Why Does Setting Spray Ruin My Makeup? (And How To Fix It)

Why Does Setting Spray Ruin My Makeup (And How To Fix It)

No, you are not alone. You are not the only one with the question “why does my setting spray ruin my make-up”. Not only online, but also friends and acquaintances knocked on my door with this question.

I remember sitting with some friends having a drink (long before Covid-19) and talking about makeup, as usual. 

We were talking about different types of make-up and how to make sure they stay on. Here, of course, a setting spray is the answer! But then a friend of mine said: “a setting spray always ruins my make-up”. After that, the whole evening was about nothing else! 

So, to help a lot of people, I am now writing this article. Below you will find the answer to why setting spray can ruin your makeup. But first, let me explain how a setting spray works.

How does a setting spray work?

To get straight to the point: setting spray is not made for wearing your makeup longer! So, now that that’s out of the way… What does it do? A setting spray makes sure your make-up meshes in one layer.

A setting spray makes sure your make-up is strictly in one layer.

So when you have applied make-up, a setting spray should ensure that the different components of your make-up come together in one layer. This then ensures (because your makeup dries quickly) that there’s no slipping and separating. IT also takes the edge off the powdered look.

So it doesn’t make your makeup last any longer. Do you normally notice, for example, that your foundation comes off easily? Then you will notice that it stays on better and longer. But that is simply because it stays in place better. It is not because the setting spray makes your make-up stay on longer.

Why does setting spray ruin my makeup?

A common complaint about setting sprays is that it doesn’t work or that it puts little “holes” in the users’ foundation. It often looks like the foundation for example separates and it makes the makeup look bad overall.

Why does this happen?

Spraying on too much and too close to your face

Oftentimes these issues with your setting spray come from spraying on too much and too close to your face. When you spray on too much and too close your makeup tends to have little holes in it and it can ruin your makeup.

The solution is easy. Use your setting spray as far away from your face as possible and do only maybe 2 – 3 sprays. If after that you still get his “splotchy” look, then you can try another trick.

What you can also do is first spray a couple of times in front of you and then walk through it. This way you also apply way less setting spray to your face.

Another trick is to don’t spray the setting spray on your face directly, but spray it onto your makeup brush before you apply your foundation. This way you’ll get less setting spray on your face and it should create the effect that you’re looking for.

Dry skin makes it worse

Very dry skin can make a setting spray and your makeup not quite work together. So it can happen that at first, your foundation looks amazing, and then after using a setting spray it looks weird and uneven. Luckily, you’re certainly not the only one and this is one of the tricks I know that should help:

Try exfoliating (and moisturizing) before you put on your makeup and spraying less.

But what if you’re already moisturizing?

Then you can always try removing one part from your makeup routine. Take away the primer, for example, and do the rest like you always do. Will this still cause the problem or will it be solved?

It happens quite often that a certain primer does not work well in combination with a setting spray. If so, your solution should be simple and you should just switch to a primer that works for you rather than against you!

I hope that using less setting spray and spraying less close to your face will solve your problem. Or, of course, you have figured out that you should be using a different primer. That would be great too!

If your problems are not solved, I would advise you to check whether you have the right setting spray for your face. There are different types of setting spray that is good for different skin types. Below are my recommendations for setting sprays for different skin types.

Setting spray doesn’t have to ruin your makeup if you use it wisely.

What is the best setting spray to use?

Best setting spray for dry skin

In my humble opinion, the iNNBEAUTY Power Up 3-in-1 Mist is the best setting spray for dry skin that you can use. This specific setting spray is a setting spray, hydrating mist, and toner in one. It contains moringa seed oil, witch hazel, and moisturizing aloe and electrolytes. This makes it particularly great for dry skin. Shake it before use and see for yourself that this one will do wonders for you. 

Best setting spray for oily skin

If you have oily skin, you probably have experience with having to blot tissue so that you can minimize the shine… With the NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray Matte, this isn’t necessary anymore!

This particular setting spray is talked and raved about over and over on the internet and for good reason. This setting spray is extremely light and long-lasting. Besides that, it also gives you a matte finish. 

A nice bonus is a fact that this formula is cruelty-free and completely vegan. 

Do you have oily skin and want to have a setting spray that works? Then I think this one will work wonders for you.

Best setting spray for combination skin

While the NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray Matte we discussed earlier will also work for people with combination skin, that’s not the only one you can try!

Even heard of the Rimmel Stay Matte Fix & Go Setting spray? That’s a great one if you have combination skin. What makes it so great you ask?

This setting spray will not only lock in your foundation and keep your oily parts of your skin under control, it also works doubles as a primer and therefore can also enhance the dry areas of your skin.

The greatest thing about this setting spray is the fact that it is inexpensive! See for yourself :).

Best one for a normal skin

If you have “normal” skin (feels weird to say because we’re all unique and beautiful in our ways), you can mostly get away with most setting sprays. 

For dry to normal skin you best use the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist from Sephora. It contains squalane and red algae. This setting spray will rehydrate your skin and while keeping your makeup in optimal condition!

What if you have normal to combination skin? Then the MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ is a great one to try. This is a lightweight setting spray that will soothe your skin, refresh it, and will keep your makeup in place!

Best for when you’re on a budget?

Now, most of these setting sprays aren’t very expensive… But which one should you use when you’re on a budget? 

Without a doubt, the best you can use then is E.l.f Cosmetics Matte Magic Mist & Set. It is about $5 and does wonders for your makeup. Although it is the budget option, it really is easy to use and will keep your makeup in place while controlling shine. 

The great thing about this brand (which I’m a huge fan of) is the fact that it doesn’t break the bank but does the job well. 

I hope these recommendations will help you in finding the perfect setting spray for you. When you’re in doubt about which one you should buy, I advise you to go to your local beautician. He or she can look at your skin and recommend the great one for you!


Thanks for reading this article! I hope that you learned about how a setting spray works and why a setting spray can ruin your makeup. Most of the time it is easily fixable when you have the right routine and the best setting spray for your skin. Thanks again for reading and have a wonderful day!

Do you want to learn more about setting sprays? Simply click below on an article that seems interesting to you and start learning some more!

Why is my setting spray going white?
Why isn’t my setting spray working properly?
I have no setting spray – what now?

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