Setting 101

We all know we’re supposed to set our makeup of a morning or before a big night out, but do you know which type of setting product will suit your skin best? From how to avoid photo flashback to the wonder sprays you need in your life, we’re breaking down the art of setting so you can look flawless for longer. You’re welcome.


Traditionally applied to set any liquids or creams on the face, a loose or compact powder can lock down a look—stat! Setting powders are designed to “finish” your makeup and keep it in place; some powders will set your skin to create a matte finish, while others will give you a radiant or multidimensional look. For those beauties that err on the side of oily, a powder that helps absorb excess residue as well as setting everything in place is the one to go for.

So, what’s the real trick when it comes to nailing your setting powder? Make sure you colour match it (when it’s not translucent). Swatch a few shades on your forehead or jawline, the key is to wait a few minutes to see which shade is a perfect match – powders can start off light but oxidise on the skin, so letting it settle for a couple of minutes is a great way to make sure you have a good colour match. On the subject of setting powders, ever noticed flashback in a photo? It’s when your powder appears to reflect the flash of a camera (nasty). To avoid this, stay away from any powder with a high physical SPF factor at night and don’t applying too much powder, just a small amount with a fluffy brush in targeted areas.

Mecca Max Banana Bake
RMS Up-Powder


Once upon a time gals would set their faces with hairspray (we know, ridic). The art of setting makeup with a spray has come a long way–from temperature-controlled technology to ensure your skin keeps its cool, to antioxidant-infused wonder formulas and so much more. They’ll lock a full face of makeup down, put a halt to 3pm shine, keep skin looking and feeling hydrated for up to 12 hours and help increase the pigment payoff of an eyeshadow (a couple of spritzes of MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ on a brush before it ’s dipped in colour is a game changer, give it a go).

MAC Prep + Prime Fix+
UD All Nighter Setting Spray


Who would have thought you could have a primer that was versatile enough to go under and over your makeup? When it comes to skin prep and keeping skin looking fresh throughout the day, a multi-purpose product such as Urban Decay’s Quick Fix Hydra-Charged Complexion Prep Priming spray (and others like it) allows for a base that’s plump and hydrated first, providing a smooth canvas for your products to go on top of. The beauty of these multitaskers is you can pop them in your handbag for a late afternoon pick-me-up to reset your makeup and stop it looking cakey or dry.

UD Hydracharged Complexion Prep Spray
Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer and Setting spray


These bad boys are the new kids on the block—skin care in a spray. They’re all about refreshing your skin throughout the day with their supercharged ingredients, as well as making your skin-care treatments more effective. The primary purpose of a spray such as the Dr Dennis Gross C+ Perfect Skin Mist is to protect against environmental factors, help diminish dullness and assist in brightening the complexion, plus provide a big hit of hydration. Spritz some over your face before your regular skin-care treatments to help them absorb, as serums and moisturisers sink into skin more effectively when it’s hydrated. Packed with innovative ingredients and real skin-care benefits, these hybrids are designed to be treatment mists rather than traditional setting sprays, but you can also use them to settle your makeup and reduce cakey build-up—they can diffuse your makeup for a softer finish.

DDG C+ Perfect Set and Refresh Skin Mist
Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist

Words by Emily Deacon
December 2017


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