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.
Too greasy for those with oily skin.
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.
A lot of problems with the spray nozzle clogging up and spraying unevenly.
Weightless mist helps perfect and set makeup. Refreshing spray that’s very hydrating and luminous. Boosts dry and dull skin to make it radiant. Keeps makeup matte. Pleasant smell.
Some reports that it made pores too visible.
Very fine, lightweight micro-mist that locks in makeup and prevents smudges. Makes skin look refreshed and dewy. No sticky residue. Vegan and cruelty-free.
Some found it worked better with liquid makeup rather than powder, which it didn’t set as well.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
When you take the time to do your makeup, you want to be sure that it will last all day. But 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.
Our buying guide covers everything you need to consider when shopping for makeup setting sprays. For our five favorite setting sprays, see the matrix above.
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.
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.
Tried-and-true setting spray that keeps makeup vibrant all day
There’s a reason why so many makeup junkies love the Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray: because it works. Its weightless formula is oil- and paraben-free and suitable for a wide range of skin types. This makeup setting spray helps preserve your makeup in all weather for up to 16 hours, so you never have to worry about your makeup fading, melting, or settling into your fine lines or pores. We also love that the product is 100% cruelty-free.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Want a truly blinding highlight? Spray the tops of your cheekbones with makeup setting spray, and then apply your highlighter over the wet spray for an intense look.
In the summer, store your makeup setting spray in the refrigerator to chill it for a refreshing cool mist.
There’s no need to rub makeup setting spray into your skin. Mist it over your skin, and allow it to dry to lock your makeup in place.
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.
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 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.
The most expensive makeup setting sprays contain many high-quality ingredients, including those that hydrate the skin. They typically cost between $26 and $38.
Mostly organic setting spray with SPF that’s ideal for sensitive skin
The COOLA Green Tea and Aloe SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray is a 70% organic formula that’s hypoallergenic and paraben-free. It contains cucumber and aloe vera extracts to help soothe and calm sensitive skin, and it has a natural green tea scent that won’t irritate the skin. We also love that it’s infused with hyaluronic acid for all-day hydration. But the best feature of this makeup setting spray is that it offers sun protection with SPF 30.
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.
With so many makeup setting spray formulas to choose from, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an option that suits your skin type and makeup preferences. The Milani Make It Last Matte Charcoal Setting Spray is ideal for oily skin because it contains charcoal and silica that can absorb excess oil and keep your skin matte for up to 16 hours. We also love the Too Faced Hangover Rx 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer and Setting Spray for normal to dry skin because it contains coconut water to help hydrate and brighten the skin. It can also be used to prime your face before you apply makeup, so it’s a highly versatile option.
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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