Today I’m sharing something I’ve been loving lately—a Soothing Makeup Finishing Spray. You certainly don’t have to use it over makeup (it’s also a great soothing & hydrating mist for bare skin!), but I’ve been using this as the last step in my makeup routine (and sometimes throughout the day if it’s extra dry or hot!) and I love how it works. This spray leaves my skin dewy and eliminates that powdery, “hey, that’s makeup on your face” look that can sometimes happen. It’s mostly water, aloe vera juice, and hydrosol, but this mist also has a great supporting cast of moisturizing and soothing ingredients. Let’s dive in!
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To start with: what’s a makeup finishing spray? A makeup finishing spray isn’t the same thing as the more commonly known makeup setting spray. While a setting spray is designed to extend the wear of your makeup, a finishing spray is more to add an extra dose of hydration and help makeup look more natural on the skin. I really like this description I found on Reddit. The Hydrating Rose Water Everything Spray I shared back in 2016 is basically a really simple finishing spray, and I just didn’t know it at the time. This one contains a lot more soothing and hydrating goodies for both makeup finishing and general all-around skin soothing, moisturizing goodness.
For soothing ingredients, we’ve got some of my favourites! These awesome ingredients aren’t just soothing, either—aloe vera and panthenol (Vitamin B5) also boost healing and are anti-inflammatory. Allantoin is an FDA recognized skin protectant, and calendula extract is rich in antioxidants.
To help your skin and makeup look their best, we’ve also got some great moisturizers. Sodium lactate and propanediol 1,3 and two no-to-low tack humectants that help keep our skin looking dewy and fresh. And, all of the soothing ingredients are also moisturizing, so you can really get your super hydrated glow on.
For scent, I’ve used some astringent sweetgrass hydrosol. It smells wonderfully and warmly of honey and sunshine, and I just adore it. Sweetgrass hydrosol makes me think of summer on the prairies 😊 You could easily use a different hydrosol for a different scent, or simply replace it with more distilled water for an unscented end product.
After mixing all the ingredients together you will need to wait a few hours for everything to dissolve. Allantoin is the slow-to-dissolve ingredient; it’s only water-soluble to just over 0.5%, and it can be stubborn about that (read up on it in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia to learn more!). My first version of this Soothing Makeup Finishing Spray used 0.5% allantoin, and that took days to dissolve, so I reduced it to 0.3%. That still takes hours, but I’ll take hours over days! I mixed everything together in a beaker for easy monitoring, but you could simply weigh everything straight into the bottle you’ll be storing this mist in, cap, and shake, and it’ll be ready to use in a couple of hours. Enjoy!
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Soothing Makeup Finishing Spray
23.75g | 47.5% distilled water
12.5g | 25% aloe vera juice
10g | 20% sweetgrass hydrosol
0.25g | 0.5% panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
0.15g | 0.3% allantoin (USA / Canada)
0.25g | 0.5% caffeine
1.5g | 3% sodium lactate (USA / Canada)
1g | 2% Propanediol 1,3 (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 1% calendula extract
0.1g | 0.2% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
Weigh all the ingredients into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or beaker. Stir to combine, and then cover and leave the mixture to fully dissolve—this typically takes at least three hours. Leaving it overnight is very convenient!
Once everything has dissolved and the mixture is uniform with no bits at the bottom of the beaker, it’s time to package it up! You’ll want a 50–60mL (1.69–2fl oz) bottle with a mister top. I used a blue glass bottle from New Directions Aromatics, but as of this writing, they don’t appear to have the mister tops in stock.
To use, mist your face (eyes closed!) after applying your makeup and let it dry before touching your face. You can also use the spray as needed throughout the day to add a bit of hydration and refresh your makeup—or use it without any makeup at all! Enjoy 😊
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative, this project may eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 50g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list (panthenol, allantoin, caffeine, sodium lactate, propanediol, calendula) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can replace the aloe vera juice with more distilled water or witch hazel distillate.
- You can replace the hydrosol with more distilled water or a different hydrosol for a different scent.
- You can replace the caffeine with more panthenol or more distilled water.
- Don’t increase the allantoin; we’re already pushing the limits of its water solubility.
- You can use a different botanical extract that your skin loves.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
The sweetgrass hydrosol was gifted by Plant’s Power.
Just wanted to say thank you for another great recipe! I anxiously await your posts every Monday and Thursday and am rarely disappointed. xxoo
Thank you so much! ❤️
This sounds like a perfectly wonderful summer mist!
Thank you so much! I’ve really been enjoying it, even without any makeup 🙂
Sounds lovely! Like my kind of project. Just made rose water everything spray. I really like it with glycerin. Can’t believe I haven’t tried setting or finishing sprays earlier! Thanks for explaining the difference. I keep you updated.
PS. Barb, I love my B3 AHA toner but your bee happy toner is amazing. I’ve almost finished my first batch. I’m thinking to tweak the scent a bit. Only toner so far that works great with fermented k-beauty.
This is awesom mist. It’s become fast favourite of mine. I used rose & calendula hydrosols and willow bark extract – spot on! It’s wonderfully refreshing in the morning – maybe due to caffeine (?) My fiance enjoys his spray too. And yes, it makes my makeup looking more natural. xx
I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! I wish my mist formulations were more popular—I feel like people are seriously sleeping on how fabulous a good mist is for the skin 😀
😀 Yup, they’re seriously sleeping on it! But I hope so too. This is a winner. Just made my second batch. I haven’t made many mists same way twice.
I thought liquid germall plus was not meant to be used in aerosols, per the description in the lotioncrafter website. Do you have any recommendations of a substitute for it?
Yes, but this is not an aerosol product, it’s mist or spray—they aren’t the same. The manufacturer of Liquid Germall™ Plus (INCI: Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate) has shared quite a few mist + spray formulations using Liquid Germall™ Plus as the preservative. Aerosols create far finer/smaller particles than sprays + mists do. Happy making!
Thank you so much fir clarifying that! I had thought, wrongly, it was the same thing. It seems that regulation only applies to the US and Japan anyway. I also found it Interesting that in the EU is not allowed in lotions.
I have sodium Lactate powder. Can that be used instead