How To Use Setting Spray For Long-Lasting Makeup

Simple hacks to make your makeup setting spray work hard all day long!

Reviewed by Daria Kruchinina, Licensed Esthetician Daria Kruchinina Daria KruchininaLicensed Esthetician facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature) Shalini Roy MA (English Literature) Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism)
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The struggle isn’t over after spending hours getting ready for that big event; keeping the makeup intact is another story altogether. However, if you know how to use a setting spray properly, you can make your look last quite long. We are talking about as much as 16 hours! Isn’t it a sweet deal?

Makeup setting spray or finishing spray is a mist solution you spritz all over your face before and after applying makeup. A good spray can make your makeup stay in place without any hassle. We have compiled a complete guide to help you know all about this wonder product, how to use it, and what to avoid. Scroll down!

protip_icon Keep In Mind
  • Prep Your Skin: Start exfoliating your skin a few days before the occasion for a smoother makeup application and finish.
  • Coverage: Spritz some spray on the neck area too if you have used makeup there. It helps create an even look.
  • Distance: Hold the bottle six to eight inches away from your skin while spraying.

What Is A Setting Spray For Makeup?

A makeup setting spray, finishing spray, or setting mist is something that you spray all over your face and decollete area after you are done with your makeup. Now, what does a setting spray do? It holds the makeup on your face for long hours and does not allow it to slide, move around, melt, or fade away. You can also use it as a prep before the makeup application.

This setting spray can be of different types. Some setting sprays are water-based. They hydrate your skin and prevent your makeup from looking cakey or flaky. Some sprays contain skin care ingredients like hyaluronic acid for dry skin or oil-free ingredients for oily skin. Some people prefer a matte makeup setting spray while others like a dewy setting spray.

protip_icon Trivia
Setting sprays were initially produced for the entertainment industry to limit makeup touch-ups for actors in films and theaters.

How To Choose The Right Setting Spray

We all know that setting spray is essential for keeping your makeup in place for an extended period. Choosing the right makeup finishing spray might be difficult as there is wide a wide range of options available in the market. Most of us don’t even consider setting sprays as a mandatory product in our makeup routine.

The way hairspray keeps your hairstyle intact or a top coat makes your nail polish last longer, using a setting spray after finishing your makeup serves the same purpose. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you choose the right setting spray:

  • If you have dry skin, look for a spray that promises moisturizing effects and a dewy finish. Such sprays will give you a hydrating finish and prevent chalkiness.
  • Some setting sprays have a strong scent. Before purchasing the product, check if you like its fragrance.
  • A lightweight, non-sticky, matte setting spray works best for those with oily, normal, or combination skin.

Now, let’s check out how to use a makeup setting spray the right way!

How To Use A Makeup Setting Spray – 8 Easy Steps

1. Wash Your Face With A Mild Face Wash

Wash Your Face With A Mild Face Wash

Before starting with your beauty routine, wash your face with a mild face wash. A face wash will help you eliminate all the dirt and impurities that are stuck to your skin. Dampen your face with water, take a face wash that is suitable for your skin type, massage it gently on your face, and rinse it off thoroughly. Dry your face using tapping motions and single-use face towels.

2. Use A Moisturizer

Use A Moisturizer

The next crucial step is to apply a lightweight moisturizer. A moisturizer gets rid of all the dryness and patchiness on your skin. It hydrates and nourishes your skin and evens out its texture. If you don’t want to use moisturizer, aloe vera gel is a great alternative. However, it works only during summertime and is not comparable with all types of makeup.

3. Primer Is A Must

Primer Is A Must

We often forget the importance of a primer before starting with our makeup. A primer preps your skin by creating a smooth and even base. Use a matte primer if you have oily skin and a dewy primer if you have dry skin. If you don’t want to use a primer with a creamy base, you can opt for a primer spray.

4. Use A Color Corrector

Use A Color Corrector

You must be confused about the different shades of color-correcting concealers available in the market. Color correctors are used to hiding blemishes and pigmentation on your skin. Go for a green color corrector to hide redness, yellow color corrector to take care of blue or purple patches, and orange and peachy ones to hide dark circles on different skin tones.

Spot the areas on your face where you need to color correct, dot those areas using your desired color corrector, and blend it in using a makeup sponge or your ring fingertip.

5. Apply Foundation

Apply Foundation

Foundation is an essential cosmetic product. Choose the right foundation with light, medium or full coverage, according to your skin tone. Use a makeup sponge or silicon brush to blend it on your skin in circular motions or depending on the type of the brush shape and get the desired coverage.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You may also spritz on some setting spray before applying foundation. It will help the makeup last for a longer time.

6. Pick A Voluminous Mascara

Pick A Voluminous Mascara

Life is short, but your lashes don’t need to be. A voluminous mascara makes your eyelashes look thick and fluttery. Swipe mascara on your upper and lower lashes to make your eyes look dramatic.

7. Pop Some Color On Your Lips

Pop Some Color On Your Lips

You can either go bold with your lips or use a nude shade of lipstick to finish the look. Use a lip balm before putting the lipstick on. This will make your lips smooth and supple.

8. It’s Setting Spray Time!

It's Setting Spray Time!

Finally, once you’re done with all the steps, spritz on a setting mist to finish off your look. Set your look by spraying it all over your face in an “X” and “T” motion. This will make your makeup last all day.

Did you know that there are many alternative ways of using a makeup fixer spray? Let’s have a quick look!

Other Uses Of Makeup Setting Spray

  • To Dampen A Makeup Sponge
To dampen a makeup sponge
Image: IStock

Makeup professionals always recommend that to use a slightly damp makeup sponge to blend your foundation. Instead of water, you can use a setting spray to dampen it. The moisturizing effect of the setting spray will lock your foundation in place and ensure that you don’t sweat it off.

  • Works As A Sunscreen

All-day setting sprays are infused with SPF to provide sun protection and eliminate the need for applying a separate sunscreen.

  • To Set Your Lipstick And Eyeliner

Does your lipstick keep spreading and fading away? Use a setting spray to set the color on your lips for a long duration of time. To prevent your eyeliner from smudging, spritz a tiny bit of setting spray on a Q-tip. Gently dab the Q-tip on your eyelids to keep the liner in place.

  • To Enhance Your Eyeshadow Look

Powdery eyeshadows are not very long-lasting. So, how can you get your eyeshadow to stay on all day? If you’re not using an eyeshadow primer, a creative way to make eyeshadow stick on your eyelids is a setting spray. Pick your eyeshadow brush and dip it in your eyeshadow. Before putting it on your lids, spritz some setting spray on the brush. This will make the color pop and make it stay on for a long time. Now let’s answer a couple more questions about makeup setting spray.

What To Do After Applying A Makeup Setting Spray?

After you spritz on makeup fixing mist all over your face, do not rush and let it dry. Do not use a blow dryer to dry it if you are in a hurry. This might result in skin irritation. Just give it some time to dry on its own.

What Is The Difference Between A Setting Spray And A Makeup Primer?

A primer is a cream or gel that is used to prep the skin before applying makeup. It fills up all the open pores and fine lines to create a smooth and even base for your makeup.

Setting sprays are more of a top coat that you spray for a finishing touch after applying your makeup. It keeps your makeup in place and does not let it wear off.

Did you know there are some more clever hacks for getting even more out of your setting spray? Scroll down to know more!

Setting Spray Hacks

  • If your face is starting to look tired during the day, a quick spray of setting spray can refresh your look.
  • After applying lipstick, hold a tissue over your lips and lightly put some translucent powder over it. Then, spray setting spray to lock your lip color in place.
  • Spray a spoolie brush with setting spray and comb it through your eyebrows to keep them perfectly in place all day.
  • Mix a bit of shimmery eyeshadow with setting spray to create a DIY liquid illuminator for a radiant glow.
  • Spray setting spray over your body shimmer or bronzer to prevent it from smudging or transferring onto your clothes.

Infographic: Finishing Sprays Vs. Setting Sprays

Setting sprays and finishing sprays are two different products that serve the same purpose. Both the products keep your makeup looking great for a long time. But is there a distinction between the two? Technically, yes. Take a look at the infographic below to know the difference between finishing sprays and setting sprays.

finishing sprays vs setting sprays (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

If you want to keep your makeup long-lasting, there is no better option than a setting spray. It stops your makeup from smudging, absorbs excess oil, and adds a dewy glow. However, choosing the right setting spray is the key. You should select a lightweight, non-sticky formula-based setting spray and go for the suitable one for your skin type. Then, try the above-listed step-by-step guide and techniques to get flawless makeup. Finally, take cues from this article on how to use a setting spray like a pro for long-lasting makeup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a setting spray work?

Setting spray definitely makes a difference in the wear time of your makeup. It prolongs the life of your makeup. Renowned celebrity makeup artists consider makeup setting mist to be one of the most essential beauty products that one can’t afford to miss.

Does setting spray work on all skin types?

Setting sprays that contain alcohol may cause skin irritation. So, check the ingredients before choosing a setting spray for your skin type. Usually, it is mentioned on the packaging which skin type a makeup setting spray is suitable for.

Do you use makeup setting spray before or after applying makeup?

Always use a makeup setting spray after applying makeup. The purpose of a setting spray is to set the makeup in place for an extended period of time.

Can I use a setting spray without makeup?

It depends on the brand. For example, some setting spray will leave a visible glow and even skin tone look even with no makeup applied.

Are setting sprays harmful for your skin?

Different setting sprays have different formulas. Most of them contain alcohol that keeps everything in place, but they can also be very drying and irritating on your skin. If you have sensitive skin, go for a water-based formula to prevent irritation and to hydrate your skin.

Can I use finishing powder instead of a setting spray?

You should use both a setting powder and a setting spray to increase the longevity of your makeup

Do you really need setting spray?

You do not need a setting spray for minimal and everyday makeup looks. But if you have oily skin, your makeup will wear off soon. Additionally, on days when you go heavy on the makeup, a setting spray is your best bet to keep it in place.

Can I use water as setting spray?

No. Water breaks down your makeup. It has the completely opposite effect to what a setting spray does.

Can I use setting spray everyday?

Use a setting spray 2-3 times per week and only on heavy makeup days. Setting sprays have alcohol that has a drying effect on the skin. Therefore, it is not recommended to use it every day.

What is the difference between setting spray and mist?

A setting spray is meant to seal your makeup look and keep it in place. A mist is a hydrating solution to keep your face moisturized and give it a dewy glow.

Do you put setting spray over mascara?

Yes. You are supposed to use the setting spray over your entire makeup look.

Key Takeaways

  • Using a makeup setting spray before or after applying makeup keeps your makeup in place for long hours.
  • Makeup setting sprays come in different types and can be purchased depending on your skin type.
  • It is crucial to let the makeup setting spray dry after spritzing over the face.


Watch this video and learn how to use makeup setting spray to keep your makeup looking fresh all day! Get tips to make sure your makeup stays in place.
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Daria Kruchinina

Daria KruchininaLicensed Esthetician

Daria Kruchinina is a celebrity makeup and natural brows artist who has been in the beauty industry for 11 years. Her clients include A-list celebrities, such as Jared Leto, Natalia Vodyanova, Maria Gutic, Valentina Beli, and Valeria Dergileva, to name a few. Daria’s editorial work appeared in Vogue Nylon, Rose & Ivy, Tatler, Top Beauty and L’Officiel.   She stands...read full bio

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