If you wear makeup, you’re likely familiar with the powers of a good setting spray. These products not only help to keep your makeup in place all day long, but can also offer other benefits like hydration and oil control.
Did you know that there are setting sprays that also offer sun protection? With the harmful effects of the sun's UV rays, it's important to protect your skin whenever possible—and that's where makeup setting sprays with SPF come in.
While makeup setting spray with SPF isn’t a substitute for a broad spectrum sunscreen, it can be a great tool for protecting your skin. Here, our team of skincare experts share the best options available now; but first, let our team explain the basics.
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is an important aspect of skincare, as it provides the main data to evaluate the effectiveness of sunscreen.¹
While UVA rays penetrate deeper into your skin, UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn. A higher SPF number indicates better UVB protection. For example, SPF-15 blocks 94% of UVB radiation, while SPF-30 blocks 97%. Incorporating SPF products into your daily routine can help safeguard your skin from sun damage.
You can apply high SPF sunscreen under or over your makeup, and you can also wear makeup containing SPF to increase your sun protection. It’s important to note that even if you’re wearing makeup with SPF, you should always wear additional sunscreen to ensure your skin is properly protected.
SPF plays a vital role in shielding your skin from the harmful effects of the sun's radiation, which includes both UVA and UVB rays. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97% of the sun's UVB rays.² The more skin protection you have, the better, as it helps prevent sunburn, and skin damage, and reduces the risk of skin cancer.
One study found that combining sunscreen with makeup can help compensate for inadequate sunscreen application by offering an extra layer of UV protection and enhancing overall coverage.³
However, despite the presence of SPF in makeup products, the level of sun protection they provide is typically minimal. Therefore, it remains crucial to apply a separate sunscreen for adequate protection.
The Curology Sunscreen is a dermatologist-recommended product that provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s specially designed to be non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types. It doesn’t leave a white-cast and doesn’t pill, so it’s easy to layer under makeup!
Using the Curology Sunscreen—in conjunction with SPF makeup—is an effective way to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating, and adopt sun-smart habits like wearing protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.⁴ By implementing a well-rounded sun protection strategy, you can significantly reduce your risk of skin damage, premature aging, and skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure.
Sunscreen protects your skin in different ways based on its ingredients. There are two primary types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral sunscreens. Understanding the differences between these two categories can help you make an informed decision about which type is best suited for your skin and lifestyle.
Chemical sunscreens—also known as organic sunscreens—contain organic (carbon-based) compounds that absorb UV radiation. When the sun's rays hit your skin, the chemical filters in these sunscreens absorb the radiation, convert it into heat, and release it from your skin. Common active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone.⁵
Physical sunscreens—also known as inorganic or mineral sunscreens—use mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to provide sun protection. These ingredients form a physical barrier on your skin's surface, reflecting and scattering UV radiation away from your skin.⁶
When deciding between chemical and physical sunscreens, consider the ingredients best for your skin type, sensitivity, and personal preferences. In any case, it's essential to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, which will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Regularly using sunscreen, along with other sun protection measures, can significantly reduce your risk of skin damage, photoaging, and skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure.⁷
Makeup setting sprays with SPF can be a game-changer for beauty enthusiasts and skincare aficionados alike. These multitasking products not only help set your makeup for a long-lasting, fresh appearance but also provide an additional layer of sun protection. They work best when they’re applied properly and when you use sunscreen alongside them.
Let’s take a look at the top makeup setting sprays with SPF on the market today.
The COOLA Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30 is a fusion of makeup setting and sun protection in one convenient spray. This lightweight, non-sticky formula sets your makeup for a long-lasting, fresh look while providing broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Enriched with aloe vera and cucumber extracts, it hydrates and soothes skin. Hyaluronic acid locks in moisture for a youthful, radiant complexion. The refreshing mist is suitable for all skin types and leaves a matte finish, ensuring your makeup stays elegant and your skin stays protected throughout the day.
The Supergoop! (Re)setting Refreshing Mist SPF 40 is a versatile makeup setting spray that combines convenience, sun protection. This product offers broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays while ensuring your makeup stays fresh and intact throughout the day.
Infused with a blend of rosemary and peppermint oils, this mist invigorates and cools your skin. Suitable for all skin types, the non-sticky formula provides a weightless, refreshing finish and helps keep your skin safe from harmful UV rays.
The Milani Make It Last Sunscreen Setting Spray SPF 30 combines makeup setting and sun protection in one step. This multitasking setting spray not only ensures your makeup stays fresh all day but also provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection against damaging UVA and UVB rays.
The lightweight, fast-absorbing formula is suitable for all skin types and leaves a comfortable, matte finish. Enriched with antioxidant-rich green tea extract, it also helps to protect your skin from environmental stressors.
The Pacifica Sea & C Sheer Face Serum SPF 55 offers both makeup setting and sun protection at an affordable price. This lightweight, fast-absorbing serum delivers broad-spectrum SPF 55 protection against harmful sun rays.
Containing sea algae, kelp, and a blend of antioxidants, it nourishes and revitalizes skin while promoting a youthful, radiant complexion..
When searching for the perfect setting spray, you should test out different formulas and brands to find the one that meets your specific needs, as well as your desired finish, be it matte, dewy, or something in between. Additionally, the spray should offer sufficient SPF protection to help you further protect your skin from the sun.
It’s important to protect your skin from the sun using a sunscreen with the right blend of ingredients. Our Curology sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays and is designed to be non-comedogenic, making it suitable for all skin types—including acne-prone and sensitive skin. Its lightweight, non-greasy formula absorbs quickly, leaving no white cast or residue, ensuring comfortable wear under makeup or on its own.
Enriched with skin-nourishing ingredients, our sunscreen not only protects your skin from the sun but also supports your overall skin health. By incorporating this sun protection into your daily skincare routine, you can enjoy a more radiant complexion, with less sun-induced damage.
Don't compromise on sun protection—try our dermatologist-crafted sunscreen to safeguard your skin from harmful UV radiation today. Visit our online store and invest in a sun care product that can make a difference in your skin's health and appearance.
The best makeup setting spray for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. You need to consider factors such as your skin type, the desired finish (matte or dewy), and budget when deciding what setting spray is best for you.
Makeup setting spray may help in prolonging the effectiveness of SPF since makeup can also provide a layer of sun protection. Setting spray can help to prevent makeup from rubbing off and can provide a light layer of protection, but it's still recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when exposed to the sun.⁸
Gabros, S., et al. Sunscreens And Photoprotection. StatPearls. (2023, March 7).
American Academy of Dermatology Association. Sunscreen FAQs. (2023, February 17).
Kim, M.A., et al. Layering sunscreen with facial makeup enhances its sun protection factor under real-use conditions. Skin Research and Technology. (September 2021).
American Academy of Dermatology Association. Practice Safe Sun. (2022, April 18).
Gabros, S., et al. Sunscreens And Photoprotection. StatPearls. Ibid.
Gabros, S., et al. Sunscreens And Photoprotection. StatPearls. Ibid.
Sander, M., et al. The efficacy and safety of sunscreen use for the prevention of skin cancer. Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2020, December 14).
American Academy of Dermatology Association. Sunscreen FAQs. Ibid.
Erin Pate is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She earned her Masters of Science in Nursing at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.
We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.
Erin Pate, NP-C