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Setting Spray As Primer

Can You Use Setting Spray as Primer


When it comes to makeup application, finding products that can multitask is always a bonus. One common query that makeup enthusiasts often have is whether setting spray can double as a primer.

Understanding the roles and compositions of these two products will help determine if they can indeed be substitutes for one another.

Setting spray is primarily used to lock makeup in place and provide a long-lasting finish. It typically contains ingredients like polymers and solvents which help the makeup stay intact throughout the day. On the other hand, a primer is designed to create an even base and smooth surface before applying makeup. It helps with colour-correcting, pore-minimising, and reducing oil production.

While some setting sprays may provide a certain level of adhesion for makeup, using them as a primer may not be ideal for every skin type or desired makeup result.

It is crucial to consider how a specific product’s formulation could suit your skin type and makeup requirements before switching to a setting spray as a primer substitute.

Understanding Primer and Setting Spray

Role of Primer

Primer is a product that is applied to the skin before the application of makeup. Its main purpose is to create a smooth and even base for the makeup to adhere to. Primers can help:

  • Smooth out the skin’s texture
  • Minimise the appearance of pores
  • Increase the longevity of makeup
  • Provide a barrier between the skin and makeup, preventing clogged pores and potential breakouts

There are different types of primers available, depending on your skin type and desired results, such as:

  • Mattifying primers for oily skin
  • Hydrating primers for dry skin
  • Colour-correcting primers for uneven skin tone

Role of Setting Spray

Setting spray, on the other hand, is a product that is applied to the face after the makeup application to:

  • Prolong the wear time of makeup
  • Prevent makeup from smudging, fading or transferring
  • Help control shine or provide a dewy finish, depending on the formula

Setting sprays are generally available in different finishes, such as:

  • Matte finish for controlling excess oil
  • Dewy finish for adding a glow
  • Natural finish for a subtle, balanced effect

Overall, while both primer and setting spray help extend the wear time of makeup, they serve different purposes and are used at different stages of the makeup application process.

Using Setting Spray as Primer

Benefits and Drawbacks

Using setting spray as a primer has some benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, setting spray can:

  • Help makeup adhere to the skin
  • Provide a barrier between your skin and makeup
  • Create a smooth canvas for a more even application

On the other hand, the drawbacks of using setting spray as a primer include:

  • It may not provide as much staying power as a true primer
  • Some setting sprays can be drying to the skin
  • It may not work well for all skin types, especially oily or sensitive skin

Application Techniques

To use setting spray as a primer effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Start with a clean and moisturised face to avoid any dryness issues related to using setting spray.
  2. Hold the setting spray 20-30 centimetres away from your face and mist it on in a T or X pattern.
  3. Allow the setting spray to dry and absorb into your skin for around 30 seconds.
  4. Apply makeup as usual, starting with foundation and continuing with the rest of your routine.

While using setting spray as a primer can be a convenient and cost-effective option, it’s essential to ensure that the specific product you choose is compatible with your skin type and makeup habits. Experimentation will help you determine if this method works for you and your skin.

Alternatives to Setting Spray as Primer

Multitasking Products

There are many multitasking products available that can be used instead of setting spray as primer. These products often serve as primers and setting sprays simultaneously, making them ideal for streamlining your makeup routine. Here are a few examples:

  • Two-in-one primer and setting spray: Some brands offer combination products that specifically state they can be used as both a primer and a setting spray.
  • BB creams and CC creams: These beauty products can serve as lightweight foundations while providing some priming benefits. They create an even canvas for your makeup and may include ingredients that help hold the makeup in place throughout the day.

DIY Solutions

If you prefer more natural or affordable alternatives to setting spray as a primer, here are a few DIY solutions you can try:

  1. Aloe Vera Gel: Known for its soothing and hydrating properties, aloe vera gel can be used as a natural primer. Apply a thin layer to your face before your makeup to create a smooth base and help with makeup longevity.
  2. Milk of Magnesia: This unlikely product has been praised for its ability to create a matte finish and control oil production. Using a cotton pad, apply a thin layer to your oily areas, allow it to dry, and then apply your makeup.
  3. Water and Glycerin Mixture: Create your own setting spray by combining water and glycerin. Mix 1 part glycerin with 3 parts water in a spray bottle and shake well. Mist your face lightly with the mixture before applying makeup to help it last longer.

While setting spray may not be the ideal choice for priming your skin, there are several other products and DIY solutions that can help you prep your face and keep your makeup in place all day.

Expert Tips and Tricks

Finding the Right Products

When using setting spray as a primer, it’s essential to find the right products for your skin type. Look for a setting spray with ingredients that suit your skin’s needs, such as hydrating ingredients for dry skin or oil-control properties for oily skin.

Also, consider formulations that are specifically designed for use as both primer and setting spray, as these may provide better results.

Application Considerations

For the best results when using setting spray as a primer, follow these application recommendations:

  1. Thoroughly cleanse and prep your skin with your usual skincare routine, ensuring your face is clean and moisturised.
  2. Shake the setting spray well before use to ensure the ingredients are properly mixed.
  3. Hold the spray approximately 30 centimetres away from your face and apply it evenly using a misting motion. Make sure all areas of your face are covered.
  4. Allow the spray to dry and settle on your skin for about 30 seconds to a minute. This will create a smooth and even base for makeup application.
  5. Apply your makeup as usual, starting with foundation and concealer. The setting spray should help your makeup adhere better and last longer.

Remember, a little goes a long way with setting sprays, so avoid overdoing it. Experiment with different application techniques to find the method that works best for you and your skin.


In summary, setting spray and primer serve distinct purposes in the makeup application process. While setting spray helps to set and prolong makeup, primer creates a smooth base and enhances makeup adherence.

Using setting spray as a primer may not provide the desired results and can potentially compromise the makeup’s longevity and appearance.

It is always recommended to use dedicated products for each step in the makeup routine. Adhering to this advice can ensure a flawless finish and long-lasting makeup. Remember to choose products based on personal skin type and makeup preferences to achieve the best results possible.

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