How to Airbrush Nails for Beginners?

Nail art is a practice that dates back to ancient times of the Inca Empire. This practice grew rapidly with the invention of new and more enhanced tools. Particularly, the airbrush nail art kit is the most advanced tool for making nail art. If offers faster application compared to hand-painting designs and unique nail art experience.

In this article, we explore the tool and explain how to use it for nails if you are a beginner.

Tools Needed for Airbrush Nails

1. Airbrush System (Airbrush Gun, Compressor, Hose)

Airbrush guns are divided into two types by control mechanism: single-action and double-action airbrush. If you are an airbrush nail art beginner, consider a single-action one as your first airbrush would be good. It's easy to operate with a paint release button, which offers good coverage and is budget-friendly. However, they may not provide the precision needed for intricate nail designs.

Double-action airbrush gives you better control over air pressure and paint flow separately. If you prefer precise and detailed nail art or wish to delve deeper into airbrush nail art, choose double-action over single-action airbrush.

2. Airbrush Nail Paints or Polishes (Not Regular Nail Polish)

Usually there are three types of airbrush nail paint you can choose:

● Acrylic paint specifically designed for airbrush nail art instead of normal acrylic paint which is way too thick.

● Airbrush gel that can be cured using your LED/UV lamp between coats.

● Gel polish thinned out with acetone (Not commonly used)

3. Stencils or Hole Reinforcement Stickers

Nail art stencils can enrich your airbrushing nail design.

Nail stencil set B 20 pieces for Nail- Art

4. Other Tools

Except above tools, there are are also some tools that can be prepared in advance, but they are not necessary:

● Nail file

● Nail polish remover or airbrush cleaner

● Paper towels

● Base coat and top coat


Step-by-Step Guide on How to Airbrush Nails for Beginners

Choose your desired design or pattern and prepare any stencils or stickers you'll be using in tools preparation process, then you can start following procedures:

Step1: Disinfection

The first step is to disinfect your fingers with alcohol. Clean your own hands with alcohol first, then clean the tools you need.

Step2: Soften and Remove Cuticles

Before airbrushing your nails, you need to exfoliate your nail cuticles. Use a softener to soften the cuticles and then remove the dead skin around the nails with cuticle nippers.


Step3: Polish and Shape Nails

Airbrush nail art enthusiast shapes and polishes the nails according to the style they prefer. The general process involves three steps: trimming the nail shape, polishing the nail surface, and using a buffing strip to smooth the nails. Typically, first smooth out the rough surface of the nails and then use a fine white buffing surface for polishing.


Step4: Base Coat

Apply a thin layer of base coat to each nail and allow it to dry completely before proceeding. The base coat prevents the nails from becoming too thin and brittle due to the application of gel polish. After applying the base coat, place the nails under the UV lamp for 30 seconds to cure.


Step5: Setup Airbrush

Assemble your airbrush kit according to following procedures: Connect your airbrush to the air compressor using the air hose. An airbrush set typically includes an airbrush stylus, air hose, and air compressor.

The air hose is a long, durable pipe that connects the airbrush stylus to the air compressor, pushing air from the compressor to the stylus where it mixes with the paint. Each end of the hose has a metal screw-on connector. Use your thumb and index finger to twist the screws.

Attach one end of the hose to the compressor and the other end to the airbrush stylus, ensuring both connections are very tight before starting the machine.

Step6: Tape for Clean Airbrushing

Use tape to protect your skin from airbrush paint. If you're not using stencils or using small ones that don't cover your fingers, tape around the nails. Tear small pieces of tape and place them around each nail to prevent paint from getting on your skin and simplify cleanup. Ensure the tape doesn't cover areas of the nail you intend to paint.

Step7: Fill the Paint Reservoir with Your Chosen Color

If you choose acrylic paint specifically designed for airbrush nail art, which will save you a step to mix the paint, just load 4-6 drops of the paint into airbrush paint cup.


But if you choose gel polish thinned out with acetone, mix you paint according to following steps before filling it in the paint cup:

● Half-fill the cup with pure acetone and add 3-4 drops of your preferred gel polish.

● Use a gel brush or a soft bristle paintbrush to mix the solution thoroughly.

Then you can start airbrushing part.

Step8: Airbrushing

Hold the airbrush gun perpendicular to the nail surface and begin spraying in smooth, even strokes. Start with lighter colors as a base and gradually layer darker colors or details on top.


Step9: Stencil Application

If using stencils or stickers, carefully place them on the nails and spray over them with your chosen colors. Peel off the stencils or stickers while the paint is still wet to reveal the design underneath.


Step10: Finishing Touches

Apply a topcoat to seal and protect the nail art when the paint is dry. Use a topcoat specifically made for airbrushed designs to prevent chipping and fading. Ensure both the base coat and airbrush paint are fully dry before applying. For added protection, apply two coats of topcoat.

Notes to Keep Airbrush Nails for an Extended Period

● Maintenance: Regularly maintain your nails by applying topcoat every few days to preserve the design and protect against chipping and fading.

● Avoiding Damage: Be cautious with activities that may cause damage to your nails, such as excessive water exposure or using harsh chemicals without gloves.

● Professional Removal: When you decide to change your airbrush nail design, visit a professional nail technician for safe removal to prevent damage to your natural nails.

● Health of Nails: Monitor the health of your nails over time. If you notice any signs of weakness or damage, give your nails a break from airbrushing to allow them to recover.

In addition, please remember don't airbrush nails too often. It is best to airbrush nails once a month or no less than this frequency. It can basically last for a long time as long as it is well protected, so don't do a it too often, otherwise it is easy to damage the nail surface.


In conclusion, mastering the art of airbrushing nails opens up a world of creativity and style. Remember to start with proper preparation, including nail cleaning and base coat application, and to use quality airbrush equipment and products. Experiment with different stencils, colors, and techniques to discover what works best for you.

With practice and attention to detail, you'll be able to create good-looking nail art. Embrace the journey of learning and refining your airbrushing skills, and enjoy the endless possibilities it brings to your nail artistry.