Talc and Asbestos in Makeup: Not So Pretty Episode 1 (with video)

Not So Pretty

HBO has a new 4 part documentary Not So Pretty which talks about supposedly dangerous beauty products. This kind of documentary comes out every 6 months or so, and everyone panics and throws out their products. Like pretty much everyone I think, I’m concerned about my health, but not so into people trying to exploit this concern for attention, or …

Read more

Products I Used to Love (with video)

Products I Used to Love

I’m a dinosaur in beauty blogger years. I started my blog in December 2011, and in the last 10-ish years, I’ve learned a lot as I’ve read way too deeply into pretty much everything. I recently had the urge to go through some of my older posts, and unsurprisingly, I’ve said quite a few myths in the past (like the …

Read more

What’s in a Lipstick? (with video)

What's in a Lipstick?

Have you ever wondered what’s in a lipstick? Obviously there’s the colouring agents that make it red or pink, but what’s all the other stuff? Let’s talk lipstick science. The video is here on YouTube, scroll down for the blog post version… What makes a good lipstick? First let’s talk about what a lipstick is. I mean, I think we …

Read more

Breaking Down 5 Minute Crafts “Viral” Beauty Hacks (Video)

5 Min Crafts Viral

I’ve looked at some more 5 Minute Craft beauty hacks – they’re a mixed bag. Some of them are awful, some of them are actually not that bad. This set includes a few beauty hacks I’ve seen around the place: Aspirin for pimples DIY glitter eyeshadow Activated charcoal for teeth Wasabi lip colour Dark circles and tea bags Check it …

Read more

100K Subscriber Q&A and Get Ready With Me (Video)

I made it to 100K subscribers on YouTube!◝(⁰▿⁰)◜ So to celebrate I made this video, where I do my makeup and answer your questions on my other job, how old I am, my education, how long it takes to make a video and lots of random questions about skincare and beauty. Hopefully it’s a nice distraction during this time! Check …

Read more

Re-explaining 5 Minute Magic’s Beauty Tips (Video)

I watched a 5 Minute Magic video recently, titled “25 THINGS ABOUT COSMETICS YOU NEVER KNOW”. It had a lot of interesting skincare, makeup and haircare demonstrations in it, followed by… random hacks and tips that were completely unrelated to the demonstration, or just completely wrong. So I thought I’d re-explain the science behind the demos, and talk about whether …

Read more

How Do Make-Up Setting Sprays Work? (With Video)

Makeup Setting Spray Science

If you don’t already use a make-up setting spray in your make-up routine, you’re missing out. They make your make-up look less powdery and more blended, and can act as a shield against sweat and rubbing and general clumping as well. If you’re wondering how they work, or how to find a dupe, I’ve got you covered!

Check out the video on YouTube here.

Types of Setting Sprays

There are two types of setting sprays:

  • sprays that shield against sweat, rubbing and clumping, AND make your make-up look less powdery/more blended
  • sprays that only make your make-up look less powdery and more blended (this can also help with clumping)

Confusingly, the name “setting spray” is used for both. “Fixing” is usually only used for the first type that shields.

Setting Sprays That Shield

Let’s start with the shielding and de-powdering sprays. These contain polymers dissolved in a solvent, usually alcohol. Polymers are long molecules like plastics which are great at forming films that don’t budge.

When the setting spray is sprayed onto your skin, the solvent evaporates, leaving behind the polymer. The polymer droplets merge together to form a film that holds your make-up in place and provides some waterproofing power.

The solvent also acts to dissolve your make-up slightly and help it merge together so it looks more blended. Unfortunately, if you spray too much, the solvent will dissolve your make-up and make it run, so make sure you use a fine spray (test new sprays on your hand before you ruin your face!).

These types of sprays will generally have a polymer in the first 4 ingredients. The most common polymers found in setting sprays are PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone) and AMP-acrylates copolymers.

If you’re looking for a dupe of a setting spray that works well for you, a good place to start are different setting sprays with the same polymer. While the other ingredients in the formulation will also make a difference (for example, the dewy and matte NYX setting sprays contain the same polymer, and some sprays like Algenist Splash Hydrating Setting Mist contain beneficial skincare ingredients), the polymer is crucial to how well it performs.

A lot of the same polymers are used as the holding ingredients in hairspray, so hairspray can work as a make-up setting spray in a pinch!

How Do Make-Up Setting Sprays Work?

Examples of settings sprays that shield, sorted by polymer and listed in alphabetical order:

Read more