Does Setting Spray Keep Your Makeup From Rubbing Off? (Yes it does)

Does Setting Spray Keep Your Makeup From Rubbing Off

Last night a got an email from a woman who wanted to know some things about setting spray. She told in the email that she found it really annoying that her makeup would constantly rub off on her clothes and she asked me: “does setting spray keep your makeup from rubbing off?”

Before she got out and would buy a setting spray, she wanted to be sure that this would actually work. She read some things but wasn’t sure enough. 

I was happy that she email me because I sure love to help! I told her the truth about if setting spray would help her issue, and because I am 100% sure that more people have this question, I thought I would make an article about it! So, below you’ll find the answers you’re looking for!

Without further ado…

does setting spray keep your makeup from rubbing off

The great thing about setting spray is that it is made to essentially make your makeup stay on your face, but it also “melts’ the layers together so that you get an overall flawless and more smooth look.

The fact that a setting spray is made to “make your makeup stay on your face” is the best indicator that it indeed helps in preventing your makeup from rubbing off.

Setting spray can indeed help you preventing your makeup from rubbing off, but setting spray alone is often not the only thing you should do.

This purely comes from my own experience, but what I normally do works wonders for me.

I found that when I use a setting powder in combination with the setting spray and this keeps my makeup from rubbing off on clothes.

So, my routine would look something like this:

First, you apply your primer (if you use that), that you apply your makeup like you would normally do, after that you can apply the setting powder and when everything is done, you go over your face with a setting spray.

This is the combo that works wonders for my face! I once wore this combo to physical therapy and have my face on a towel… And what do you think? No rubbing off at all!

Now, I know that different things work for different people, so you have to try it out a little bit. What I mean with this is that you have to find the ideal makeup + setting powder + setting spray combination for your face.

As I said, it depends on the person, but I often use the following:

Smashbox Photo Finish primer (has silicones though) + Smashbox Studio Skin foundation + setting spray, either Mac Fix+ or NYX matte + contour and setting powder (varies) + another setting spray, either UD All Nighter or NYX Dewy Finish.

Does setting spray stop makeup transfer?

So, as you could read in the above section, a setting spray does stop makeup transfer. At least to the extent where it won’t happen (as much) in everyday life. 

I know that lots of people have problems with their makeup transferring to other people, and you might be sick and tired of the fact that any makeup your wear ends up on other people’s faces. If you are, then using a setting spray is your best bet.

But I have to warn you. If you are using heavy makeup (or a real lot) it can be difficult to avoid these problems.

What works best?

The thing that works best is to first avoid (or make less use of) products that are oily, waxy, or creamy from themselves. The less you use that, the less the product will rub off. I saw this by myself. oily, waxy, and creamy products are the worst offenders.

The next best thing you can do is using a setting powder and/or a setting spray. Say you want to use foundation… Then you would first apply your primer, then your foundation and then you would apply your setting powder and/or setting spray.

If you do this, you’re 99% there and your makeup shouldn’t be transferred to other people anymore. I also wrote a whole article about how to avoid your makeup from transferring. You can read it here: (how to stop makeup transferring while kissing)

What does setting spray do to your makeup (for rubbing off)

Now I know that it isn’t easy to keep your makeup looking fresh the whole day long, but a setting spray can help you with that. A setting spray essentially helps you in preventing your makeup from smudging, creasing, and fading quickly. The setting spray contains water to hydrate your skin and to avoid your makeup from looking cakey and flaking. Besides that, it contains a whole range of polymers that hold your makeup in place. 

It is good to know however that there are 2 types of setting sprays

The ones that help protect your makeup from sweat, rubbing, and that kind of stuff

This is the setting spray that contains polymers that dissolve in a solvent (like alcohol). The great thing about this is the fact that these polymers are long molecules (like plastics) which are great at forming films that won’t budge and so prevent your makeup from rubbing off.

When you spray the setting spray on your face the alcohol (solvent) evaporates and the polymers stay on your face. These polymers droplets merge together forming a film over your makeup which holds everything in place.

Then there are the setting sprays that won’t hold your makeup in place

These are the setting sprays that only make your makeup look more blended. So this kind of setting spray blends well and also helps with clumping (just like the one above).

How to know which is which

The difference between the two setting sprays lies in the ingredients. The setting spray that only makes your makeup look more blended often has more skincare ingredients that benefit your skin, contain more humectant ingredients (like butylene glycol), and have less alcohol in them than the first one described. How do you know what to look for?

If you look at the ingredients of the setting spray in the store (or online) and you don’t see polymer in the first few ingredients, it’s probably a setting spray that will only help you blend your makeup more. Not that that is less useful than the first one, but you just have to know what kind of setting spray you are looking for.

Does setting spray make a difference in your makeup not rubbing off?

By now I hope you know the answer to this. Yes, a setting spray does keep your makeup from rubbing off. It does so by putting your makeup under a film and therefore make it less prone to makeup dangers you endure through your day-to-day life!

What is the best setting spray that doesn’t rub off?

I think you already know the answer to this one because the answer is that it depends. Which setting spray will work best for you depends on your skin type, and what you want out of your setting spray. Below you’ll find a couple of my favorites which you can look into! These sure work :).

Skindinavia The Makeup Oil Control Finishing Spray (great for oily skin)
NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray (great for oily skin)
MAC Prep & Prime Fix + Setting Spray
e.l.f. Cosmetics Stay All Night Setting Spray
Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray


So, yes a setting spray can keep your makeup from rubbing off. If you know which skin type you are and what ingredients to look for in your setting spray, you are good to go and can most certainly find a setting spray that will help you with your makeup rubbing-off issue. You can start with the list above this section, or do your own research. Doing your own research might be even better than starting with the list because you learn exactly what your skin needs and can make better makeup decisions for yourself. Now and in the future!

Reading material

Want to know more about setting spray? Below you’ll find a couple of articles that might be of interest to you. Simply click on one of the articles and start reading.

Make your own setting spray (recipe for dry skin)
How much setting spray can and should you use?
What to do if your setting spray doesn’t work?

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