Spray it and Believe it: The Power of Setting Spray

Does setting spray actually work?

A few summers ago I watched my friend meticulously apply her makeup and then with just one product her skin was glowing. I gave it a try myself and with a spritz or two achieved the same radiant look. It was the one and only setting spray that did the job.

Whether you’re meticulous with your makeup or laissez faire about your routine, setting spray has probably made its way into your makeup routine at some point. As the go to product for makeup longevity, it has earned a good name within the makeup community. But it all comes down to this: do setting sprays actually work? The answer is yes.

Before the skepticism comes in, understanding the science behind setting sprays makes them worth the try. The Lab Muffin, a site for the makeup and science lover, breaks down the two types of setting sprays and ingredients of each. The first works against sweat and budge while giving the look a natural, blended appearance. The key ingredient is polymer, a molecule that forms strong bonds and is often blended with an alcohol solution. When spray is misted onto the face, polymers are able to “lock” with makeup, adding a waterproof ability. Second is a finish spray, which is primarily for hydration and creating a less powdery finish. Its ingredients are more skincare and hydration friendly and don’t contain an alcohol component.

The next question is: how do you use setting sprays? While the most talked about technique is to spray the face at a good distance with a spritzing applicator, there are other ways to target different needs and skin types. As recommended by 365 Cosmetic Reviews, applying the product and blending it with a sponge is best for oily skin while removing excess oil with a blotting sheet, applying powder, then setting with spray is best for touch ups.

For targeting specific areas like the eyes or lips, spraying the brush before applying makeup will ensure longer stay. But no matter what technique, the one thing to avoid is an overloading amount of spray because it will remove the makeup (and your hard work).

If you’re now convinced that setting spray works, the next step is to find the perfect one. Since there are many products out there it can be hard to figure out what works for you. To make the search easier, Cosmopolitan tested 13 products and compiled a list of the best setting sprays out there, including brands like Clarins, Cover FX, e.l.f, Urban Decay, and KiKo.

So, as summer is approaching you might be eager to test out setting sprays. Just keep in mind that they are not essential for any makeup routine but do add staying power and the spa-like feel to the end of any makeup routine.

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