While the airbrush is a commonplace tool in the pro makeup world, not all of us have taken the time to truly understand the individual parts of an airbrush, what they do and how. So I wanted to introduce you to the Paasche H. let’s go “under the hood” and explore exactly how a Paasche H works, and help you create more effective airbrush makeup work.

the anatomy of an airbrush
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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Why understanding the technical aspects of an airbrush is crucial for makeup artists.
  • The basic anatomy of a Paasche H airbrush.
  • Why the Paasche H is the perfect beginner’s airbrush.


click here to read the transcript!


Episode 37: Show notes

white and black pen on white printer paper

An airbrush is an essential tool in a makeup artist’s kit, offering versatility and precision for various makeup applications.

I decided to delve into the technical aspects of the Paasche H Single Action Siphon Feed Airbrush so I can shed light on its parts and functionalities.I hope this post helps you understand, appreciate and get the most out of your Paasche H.

Understanding the Anatomy of an Airbrush

A Closer Look at the Paasche H Single-Action Siphon-Feed Airbrush

Whether you’re new to airbrushing or seeking to deepen your understanding, this comprehensive guide will equip you with valuable insights into the anatomy and operation of this indispensable tool.

Understanding the Types of Airbrushes:

First of all, let’s look at the distinction between single-action and double-action airbrushes, and explore their unique functionalities.

With a single-action airbrush, the trigger controls the airflow, providing simplicity and ease of use for beginners.

On the other hand, double-action airbrushes offer greater control, allowing the user to adjust both airflow and paint flow with distinct trigger motions.

I feel it’s important for the novice airbrush user to start with a single-action airbrush before venturing into the complexities of double-action model. It is a simpler action to refine, and you can always progress up to a double-action airbrush in good time.

Exploring Feed Systems:

Let’s take a look at the three main types of airbrush feed systems: siphon feed, gravity feed, and side feed.

The Paasche H is a siphon feed airbrush, wherein the makeup or paint container connects to the bottom of the airbrush.

Understanding these feed systems is pivotal, as it influences the atomization of the product during airbrushing.

Deconstructing the Paasche H Airbrush:

Starting with the handle, it’s available in a basic red vinyl or you can customize it with a plated metal option. Moving onto the air cap, which is available in 3 different sizes, depending on the level of detail you are looking to achieve.

1 is the finest, 3 is the middle, and 5 gives you a wider flow of paint for broader strokes.

The Paashe H is quite simply built airbrush with very few moving parts. This is yet another reason it is a good beginner airbrush and why it is useful on big makeup jobs where you may not have time to pull apart a more complex airbrush, a double-action one. Which can also lead to more frequent blockages.

Tips for Maintenance and Care:

I want to stress how important upkeep is, and hopefully guide you on the essential aspects of maintaining your Paasche H airbrush.

Its important to invest in spare parts – particularly the small set screw that secures the needle and tip together. And owning a number of paint cups and keeping safe the allen key is crucial to efficient use as well.

I hope this episode has demystified some of the technical aspects of an airbrush, and help you appreciate exactly what’s happening when you are airbrushing.
Which in turn, can lead to a deeper understanding, and a more refined result in your airbrush work.

Click here to listen to this episode!


Episode Transcript

[00:00:00]: I wanted to spend this episode taking a close-up look at my most often used airbrush for makeup.

Airbrushes can be an invaluable tool that you can have in your makeup kit, and for me, they’re usually the first plan of attack as soon as I have tattoos that require covering, and often, and nearly always when I’m doing prosthetic makeup application patients prepaints large scale body makeups.

They’re so versatile, and I rely on them a lot, so I know it can be overwhelming, especially as you’re starting out and you’re wanting to know all the tools, all the techniques. You’ve just come out of makeup school, and all of a sudden you want to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. But if you don’t have a good understanding of the technical aspects of an airbrush, then there’s pretty much no point in claiming that you’re the right person for the job until you do.

So hopefully, this lesson will give you a basic understanding of one of the most reliable and basic airbrush types that I use to this day, even after decades of airbrushing.

[00:01:46]: The exact airbrush that is the subject of this episode is my beloved Paasche H single action siphon feed airbrush.

Now, while the purists out there may scoff and may laugh, well, I don’t care, because this little workhorse is always there and never lets me down. It’s easy to clean and maintain, and it helps you work with speed and ease on some makeup projects. Now, notice that I didn’t say all.

And yes, I own many Iwata airbrushes as well. Many too many to even count. I mean, I think it’s probably between twelve and 15, and I love doing fine work. And the pash h is not the most elite airbrush for fine work.

[00:02:32]: But today, we’re focusing purely on the reliable and solid Paasche H.

If I was starting out and picking up my first airbrush today, it would be a Paasche H.

Okay, so now, if you were paying attention, you may have heard me use the terms single action and siphon feed. After I described the airbrush earlier there are two different types of airbrushes, a single action and a double action. And now the Paasche H that we’re going to discuss today is a single action airbrush. Its trigger has a simple up down motion, and this trigger controls the airflow through your airbrush.

A double-action or dual-action airbrush features a trigger that has two distinct motions, an up-down motion to control airflow, and also a drawing backwards motion that controls the amount of paint or makeup that flows through your airbrush as you use it. So, as far as feeds go, there are three main types.

[00:03:34]: The Paasche H is a siphon feed airbrush. Now, what this means is that the cup or bottle that contains your makeup or paint connects to the bottom of the airbrush. The material is then siphoned inside the chamber, where the air pressure from your air source causes the atomization of your product and you’re airbrushing.

A gravity feed airbrush means the paint cup, or even sometimes just a very small area to add your paint or ink, is at the top of your airbrush, usually just ahead of the trigger on the main body of the airbrush. This way, gravity allows the liquid to be pulled down into the airbrush, where it is atomized by the airflow you enable when you’re pressing the trigger.

And a side-feed airbrush is evidently somewhere in the middle of these two. Your cup or bottle sits at the side of the airbrush, and you can rely on either side siphon feed or side gravity feed to create the atomization.

Again, if you’re brand new to the world of airbrushing and makeup, my advice to you is to stay close to the single-action airbrush.

[00:04:43]: Start simple and see how you go before you get into the world of double-action airbrushes that can come in good time. And there’s no point in hurrying.

Okay, let’s take a look at the parts of the Paasche H and what they do.

So, starting with the handle, which is commonly a red vinyl handle, there are metal options, and I’ve got many talented friends and coworkers who have custom-made their own super funky handles that personalize their airbrushes really well.

But for me, the red vinyl works just fine.

Now, moving forward from the handle, you then reach the main body or shell of your airbrush. At the top of the shell, you will find your trigger. And as we’ve learned on the pash h, this is a simple up down motion single action trigger or button.

[00:05:32]: It screws on to be secured, so make sure yours is always screwed on to work well. And as we keep moving forward to the front end of the pash h, we see the only other separate part of the airbrush, the air cap.

In the Paasche H, there are three different sized air caps which correspond with the three different size needle and tip sets. These are simply known as size one, three, and five, with one being the smallest.

For makeup work, I tend to always have a number three set on my main pash h airbrushes. It’s large enough to cover tattoos, to paint spatter effects, as well as broad basing out of single colors on prosthetics or on the body, and I can get a fine line that is adequate for some makeup work.

Again, see that I’m choosing my words really carefully here. If I’m doing a super high, detailed piece of work, I will still have my Iwata airbrushes at the ready to take care of most of the fine details, but we’ll save them for another day.

[00:06:32]: I’m not going to get into that today.

The air cap screws into the main shell and is held in place with an oring that prevents any air leaks between the two joining parts.

Now let’s move to the underneath of the Paasche H, where we will find a rounded, circular support frame that houses the needle and tip that thread through this area to be connected and then secured to the airbrush via a small set screw.

Now, I guarantee you that you will lose this set screw, so be sure to have spares and also keep close the small Allen key that comes with your airbrush set to tighten and undo the set screw whenever you want to change parts out or clean your airbrush thoroughly.

Now, the tip is the cone-shaped end part that allows paint and the needle to flow through it, and that is dictated by the size of the hole in the end, and hence the different numbered parts, one, three, or five.

And the needle sits inside the tip and screws open or closed, depending on how large a paint flow you want to allow through when you’re using it. Now, remembering that your paint comes up through the needle to the tip as your airflow siphons it via the external hose, which sits further back on the underside of the airbrush body from your needle and tip, I like to use the standard braided hoses that are the pash brand as well, or pache. Paasche, paasche.

[00:07:59]: Tomato, tomato. I say Paasche, I guess because it’s quicker. I don’t know.

Now, I like to use an eight-foot hose length, which allows me to get around both sides of a person that I’m working on.

And also, if there are two or even more of us doing the makeup, we can all do the dance without the hoses being pulled tight or going across the performer and making them feel uncomfortable in the chair. Now that’s the very basic anatomy of the Paasche H airbrush.

As far as the moving parts that you should be concerned with go, there are many other tiny parts inside the air valve area that you really should never need to open up or rearrange for risk of even making your airbrush unusable.

There are also very detailed diagrams available online that if you want to go to themakeuprefinery.com airbrush-parts, I can send you that info too.

[00:08:54]: And in the meantime, I hope this gives you a good start to understanding your Paasche H and gets you moving forward with your airbrush confidence in droves did you enjoy this episode?

If you could give me a rating on Apple Podcasts or even share this this episode with your makeup or beginner Airbrush friends, I really appreciate the support and love and I do care about continuing this podcast as a great resource for you, so I hope that you can help me spread the word too.

Okay, till next time. I’ll see you then. Bye.

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