Setting Spray Ingredients

Setting Spray – a spray meant to reduce the powdery finish of makeup and help all product meld together into a cohesive look. These sprays typically contain hydrating ingredients, but may or may not help extend the wear time of makeup.

Fixing Spray – a spray meant to extend the wear time of makeup.


Fixing ingredients that make makeup last longer are often polymers, which create a film over your makeup that helps make it slightly more waterproof and sweatproof and holds it in place. Some fixing ingredients include:

PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone)
AMP-acrylates copolymers
VP/VA Copolymer
Polyvinyl Alcohol
Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer
Acrylic Resins

Drying ingredients should be avoided unless there are enough hydrating ingredients (see below) to balance out the potential dryness from the drying ingredients. Even with hydrating ingredients. I tend to minimize use of sprays with drying ingredients high up on the list. Some drying ingredients include:

Denatured alcohol (or “alcohol denat.”)
SD alcohol

Hydrating ingredients help the skin to retain moisture and can be categorized as humectants, occlusives, and emollients. Many occlusives are emollients and vice versa. These ingredients are typically good for dry skin. If a product contains a lot of denatured or SD alcohol, look for hydrating ingredients high up in the list to help balance out the dryness factor – the more the better!

Humectants – prevent loss of moisture by holding on to it. Natural sources can be better than synthetic, as some synthetic humectants are helpful in the short term but can contribute to drying in the deeper layers of the skin over the long term.

Synthetic Humectants:

butylene glycol
Polyethylene glycols (PEGs)
Pentylene Glycol
propylene glycol
urea (synthetic is typically used in skin care, though it can be a natural ingredient)

Natural Humectants:

hyaluronic acid


Occlusives – seal in water to slow evaporation:

cocoa butter
shea butter
plant waxes


Emollients – sink into the skin to keep it soft and supple:

alcohol benzoates
capric/caprylic triglyceride
fatty alcohols (cetearyl alcohol)
fatty esters (isostearyl palmitate, cetyl ricinoleate)
plant oils (sunflower, rose hip, olive, argan, coconut, jojoba, avocado)
squalene and squalane