Can I Use Setting Spray Without Makeup

Can I Use Setting Spray Without Makeup? [Answered]



11 MIN READ | February 18, 2024

Setting spray works as a beauty multitasker- a tool that can do more than keeping your makeup in place and flawless. It’s indeed an essential product to protect the look from going awry but not necessary that it always has to be paired with makeup.

Such mists are made of different active components that hold a variety of other purposes be it keeping your skin fresh, enhancing natural features or giving it a dewy finish. This might lead to the question- can you use setting spray without makeup? Yes. To know how setting spray can be sprayed over the face without beauty products on, make sure to scroll down the write. 

Can I Use Setting Spray Without Wearing Makeup?

Yes, you can use setting spray without makeup as long as you prep the face properly and use the right product that doesn’t contain powerful chemicals. It’s not recommended to apply just the setting spray on a completely bare face since some of those contents can cause skin irritation. 

Lots of setting sprays have alcohol and high concentration of alcohol can irritate or dry your skin if sprayed heavily and frequently. So, in case you’re planning to skip makeup and wish to apply setting spray, make sure to use the right one. 

A gentle setting spray not only sets your look but also adds a different effect to it even if you use it without makeup. Some sprays give a dewy appearance while some give matte. It depends on the formula. However, prepping is a must because it’ll keep the skin moisturized and free of skin-related problems.

Step-by-Step Guide To Use Setting Spray Without Makeup

Step-by-Step Guide To Use Setting Spray without makeup

Step 1: Clean your face

Clean the face properly with a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser. It helps remove dirt, germs, excess oil and other impurities. 

Step 2: Moisturize it

Hydrate the skin with a moisturizer. It helps keep the skin smooth as well. Make sure to use one depending on the skin type. For oily skin, use oil-free and light moisturizer. In case it’s dry, use a heavy one. Note that heavy moisturizers help give a dewy effect. 

Step 3: Apply sunscreen

Apply sunscreen on the face. It makes sure to protect the skin from UV rays and damage. Sunscreen is an important product and must be used regularly after moisturizer. Make sure to use one depending on skin type.

Step 4: Shake the setting spray

Give your setting spray bottle a few shakes so that all the ingredients inside mix up and distribute well. Usually, chemicals tend to settle to the bottom when the liquid is not in use for a longer time. Shaking the setting spray will help prevent creating splotches. But be gentle. 

Step 5: Hold the bottle

Hold the setting spray 6-8 inches away from your face so that the droplets land evenly on all over the skin. Don’t spray too close to the skin since it can lead to splotches and overuse of the product. Also don’t spray too far because the sufficient liquids may not reach the skin properly. So, follow the recommended range to avoid uneven application. 

Step 6: Spray it in X and T pattern

Mist it in an X pattern first and then T pattern with one spritz each line. This makes sure the spray goes evenly across the face including your forehead, cheeks and nose. Avoid overdoing. Spraying 1-2 times would suffice. 

Step 7: Let it dry naturally 

Now, let the mist dry on the skin naturally. It’ll take a few seconds for the setting spray liquids to dry. 

Which Setting Spray To Use Without Makeup?

Which Setting Spray To Use Without Makeup

Use setting sprays that are made of nourishing formula and have low to no alcohol as it’ll work well and safely on your face without makeup. Some contain glycerin and fruit extracts like cucumber or papaya which can be great for no-makeup skin.

Setting sprays are formulated differently based on skin types.

For dry skin:

Use a dewy setting spray with high concentrations of humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin since they’ll give a glowy fresh look while supplying some moisture.

For oily skin:

Use a matte-finish setting spray formulated with low concentration of alcohol and niacinamides. It’ll reduce the shine touch but brighten and mattify the skin while blurring flaws. However, it’s better to not use an alcohol-based spray regularly on skin without makeup. Doing so might lead to skin dryness.

For sensitive skin:

Use setting sprays with moisturizing agents like HA and avoid the products that have alcohol and fragrances as they’ll result in skin irritation. 

What Is Setting Spray Made Of? 

Setting spray is commonly made of water, film formers, emollients, essential oils, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, antioxidant agents, fragrances, denatured alcohol and other skin soothing compounds. 

Formulations vary based on brands, products and skin type most of the time. Sometimes some chemicals serve multiple roles, and thus they can be swapped out. Take crosslinked alkyl acrylates for instance. It works as both film former and emollient- eliminating the need for separate chemicals. 

Here’s a list of the common ingredients used in makeup setting spray:

  • Water: Used as solvents to help other compounds dissolve and blend
  • Humectants: Like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, for retaining moisture and keeping the skin hydrated and fresh.
  • Film formers: Like crosslinked alkyl acrylates, solperform100 and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), to help create a film on the skin so it can hold makeup in place. 
  • Emollients: Like dimethicone and caprylyl glycol, used for smoothing and softening the skin. 
  • Antioxidants: Like plant and fruit extracts, used for keeping the makeup look fresh for a longer period and for protecting skin from harmful molecules. 

How Does Setting Spray Work?

When setting spray is sprayed, water evaporates but droplets of film formers are stuck to the face that merge and creates a layer of film to help makeup adhere to the skin for a longer period. 

So, film formers play a key role in making setting spray work. Crosslinked polymers are one of the common binders with large molecules that do the job of forming films over the makeup to lock everything in. This includes foundation, concealer, blush, contour, highlighter, eyeshadows and brows. 

Not only does setting spray help extend the wear time of makeup but also prevents it from smudging, cracking, creasing, sliding and fading. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Okay To Use Setting Spray Everyday?

Yes, it’s okay to use setting spray every day given that your skin isn’t sensitive and the right product is sprayed. Setting sprays with gentle formulas will be great for daily use, especially the ones with a high amount of moisturizing agents and fruit extracts.

But you have to be careful when using stronger sprays without makeup. Since they can have powerful chemicals, it can cause the skin to react and lead to irritation if used heavily. In case you have one of them, use them on alternate days and make sure to prep the skin well beforehand. 

Can I Use Setting Spray In My Skincare Routine?

No, you shouldn’t use setting spray in your skincare routine as there are some active contents like alcohol in the product which may dry and irritate the skin if used heavily or daily.

Setting sprays are usually cosmetic products for makeup and they have their own purpose related to it. On the other hand, skincare products serve to make sure the skin stays in good condition which is why they are added to the skincare routine.

A very ideal alternative to setting spray will be face mist which you can add to your skincare routine. Face mists help keep the skin hydrated, soft, smooth, radiant, smooth and youthful. 

Does Setting Spray Help Oily Skin?

Yes, matte setting sprays formulated for oily skin can help combat oiliness to reduce the shininess of the skin.

Use sprays made of ingredients like niacinamide as they can control sebum production and absorb it well. Make sure to not use the spray on bare skin because its prime purpose is not to lessen oiliness, but to lock the makeup in. So before spraying, it’s essential to prep the skin first with skincare products because those are what help oily skin better. 

Can I Use Water As Setting Spray?

No, you can’t use water as setting spray because it doesn’t have any binding agent which can make the makeup or other products stick to the skin for a longer period.

Setting spray basically helps increase wear of the makeup. But it also has ingredients that work to give your face a different kind of elegant look. Just spraying water may not give you that result.

However, if it’s for hydrating the face, you can use water for that.


Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.

Scroll to Top