Difference between Setting Spray and Finishing Spray

LAST UPDATED: JAN 29, 2023 / By Nura / SettingSpray

If you’ve ever gone to a beauty parlour for a makeup session, then there is a strong possibility you’ve heard terms like setting spray and finishing spray. These cosmetic products are used so often by professional makeup artists and several makeup lovers, purposefully, to help keep the makeup in place and give it a smooth, polished and long lasting finish.

Understanding the Term Setting Spray and Finishing Spray

A setting spray is a cosmetic product that keeps your makeup in place by merging or smoothing all the makeup layers into places. The spray can also help in managing shine and keep your makeup from melting or smudging in hot or humid conditions.

A finishing spray, on the other hand, is a cosmetic product sprayed after you apply your makeup and can also be used throughout the day to refresh your look. However, the spray is typically more focused on providing a luminous, dewy finish to your makeup rather than just helping it to last longer.

While they might look close to duplicated cosmetic products, you might wonder what differentiates the two and how they can be perfectly used to give you a fresh look on your face. In this article, we’ll dive right into knowing the main difference between setting spray and finishing spray, and later on, we will reveal how to use the two. Read on.


Setting Spray Vs. Finishing Spray; What Sets Them Apart?

The setting and finishing spray have unique benefits that make them ideal for different situations. For instance, a setting spray is typically used before applying makeup, as it helps to keep the foundation and other products in place, or in other word, it acts as a glue for makeup layers such as foundation, concealer and loose powder. Whereas a finishing spray is used after the makeup has been applied and helps keep everything in place (as in sealing the makeup) for a long time. In other words, setting spray is not for makeup longevity purpose but finishing spray is for makeup longevity.

In substance composition, a setting spray is a liquid-based formula made of three parts; water, alcohol, and film former. On the contrary, a finishing spray contains polymers such as polyvinyl pyrolidone or PVP, responsible for holding the makeup together.


How Does a Setting Spray Work? 

A setting spray creates a fine mist that acts as a binding agent. The former film in the spray binds the makeup to the skin, while others contain ingredients that help absorb excess oil. So, assuming you’re applying makeup by yourself and would like a formal intro on applying a setting spray to your face, here is a quick guide to help you through.

First, start by holding the bottle of setting spray about six inches from your face. Next, gently mist the spray over your face and cover your makeup. Allow the spray to dry on your face for a few seconds, and then you are all set.


Other Benefits of Setting Spray;

  • It helps reduce the appearance of pores
  • If you have dry skin, a setting spray can add hydration and help your makeup look more natural and fresh.
  • Prevent patchy or cakey looking makeup for long wear makeup.


Best Overall Setting Spray in 2022

Setting spray is among the most important products in the world of makeup and can be a helpful tool in your makeup bag. Here, we’ve rounded up the best overall setting spray in the market today.

+ URBAN DECAY COSMETICS All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, $33

This spray received more than 18000 5 stars rating from ulta.com shoppers. And most of them agree that this spray is long lasting (16 hours resistant time claimed by this company) where you can maintain your makeup when having a water ride at Disneyland, or withstand 97 degrees of California heat when hiking the mountain. It is also easy to apply with a lightweight texture, provides a natural look and it is easy to take-off when you finish using it.

+ MILK MAKEUP Hydro Grip Setting + Refreshing Spray

It is a lightweight alcohol-free dual mist that is made to help your setting powders and makeup stay in place. Moreover, it is a refreshing mist to keep you cool throughout the day. It is a non-sticky formulation featuring two layers; a blue agave grip and a green cannabis glow. The two phases activate when mixed to give an invisible, weightless layer that provides enough grip and sets the makeup to last for 12 hours duration. The best part is that it is made with a mix of ingredients that are not only good for your skin but smell amazing. Made with green cannabis extract and blue agave extract, it provides hydration to your skin while also improving the look of pores and controlling shine. It will cost you $48.50 for 1 oz, which is a great price. The good news is that the mist can also be used as a skin prep before makeup application.

+ Pramy Moisturizing Makeup Setting Spray

This is one of the best, and cheapest setting sprays out there. We’re talking about $7.99 for 2 oz. It features SYNTRAN® PC5778 & VP/VA copolymer. Pramy Moisturizing Setting Spray has hydrating components, rose water, and hyaluronic acid, which will help your skin absorb the moisture from this spray evenly. 

The best part about this spray is that you can use it for many different things besides just setting your makeup. It is great to use as a skin prep before makeup application or even as a quick mist after applying your makeup. You can also use it to set your face primer, foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer, and loose powder. This product also can hold your makeup up to 12 hours of duration, it is vegan and cruelty-free.

+ Seint Setting Spray

It is a freshly-scented mist that is meant to set your makeup for a long time. It can also be used to prime your face and fix any makeup mistakes you may have made. For a person with oily skin, it is recommended to use this spray minutes before makeup application, so the oil on your face will have time to absorb into the skin before you apply your makeup.

+ Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray

This multitasking, lightweight, oil-free spray is meant to help you set your makeup for a longer period of time up to 16 hours. It is a great setting spray for oily skin and will not spoil your makeup. It works great to set your eyeshadow, foundation, and blush.

It constitutes film-former polymers that make it water resistant. It also helps to keep your makeup in place throughout the day and is perfect for humid climates. The Japanese Green Tea highlight helps to keep your skin hydrated, as well as control shine. Not to forget aromatic resin properties that help blur out pores.

+ Morphe Luminous Setting Spray

It has been formulated with apple extract, glycerin, and coconut water, to help keep the skin supple and moisturized. This setting spray helps lock in more moisture and make sure the product lasts for up to 16 hours. An application will warrant you an instant matte, smooth and radiant look. The mist can be used in different ways, whether it is to set makeup or to prep your skin beforehand. This spray is for you if you want that smooth and oil-free finish.

How About the Finishing Spray or Fixing Spray? How Does It Work?

What is fixing spray or finishing spray? A finishing spray is usually the final step of any makeup routine for makeup longevity purpose. It is a must-have product for those who have oily skin. The spray also creates a budge-proof look and resists sweat and humidity.

Commonly finishing sprays were formulated as water-based or silicone-based types to cater many skin types and finishing the consumer need. You need to choose the spray based on your skin type and what kind of finishing you want to appear on your facial skin. Silicone-based spray might not be suitable for acne-prone skin as it is heavy in texture and this makes your skin have a little breathing space.

To use it, hold the can about 10 inches to 12 inches away from your face and spray continuously, even. Be sure to close your eyes and mouth while doing so. Don’t forget to spray your neck and chest if you wear a low-cut dress. Allow the spray to dry for a few seconds before putting your clothes back on. 

Commonly, finishing spray will contain alcohol in it and the best alcohol for your skin is fatty alcohol since it will draw in and hold moisture and create a moisturizing effect to the skin. Some examples of fatty alcohol are oleyl, stearyl and lauryl alcohol. And what you should avoid is simple alcohol that can give a drying effect to the skin especially when you need to wear it for more than 3 hours continuously. Some examples of drying alcohol are methanol, ethanol, propanol and denatured alcohol.


Other Benefits of Finishing Spray;

  • It gives your skin a healthy natural – looking finish
  • It helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Finishing spray can help set your makeup and prolong its wear.
  • Suitable for all types of skin where you can get oil absorbing spray type for oily skin and hydrating spray type for dry skin.


Best overall Finishing Spray for 2022

+ Makeup Revolution Glow Fix Illuminating Fixing Spray

Set your makeup with a light mist of this illuminating spray that brightens the skin. It will not only work great on makeup, but it is also a fantastic setting spray for your complexion. It also works great to set any type of foundation because it will never ruin or change the integrity of the finishing.

The packaging is also amazing, and the spray pump makes it easy to use. Its lightweight formulation is made with our silky skin hydrating complex, which will provide your skin with the nutrients it needs while giving you the best feeling during application. This spray is vegan and cruelty free too.

+ Makeup Revolution Hydrate & Fix Fixing Spray

We all know how important hydration is for the skin. So, this spray will be a great addition to your collection. It has hyaluronic acid to give you that extra hydration and glow. This spray provides all-day hydration for the skin, which helps to keep the skin feeling refreshed and moisturised. It promises to give you a very natural, non-greasy, and matte finish which will reduce shine and other oil on your skin. The formula is great for dry, dehydrated, or sensitive skin types. 

+ Essence Fix & Last Make-Up Fixing Spray

This quick-drying lightweight spray moisturizes the skin and makes sure that your makeup stays put up to 18 hours. It provides an instant mattifying effect on the skin, which makes it great to use as a primer when you want a matte finish. It helps to control oil, so your face won’t be shiny throughout the day.

The formula is water-resistant and comes in a convenient spray bottle. The cucumber extracts will help keep skin hydrated throughout the day, give your skin a healthier glow, and help soften the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It is suitable for all skin types, cruelty free and has been dermatologically tested.

+ Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist

This fast-drying spray is perfect for women on the go. It helps to even out your skin texture and will help prevent shine. It has a refreshing blend of rose water, green tea, and willow bark extracts that enhances skin hydration while also improving your skin’s overall tone and balance. This mist formulation is paraben free and is ideal for all skin types. Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist also works well as a primer before makeup application.

So, which one should you use?

Well, it depends on your own needs and preferences. If you have acne-prone skin, you might need a specific setting spray for acne-prone skin that can absorb oiliness from your skin. There are also setting spray without alcohol that are suitable for sensitive skin user. For instance, a setting spray is a go-to option for anyone who wants their makeup to last all day. On the other hand, a finishing spray is a perfect way to add a bit of extra shine and glow to your makeup look.