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DIY Shimmer Setting Spray for a Pearly Glow

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This natural shimmer setting spray sets your makeup while illuminating your skin with a pearlescent glow. Cosmetic mica powder gives this DIY setting spray its shimmer, while vodka and aloe vera powder create a barrier that holds your makeup in place all day long.

DIY shimmer setting spray

I can’t get enough of that glowing, luminescent skin look that’s so in vogue right now. I’m always chasing that lit-from-within radiance, but there’s only so much a good highlighter can do. My desire for an all-over glow is what lead to this DIY.

This DIY illuminating setting mist will cast a lovely glow over your makeup. You’ll get a subtle, pearly sheen that’s enough to be noticed, but not so obvious that you look like you dipped your face in glitter. Think effortless radiance, not New Year’s Eve party makeup. (Although, this spray would be a great finishing touch to any party look!)

Even on days when I wear very little or no makeup, I still finish my skin with this spray, which has quickly become a staple in my routine. I love how it gives my face a subtle lustre and helps create a soft-focus effect over any imperfections. And like a true multitasker, it really does help makeup stay in place.

The glow of this setting spray is visible in most lighting, but its soft shimmer is particularly beautiful and eye-catching in sunlight.

DIY shimmer setting spray on windowsill

Like all my recipes, this one is non-toxic and easy to make. As someone with very sensitive skin, there are certain ingredients (like fragrance) in store bought products that I can’t use. This recipe doesn’t contain any of the irritating fragrances or denatured alcohols commonly found in many store-bought makeup setting sprays.

This DIY was inspired by the “Dew Me” iridescent setting spray by Glow Cult Cosmetics, which is no longer available. I never tried the product, but I loved the idea. I imagine this DIY also gives a similar effect to other popular shimmer sprays such as Mac Prep and Prime Fix Plus and Iconic London Prep Set Glow.

Spraying shimmer setting spray on hand

Homemade shimmer spray on hand

What’s in a setting spray?

Store bought setting sprays are a hot ticket item. They easily sell for over $30 a bottle, and one cult-favourite “dewy finish” spray in particular sells for $50! I’ll gladly shell out for non-toxic, well-formulated cosmetics, but I have a hard time justifying the price for something so easily made at home.

Creating a homemade setting spray is relatively simple and inexpensive. The basic setting spray “formula” consists of a humectant, a film-forming agent, and a liquid such as water or alcohol. The liquid evaporates, leaving behind the film that sets your makeup in place. Meanwhile, the humectant stops your skin from getting too dry or matte.

Some setting sprays skip the film-former – think simple rosewater and glycerin formulas. This combination definitely works to make your makeup look nice and dewy, but doesn’t lend as much in terms of staying power.

To truly “set” your makeup and create a long lasting barrier against the elements, you need a film-forming ingredient such as a polymer or a polysaccharide. This DIY shimmer setting spray recipe contains the latter in the form of 200x aloe vera powder.

If you have particularly oily skin or if you live in a humid climate, you might prefer a setting spray with a more matte finish. In that case, I recommend my DIY neroli setting spray. And if you’re looking for maximum hydration, I also have a simple rosewater and glycerin makeup setting spray that’s very easy to make.

Hands holding DIY illuminating setting spray

DIY shimmer setting spray ingredients

To make this homemade shimmer setting spray, you will need:

Rose water (or distilled water)
Vodka
Vegetable glycerin
200x aloe vera powder
Fine shimmer mica (or shimmer eyeshadow/powder highlighter)
Leucidal Liquid SF

Rose water

Rose water is calming and anti-inflammatory to the skin. It lends a lovely floral aroma to this setting spray, and when paired with a humectant, it’s deeply hydrating. If you don’t have any rose water on hand, or simply don’t like it, you can easily substitute distilled water.

Vodka

Vodka is a natural astringent and anti-bacterial. It speeds evaporation, helping your setting spray to “set” faster.

Vegetable glycerin

Vegetable glycerin acts as the humectant in this formula. It attracts and holds water against your skin, locking in moisture and giving this spray its dewy, luminous finish.

200x aloe vera powder

200x aloe vera powder is 200 times the strength of regular aloe powder. It’s highly concentrated and extremely rich in natural polysaccharides. Aloe polysaccharides create a water-resistant film on your skin that helps prevent your makeup from budging.

Fine shimmer mica, eyeshadow, or highlighter

I used fine serecite mica to give this DIY setting spray its luminescence. I chose a silvery white colour since I’m partial to the pearly sheen of my favourite highlighter, RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer. Other colour ideas include:

Different colours will flatter different skin tones, so experiment with what you like best! You can even mix different micas for a bit of iridescence. I think a combination of pearly pinks and purples would look really striking, or even teal and baby blue, if that’s your thing. After all, unicorn and mermaid inspired makeup is in style right now.

Swatch of DIY illuminating setting spray on hand

It’s important to use a finely textured mica powder, as particles that are too big will clog and ruin your spray bottle. Not only that, but large mica will make your skin look glittery. The goal of this setting spray is a natural, luminous shimmer, not a face full of sparkles. If your mica looks like glitter, the particles are too big for this DIY.

For ethical reasons, I only recommend synthetic mica, not natural mica – see my note on this below. Whichever mica you choose to purchase, please make sure it’s cosmetic grade.

If you don’t want to buy mica, another option is to use loose shimmer eyeshadow or powder highlighter that you already have on hand. And if you have broken highlighter or eyeshadow from a compact, you can grind the product into a powder and use that instead. However, for maximum shimmer, I recommend using pure mica powder.

Leucidal Liquid SF

Leucial Liquid SF is a probiotic-based preservative. I have very sensitive skin, and I find this preservative to be both gentle and effective.

Please note that the preservative is not optional! Water-contanings DIYs are a breeding ground for mold, fungus, and bacteria. Preservatives are not all bad and not something to be feared. The only way you can skip it is if you keep your setting spray in the fridge.

DIY glow makeup setting spray with crystals

Safety precautions

Please note that working with mica can be dangerous. Its small particle size means it easily becomes airborne, and using it in a setting spray launches it directly into the air.

All mineral makeup poses a potential health risk. Long-term inhalation of mica over many years can cause lung damage and scarring, and those with impaired pulmonary function are at an increased risk. Before making this DIY, please educate yourself about mica’s dangers.

For more information, see this article from the Toxicology Data Network.

If you choose to make this DIY shimmer setting spray, take precautions to protect yourself. Make sure to both make AND use this product in a well-ventilated area, not an enclosed bathroom. Also, consider using a dust mask while making this recipe.

Ethical precautions

The mica mining industry is extremely corrupt; fraught with suspicious practices, atrocious conditions and child labour. For this reason, I only use synthetic mica powder.

It may sound strange to recommend a synthetic product over a natural one. However, there is truly no benefit to using natural mica over synthetic mica.

Synthetic mica is chemically identical to natural mica, but without the ethical implications. Even though it’s created in a lab, it’s composition is the same as mica that occurs naturally. This means it has no more of an environmental impact than natural mineral mica.

Manmade mica also has a smoother, more uniform shape than natural mica, making it much safer for your skin.

To be sure your mica is synthetic, look for mica labelled as synthetic mica, artificial mica, or synthetic fluorphlogopite.

Homemade setting spray on makeup table

This setting spray is a lovely addition to your vanity table.

DIY shimmer setting spray in front of pink flowers
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5 from 2 votes

DIY Shimmer Setting Spray for a Pearly Glow

This DIY shimmer setting spray sets your makeup while illuminating your skin with an all-over radiance. It keeps your makeup it place while it makes your skin glow!
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: DIY Skin Care
Cuisine: DIY Beauty
Servings: 1 bottle
Author: Kyla

What You'll Need

Ingredients

Supplies

Instructions

  • Before you begin, sterilize your tools and take precautions to avoid inhaling any mica powder. Consider using a dust mask and be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Using a small funnel, combine the rose water and vegetable glycerin in your sterilized spray bottle.
  • Slowly add the aloe powder in small increments. (If you add too much at once, it will clump.) Before adding more powder, shake to dissolve any clumps. After all of your aloe powder is combined, add the leucidal liquid.
  • Add the mica powder to your spray bottle. Take care when opening your container, as mica easily becomes airborne. Please add the mica last, as pouring anything on top of mica will cause it to fly into the air.
  • Put the spray nozzle on your bottle and shake to disperse the mica.

Notes

Before working with mica, please see my note on safety precautions above this recipe.

How to use your shimmer setting spray

After you’ve finished applying your makeup, close your eyes and spritz your face generously to set your makeup with a dewy radiance. Remember to shake your product well before each use, as the mica powder will sink to the bottom of your bottle.

If desired, this multitasking spray could also be used on your body for a subtle glow – it makes a great highlighter for the décolletage. And if you’re looking to give your tresses a gorgeous sparkle, it could even double as a shimmer hair spray.

The best part about this recipe is that it’s so easily customized. Unlike store bought products, you can easily tweak the formula if it isn’t right for you. If you find that the finished product is not dewy enough, you can double the amount of vegetable glycerin. And if the spray does not have as much shimmer as you’d like, increase the amount of mica powder until you get your desired effect.

If you end up making this DIY shimmer setting spray, I’d love to hear how it worked for you – or even better, to see your results! And if you’re looking for a gentle, non-toxic way to remove all that shimmer, why not try my DIY micellar water?

DIY shimmer setting spray with pink flowers

More DIY beauty recipes

If you enjoyed this DIY, you might also enjoy these other natural beauty recipes:

Follow us on Pinterest for even more DIY beauty ideas! You can also find us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

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Shimmer makeup setting spray on windowsill

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Susan Pereira

Monday 2nd of March 2020

This recipe sounds amazing. But is there an alternative to the 200x aloe powder? It's extremely expensive ($35). Is there something else I can use?

Kyla

Thursday 5th of March 2020

Hi Susan, thanks for reading! Oh no, that's much too expensive. Is regular aloe powder available to you? That's the closest alternative I can think of.

Natalia

Thursday 7th of November 2019

Lovely recipe! Thanks for testing it out and sharing!

Kyla

Friday 8th of November 2019

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Natalia! ?

Sherri Hoffman

Saturday 26th of October 2019

I am so very happy to have found this wonderful recipe for DIY setting spray. I have been blessed to be the mother of 4 beautiful daughter's. Even though they range in age from 29 to 15, I think this spray would make an awesome gift for Christmas this year. Even for one of my 17 year old twins, who does not wear any make-up ever. This would add a beautiful sheen to the skin and also to retain moisture. Mid-Missouri winter's can be very cold, snowy, icy and windy. I do think this would help to hold in moisture, when it can be so easy in the winter to have dry, chapped, wind burnt skin. I am very excited to make this recipe and gift it in 2 months. I do appreciate your links on finding these ingredients, and educating me on the ethical problems with real mica. I had no idea in this day and age that there were still such atrocities in the world (I do admit to preferring to looking at the world through rose colored glasses and believing that most people are genuinely good). Anyway, thank you so much for sharing this DIY with us!

Kyla

Saturday 26th of October 2019

Hi Sherri, thank you so much for reading and for leaving such a thoughtful comment! I’m so thrilled to hear that you’ll be gifting this recipe, and I hope your daughters love it! ?

One thing to note – I made this recipe in the spring and haven’t yet had the chance to test it out in the winter. It might be a good idea to test the setting spray on yourself first to see how it reacts in your climate. If your skin feels too dry, you could try increasing the glycerin to one teaspoon.

I was also shocked to find out about the atrocities connected to mica. It’s very sad! But there is good news: big-name companies like Lush are taking measures to only use ethical mica. I hope others follow suit.

Thanks again for reading and I hope you love the setting spray recipe!

Kathy

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Hi Kyla, this recipe sounds wonderful! Can I use regular aloe vera juice instead of the powder? Only because I already have it in my frig. Lol. Also what can I use instead of vodka?

Tnx! Kathy :)

Kyla

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Hi Kathy, thanks for reading and commenting! If you don't want to use vodka, you could replace it with an equal amount of rose water or distilled water instead.

That said, it's important to note that any substitutions will change the recipe’s efficacy. Without vodka, this will be more of a shimmery moisturizing mist than a setting spray. If you’re okay with this, then that’s fine! But I always recommend making the exact recipe when possible because that’s the one I’ve tried and tested.

Unfortunately using aloe juice won’t have the same makeup-setting effect as the aloe powder, so I don’t recommend using it.

I hope this helps, and PS, don’t forget the preservative (unless you plan to keep your setting spray in the fridge!) ?

Irena

Friday 1st of March 2019

The shimmer looks stunning and the photos are so beautiful and luminous! And your remarks about mica powder are an important topic.

Kyla

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

Thank you so much, Irena! Yes, it was really shocking to read what was going on.