setting vs. facial spray: an investigation

setting vs facial spray - Cosmetic Composition.png

A few years ago makeup setting sprays were all the rage. A water-based product that you can spray all over your face like hairspray and your makeup won’t budge? Sign every beauty guru up. Fast forward to now, and we’re in a skin care focused beauty world and facial sprays have become everything. Hydrating your skin to give it a glowing finish, has literally every brand coming up with their own formulas. I recently was on the search for a facial spray but I also wanted one that provided the benefits of a setting spray. Which had me wondering, is there actually a difference between the two? To determine the answer to this question I will be reviewing and comparing the ingredients in two popular setting sprays against two popular facial sprays.


setting spray ingredients

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

ingredients: Water, SD-Alcohol 39-C, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Isononyl Isononanoate Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Sodium Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate PVP, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Methyl Diisopropyl Propionamide, Dimethicone PEG-7 Phosphate, PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Glycereth-5 Lactate, Methyl Methacrylate Cross Polymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Fragrance

NYX Makeup Setting Spray – Dewy 

ingredients: Water / Aqua / Eau, Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, PVP, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Niacinamide

facial spray ingredients

Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

ingredients: Aqua (Water,Eau),Propylene Glycol,Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice,Rosa Canina Extract,Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract,Fucus Vesiculosus Extract,Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract,Caprylyl Glycol,Hexylene Glycol,Polysorbate 20,Parfum (Fragrance),Phenoxyethanol,Sodium Chloride,Citronellol,Geraniol,CI 17200 (Red 33),CI 42090 (Blue 1)

La Roche-Posay

ingredients: Aqua/Water


ingredient comparison

While I have only displayed ingredient lists for two of each spray, I looked at the ingredient lists of many other sprays and noticed a few trends.

The facial sprays were marketed as very natural and refreshing mists, some claim to only contain thermal or mineral water. The facial sprays also contain more colorants, fragrances, and humectants than the setting sprays. Most of the setting sprays that I looked at contained the ingredient PVP, or polyvinylpyrrolidone a water soluble polymer that helps the product stick to your skin. Both products contain water, and most contain humectants. I’ve talked about humectants before, but as a refresher, humectants are ingredients that lock in moisture to our skin. They do not add moisture, just keep the water content of our skin consistent. Using humectants in these sprays is a great way to keep makeup on our skin, especially powder makeup. Additionally, the humectants will keep your skin moisturized with each spray. However, one thing that’s important to note is that the facial sprays that only contain thermal/mineral water have the potential to dry out skin. In those that only contain thermal or mineral water, the water will eventually evaporate off your skin after the application, leaving your skin drier than it was before (water loss). Purchasing a facial spray or setting spray with humectants is particularly important if you tend to get dry skin or live in a dry environment.

So to finally make a conclusion in this investigation, it is my personal and slightly professional (not quite) opinion that at their core setting and facial sprays are not very different. While chemically their ingredients are a bit different, the essential components such as humectants, water, and polymers are the same in both products. While searching for a spray to buy make sure to read the ingredients lists, and think about what you really want from the product. Companies have come out with some variations of these products so it’s fairly easy to find one product with all the benefits your skin will enjoy.

Have you ever tried a facial or setting spray? Which did you prefer? Share your experiences below! 

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3 thoughts on “setting vs. facial spray: an investigation

  1. rosarita313 says:

    I really like your blog, just found you recently 🙂 I have not used one of these setting sprays and I would probably only use one occasionally (my all nighters are long behind me) but I have wondered about the ingredients so thanks for the comparison info, it’s very helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

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