What Does Setting Spray Do – Science Behind Setting Spray!

Do you get nightmares about looking pretty in the morning and pretty messy by evening? Say goodbye to those days. A setting spray helps you keep up your makeup all day/ night long.

Written by Tripti Mohan

On Dec 10, 2023 – 8 minutes read

What Does Setting Spray Do

Setting spray is the magical final touch of your makeup routine that locks everything in place. Basically, it helps extend the wear of your makeup. Waterproof and sweat-proof makeup products often do the task. However, by applying the setting spray, you can be confident that your makeup will stay longer, especially on special occasions. If you are still confused about whether to use a setting spray or not, read on to understand why it should be your beauty essential. What does setting spray do? Let’s find out.

What Is A Setting Spray?

what does setting spray do for makeup

Imagine hiring a high-end makeup artist to give you a stunning makeover for your wedding. And then, four hours later, you have a worn-out look and mess up your wedding pictures for a lifetime. Disturbing, isn’t it? Worry not! Your make-up artist sprays a setting mist at the end of the makeover so that your makeup stays in place all day long! If that is not enough, this can also give your face a glossy or matte finish based on your chosen product. They are often water-based so that your skin is hydrated.

What Does Setting Spray Do For A Makeup?

The primary functions of setting spray include:

  1. Longevity: These are formulated to help makeup last longer. They can prevent makeup from smudging, fading, or transferring, providing a more durable and long-lasting finish.
  2. Oil Control: Some setting mists are designed to control excess oil on the skin(1), helping to keep the makeup matte and preventing it from breaking down due to natural oils.
  3. Hydration: Certain setting sprays contain ingredients that can add a layer of hydration to the skin, preventing the makeup from looking dry or cakey. This is especially beneficial for those with dry or combination skin.
  4. Melt-Proofing: In hot or humid conditions, makeup tends to melt or slide off the skin. Setting sprays can create a barrier that helps makeup resist the effects of heat and humidity.
  5. Smoothing: Setting sprays can contribute to a more even and seamless makeup application by smoothing out the appearance of powders and helping them blend with the skin.
  6. Finishing Touch: Some setting sprays provide a specific finish, such as a dewy or matte look. This allows you to customize the final appearance of your makeup.

Benefits Of Setting Spray

Benefits of Setting Spray
  • The main benefit of this is that it keeps your makeup in place for longer, around 12-16 hours. 
  • Even if you use waterproof makeup products, sweating or humidity can smudge your makeup, especially eye makeup. Applying setting spray largely prevents this mishap.
  • Additionally, it can give a glossy effect or a natural-looking matte finish, depending on the formula of the product that you use.
  • It is also sometimes used to dampen a makeup product. For example, applying mist over an eyeshadow brush helps dampen the product and prolong its life.
  • Setting spray for oily skin is much more effective than using a waterproof foundation or primers.

Types Of Setting Sprays

These are of a few different types. You may choose one of these setting sprays based on your skin type or the kind of event you are prepping for.

  • Matte Finish Setting Spray: It helps extend the wear of your makeup with a natural matte look. If your face is shine-prone, this can help you give a more even look. Normal skin tones mostly prefer a matte finish for everyday wear.
  • Dewy Finish Setting Spray: Spritz on a dewy finish spray for a glossy or slightly shimmery look. This one is perfect for dull or dry skin types. People with other skin types can use a dewy finish setting spray for a party look. It adds a splash of glamour to your overall look and helps it stay longer.
  • Combination: That’s right! You may combine both formulas based on the natural glow of your face. Some makeup artists spritz the matte finish around the nose and middle of the face, whereas the dewy look towards the perimeter. You must be a pro or practice well to ace this look.

How To Use Setting Spray

What does setting spray do? That will be clear as of now. How to use it properly? Using a setting spray is easy! It is usually used after you have completed all your makeup, that is, primer, foundation, concealer, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, and whatever else. Some people also use it after every step of makeup. Shake the mist bottle and hold it 6-8 inches away from your face. Close your eyes and spritz once on every area of your face. Your face will feel lightly moist, but make sure it is not damp. Let it settle before you go out or touch your face. It takes just about a minute!

Setting Spray v/s Setting Powder

Setting Spray vs Setting Powder

Setting powder is a fine powder used after your makeup routine to help the makeup stay longer. It has the same purpose as a setting spray but is often used on oily and greasy skin types. This is because the powder covers the pores on your face and helps blend the makeup while holding it up longer.

On the other hand, setting spray is mostly used on skin that needs hydration. Setting mist is the best option for dull and dry skin.

Experts, however, recommend using a combination of spray and powder to get the perfect result.

Difference Between Setting Spray And Makeup Primer

Difference Between Setting Spray And Makeup Primer

Setting sprays and makeup primers are said to have the same function of prolonging the life of your makeup. However, makeup primer is applied as the first step of makeup. It smoothes out your skin and makes an even canvas for the makeup to be applied on. So, even before you apply the foundation, apply some primer. Makeup primers can be cream, gel, or spray. The best primer is nonsticky and light.

As we mentioned earlier, setting mist is the final step of your makeup routine. It is sprayed after the entire makeup is done. Some setting mists can also act as makeup primers, which means you can use them before you begin to put on makeup.

Best Setting Sprays Available In The Market

Maybelline New York Setting Spray

Maybelline New York Setting Spray

Price: $7.99

  • This setting spray by Maybelline is perfect for a matte finish. It works best for oily skin types and does not clog the pores. It has witch hazel and clay that control oil for up to 24 hours.
  • It is transfer-proof and non-acnegenic.
  • Maybelline New York Setting Mist gives an instant fresh look and maintains the look all day long.

Swiss Beauty Long Lasting Misty Finish Professional Makeup Fixer

Swiss Beauty Long Lasting Misty Finish Professional Makeup Fixer

Price: $10.29

  • This product by Swiss Beauty is very popular for its misty and long-lasting finish. 
  • It is lightweight and gives a fresh and dewy look. It contains Vitamin E and aloe, which are skin-soothing and calming agents. 
  • It helps extend the wear of your makeup to up to 16 hours. 
  • It is not sticky and prevents makeup cracks. It can also be used as a fixer or primer before applying makeup.

FACES CANADA Ultimate Pro Makeup Fixer

FACES CANADA Ultimate Pro Makeup Fixer

Price: $16.80

  • This product has powerful ingredients like hyaluronic acid that deeply hydrates your skin. 
  • It also contains Vitamin E and Moringa, protecting your skin from pollutants. Caffeine and rosemary are included to brighten the skin, and Chamomile is a soothing agent. 
  • It is alcohol-free and non-sticky.

Is Setting Spray Bad For Your Skin?

Absolutely not! If you use makeup and it works for your skin, so should a setting spray. It contains simple ingredients that keep your makeup intact for a longer time. That’s it! However, understand your skin type(2) and use the right kind of setting spray. For instance, using a dewy setting mist over oily skin might mess with your skin. So, just use the right product, and you are good to go.

It is okay if you want to use a setting spray every day. However, since most of them contain alcohol and can dry your skin, we suggest you use setting sprays only on days that need your makeup to stay longer.


Does setting spray work on lipstick?

Of course, your lipstick will stay on longer without fading if you use a setting spray over it.

Should you shake your setting spray?

Yes. Shake the bottle before spraying so that the ingredients mix well.

Do you have to wait for the setting spray to dry?

Yes, you must allow it to dry naturally so that it is absorbed into your skin properly and doesn’t smudge your makeup instead.

Can I apply powder after using the setting spray?

Yes, some people like to dab some setting powder along with the setting spray.

Can I use rose water as a setting spray?

Yes, you can use rose water as a setting spray.

How many times should you spray setting spray?

Spray enough to cover every part that has makeup on it. You can also apply it later in the day to get a refreshed look.

Can I use water as a setting spray?

No, using plain water will not help your makeup stay longer.


Applying setting spray after your makeup routine is just as important as the makeup itself. Using waterproof foundation and other waterproof makeup products will greatly help your makeup stay on for a longer time on a regular day. However, if you are dolling up for an event like a wedding or a party and need the makeup to last until you hug goodbyes, you must spritz some setting spray after your makeover. It locks in your makeup and prevents smudging and fading until you want to wash it.

  1. National Library of Medicine. (n.d). Oily Skin: A review of Treatment Options. [Online] Available at:
  2. Cancer Institute NSW. (2022). Identify your skin type. [Online] Available at:

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Tripti is your go-to guide for all things skin and hair. She is a trusted beauty consultant who offers personalized recommendations and expert tips to enhance your natural beauty.

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