Does setting spray work when you sweat? (Yes, Some Do!)

Does setting spray work when you sweat

It happens to all of us. We have agreed with ourselves that we should run more, so we do! We go to parties, to summer festivals. All great, of course, but also conditions where you sweat and your makeup might not stay on as you want it to.

How can a setting spray help? Does a setting spray work when you sweat? These are questions that will be answered by you today.

With the summer days just around the corner, you want your makeup to look its best and you want to enjoy the weather.

Setting spray is sometimes called a water-based setting spray, but this is not the case. If you have the right setting spray, it can help you in the battle of makeup and sweat. Some setting sprays even contain SPF, which means you’ll be protected in the sun as well. Setting spray is like hairspray but for your face. It keeps your makeup intact.

So, does setting spray work when you sweat?

Yes, a setting spray does work when you sweat. That is if you have the right setting spray. There are two different types of setting sprays.

– Setting sprays with alcohol and polymers

This type of setting spray is the one you are looking for. This is because setting sprays contain polymers that form a thin film over your makeup, keeping it in place. When you spray your setting spray, the alcohol evaporates and leaves a film of polymers on your skin. These polymer droplets form a film over you that keeps everything intact.

– Setting sprays without alcohol and with more natural ingredients

These are the setting sprays that actually only work well for blending different layers of makeup. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do as much for actually holding your makeup together. This is because they often have no alcohol or polymers in them.

So how do you know which one to get at the shop?

The easiest thing to do is to look at the ingredients list. If the first few ingredients do not include alcohol or polymers but rather glycerin, water, and other natural elements, you know that this is a setting spray that just blends your makeup better.

Does setting spray prevent sweating?

No, setting spray does not prevent sweating. Setting spray is not designed to stop your body from sweating, at least not in the areas where you have used a setting spray. The right setting spray (as mentioned above) will only help your makeup stay on while you sweat. The best effect would be that while you are sweating, the sweat droplets are transparent and you can see that none of your makeup is being taken away.

In this case, 100% satisfaction will be difficult, as making sure your makeup does not come off at all while sweating is unrealistic. A setting spray, as you will see later on, can help you look much better even when you are sweating. Of course, this depends on how much a person sweats, how their make-up is applied and which setting spray they use.

Which setting spray is best for anti-sweat purposes?

This is different for each person. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to setting sprays that work against sweat. However, some are better than others (at least that’s my experience). Below is a list of setting sprays that have helped me fight sweat and make-up.

e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray
Pevonia Botanica Phyto-Aromatic Mist
Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50
Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray

As I said, I haven’t found a setting spray that will make your make-up stay on 100% no matter what you do or where you are, but I have fortunately found several setting sprays (mentioned above) that work great and help me a lot in most cases.

The great setting spray against sweat experiment

Before I came up with the list (which is above) I came up with the idea of testing what setting spray works when you sweat. So, over the next few weeks, I put myself in an environment where you would sweat. It could be that I was exercising, going to a party, or some other occasion where sweating was 100% guaranteed.

Then I kept track of the extent to which the setting spray worked and my make-up stayed on despite sweating. Below I will tell you what each setting spray did for me. I’ll tell you what I thought of them overall, what I liked and didn’t like about them, how well the makeup stayed on with this setting spray, and more. Take advantage of it!

So, the setting sprays I tested are the following:

e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray
Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray
Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50
Pevonia Botanica Phyto-Aromatic Mist

I start with the top one and work my way down.

e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set

This setting spray has a wet feel that gave me a dewy finish. Nothing wrong with that and I used this product while going to a party. All well and good when there are only disco lights, but when I got home I saw that there was only some makeup left on my nose and forehead. The rest was gone. Now, I don’t use a lot of make-up (or at least not thick layers) and the fact that it stays on a bit is a victory for me. The eye shadow I used did not fade and my eyeliner was only slightly faded. In addition, my lipstick, mascara, and blush all seemed to be intact. A big win for me! 

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray

The thing I noticed right away with this setting spray is that the mist wasn’t as fine as the other setting sprays I used. It was a bit thicker with a wetter consistency. Now, that’s not necessarily bad news, but what was bad news was the fact that this setting spray didn’t work for me. After a run, there was little to no make-up left on my face. My sweat droplets (you can probably imagine) were not clear at all. It was all make-up. The rest of my make-up, almost the same as described above, was also a bit smudged and faded. Not the setting spray that helped against sweating… Not for me, anyway. Bummer.

On to the next one!

Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray

I’m not saying this one is the winner, but it came close. I went to the gym with my makeup and this setting spray-on. I found that the De-Slick that this setting spray had to offer worked really well! My face looked duller and I liked the way it looked. But, not all of my make-up stayed on. My foundation came off on my face, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that other parts did. My mascara, blush, and eyeliner all looked fine! So, this one worked fine for me!

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50

Now, I can officially say it! This one, at least for me, is the winner! This setting spray gave me a fine mist that mattified my face. Now I liked it and I know for sure that people with oily skin will also like the mattify functionality :). I wore this to another party, and I have to admit that it was very hot there so it was the most intense sweat. It shocked me to see that at the end of the evening my makeup hadn’t moved! It looked great. My face was clear and I was looking sharp! For me, this is the winner of the test!

Pevonia Botanica Phyto-Aromatic Mist

Lastly, we have the Pevonia Botanica Phyto-Aromatic Mist. Does this setting spray also work when you sweat just like the Supergoop! one? Well no, but it is a steady second. While it did do quite a good job of keeping my makeup in place, it didn’t do as good a job as the Supergoop! one. Not all the makeup was from my face but you could see that there were places like my nose and forehead where the makeup had worn off. Just like the rest, my eyeliner, mascara, and such were kept in place. I think this is a steady second place and for some people, this might just be the one they need! It is all a matter of trying and sees if you can find the one that works best for you!


I hope by now you realize that there isn’t something like a one-size-fits-all setting spray. Especially when we talk about setting sprays that help you when you sweat. While some options will greatly benefit you, it can be a little trial and error to see which one is the right setting spray for you. But oh man, when you find the one that works for you, I know for sure that you will be as happy as I was when I found mine!

Further reading material

Did you enjoy this article? I hope you did! If you want to know more about setting sprays and all its don’ts I advise you to click on one of the links below. Simply click on the title that you find most interesting and start reading!

Does your setting spray keep your makeup from rubbing off?
DIY makeup setting spray for dry skin
DIY organic makeup setting spray recipe

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