Tested on animals:Yes
L'Oreal makes a big deal in its marketing that this makeup-setting spray is "oil-free" and "non-comedogenic." This might make it sound like it's an ideal choice for acne-prone skin, but it absolutely is not. Alcohol is the second ingredient on the list (right after water), and not only can it dry out skin, it also causes irritation, making skin produce more oil. See More Info for details on alcohol's damaging effects on skin.
The brand also recommends using this to set eye makeup—Ouch!
The rest of the formula is a mix of silicones, preservatives, some emollients, and fragrance ingredients. Because it is water-based, it isn't likely to make your makeup last longer; in fact, spraying water on your face can make your makeup last less time than you want. If you do want to make your makeup last longer, check out one of the vastly superior options on our list of Best Foundation Primers—and save your face in the process!
- Contains a high amount of skin-damaging alcohol.
- Water-based formula is likely to cause makeup to last less time, not more.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Source: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skincare products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If that weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Source: Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that alcohol's destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Source: Alcohol, 2002). In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Sources: Aging, 2012; and Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see the Paula's Choice Research Team's Expert Advice article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.
Irritation's Connection to Oily Skin & Breakouts: Inflammation in skin is usually related to external factors such as irritation, which damages the skin's barrier in numerous ways, whether you can see and feel the reaction or not. When irritation on the surface of skin occurs, it activates specific chemicals called neuropeptides in the brain (Source: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2007). Those substances are specifically the kind that regulates the hormonal system of the body.
When this happens, it leads to the formation of inflammatory chemicals directly in the oil gland. These inflammatory chemicals in turn trigger an increase in oil production, which can increase the size of the pore, and the likelihood of acne—the more inflammation that occurs, the higher the risk (Sources: European Journal of Dermatology, 2002; and Dermatology, 2003).
Bottom line: Inflammation and its resulting irritation, whether internal or external (for this discussion externally it would be due to the use of irritating ingredients, hot water, overusing scrubs, etc.), is practically a guarantee you will see excess production of oil, larger pores, and more acne breakouts (Sources: Experimental Dermatology, 2009; and Dermato-Endocrinology, 2011).