Can Hairspray Be Used As Setting Spray?

A can of hairspray being sprayed

We all love a beauty hack, especially one that saves money. One that I’ve heard loads of times over the years (especially in the midst of a busy wedding morning) is that hairspray can double up as setting spray. After all, it keeps all those flyaways in place so it makes sense that it would keep your makeup in place too.

Makeup setting sprays can be expensive and not always effective so it’s not surprising that you might look for a low cost alternative, especially one you already have in the bathroom cabinet. But does it really work?

So, can hairspray be used to set your makeup?

Well, yes it does sort of work but that doesn’t mean you should use it. After all hairspray is designed and tested to be used on hair not skin. The only products you should be putting on your face are ones designed for it.

Hairspray is particularly bad for skin because of the amount of alcohol it contains. Alcohol is an important ingredient in hairspray because it helps it to dry quickly and set your hair in place. But its effect on skin is to damage the surface making it dry and more prone to break outs. The more you use it, the worse these problems can get.

In my opinion the short term benefit of your Saturday night makeup staying put isn’t worth the long term damage that hairspray will do to your skin.

How you can actually help your makeup to stay put

Ways that hairspray is actually useful

  • Setting brows – spray some on a spoolie and comb through your eyebrow hairs
  • Taming flyaways – spray on the palm of your hand or brush and smooth over your hair
  • Removing lipstick stains from clothes – spray on the stain, let it dry and then wipe it off
A can of hairspray being sprayed


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Hi I’m Rebecca

I’ve been a makeup artist and hair stylist in the fashion industry for 15 years. Welcome to by blog where I write about all things beauty, makeup and skincare. Check out my Instagram below for daily content and mini tutorials.