Setting Sprays: what they are great for and how/when to use them

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I’m a bit newer to the notion of setting sprays but as my skin has taken a dramatic turn for the extremely dry Sahara dessert type, a setting spray feels great and refreshes my makeup beautifully. I still love a setting powder, don’t get me wrong, but there are times when a setting spray is the perfect mist of what your skin or makeup may need.

Setting sprays can be used before applying makeup, during, and after. It helps blend powders together and should create a veil of a mist to gentle fall onto the skin. It’s sort of counter intuitive to spray your face after applying makeup, but it should lock your makeup in and help it look flawless.

There are hydrating setting sprays, sprays that keep oil at bay, glow-inducing setting sprays, and more. You name it, there is a spray for it.

In general, setting sprays are a great option for dry skin if you find that setting powder hangs onto any dry patches of your skin.

I rounded up a few top sprays here!

one, two, three, four, five, six

I’ve been using the Pixi Glow Mist for the past few weeks either right after I apply my makeup or even towards the end of the day if I feel like my face is looking a little dull. It truly makes my skin glow without looking oily.

I’ve used Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir in the past, and I love the smell, but it’s geared more towards normal/oily/combination skin so I’m holding off on it right now.

The most neutral of the bunch is Smashbox’s Primer Water. It has very few ingredients but just enough to set your makeup and help blend powders in so they aren’t sitting on top of your skin.

p.s. Did you catch this post about my favorite setting powders and how I use them?


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Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 11.12.18

I’m surprised I don’t see Urban Decay’s setting spray on this list – I’ve heard it’s super good! That said, I’d definitely give Tatcha a try as well. I love their products. If only the brand didn’t cost so much!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Karen says · 09.08.20

Agree! I’ve tried many & Urban Decay All Nighter is the only one I really love.

Sydni says · 11.12.18

I still don’t really understand how you know when to use one? How do you decide whether to use it before, during, or after you put on your makeup?

Angela says · 11.12.18

I love setting spray to help powdery skin look like skin. My current spray is the Thayers Rose Petal toner – great for hydration and giving the skin a hit of dew! I’d love to try out the Pixi Glow Mist next.

Angela at Blush & Pearls

Allie says · 11.12.18

I’ll have to try the pixi one, it sounds great for the price point. If you’re looking for more to try, I’ve been using the supergoop spray with spf and it’s really great too! Can’t get enough spf, that’s my motto!

Jill says · 11.12.18

I’ve been using Urban Decay all nighter and it’s fantastic. Sets things beautifully and imparts a soft but not oily luster to the skin. The best thing is to find a setting spray that delivers a super fine mist. Thanks for your recommendations in a great range of prices. I also found that Milani from the drugstore was a good option. ❤️

Agnes dos Santos says · 11.12.18

Great piece of content…

Mariya Zafirova says · 11.12.18

I love the Pixi Glow Mist!

Mariya |

Nicole says · 11.12.18

How much do you use after applying your makeup? Do you use one spray for your entire face or do you spray once on the right side, once on the left? Maybe one for the top half one for the bottom? I’m lost with mine bc the idea of spraying something wet on my face after applying makeup is counterintuitive as you said.

Jill says · 11.12.18

I hold bottle out at almost arm’s length and spray once each for middle and sides of face. Then allow to dry. I learned about setting spray from another beauty blogger and never thought I needed them but really like using them now!

Lori says · 11.12.18

Aw shoot! I thought this was going to be about HAIR Setting Sprays!! Is there a hair one you recommend? Thanks!!

Tracy says · 11.13.18

I LOVE the Avon makeup setting spray! It has Vitamins A, C and E. It feels great even on bare skin. The staying power of my makeup is fantastic, and it doesn’t seem to change color throughout the day – my makeup looks like it did when I first put it on in the morning.

Krista says · 03.13.19

I love love Jane Iredale Setting spray in pomegranite. Have you tried it? It smells heavenly, but even better it gives you a healthy all natural glow. ☺️

Hayley says · 05.24.19

This post was so helpful! I’ve been on the fence about setting sprays – but your explanation that they can be what you need them to be makes sense. If nothing else, that can make your skin feel hydrated and refreshed. I’m going to try the Pixi to apply in the afternoons of work days.