Home Makeup 5 Setting Spray Alternatives – What To Try That Works

5 Setting Spray Alternatives – What To Try That Works

by Gabbi

Applying makeup can be a form of self-care and a therapeutic part of anyone’s morning routine. Makeup allows you to express your personality and experiment with different products. It may even help you to feel like the best version of yourself daily.

However, it can be annoying or unpleasant when your makeup doesn’t stay. The last thing anyone wants to stress about is their foundation transferring, eye makeup smudging, or lipstick getting stuck on their teeth. So, how can you set makeup in place?

A few things can ensure your makeup will last all day long. First, you can invest in long-wear formulas or even buy a setting spray. A setting spray is a mist that is formulated to lock in your makeup, and it’s the last step in your regimen.

Unfortunately, setting sprays can be very pricey, and they get used up quickly. They can also contain some questionable ingredients that may irritate the skin. On the other hand, they work wonders to prevent makeup from smudging. 

What are some setting spray alternatives? There are a few great alternatives to setting spray, including witch hazel, lavender oil, glycerin, and more. Each has their pros and cons, so it’s always a good idea to do your research before deciding which one to use.

Thankfully, you don’t need to empty your wallet for a setting spray. Instead, you can make your own with water and common beauty ingredients. We’ll share all the tips you need to know for your makeup to last!

What Is Setting Spray?

Setting spray is a product that receives a lot of hype and praise in the makeup world. Almost every brand has manufactured its own setting spray. This product is ideal for all makeup wearers, whether you do the bare minimum or go full glam.

L’Oreal Paris says to “think of it as a topcoat for your makeup. You spritz it onto your face, over your makeup as the last step of your routine.” 

Setting spray is formulated to keep your makeup in place all day and prevent budging, transferring, and smudging. 

Is Setting Spray Necessary?

Setting spray can be costly. Most brands sell setting spray for $20-30 or even more for one bottle. This leads us to ask if a setting spray is really worth it. Of course, everyone will have their own opinion on setting spray and if it actually works.

However, most of us can live without setting spray. You can replace setting spray with a good skincare routine and long-wearing products. Or, you can even make your own setting spray at home. Of course, the base of any setting spray will always be water!

But what if you don’t like sprays or mists at all? We will share some extra tips that don’t involve sprays, but they will still lock in your makeup.

Setting Spray Alternatives That Work 

What ingredients can be used to make an effective DIY setting spray? You’ll be happy to find out that these items listed below are all affordable and accessible products you can find anywhere, whether it’s online or in-store.

Like with any new product, always perform a patch test. The downside of making a beauty product at home is that you might have varying ratios in your mixture instead of a chemist formulating the perfect amount of each ingredient.

A patch test will ensure that your at-home mixture won’t irritate your skin. Also, test your formula on a random day to make sure it works for you, so you don’t ruin a look for an important event.

1. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a hot topic in the skincare community; some love it, and others hate it. However, it can be amazing in a setting spray for acne-prone or oily skin. Witch hazel is also said to be fantastic at reducing the appearance of pores and oil.

Stay clear of this option if you are sensitive. Witch hazel can irritate sensitive skin types, so we suggest always performing a patch test. However, if you are oily and your makeup always slides off, give witch hazel a shot.

2. Lavender Oil 

Lavender oil can be very soothing for the skin. Not only will it keep your skin calm, but it can also soothe your nerves. Lavender is highly aromatic, so you will feel like you are at the spa with every use.

Lavender can be mixed with aloe vera for extra hydrating benefits. However, use it sparingly and dilute it first because essential oils are highly potent. Too much oil can cause irritated skin, so stick to 2-3 drops.

3. Glycerin

Glycerin is a superhero product! It provides intense moisture to your skin, but it can also be tacky enough to grasp makeup. Many primers will contain Glycerin to give a beautiful base for makeup. It’s a generally well-tolerated ingredient.

Glycerin will be suitable for all skin types, and it provides multiple purposes for the skin. This is especially great for dry, sensitive, or normal skin types that want moisture without irritating ingredients like fragrance or oils.

4. Aloe

Aloe vera is another popular ingredient among skincare products. Aloe is excellent entirely on its own, but it can be used to make a setting spray as well. Aloe vera is also great for a wide variety of skin types, including oily and sensitive skin.

Aloe will keep your skin moisturized without feeling greasy, and it will soothe any areas of the face that are dry or irritated. Aloe vera will provide a natural, satin-matte finish, so no one will even know you made your own setting spray!

5. Rose Water 

Another well-tolerated product/ingredient is rose water! Rose water will instantly refresh your face and offer hydration. Rose water won’t only set your makeup, but it will also add life back to it when you are touching up.

So say goodbye to cake-face for good! Rose water is great for all skin types, and many skincare brands sell it. Or, you can make your own rose water for your setting spray! You can even use it to prep your skin before you apply makeup. 

Other Alternatives 

What if you don’t like sprays in general? Here are some mist and spray-free alternatives to setting spray! You may figure out that powder is your go-to product or that you will need to update your skincare routine.

1. Finely-Milled Setting Powder

Opting for a finely-milled setting powder will solve all of your worries! We’re huge fans of this go-to translucent choice. Because these types of powders are a wonderful texture, they won’t settle into fine lines or wrinkles. You have control of whether or not you want to set your whole face or just specific areas.

2. Skin Prep

Your makeup will only look as good as your skin. So one great piece of advice is to prioritize your skin over your makeup. The proper skin prep will ensure your makeup won’t be going anywhere, and you won’t need to touch up as much either.

3. Damp Beauty Sponges 

Damp Beauty Sponges will be your new best friend! Not only do they help set your face, but they are amazing for touch-ups. Damp sponges absorb excess product to avoid a cakey finish, and they can help blend your makeup seamlessly.

Tip: Spray your setting spray onto your makeup sponge! When you mist your face, a lot of that product gets lost in the air. So, to get the most from your setting spray, mist it directly onto the sponge. This dampens the sponge too!

Then you will set your face, remove excess product, and blend your makeup all at once! 

What To Avoid 

Not everything is meant for your face, and not all beauty products are versatile. For example, some beauty junkies will go as far as to set their makeup with hair products. Of course, this is dangerous, but it can also create an adverse reaction on the skin.


There is a misconception that heat will set your makeup, and that is simply too far from the truth. The only thing you will achieve by blow-drying your face is dryness and possible burns. So, stay clear of this option at all costs. 


Please do not spray your face with hairspray to set your makeup. You’ll put your eyes and sight at risk, and you will be left with a sticky film on your face. Not only that, but the ingredients in hairspray can lead to breakouts, rashes, and more irritation on the skin. 

Final Thoughts

Setting sprays can be a wonderful finishing touch to any makeup look. 

Most of us can agree that we don’t want to worry about our makeup transferring or moving around when we go out. However, setting sprays can be expensive and unnecessary at times.

Thankfully, you can use common skincare ingredients to DIY or use as an alternative to setting spray. This includes affordable and accessible options like aloe, lavender oil, glycerin, rose water, and witch hazel. 

You can also use other methods like a damp beauty sponge, updating your skincare routine, or investing in a high-quality, finely-milled powder. Now you don’t even have to purchase a pricey setting spray ever again!

What are your thoughts on setting spray? Will you be incorporating any of these alternatives into your routine? 

Up Next: How To Make Homemade Setting Spray

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