Does Setting Spray Really Work? Experts Speak Out

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Many of us hold our skincare routines and makeup favorites extremely close to our heart. Perhaps you are loyal to a specific moisturizer that you’ve relied on to keep your skin soft and youthful for years on end, or maybe you can’t picture getting ready in the morning without using your rose-quartz roller to de-puff your sleepy skin. Whatever the product or practice, it’s important to know what works for you.

After developing an artillery of trusted items and spending what feels like forever creating the perfect glam, the idea of heat, sweat, weather or just plain old time melting off your makeup can seem like a nightmare. That’s where the idea of setting your makeup comes in to play. Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof method to helping your makeup stay and not stray, but setting spray is increasingly becoming the method of choice. Los Angeles-based makeup artist, Alixandria Taylor, speaks to this sentiment directly, saying, “I think setting sprays have become more popular in recent years because people are really stepping up their makeup game. Instagram, Youtube, etc. has made it for possible for everyone to be their own makeup artist. Makeup bloggers and artists have the platform to share product recommendations, tutorials and tricks to non-makeup artist people who just want to look and feel good.”

That said, we’ve often wondered at the effectiveness of this now staple post-makeup spray. Are they actually helping our product withstand the elements and instrumental in delivering a fresh, dewy (or matte) finish? Taylor explains the true fundamentals behind setting spray. While she says they do in fact “absolutely work,”understanding how to use them properly is key. “Personally, I like to use setting sprays underneath makeup and on top to bring life back into the skin,” Taylor says. “Some people and MUA’s like to use setting sprays to “seal” products and that is a method that I personally don’t practice. In order to “seal” the makeup there has to be a pretty large amount of alcohol and/or silicones in the formula, so it basically ends up being a hairspray for the face. Which in turn leads to drying of the skin and breakouts. Instead you should opt for a product that works with the pH level of your skin to keep it happy and balanced throughout the day.”

Another important component to an effective setting spray (and makeup in general) is prep. To allow setting spray to work its magic you must establish a solid skincare routine. “My daytime routine goes a little something like this: I gently cleanse, spritz a hydrating mist, press in a vitamin C serum and seal with a light moisturizer,” says Taylor. “Then, of course, I apply eye cream. You will see that your makeup lays smoother on your skin and stays more fresh throughout the day. If you feel like you need a little pick-me-up or anti-shine throughout the day, carry a light power and a setting spray or facial toner.”

There you have it. While a setting spray alone may not ensure life-proof makeup, developing a healthy routine and finding the right setting formula could do the trick. Below, find some of Taylor’s favorite (non-toxic) setting products that will help you keep your glow all day and night.

Ready, Set, Go!