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DIY Makeup Setting Spray Without Glycerin

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This DIY setting spray is made without glycerin for a matte, non-greasy finish that’s ideal for oily skin types. Thanks to a unique combination of ingredients, it creates a water-resistant film that keeps your makeup from melting, even during the summer. Read on to learn how to make homemade makeup setting spray with natural ingredients.

DIY makeup setting spray

This is not your typical DIY setting spray recipe.

I’m not going to tell you to mix up some rosewater and glycerin and expect you to believe that it will set your makeup on a hot, humid summer day. It won’t!

Don’t get me wrong — a setting spray made with glycerin has its place. (I wrote a post about one, after all.) I love vegetable glycerin for its hydrating, dewy finish, and it works well when the temperature is cold or mild.

But using glycerin setting spray under extreme weather conditions is like using a “light hold” hair product on a humid day. Plus, if you have oily skin, your makeup will likely end up melting off your face.

A long lasting DIY makeup setting spray

Whether it’s a night out or just a really hot day, sometimes your makeup needs some extra staying power. (I would know — I use a coconut oil-based foundation that needs a bit of help to stay put!)

That’s why I came up with a makeup setting spray recipe using vodka, neroli water, propanediol and 200x aloe powder. It’s simple, but it’s very effective.

DIY makeup setting spray for oily skin

The alcohol and water quickly evaporate after your spritz your face, leaving behind a film of aloe vera polysaccharides. These polysaccharides form a sweat, oil, and water-resistant film that sets your makeup in place.

Unlike my other setting spray recipe, this formula leaves a matte finish. This is especially helpful when you’re sweating before you’ve even left the house.

The first version of this setting spray did not contain a humectant. But after doing further testing, I realized that the original formula may be too drying for some. That’s why the updated recipe includes a small amount of corn-derived propanediol for just the right amount of hydration.

The problem with store bought setting sprays

Notice how many top-selling makeup setting sprays use alcohol as the main ingredient? There’s a reason for that. The alcohol evaporates quickly, leaving behind a film that prevents your makeup from budging. This film is usually comprised of a synthetic polymer or a natural polysaccharide.

The problem with conventional makeup setting sprays is that they are often irritating and heavily fragranced. They can also contain silicones and other synthetic ingredients that can be problematic.

Most setting sprays use denatured alcohols as a base. These are alcohols that have been made unsuitable for drinking with the addition of another chemical — and it’s not always clear what this chemical is. According to CosmeticsInfo.org:

Denatonium Benzoate, t-Butyl Alcohol, Diethyl Phthalate, Methyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Salicylate, and Methyl Salicylate are examples of denaturants permitted for use by the TTB and concluded to be safe for use in cosmetics.

Salicylic acid is not an issue, but some of those other ingredients are alarming. Regardless of who determines phthalates such as Diethyl Phthalate to be “safe” in cosmetics, I’d much rather avoid them — both for health reasons and for phthalates’ capacity to irritate skin.

Alcohol already has the potential to be an irritating and drying ingredient, and a denaturing agent only increases that likelihood.

How do you avoid denaturants in your makeup setting spray? By making your own with the pure stuff, of course — vodka!

Ingredients for DIY makeup setting spray

DIY makeup setting spray without glycerin

Vodka

I used 50% vodka in this recipe. For reference, this is 100 proof in Canada but the classification may be different in your location.

For extra colour and fragrance, I also used a splash of rose petal-infused vodka (post on this coming soon). Since most of us likely don’t have batches of rose petal vodka infusing in the pantry, regular vodka will do just fine.

200x Aloe Powder

Instead of synthetic polymers, I used high concentrated 200x aloe vera juice powder. This is what creates the water-resistant film that holds your makeup in place.

This type of aloe powder has been carefully freeze-dried as to not damage its delicate polysaccharides. It’s also 200x the strength of regular aloe vera powder, so you don’t need much for it to be effective.

Neroli water

Also known as orange blossom water (or hydrosol), neroli water is known for its uplifting aroma, but it also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It makes this setting spray smell lovely without synthetic, phthalate-laden fragrances.

If desired, you can always substitute rose water or plain, distilled water.

White neroli blossoms illuminated by sunlight

Neroli water is steam distilled from the blossoms of the bitter orange tree.

Propanediol

Propanediol is a humectant made from renewable corn sugar. It’s the more natural version of petroleum-derived propylene glycol.

Not only is propanediol less sticky than vegetable glycerin, but it’s also less hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs less water from the air. As a result, it gives this setting spray recipe just the right amount of hydration without a greasy feel.

DIY setting spray for makeup

DIY makeup setting spray for oily skin
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4 from 1 vote

DIY Makeup Setting Spray Without Glycerin

This natural DIY setting spray is made without glycerin for a matte, non-greasy finish that's ideal for oily skin types. Thanks to a unique combination of ingredients, it creates a water-resistant film that keeps your makeup from melting, even during the summer.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: DIY Skin Care
Cuisine: DIY Beauty
Servings: 1 setting spray
Author: Kyla | alifeadjacent.com

What You'll Need

Instructions

  • Thoroughly sterilize and clean your spray bottle.
  • Combine your neroli water, vodka and propanediol.
  • Slowly sprinkle the aloe vera powder into the bottle, a small pinch at a time. (If you add too much at once, it will clump.) Shake the bottle after each pinch until the aloe is dissolved. Repeat until all of the powder is combined.
  • Add your Leucidal Liquid SF or preservative of choice. Shake to combine.

Notes

The preservative is not optional. Unless you intend to keep this DIY setting spray in the fridge, you must preserve it to prevent dangerous bacterial growth. If preserved, it can be kept at room temperature.

To use this DIY setting spray, close your eyes and spray liberally over your makeup. Enjoy the matte finish and aloe vera-powered hold! This recipe is great for all skin types, but it’s especially beneficial for oily skin.

Don’t be surprised if your face smells great, too. This spray has a lovely scent thanks to the neroli water. No synthetic, irritating fragrances required. That said, if you have particularly sensitive skin, consider using plain distilled water instead of neroli water. Even natural ingredients can be irritating to some skin types.

This setting spray can also be used throughout the day to mattify and refresh your skin while recharging your makeup’s staying power. For touch ups on the go, I like to throw it into my purse or beach bag in a tiny spray bottle.

Homemade setting spray for makeup

Homemade setting spray without glycerin in glass spray bottle

DIY setting spray recipe substitutions

Can I substitute aloe vera juice?

I haven’t tested this setting spray recipe with aloe juice, so I can’t comment on its efficacy. I’m not sure it contains enough polysaccharides to be effective. The benefit of the 200x powder is that it’s highly concentrated.

Can I substitute regular aloe vera juice powder?

I wouldn’t recommend regular aloe powder because it’s not concentrated enough. 1 ounce of 200x aloe powder is equal to 200 ounces of regular aloe powder.

If you end up trying this DIY setting spray recipe, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And if you have any other DIY tricks for setting your makeup, I’d love to hear about those, too!

More DIY beauty recipes

Looking for more natural DIY skincare recipes? Check these out:

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Natural DIY setting spray for makeup

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Rebecca Dillon

Thursday 6th of June 2019

I love that this doesn't have glycerin. Can't wait to try it!

Kyla

Saturday 8th of June 2019

Thanks Rebecca! I really like this recipe because it never feels sticky. I'd love to hear how you like it!

Angela Bonnell

Wednesday 17th of April 2019

I made the setting spray today for the first time and conducted a test with cream makeup swatched on my arms- my left arm was the homemade spray and my right arm was Urban Decay Deslick setting spray. I took photos and concluded that this spray is as good or better than UD. I’m impressed. I will be further testing by using it on my face this week :)

Kyla

Wednesday 17th of April 2019

I'm so thrilled to hear this, Angela! I can't wait to hear how your other tests go. :)

Angela Bonnell

Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

Hello, I’m considering making this recipe for myself and friends. I usually use Urban Decay DeSlick setting spray. I wear a good quality cream makeup so I’m wondering how well this will work. Do you have any experience with using this with cream makeup (it’s MaskCara Beauty- I’m an Independent Artist with the company). I appreciate any info you have :)

Kyla

Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

Hi Angela! I use a lot of creamy/oily products and this setting spray holds up really well. My concealer is coconut oil based (RMS Beauty's Un CoverUp). I also use a thick SPF (Juice Beauty) which is also coconut oil derived. Sometimes I'll even wear squalane oil under both of those products. So I’m sure this spray would work very well with your cream makeup. :)

Amanda Klecker

Tuesday 26th of February 2019

This is so great! I've never seen a recipe for a setting spray (which I used to LOOOOVE, but stopped because of the chemicals and toxins). I'm super excited to try this DIY formula. Thanks so much for posting!!

Kyla

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

Thanks for reading Amanda! If you end up trying the recipe, I'd love to hear how it works for you! :)

Chelsea

Monday 4th of February 2019

I managed to find some Leucidal Liquid. I've also ordered the aloe powder but I sometimes react to high levels of aloe vera in products. Are there any other non-aloe products that could be used in it's place if I find I react?

Kyla

Monday 4th of February 2019

Hi Chelsea, that's great news! I hope the aloe works out for you, but if not, I am planning to formulate an aloe-free setting spray recipe soon. If all goes well you should see the post on the blog soon! I don't want to recommend anything without thoroughly testing it first. :)