Setting Spray Alternatives: DIY Setting Sprays and In-A-Pinch Substitutes!

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It is disappointing to spend ages creating the perfect look, only to have your perfect face wear off after just a couple of hours. This is why a setting spray is an essential component in any makeup kit. A setting spray prevents the maquillage from fading, plummeting, or shifting. 

What if your setting spray runs out? Are you doomed to sliding makeup?

The good news is that several setting spray alternatives are easy to try and cost less. Read through the review to learn about:

  • Setting spray alternatives 
  • Making your DIY setting spray 
  • FAQs about setting spray and its alternatives 

Let’s begin by looking at some of your choices whenever you lack this essential. 


Setting Spray Alternatives 

Various essential ingredients and resources in your home are ideal setting spray alternatives for those times when you don’t have spray, or you don’t want to use a spray.

In addition, these options are known for their numerous benefits to the skin, for instance, water. 

1. Water 

Water can effectively set up one’s skin. Before the invention of setting sprays and powders, water was how it was done!

This process works the same way as a setting spray. Begin by filling water in a clean spray bottle, position it about 6 inches from your face and give your makeup a few spritzes. 

It is a simple trick that has saved many during busy days. It is almost as effective as a real setting spray, and the good thing is that you can easily refill it. Water will provide a finish that is more dewy than matte.

It is best to use very cold water if you want more satisfactory results. Reports show that the effects of cold water last longer than various setting sprays. 

It is best to use very cold water if you want more satisfactory results. Reports show that the effects of cold water last longer than various setting sprays. 

2. Powder 

Another quick fix is loose powder that effectively keeps your skin tone intact for a long time. Applying loose powder to your face sets the foundation and concealer.

The benefit of this alternative is that it works on almost all skin tones and types. 

3. Toners 

The proper function of a skin toner is to balance the skin’s pH and not for makeup settings. However, various toners are suitable substitutes when you don’t have the setting spray. In addition, there are specific qualities to look for before using any toner: glycerin, panthenol, rosewater + witch, and Butyl glycol. 

If it has these components, feel free to use them to hold your makeup. The downside to this option is that it doesn’t keep makeup for long. It’s better than nothing, but not as good as a true setting spray. 

4. Aloe Vera gel 

If you have some aloe vera gel in the house and you’re facing such an emergency, use it to keep the face intact while adding other benefits to the skin. It is a natural alternative that works perfectly on its own or when combined with other beneficial elements. 

Apart from keeping the makeup in place, it provides additional benefits such as keeping the skin moisturized and soothing irritated areas.

These properties make it the ideal ingredient for those who opt for a DIY setting spray alternative. 

5. Green tea 

Green tea is a natural ingredient that is an ideal setting spray ingredient and gives the skin an antioxidant treatment. As a result, it is a prominent ingredient in many commercial setting sprays.

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And many of us have it in our cabinets!

To use it as a setting spray alternative, boil some distilled water, dip the tea bag in the warm water for about 20 minutes, then remove the bag. After that, let the mixture cool down then add about four drops of vitamin E oil.

Then, the concoction is ready for use, and one can spritz it before and after makeup application. 

How to Make a DIY Setting Spray 

It is possible to create a setting spray consisting of essential ingredients that keeps the makeup in shape and are ideal for your skin tone and type. Some setting spray alternatives discussed above, such as water and aloe vera, get mixed with other ingredients and solutions to create the perfect mixture.

The common elements are:

  • Rose water 
  • Lavender oil 
  • Plain water 
  • Witch hazel 
  • Aloe vera 

These are the key options for almost all recipes. They can be used naturally and do not irritate the skin. Vitamin E Oil  is helpful to have around as well.

It is also essential to have a spray bottle, cup, teaspoon, and funnel for easy pouring.

Here are some ways to try and make your setting spray in the comfort of your home. 

1. Using Witch Hazel 

The advantage of creating a witch hazel-based setting spray is that it not only sets up the makeup but also calms the skin. Its sanitizing and soothing properties reduce large pores and prevent acne and bacteria. 

For this process, you’ll need ½ cup of hazel and ½ cup of rose. After that, 

  1. Place the witch hazel and rose water in one container and mix the solutions. 
  2. Add the mixture into a spray bottle and shake it thoroughly. 
  3. Spray the setting to your skin before or after applying makeup to hydrate and prevent skin acne. 

2. Rose Water Setting Spray 

You can also use rose water independently to maintain the ideal skin pH and regulate the extraction of oil on the skin. Rose water contains antioxidants and has a delightful cooling effect on the skin. 

The essential ingredients are rose water, a spray bottle, a vitamin E oil capsule, and water.

Begin your DIY project by:

  1. Adding ¼ cup of water to ¼ cup of rose water 
  2. Squeeze the vitamin E oil into a cup, discard the remaining 
  3. Feel free to add 1 or 2 drops of your preferred essential oil to enhance its scent 
  4. After that, place this mixture into the spray bottle and secure the cap
  5. Take time to shake the mix to generate the perfect solution thoroughly. 
  6. Your setting spray is ready for use 

3. Setting Spray With Glycerin 

For many, glycerin is a standard beauty product, and it seems like the ideal option for makeup emergencies. You’ll have to gather a spray bottle, glycerin, regular water, rose water, a funnel, and a teaspoon.

After that is to follow these steps:  

  1. Fill the spray bottle to 2/3 capacity using normal water. 
  2. Take three teaspoons of rose water and add them to the bottle. Even if you’re fond of using rose water in creating DIY setting sprays, do not add more than the required amount for this procedure. 
  3. Take two teaspoons of vegetable glycerin and add it to the mixture.; Don’t use too much to prevent the solution from being too heavy on the skin.

For many, glycerin is a standard beauty product, and it seems like the ideal option for makeup emergencies.

4. Lavender Oil + Aloe Vera Gel 

A mixture of aloe vera gel and lavender oil keeps the makeup fresh and vibrant all day. It also keeps the skin matte and oil-free. The ideal ingredient for this procedure is an organic aloe vera gel, which is yellowish and free from dyes and preservatives.

Follow these simple steps to create a setting spray using aloe vera gel and lavender oil:

  1. Use a funnel to direct the aloe vera gel into the spray container
  2. Add 2 to 3 drops of lavender oil into the spray container 
  3. Add 1½ tablespoon of water to the mixture, then shake thoroughly

FAQs About Setting Spray and Its Alternatives

Is it a must to use a setting spray? 

Yes. A setting spray is essential to keep the makeup solid and make you look presentable throughout. It is also a must-have accessory for those with oily skin.

The ideal setting spray does its magic by creating a soft and dry matte finish that keeps your foundation at bay. 

Will Hairspray Work as a Setting Spray?

No, it’s better to use the provided alternatives above than using your hair spray for setting. Professional hair stylists confirm that these products contain tons of chemicals that are not safe for sensitive facial skin. 

Failure to abide by this leads to side effects such as irritation, rashes, and clogged pores immediately after application. 

Can You Use Perfume as Setting Spray?

Sometimes, people used perfumes and hair sprays to set makeup; however, these options proved to cause more harm than good. Furthermore, there’s no point in using fragrance since it doesn’t hold the makeup well and isn’t healthy for the face. 

In addition, its aggressive property undermines the skin’s ability to protect against UV damage. Therefore, it is best to avoid using this option at all costs. 

Are There Other Practical Alternatives Available?

Yes. If you don’t like the idea of spraying your face to keep your makeup in place, here are some other spray-free alternatives to try; 

1. Setting powder 

The number one alternative to the setting spray bottle is a finely-milled powder, an on-the-go beauty product that complements any skincare routine. There are several setting powders to try, and these options cause no harm to the face. 

2. Skin prep

The primary determinant of how good the makeup looks is the skin. If you have great skin and prep it correctly, it is a no-brainer that the makeup will stick for long.

Therefore, it is better to prioritize your skin and conduct the right prep procedures. 

3. Damp beauty sponges 

Instead of directly spraying the setting to your face, this process involves spraying the mixture onto a clean makeup sponge that dampens it. The next step is to set the front using the wet surface.

One of the main advantages of using these sponges is that they prevent a cakey finish since they blend the makeup seamlessly.

The Ideal Setting Spray 

One of the various reasons people opt for setting spray alternatives is that the products they use don’t work as well as they would like. Unfortunately, this is a common situation for those using low-quality products that tend to be cheap but bring poor results. 

There are many makeup products available, and getting the ideal setting spray can be challenging, especially if you fail to do some research.

Below is a quick buying guide to help determine the perfect setting spray that keeps you looking elegant all day. 

We’re fond of the Milani Make-It-Last  line of setting sprays, but there are many good ones out there.

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1. The Ideal Setting Spray Contains Natural Ingredients 

The first thing to look for in these products is the ingredient list. Choose those with organic ingredients if at all possible.

Avoid product options containing any harmful elements like parabens, petrochemicals, and artificial fragrances in particular. You never know what is actually in “fragrances”. 

Avoid product options containing any harmful elements like parabens, petrochemicals, and artificial fragrances in particular. You never know what is actually in “fragrances”.

2. It Is Long-Lasting 

It is normal to get frustrated once the makeup you’ve been working on the whole morning begins to fade as soon as you leave the house. Choose a long-lasting setting spray

Also, take note of the smudging and fading properties. 

3. A Good Setting Spray Is Lightweight 

A light setting spray will provide an ultra-fine mist that spreads evenly and lets the skin breathe. Lightweight sprays tend to be long-lasting and rarely cause smudge.

However, thick and concentrated solutions can be heavy on the skin and add a layer of discomfort to the face. 

4. The Correct Application 

Have you been applying your setting spray correctly? The first step is to shake it gently to wake up the formula. After that, hold the spray about 8 to 10 inches from the face and spray in an X and T pattern till it gets saturated. 


A setting spray is an essential product that most of us use in our daily makeup sessions. But sometimes you don’t have access to a spray or you’ve run out.

The good news is that various alternatives can work in a pinch, and many of the DIY options really work well. So feel free to try any of the listed methods and see how it works for you!

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).