How Long Does Setting Spray Last (And When Does It Expire)?

If you’re anything like me, you want to know everything there is about beauty. In my case, it is everything. I mean sometimes it is not funny anymore and I lose myself in hours and hours of youtube binge-watching, Googling stuff, and asking anyone in the beauty community who will listen.

When I saw my local beautician and I asked her “how long does setting spray last”, she first rolled with her eyes (I know she loves it when I ask her questions so she does it playfully) and then told me more about how long setting spray should last in different conditions. 

Great information that would be a crime to not tell you… You came here to find answers and that’s what I’m going to give you!

Without further ado…

How long does setting spray last (before it expires)?

When you spray it on your face

Now, as you might’ve expected, there’s no definitive answer I can give you. Not because I don’t want to, but because it depends on the specific setting spray and what you do during the day.

But a regular setting spray should keep your makeup in place for about 8 to 16 hours. For most people that would be a whole day (from waking up to going to bed).

This depends however on what you do during the day. If you are going to be sweating during a workout, not every setting spray is good for that and so your setting spray would not hold for about 16 hours. 

If you know that you’re the sporty type, your best bet is to opt for a water-resistant setting spray. A setting spray that is specifically designed for these circumstances.

So, your regular setting spray should work for about 8 hours. After that, you need to reapply.

If you want something that stays in place longer, you can look into: Milani Make It Last Prime + Correct + Set Makeup Spray. I know from personal experience that this particular setting spray will keep your makeup in place for up to 16 hours!

When it’s opened

Even though you can use a setting spray for a long time, it is in your best interest to check when your setting spray expires. 

Most skincare products have what they cal PAO (Period After Opening) symbol. They do this to give you an idea of how long you can use the product after you’ve opened it. 

This symbol looks like an opened-up cream jar with a number in it followed by the letter ‘M’. The letter ‘M’ stands for the word “Month” and the number is telling you how many months. So if you see 12M, then that means that after you’ve opened the product, you can use it for 12 months.

What to do if you see no symbol

If you don’t see a symbol on your setting spray, then there’s another way of checking how long your setting spray lasts. On the product (mostly on the bottom) there should be a code. A series of letters and numbers. Go to the following site: checkcosmetics.net enter the brand and the code and then you should see the manufacturing date. From there you can estimate how long you can use the setting spray.

For most setting sprays (and I talk from personal experience) are good for about 12 months. Most setting sprays I owned had a 12M symbol so for you this is likely the same.

Now, do yourself a favor and throw the setting spray out after it’s older than what the label says. It’s better for you and your skin. Besides that, after your product expired, there’s no guarantee that the product will work well!

PAO (Period After Opening) Symbol

How long does unopened setting spray last?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a set-in-stone answer to this question because this information isn’t readily available.

The good thing however is that you do have some control over it. I’ll tell you more about it later.

Most setting sprays have safe preservatives that ensure they don’t allow germs to grow easily in them. But, if you opt for a more natural and organic product, this isn’t the case. So if you want to keep a backup or two of your favorite setting spray, you should keep in mind that the not organic one has a longer shelf-life than the organic one.

How do you know if your setting spray has turned?

The best thing you can do is trust your eyes and trust your nose. When you can see that the texture of the product has changed and/or the color of the product has changed, your setting spray is turned and isn’t usable anymore.

When to throw out the setting spray?

In the sections above I mentioned how long setting spray does last both opened and unopened. When your setting spray is open, it is often a good idea to throw it out after what the symbol says (most likely this is 12 months).

When your setting spray is unopened, there’s not a set-in-stone answer, but as you read already, you should use your eyes and your nose.

When you can see that the setting spray has another color, smells weird or that the texture has changed, it is better to throw out the setting spray.

Please don’t make any excuses. It is better for you and your skin to throw out the setting spray that isn’t right anymore and to buy a new one!

So, does setting spray expire?

It most certainly does! The time before it expires just varies between different setting sprays. That’s why it is always smart to check the PAO (Period After Opening) symbol and see for how long your setting spray should last.

Again, make sure that you don’t use the product after the expiration date or when you see that the color or texture is changed and it smells funny. The product will not be as effective as it can be and it is overall better for your skin to only use products that you know will work well on your skin!

Reading material

Do you want to learn more things about setting spray? Then you’re in luck! Below I’ve set out a couple of articles for you that you might find interesting. Just click on one that you want to learn about and start reading!

How much setting spray should you use?
Why your setting spray is ruining your makeup and how to fix it
Alternatives for when you don’t have setting spray