Can Hairspray Be Used As Setting Spray?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Everyone loves a good hack, and beauty enthusiasts are no exception. There are dozens of beauty hacks trending on social media, from using Preparation H under your eyes and blowdrying your eyelash curler, to using dry shampoo to create voluminous hair and sleeping on a silk pillowcase to reduce wrinkles.

However, many of these so-called beauty hacks that you see on Insta and TikTok are extremely questionable. They can actually do more harm to your body than good, no matter what paid influencers say.

So, here we’re going to take a look at one prime example: using hairspray as a setting spray to hold your makeup in place.

Can hairspray be used as setting spray? No! hairspray should not be used as setting spray, because hairspray contains many toxic chemicals designed to hold hair. It’s not made for skin!

We’ll explain it all below, and give you a few recommendations for setting sprays that are good for the skin.


Can Hairspray Be Used As Setting Spray?


Hairspray locks your hair in place, so won’t it lock your makeup in place, too? Is hairspray the ultimate setting spray alternative?

Although a lot of beauty hackers have sworn by the effectiveness of using hairspray as setting spray to hold their makeup in place, there is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that doing so is a safe enough option to be used on your skin on a regular basis.

Although a lot of beauty hackers have sworn by the effectiveness of using hairspray as setting spray to hold their makeup in place, there is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that doing so is a safe enough option to be used on your skin on a regular basis.

Hairspray vs Setting Spray

So, first things first, hairspray and setting spray are two completely different things. In addition, hairsprays contain many harsh chemicals that are formulated to hold your hair in place.

Setting sprays, on the other hand, are made with moisturizing and hydrating ingredients, which are formulated to be used on your face. They often come in options like dewy and matte finishes.

This hairspray as setting spray beauty hack began in the backstages of the pageant and drag queen communities, as a way to hold thick and heavy makeup on the face where otherwise it would slide off with sweat and perspiration, because of having to stand under hot spotlights.

If that’s what you’re trying to accomplish, you may need to just accept the harm of hairspray in order to make things work.

But if you’re not a pageant girl or a drag queen, using hairspray as a substitute for setting spray is definitely not a good idea. This is because of the toxic chemicals used in hairspray, especially if you were thinking of using it to set your makeup every day.

It’s just not worth it! At the very least, overuse of hairspray on your face will not only clog your pores, but will also cause skin irritation, rashes, or even worse.

And if you’re still not convinced, the most common ingredients in many hairsprays include:

1. Hydrocarbons

Prolonged hydrocarbon exposure on the skin can result in the breakdown of tissue, as well as partial chemical burns, which can result in acute toxic systemic manifestations.

That alone doesn’t sound worth using hairspray, instead of setting spray, to keep your makeup on your face.

2. Polyvinylpyrrolidone

Also known as PVP, this chemical is known to release histamine, which is the cause of allergic reactions in some people.

Cases of urticaria and dermatitis have also been reported, related to PVP’s use in hair products.

Unfortunately, it is also a chemical included in many setting spray formulations. For a PVP-free setting spray option, we’ll give you a couple of suggestions later on in this article.

3. Polydimethylsiloxane

According to the American Polymer Standards Corporation, this hazardous chemical has the potential to cause respiratory tract, eye, and skin irritation. It is best avoided,if at all possible.

4. SD Alcohol 40-B

This substance is known as denatured alcohol, which means that it has ethanol added to make it unfit for human consumption.

However, it also has the potential to cause nasty skin irritations, as well as cause erosion of the skin’s surface layer.

Still Want to Spray Your Face with Hairspray?

So by now, you should be convinced that using hairspray instead of setting spray to keep your makeup in place is not a great idea and that this is a beauty hack that it would be wise to avoid.

But if keeping your makeup from sliding is a real challenge for you, you’ll be better off using a makeup primer, along with a setting spray, to keep your face in place.

A lot of people skip this vital step of using primer at the start of their routine. But that’s what it has been created for, so it’s silly not to use it.

If keeping your makeup from sliding is a real challenge for you, you’ll be better off using a makeup primer, along with a setting spray, to keep your face in place.

Primer Number

One example that will help reduce makeup slippage is e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer , which contains hydrating grape seed oil and vitamins A, C, and E to keep your look on lockdown.

This 100% vegan and non-toxic primer will provide your skin with a smooth and flawless canvas on which to apply your makeup. It also works at minimizing pores, and is free from harsh chemicals like phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and hydroquinone.

e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer, Makeup Primer For Flawless, Smooth Skin & Long-Lasting Makeup, Fills In Pores & Fine Lines, Vegan & Cruelty-free, Small
  • HYDRATING FORMULA: The formula is...
  • PERFECT PAIRING: Pair with the e.l.f....

Ready? Set. Go!

Now that you’ve got your primer set, now you can apply your foundation, concealer, eyebrow and lip pencils, blush and/or bronzer, eyeshadows, and mascara to paint on your creation of the day.

And to keep it all in place, we have a couple of setting spray suggestions for you that won’t irritate your skin as hairspray can.

To begin, there’s Catrice’s Prime and Fine Illuminating Dewy Glow Spray , which doesn’t contain any of the chemical nasties mentioned above (including PVP) and is paraben-free and vegan.

It can also be used for priming and refreshing, while its fast-drying formula will leave your skin with a healthy-looking dewy and glowing shimmer.

Catrice | Prime & Fine Illuminating Dewy Glow Spray | Transparent and Fast Drying Fixing Spray| Paraben Free & Vegan | Cruelty Free (Pack of 1)
  • GET THE DEWY LOOK: This is a...
  • TRAVEL FRIENDLY! Perfect for quick...
  • CLAIMS: Vegan & Cruelty Free. Formulated...
  • CRUELTY FREE: Catrice Cosmetics is...

If shimmering isn’t your thing and you’d prefer a more matte appearance, then e.l.f. Matte Magic Mist & Set  has you all covered. This setting spray will hold your makeup in place all day with its beautiful matte finish formula, which contains aloe vera, green tea, cucumber and vitamins A, C and E to calm and moisturize your skin.

Plus, Matte Magic Mist & Set is free from all the harsh chemicals mentioned above like PVP, as well as parabens, phthalates, nonylphenol, ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone, so that you can enjoy your made up face without worrying about breaking out in a rash.

e.l.f., Matte Magic Mist & Set - Small, Lightweight, Long Lasting, Mattifying, Revitalizes, Controls Shine, Refreshes, Hydrates, All-Day Wear, 2.0 Fl Oz
  • Designed to hold your face and eye...
  • Revitalize makeup colour with just a few...
  • Formula contains aloe, green tea,...
  • Spray on your brush or sponge prior to...
  • All e.l.f. products are made from...


You’ve now been equipped with all the information you need to decide on whether using hairspray as an option to setting spray is a good idea.

And in case you’ve already forgotten, it’s not!

Can hairspray be used as setting spray? Again, the answer from us is a big NO! So, instead of doing something that could damage your skin in the long run, why not try some of our suggestions to keep your makeup in place?

Then you can rest assured your skin will stay healthy for longer.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).