airbrushes

The advantages and disadvantages of each of these airbrushes should already be quite clear. If you are a beginner/don’t plan to use your kit very often/are just applying it every now and then, then go for the single action. I say this because it’s the easiest to use and doesn’t have such a steep learning curve. That said, those who swear by dual-action airbrushes might be inclined to argue that single-action airbrushes are messy and cumbersome, as they don’t allow the kind of precision that dual-action airbrushes allow. In order to adjust the amount of makeup applied with a single-action airbrush, the artist has to physically move the airbrush closer or further away from the subject.

Dual Action Airbrushes

If, on the other hand, Airbrush Makeup is your life (there’s nothing wrong with that- look at us!) then the dual-action airbrush might be a better choice. While the dual-action airbrush takes a lot longer to get the hang of, it’ll allow you to do much more in the long run and is worth the time investment. When we say dual-action airbrushes are more difficult to use, they aren’t that difficult, and we don’t want you to think that they are impossible for a novice to figure out! With a few months practice you should be well on the way.

Another consideration with dual-action airbrush makeup brushes is that they tend to be a little bit messier and harder to clean than the single action variety. Dual action airbrushes can also be more expensive (but not always).




Which will suit your style best?

To conclude, it’s up to you to decide which one you think  will best suit your airbrushing style. If, however, you plan to use the kit for a good few years on a regular basis, it might be worth going for a dual-action airbrush as a single-action could limit you in future.

Go back to the Airbrush Makeup guide