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Best Makeup Setting Sprays

Updated June 2023
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Cover FX High Performance Setting Spray
Cover FX
High Performance Setting Spray
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Best for Everyday Use
Bottom Line

We found that this spray is highly effective for those with an active lifestyle thanks to its long-lasting hold.

Pros

Makes the colors of makeup stand out even after it had been applied hours prior. During our trials, it felt light on the skin which impressed us considering how well it holds under a litany of activities. It also features algae extracts to protect your skin and doesn't use alcohol in the ingredients.

Cons

You may have to apply the spray a greater distance from your face so that it doesn't create a splotchy look.

Best Bang for the Buck
NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray
NYX Professional
Makeup Setting Spray
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

A highly rated and affordable makeup setting spray for an effortless look.

Pros

This budget-friendly setting spray dries to a matte texture that keeps your face from looking oily. Helps makeup to stay in place for hours and won't allow water or sweat to ruin your look. Allows your skin to breathe while still looking amazing. Affordable.

Cons

Can create a tint on the face that some users don't like.

Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
Urban Decay
All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
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Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

A popular go-to spray that keeps makeup looking fresh and vibrant.

Pros

Weightless spray keeps makeup looking fresh for up to 16 hours. Lowers the temperature of makeup so it doesn’t run. Works well over many hours and in humid conditions. A must-have for bridal and prom parties, or weekends in Vegas.

Cons

Too greasy for those with oily skin.

Coola Green Tea Aloe Setting Spray
Coola
Green Tea Aloe Setting Spray
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Soothing Formula
Bottom Line

Weightless, mostly organic spray with SPF 30.

Pros

Keeps makeup in place all day. Reduces shine and offers UV protection. Cucumber and aloe vera extracts soothe and refresh skin. Works well during outdoor activities. Pleasant scent.

Cons

A lot of problems with the spray nozzle clogging up and spraying unevenly.

e.l.f Cosmetics Stay All Night Micro-Fine Setting Mist
e.l.f Cosmetics
Stay All Night Micro-Fine Setting Mist
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Budget-Friendly
Bottom Line

A setting spray that is designed to keep makeup in place throughout the day and into the evening.

Pros

Can be used on the whole body. Refreshing mist adds a bit of moisture with the cucumber fruit extract, aloe, and green tea extract ingredients. Made to last for up to 16 hours. Is vegan and cruelty-free. Comes in a 2.7-ounce bottle.

Cons

Spray can feel sticky. A few reports of the bottle getting clogged.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested Cover FX High Performance Setting Spray to be sure that it’s worthy of our recommendation. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.

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Buying guide for Best makeup setting sprays

When you take the time to do your makeup, you want to be sure that it will last all day. As the hours pass, your skin’s natural oils can cause makeup to fade, crease, and break down. With a makeup setting spray, your makeup will last longer with fewer touch-ups.

Many makeup setting sprays contain polymers that form a waterproof coating over your makeup. Alcohol is another common ingredient because it can help soak up your skin’s natural oils to prevent them from breaking down your makeup. If you have dry skin, a makeup setting spray with hydrating ingredients will keep your skin moisturized so that your makeup doesn’t become patchy or cakey.

If you want your makeup to look fabulous all day (or night), it all comes down to choosing the best setting spray. That means taking your skin type into consideration, deciding on the right formula, and selecting the most flattering finish, among other factors.

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If you go a little overboard with your face powder, a light misting of makeup setting spray can tone down the powdery look in an instant.

Key considerations

Types of makeup setting sprays

Makeup setting sprays generally fall into two categories: those meant to prolong the wear of your makeup and those meant to melt together powder products for a smooth, hydrated finish.

Makeup setting sprays designed for longevity prevent sweat and oil from breaking down your makeup. They can also keep your makeup from transferring or becoming cakey. These setting sprays can make your makeup appear less powdery as well. Many also make your makeup waterproof, which is ideal in warmer weather.

Makeup setting sprays designed to melt together your powder products and hydrate your skin are sometimes called fixing sprays. These sprays add an immediate glow to the skin and can stop your makeup from looking patchy over the course of the day, but they generally don’t extend the wear of your makeup.

Skin type

Your skin type is what determines what you need in a makeup setting spray. That’s because oily skin and dry skin have very different issues when it comes to keeping makeup in place, so you need to choose a makeup setting spray that addresses your particular concerns.

If you have oily skin, excess oil from your skin is usually the main culprit in making your makeup fade, crease, and melt off. Opt for a setting spray with polymers that can stop the natural oils in your skin from breaking down your makeup. It should be able to soak up excess oil so your makeup doesn’t become cakey or start looking greasy throughout the day. It should be oil-free and may contain alcohol.

If you have dry skin, you don’t have to be concerned about excess oil breaking down your makeup. Instead, you need to worry about your skin becoming dehydrated, which can cause your makeup to fade and cling to flaky patches. Opt for a setting spray with hydrating ingredients, such as humectants like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or butylene glycol, to keep your makeup looking fresh and smooth. You should avoid settings sprays that contain alcohol because they can strip moisture from the skin.

If you have normal skin, your face isn’t too oily or too dry. That means nearly any setting spray can work to keep your makeup looking fabulous all day.

Features

Finish

Most makeup setting sprays have a matte finish, which means that they don’t add any shine or glow to your skin. A matte finish is ideal for oily skin because it absorbs excess oil and prevents your makeup from looking greasy or cakey throughout the day.

You can also find some makeup setting sprays, usually fixing sprays, with a dewy, glowy, or radiant finish, which helps keep your makeup from looking dull and dry. These tend to be more hydrating formulas, so they’re well-suited for dry or mature skin.

Fine mist

All makeup setting sprays come in spray bottles, but the fineness of their mists varies. If a setting spray does not have a fine mist, the drops that hit your face may be too large and cause splotches in your makeup. A fine mist, on the other hand, casts incredibly small droplets over your face, so it doesn’t disturb your makeup and ensures that your face is evenly covered with the spray.

Wear time

Many makeup setting sprays claim a specific length of time that you can expect the product to preserve the look of your makeup. Some formulas offer 12 hours of wear time, while other sprays promise up to 24 hours of wear.

SPF

Since setting spray is usually the last step in your makeup routine, it’s always a good idea to choose a formula that contains SPF. A makeup setting spray with SPF also allows you to reapply sunscreen throughout the day without disturbing your makeup. For the most protection, opt for a setting spray with at least SPF 15.

Scent

Like many cosmetic products, makeup setting sprays often have a subtle scent. Most have a clean scent that isn’t overpowering, but if you’re sensitive to fragrance or have sensitive skin, opt for a fragrance-free spray instead.

Makeup setting spray prices

Makeup setting sprays vary in price based on the quality of their ingredients and the size of the bottle. Most sprays range from $3 to $38.

Inexpensive

The most affordable makeup setting sprays are usually found at the drugstore and typically contain a higher concentration of alcohol. They generally cost between $3 and $15.

Mid-range

Mid-range makeup setting sprays may contain alcohol but also feature other ingredients like polymers that are better for your skin. They usually range from $15 to $26.

Expensive

The most expensive makeup setting sprays contain many high-quality ingredients, including those that hydrate the skin. They typically cost between $26 and $38.

Tips

  • Before you apply makeup setting spray, shake the bottle well to make sure all the ingredients are fully combined.

  • Hold the bottle approximately 10 to 12 inches from your face, and spray in an X pattern to evenly cover your skin.

  • If your setting spray is taking a little too long to dry, help it along by fanning your face or using the cool setting on your blow dryer to lightly dry your face.

  • Instead of using water to wet your makeup sponge, try dampening it with setting spray to ensure your foundation really stays in place.

  • Give your eyeshadow a foiled, metallic look by spraying your shadow brush with setting spray before picking up the shadow.

  • For the longest-wearing makeup, use a primer under your foundation, set liquid foundation with translucent powder, and finish your look with setting spray.
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You can also use makeup setting spray as a primer. Mist your face before you apply foundation and after you finish your makeup.

FAQ

Q. Is makeup setting spray bad for your skin?

A. If you choose a setting spray that contains a high concentration of alcohol, it can be potentially damaging to your skin. Using alcohol on your face daily can strip your skin of natural moisture and leave you with a dry, flaky complexion. It’s particularly hard on dry skin, but even oily skin can become dry if you use an alcohol-laden setting spray daily.

Q. When should I apply makeup setting spray?

A. Setting spray is typically the last step in your makeup routine. That means you should apply it after foundation, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer, highlighter, eye makeup, and lipstick. However, if you really need your makeup to be budge-proof, you can spritz your face several times during your makeup routine to lock it in place. You can also apply setting spray throughout the day to help refresh your makeup when necessary.

Q. How much makeup setting spray should I apply?

A. Less is more with setting spray, so you don’t want to saturate your face with it. Two to three sprays should be enough to cover your entire face.

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