Beauty Battle Part 1: Setting Sprays
Here it is – my long-awaited post on setting sprays. At the beginning of summer break (in May…whoops) I purchased a bunch of different facial mists, setting sprays, and primer sprays to do the first installment of a “product battle.” Life very much so got in the way, so I’m just now doing this post, but at least the extra two months allowed me to thoroughly test these sprays out and give a comprehensive review on them. I’ll also be ranking my favorite sprays to my least favorite ones at the end of this post.
Category One: Facial Sprays
1. Thayer’s Witch Hazel Alcohol Free Toner Facial Mist in “Lavender”: This has been my everyday facial toner spray for months now, as displayed by how empty the bottle is. I actually love this spray. It’s so refreshing to the skin first thing in the morning, after a shower, after sweating during a workout…pretty much any time. This is mainly geared toward toning without over-drying the skin, and I agree with that claim completely. The nozzle on this product is pure perfection as well – the mist is fine, but not so fine that I can barely tell anything is being sprayed on my skin. The only reason I’m hesitant to continue my use of this product is because of the witch hazel. According to some estheticians, witch hazel, although it is not as harsh as alcohol, can still dry out the skin over time. I haven’t necessarily felt my skin drying out over time, but that could be because we’re in the dead of summer and the heat causes me to be sweaty and oily most of the time. I’ve talked about this product on my blog before, so if you’d like even more raving about it, click here.
2. Pacifica Coconut Essence Hydro Mist: This is a product that may reach holy grail status for me. It’s simply amazing. First off, it’s 100% vegan and cruelty free. That alone was the main reason I wanted to try it out. The second-best thing about this spray is its scent. There is a hint of coconut in the natural fragrance, but it’s not overpowering at all. The nozzle is quite nice, though not as fine as that of the Thayer’s Witch Hazel. I would say it is fine, but just a tiny bit more forceful than the Thayer’s. It definitely doesn’t over soak the face or leave giant spots of liquid on the skin. As far as the actually formula of this mist? Superb. It claims to help hydrate and rehabilitate stressed skin, and I agree with that claim. After spraying this mist on, my skin feels and looks less dry, tight, and dull. It leaves a nice, natural sheen to the face, but I also don’t feel as though I become oilier by using this product. I love the natural dewiness so much, I multitask this product as a dewy setting spray or “dewy skin mist.” If my makeup looks dry, cakey, and over-powdered, a few spritzes of this stuff and everything melts into the skin perfectly. The one caveat to this mist is that it does have witch hazel in the formula, but it is further down on the ingredients list so I’m a little more satisfied with the ingredients overall.
3. Pacifica Crystal Power Hydro Mist: This one was quite a disappointment. I saw this on the Ulta website and just knew I had to have it, but it was sold out in every store around me. I took the plunge and ordered it online, and I have to say, if I had seen this in person, I would have never purchased it – not even for this blog post. The way it was presented by Pacifica (the iridescent packaging, the name including “crystal,” and the “get glowing” slogan on the bottle) made me believe this was going to be an illuminating spray with shimmer in it. At the time, I was really into the glowy, illuminated look, which is why I stalked this product so much. This doesn’t even give the skin a dewy finish; it’s borderline satin-matte on my skin. Sure, it’s a little refreshing, especially with the slight citrusy fragrance it emanates, but this does hardly anything for the skin. It makes my bare skin feel a little matter and tighter, to be honest, and it does the same to my foundations. It may melt product into the skin, but it’s at a minimal level. The whole “crystal” branding was pretty lame as well – there are three little clear “crystals” at the bottom of the bottle, but they look more like pieces of cheap plastic if anything. I really think they just wanted to play off of the trend of “spirituality” in the form of crystals and essences and such, but this just came off as a try-hard, and didn’t deliver the results they advertised. The cherry on top is how harsh the sprayer is. How can the coconut mist have such an even, fine spray and this one feels like I’m dumping a pot of water on my face? There are a lot of inconsistencies with these across the board. I’d like to try out the other mists they’ve come out with to see if this crystal one was just a dud.
Category Two: Primer Sprays
1. e.l.f. Cosmetics Aqua Primer Mist: I’m going to preface this whole category by saying that I personally believe primer sprays are quite gimmicky. If anything, they seem to be a glorified facial mist, but I digress. If any of these three primer mist were more like a proper primer, I’d have to say it’s this one. The nozzle is absolutely horrible. It’s a rough stream of liquid, very similar to that of the Pacifica Crystal Hydro Mist. I would even recommend putting this on before any eye makeup, because it can easily drench and mess up any makeup that’s already on the skin. It smells almost like burnt plastic, but the scent does dissipate once it’s dry. The reason I say this is the most primer-like out of all the primer sprays I’ve tried is because it leaves a tacky feeling on the skin, and I do think it helps my makeup adhere to my face better. I have tried this on top of my makeup as well (I angled the bottle up and sprayed so the particles would fall down on my skin and lightly mist the face) and this formula would make a wonderful dewy setting spray as well. It doesn’t leave the makeup feeling tacky, either.
2. Wet n Wild Photofocus Primer Water Spray: I really wanted to love this. Not just for myself, since I spent money on it, but more so for all my lovelies who are on a tight budget and want to use a “primer spray.” Though more are emerging at a lower price point, primer sprays at the drugstore are similar to how setting sprays at the drugstore used to be – nearly nonexistent. Let’s face it – not everyone has $30+ dollars to spend on the Smashbox Primer Waters. I wanted this to be an alternative, but what makes it fall the shortest is the nozzle. It seems as though it’s going to be a nice, light mist, and while it is a fine mist, it doesn’t spray evenly at all. The most mist sprays out at the sides, and the “middle” of the spritz is virtually nonexistent. It’s easier to just spray it in the air and try to catch the mist with your face. Even though I’ve only used this product a handful of times, I’m running out of the spray since I have to use so much to get a minimal amount on my face. It doesn’t feel as refreshing as other facial mists, and I don’t notice it hydrating the skin at all because…I can barely get it on my face.
3. NYX Cosmetics First Base Primer Spray: This one has the best nozzle; if you’ve tried their matte or dewy setting sprays, it is in the same bottle as those. The spray is light, but not airy or virtually nonexistent, and it is an even spray across the board. It feels refreshing and slightly hydrating on the skin, and I do feel like my foundations, even my most matte ones, apply and glide more smoothly over this product. As far as longevity of my base makeup, I don’t see much different when I wear this versus when I don’t use this. I’ve also sprayed this over my makeup as well, and it doesn’t alter the finish that much, but does make a powdery face look less cakey.
Category Three: Longevity Setting Sprays
1. Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray-Long Lasting: We only have one product in this category, mainly because I’ve only ever needed this one setting spray for my “long-lasting” arsenal. This is probably the most iconic setting spray ever, and for good reason. This spray will lock in your makeup through thick and thin. I don’t use air conditioning in my car, right? Money is tight so I try not to spend as much on gas. My body could be drenched in sweat after driving somewhere, but my makeup stays intact and on-point no matter what. The spray is quite nice – not too thin, but also not a wet mess. I wouldn’t say this spray is necessarily “matte;” it pretty much keeps the finish of whatever foundation and powder concoction I used that day. The only negative I can find about this product is the price, and that’s only because I’m a drugstore girl at heart and have yet to find an affordable rival for this spray. I’m attempting to make this travel-sized bottle last until the fall Sephora VIB Sale, but with the way this heat is acting up, I might need to re-up sooner rather than later.
Category Four: Illuminating Setting Sprays
1. Cover FX Illuminating Setting Spray: As I said before, I went on an illuminating and dewy setting spray kick, and took a visit to Sephora to find a high-end one to test out. The super sweet associate there told me her favorite was this spray. She had it on that day and her foundation looked perfect. I do like this spray quite a bit. The nozzle is one that gives a nice, airy mist, which I enjoy, but the mist is so fine that I can often go overboard with this spray. Going overboard means my face looks like a shimmery mess, a disco ball, and anything else that has a little too much shimmer and shine to it. Honestly, do not spray this more than four times – it gets out of hand quickly. The shimmer itself is a neutral golden-champagne color, so it is a universally flattering shade. The shimmer is also quite fine, so unless I’m looking at my face in a magnified mirror, the face just looks glowy, not glittery. I haven’t talked much about packaging here, since spray bottles are created equally (besides the nozzle) but I do have one gripe about the cap. It doesn’t stay on well. It doesn’t really snap closed, so if I travel with this, I can bank on the cap coming off unless I store it upright in a secure compartment. The plus side to the packaging is that it has a shaker at the bottom of the bottle, much like a can of spray paint, and that helps to mix the shimmer with the liquid in equal parts.
2. Hard Candy Sheer Envy “Glow” Illuminating Setting Spray: This is a dead-on dupe for the Cover FX spray I talked about above. Literally everything about this product is the exact same, other than the price tag and the size of the bottle (the Cover FX has four ounces of product, whereas the Hard Candy spray has a little over half of that). The cap on the Hard Candy spray is better than that of the Cover FX, as well. If you’re just beginning to dabble in the realm of illuminating setting sprays, I would check out the cheaper alternative first. I probably won’t repurchase the more expensive version myself, just because I love finding dupes and a good deal on products.
3. e.l.f. Illuminating Mist and Set: I would describe this setting mist as the perfect balance between illuminating and dewy. My skin definitely has a more hydrated look to it when I use this product, but I also get a glow from the micro-shimmer in the formula. It doesn’t have as much shimmer as the previous two sprays I described, so this is also a perfect product for someone who is interested in a dewy or glowy setting sprays but don’t want the shimmer to be over-the-top. As is typical with e.l.f. products, the spritz is harsh. It’s not quite as pointed as that of the Aqua Primer Mist; it’s a bit more even but will still drench the face if the bottle is held too close. I’m wearing this on my face currently, and I’m in love with the way my base looks; the foundation I’m wearing is quite full coverage, and the powder I used to set it can get dry and cakey quickly, but I barely look like I’m wearing that much makeup since this spray melted everything together seamlessly.
Category Five: Dewy Setting Sprays
1. Flower Beauty Seal the Deal Hydrating Setting Spray: This was my favorite dewy setting spray before the Pacifica Coconut Essence Hydro Mist gave it a run for its money, but I do still enjoy this one better in some respects. The mist on this is finer than that of the Pacifica one; sometimes it almost feels too fine. One of my favorite YouTubers commented on this, but I commented back and told her to look at the difference of her skin before and after the spray. Even she couldn’t deny that it’s effective, regardless of how little sensation there is in actually spraying the product on the skin. No matter how much of this I spray, I never become oily – I just look like a healthy goddess with naturally radiant skin. I’ve talked more about this product in another blog post, so if you’d like read more raves about it, click here.
2. Milani Cosmetics Make It Dewy Setting Spray: Here’s another spray that would be ah-mazing if the nozzle was accurate. This one sprays more towards the top and bottom of my face, leaving the middle barren. It also sprays quite harshly at the top and bottom, so it is easy for my face to become drenched. I prefer tilting this upward and allowing it to fall down on my skin. Otherwise, it definitely does what it says. It gives my skin a radiant finish, but I can notice it looking greasy if I spray too much. This one also takes a little while to actually dry, which is weird – I’ve never had that issue with a setting spray before. I keep a little card on my desk to use as a fan and to dry it faster, but on its own, it can take up to five minutes to completely dry down. Thankfully, it doesn’t displace makeup as it takes its sweet time setting. I haven’t quite tested the claim of it helping my makeup last for sixteen hours, but I don’t notice a lot of cracking or creasing throughout my ten-hour days, so it might have a good case for longevity.
3. Pixi SkinTreats Glow Mist: This one would probably be my favorite dewy skin mist if I was able to use it. The nozzle is like that of the Pacifica Coconut Essence Hydro Mist- fine but not too fine. Since it has an oil mixture (mainly argan oil), it definitely supplies the glow. This is another one where you can go overboard and start looking like a greaseball, but since the sprayer is nice, I definitely knew when to stop spraying. The problem I had with this product is that it had rose hip oil and evening primrose oil – both of which I am allergic to. I didn’t realize it contained those until I used it and broke out in bumps the next day. I passed it on to my twin sister who adores this. She always wanted a more matte look since she has oily skin, but she loves how this melts foundation into her skin and makes her look radiant. Whenever she asks me to do her makeup, she always still wants me to use this spray on her rather than trying any other ones. Hey, at least I know what one of her birthday or Christmas gifts will be!
Now, it’s time for the ranking. Do take this ranking with a grain of salt, because with so many categories of mists, it would be hard to accurately say I’d take one type of mist over one with a totally different purpose. Think of this ranking more so as the ones I would most likely repurchase versus the ones I probably wouldn’t repurchase.
1. Pacifica Coconut Essence Hydro Mist
2. Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray
3. Flower Beauty Seal the Deal Hydrating Setting Spray
4. e.l.f. Cosmetics Illuminating Mist and Set
5. Cover FX Illuminating Setting Spray/Hard Candy Sheer Envy Illuminating Setting Spray
6. NYX Cosmetics First Base Primer Spray
7. Thayer’s Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner Mist
8. e.l.f. Cosmetics Aqua Primer Mist
9. Pixi SkinTreats Glow Mist
10. Milani Make It Dewy Setting Spray
11. Pacifica Crystal Power Hydro Mist
12. Wet n Wild Photofocus Primer Water Spray
What are your favorite setting mists and facial sprays? I want to do a part two to this post, and also make it into a series. What would you like to see next: liquid lipsticks or foundations?
Write you little lovelies later,
XO Ky M.