What To Do If You Have No Setting Spray (Alternatives)

Everyone knows it, you stand in front of the mirror for an hour and you make sure you look fantastic before you go out. So what do you do? The best way to prolong the life of your make-up is to use a setting spray (but you probably already knew that). But what do you do if you don’t have a setting spray to use? 

Luckily, there are a few alternatives you can use so you can still go out with a beautiful face and be sure your makeup will last.

What to do if you have no setting spray?

It can happen to anyone. You want to start your make-up at home and you discover that you don’t have any setting spray left. So look for alternatives! Below are several alternatives that can help you get through the day without the need for a setting spray.

Use a rose water spray

It may sound crazy, but this really works! Normally you would use rose water (like this particular one) after a long day and when your skin needs some softening and relaxing, but it also works very well as a setting spray. 

Just add water!

Yes, it really works! If you want to keep your make-up looking good for a long time and you don’t have a setting spray, just add water! Especially if you have used too much powder. Just spray a little water on your face and you’ll see your make-up return to its healthy and beautiful glow. A hydrating setting product can also help.

A hairdryer is a substitute for setting spray

It seems like we are going from crazy to crazier in this article, but that is not the intention. And yes, you did read that correctly, you can use a hairdryer as a replacement for setting spray. How does it work, you ask?

We all know that the formula for long-lasting make-up is a good primer and a setting spray… But if you don’t have these (or you find them too expensive) then I understand that you will look for alternatives.

Your hairdryer can be a good alternative (if you use it carefully).

Celebrity makeup artist Susan Heydt once said in an interview that a hairdryer (like this one) can be a great replacement for your setting spray, but you have to remember to use your hair dryer on low heat. 

I say again, use your hair dryer on low heat. It works great for drying your eyelashes and your skin (although you need good environmental humidity for it to work), but you have to be careful not to damage your skin in this way. It is best to use this tip if you have youthful skin.

What You Absolutely Must Not Do

Have you ever heard that some people swear by the fact that you should use hairspray as a setting spray? I am not kidding. This phenomenon starts in the drag queen and pageant community. You see, by using hairspray you ensure that your makeup is budget-proof. But is it good for you? No, it is not. 

Hairspray contains several chemicals and toxins that are not safe to use on your skin. For example, hairspray can cause rashes, irritation, and clogged pores. Now that we can buy setting sprays everywhere (or at least use alternatives as you will read in this article), it is much safer to go for them.

But what do you do if you don’t have any of these products? 

Make your own cheap DIY setting spray!

The easiest thing is of course if, as discussed above, you can put something other than a setting spray on your face that still makes your makeup last longer. But what if you don’t have those products at home, or it just doesn’t work for you and you need something else? Then making your own setting spray is the perfect thing to do.

How do you make your own setting spray?

Making your own setting spray if you don’t have a setting spray at home is actually very easy. Below I will show you how to make a setting spray with only 3 ingredients. All you need are the following things:

1. A spray bottle. A spray bottle is very handy so you can use your homemade setting spray on your face. You can use a bottle that you have at home and can reuse, or you can buy a new one like this one.

2. A funnel so that you can pour the setting spray into the bottle. If you don’t have one you can always roll up paper like a funnel, or use something like a coffee filter bag.

3. A teaspoon and some napkins. Not that a teaspoon is indispensable (cause you can eyeball it), but it is still handy to have around.

What ingredients do you need for your own setting spray?

1. Water. You need bottled or filtered water. Personally, I would not use tap water for this. This product goes directly on your skin and tap water can be a bit harder, which makes it not good for your skin.

Try using distilled water or purified bottled water.

2. Rosewater. You have already read this above (in the alternatives). Rosewater is a good alternative if you don’t have a setting spray at home. It is also handy for this recipe. But I have to admit that it is not necessary. Rosewater is hydrating and works great for your skin. 

3. Vegetable glycerin. The last product you need is vegetable glycerin. You will definitely need this product when making your own setting spray. Luckily, it is not expensive and you can use it for a long time! You have probably used this product many times before (more times than you know). Vegetable glycerin is found in many primers. 

This particular product makes your makeup stick. It is also very good for your skin because it moisturizes and gives you a beautiful finish.

Don’t use too much of it though, because glycerin can also make your skin look greasy.

How do I make the setting spray?

Now that you have all the stuff, it’s time to make the setting spray! Luckily it is not difficult at all if you follow the steps below. I often give this advice, but take your time! I get a lot of messages from people who are working on a particular recipe or on a step-by-step plan for coloring their hair, for example and don’t get the results they want because they are in too much of a hurry. Read carefully and take your time. That way you will get the best results.

Step 1

Take your bottle and fill it half to two-thirds full with the water we talked about earlier.

Step 2

Take the bottle with the pink water and take your teaspoon with it. Take 3 teaspoons from the pink water bottle and put them in the bottle you just filled with water. If you’re fond of rose water and want to use it more, you can. But beware: overdo it.

Step 3

Now it is time to use your vegetable glycerin! Take the bottle and your teaspoon. Again, it’s best to start with just a little (just like with the pink water). Take 2 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin out of the bottle and put them in the bottle with the water and the rose water.

Again: don’t use too much. It’s a bit of trial and error, but if you add too much glycerin, your spray may become a bit greasy and heavy on the skin. Especially if you want a matte finish, my advice is to go for a little less glycerin. Start with 2 teaspoons and add more when you think you need to.

That is all! Simple right? Now close the bottle with all the ingredients and start shaking. Once everything is mixed together, you can start spraying right away to see how well yours turned out!

It’s handy to shake and mix every time before using. That way you can be sure that your spray is ready to use and your ingredients are well combined.


As you’ve read, it’s pretty easy to find an alternative if you don’t have a setting spray at home. To be honest, using a setting spray is still the best option. For example, a setting spray is designed to give you the ultimate result. But still, if you don’t have it, find it too expensive, want to experiment with making it yourself, or just forgot to buy it, these are great alternatives above!

Do you want to learn more about setting sprays? Then simply click on the links below and start reading and learning more!
Why is my setting spray not working?
My setting spray is going white when I spray it.

Joy-Lee Founder and writer of wevaluebeauty.com


Hi, my name is Joy-Lee and I'm the owner of wevaluebeauty.com. As you might've noticed, I'm a true beauty lover, and made it my passion, my work and my hobby. I love sharing my thoughts and feelings on a variety of beauty aspects and want to thank you for reading!