Make-Up Setting Spray: Do You Really Need It?

Style Syahirah Mokhtazar 05-Aug-2019

There’s this irony to make-up in a sense that we spend so much time and effort on it, like finding the right products to suit our skin and learning various techniques to enhance our beauty, yet it’s something that doesn’t last very long throughout the day.

You could be wearing a long-lasting foundation, but that lipstick still needs to be reapplied after lunchtime. Also, the hot scorching summer weather doesn’t exactly spell out the perfect trick to keep the mascara smudge-proof.

Beauty companies are smart – they know this all too well which is why make-up setting sprays exist. It’s the best solution to the problem to keep your make-up lasting all day. Now before the make-up setting sprays existed, you might’ve heard of the hairspray hack.

Have you ever come across people spraying hairspray ahead of their faces and ‘walking through it’ for the mists to stick on their faces? Hairspray was the beauty hack to make your make-up last long. But if you’ve been doing that all this while, it’s actually doing more damage than it’s worth.

Don’t ‘set’ your make-up with hairspray because it has repellents that could irritate your skin. Spend some money on good quality setting spray that is actually formulated for your face.

But first, know the difference between setting and finishing sprays. Though they are designed with a similar goal which is to make your make-up last longer, they function differently. While setting spray is formulated to be budge-proof and keeps your make-up all sealed, finishing sprays are usually used to moisten the skin.

Finishing sprays are more commonly used to ‘reset’ your make-up during the day so that it stays fresh longer. It may not increase the longevity, but it also means less touch ups.

Do setting sprays really bring a difference? Well according to Gloria Elias-Foeillet, the make-up artist for celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Emily Ratajkowski and Alessandra Ambrosio said that the setting spray really does wonders.

She told Byrdie: “Setting sprays absolutely make a difference in the wear of your make-up. They prolong the life of your make-up application.”

As she works with celebrities who typically require heavier make-up, it needs to be extra locked in. “Sometimes if I need to be more waterproof, I spray it after each step of a make-up application, like after the eyes, blush, powder.”

Another make-up artist Mia Yang, who works with Cara Delevigne said that setting spray is ideal for heavy-duty wear in events such as weddings or a poolside party.

“Setting sprays usually contain different types of polymer and some of them have alcohol. These ingredients work great to keep make-up in place for a whole day.”

How do you use it? To apply make-up setting spray, simply wait until your make-up application is completely finished. Then, hold the spray at about an arm’s length away, spritz it and let the product fall onto your face naturally. No need for any rubbing, just let the mist dry on its own. About one to three spritz on the face is usually enough, you don’t want to drench the face.

Should you be using make-up setting sprays? Well, the choice is yours. If and only if you want your make-up to stay longer, give it a try. It’s not exactly needed for everyday use.

While setting sprays with alcohol ingredients performs better for the skin as they have more staying power, you can also choose to work with alcohol-free options.

Make Up Forever has an alcohol-free setting spray  called Mist & Fix that is specially formulated for people with dry skin. It helps to increase the skin’s hydration and boost oxygenation, leaving your complexion looking bright and radiant.

Another option can be Kat Von D’s Lock It Make-up Setting Mist, which just like the rest of her products, is 100% vegan. This is an environmental friendly alternative to the traditional formulas, and it promises 24 hours of staying power too.

Alternatively, besides the setting spray, you can also try setting powders. Setting powders are game-changer for oily folks. But the difference with the powder and the spray is that powders are usually used as a last sealing step for complexion products like the foundation and concealer, whereas the spray is used to lock everything down once you entire make-up routine is done. Basically, the setting powder is there to help reduce the sticky feeling and shine from the foundation.

With a spray there’s no need for brushes, but with setting powders which usually comes in two forms; loose or compressed, you’ll need to use a loose powder brush or anything you feel that’s easy to control the powder. Because the powder is so finely milled, the setting powder helps create a beautiful airbrushed finish. Some setting powders worth checking out are Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r Instant Retouching Setting Powder, or Hourglass’ Veil Translucent Setting Powder.


(Cover photo: