If you want your makeup to last all day, finishing with a setting spray is a must. The best setting spray will bring all the different layers of your makeup together into one perfectly blended look for long-lasting, flawless coverage. Applying setting spray is the last step in a long-wear foundation routine. It helps set creams and powders in place and locks in your makeup. If you’re new to this underrated yet important makeup step, here’s what you need to know about setting sprays and how they work.
What is a setting spray?
A setting spray is a liquid fine mist used to help extend the wear of your makeup look. Similar to a top coat for nails or a finishing hairspray for hair, a setting spray seals in your makeup, creating a barrier between your makeup and the outside world. Under this protective layer, your makeup stays looking freshly applied for hours.
If you have oil-prone skin some setting sprays can help control the appearance of oily skin with a mattifying shine. Other setting sprays give those with dry skin a radiant glow that shines for hours. Most setting sprays contain water to help hydrate the skin, which helps tone down the cakey look of powders. They also come with specialized polymers to help seal the makeup on your skin. Using a setting spray at the very end of your makeup not only keeps your makeup looking fresh for hours on end, but also prevents your makeup from accidentally sliding, smudging, or creasing too quickly.
Do setting sprays actually work?
Setting sprays help melt your makeup into your skin for a more natural finish while at the same time extending the wear and pigmentation of your look. According to celebrity makeup artist James Vincent, setting spray is a must-have in every professional makeup artist’s kit to help make your makeup last. “[Setting spray] can reduce shine and give a more natural finish while adding extra staying power,” he says. “They can be spritzed over the entire face for a soft setting or added onto a sponge or beauty blender for more control.” Depending on how much makeup you wear on a daily basis, you might not necessarily want or need a setting spray to keep your face in place. If you’re attending a special occasion like a wedding, a setting spray is a can’t-miss final step.
Whether you’re looking for a setting spray to help mattify your makeup or add a dewy glow to your skin, there are so many long-wearing setting sprays to lock in your makeup. Read on to find the best setting sprays for every skin type and makeup style.
The best setting sprays
1. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray
This Charlotte Tilbury setting spray keeps makeup in place, especially for those with oily or acne-prone skin types who struggle with the dreaded melting makeup effect. The hydrating oil-free formula creates an invisible shield between your skin and the environment, protecting your look from fading or smudging for up to 16 hours. If you don’t want the effort of perfecting your complexion to go to waste, this lux setting spray will come in handy.
2. Kate Somerville Uncomplikated Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray
Did you know you’re supposed to reapply sunscreen throughout the day? Sunscreens are broken down by the effects of direct exposure to daylight, so if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, you’ll want to reapply your sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage. This aerosol makeup setting spray does it all: It sets makeup, reduces shine, and delivers see-through broad-spectrum SPF 50 sun protection for all-day coverage.
3. Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Setting + Refreshing Spray
If you’re looking for a setting spray that’ll ensure your base doesn’t budge, this one has you covered. This dual-phase setting and refreshing spray utilizes blue agave extract to bind makeup to the skin. The second phase is made up of hydrating cannabis and moringa seed oils, giving your skin a glass-like glow. Together, it creates a strong-hold setting spray that keeps your makeup looking radiant and locked in place.
4. Hard Candy Stay N Slay Setting Spray
Featuring hyaluronic acid and agave nectar, this drugstore setting spray was named the best setting spray as part of our 2022 Healthy Beauty Awards for its ability to extend the wear of your makeup. It’s both mattifying and moisturizing, which makes it ideal for anyone who wants to prevent their face from getting shiny throughout the day, no matter their skin type. Our tester used it to apply a shimmery eyeshadow and was pleasantly surprised to find that the sheen didn’t dull as the day went on.
5. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
If you love a full face of makeup, there’s a good chance you already know just how good this setting spray is–but if you don’t, allow us to introduce you to one of the best setting sprays from the vegan beauty brand Urban Decay. Put simply, it just works. The fine mist sets makeup in place for up to 16 hours, so you don’t have to worry about your makeup slipping and sliding around all over your face. This longstanding favorite won’t let you down and will keep your look locked in place.
6. Youthforia Pregame Setting Spray
What makes this super fine setting spray special is its slightly pink color, which helps give vibrancy to dull or sallow skin. The flexible polymers in this unique formula create a thin layer on top of your makeup to protect it from environmental pollutants, which can end up ruining your makeup. Infused with 10% glycerin and hyaluronic acid, it hydrates dry skin while improving the look and wear of your makeup.
7. NYX Professional Makeup Makeup Setting Spray
If you’re on a budget, this lightweight setting spray adheres to your makeup, providing a long-lasting hold with a shine-free matte finish. For those with oily skin, adding a spritz of setting spray underneath your foundation can help control the appearance of oil production.
8. MAC Fix+ Stay Over Alcohol-Free 16Hr Setting Spray
MAC Fix+ is a longtime favorite of professional makeup artists, and dare we say this new and improved formula is even better than the original. Formulated with antioxidants, Fix+ Stay Over uses microscopic film-former particles to freeze your makeup in place, keeping the color and pigments bright for up to 16 hours.
9. Milani Make It Last 3-in-1 Setting Spray and Primer
This setting spray from Milani makes your makeup go further and stay on longer. It doubles as both a primer and a setting spray, so you can use it before or after applying your foundation. Applying it before creates a hydrating base for the makeup to adhere to the skin, applying it after helps set your look, and applying it throughout the day gives your face a quick refresh. The ultra-fine mist might have you believe that this drugstore find is more expensive than it actually is, but it’s well worth the affordable price. Best of all, you only need one to two spritzes for your entire face.
10. Hourglass Veil Setting Spray
Usually, people with oily or acne-prone skin gravitate towards a mattifying setting spray in order to get the most long-wearing coverage, but not everyone loves a matte finish. With this Hourglass setting spray, you can get water-resistant protection with a radiant finish that sets your makeup in place for up to 24 hours. It has a blurring effect, which means it’s also great for someone with dry skin who doesn’t want to use powder but wants to even out their skin texture. Suitable for every skin type, this spray provides long-lasting makeup wear and a naturally radiant appearance.
11. Morphe Continuous Setting Mist
If you love a fine mist in a setting spray, this Morphe setting spray is for you. The aerosol spray feels weightless on the skin but creates a strong yet flexible seal, extending the wear time of your makeup and allowing you to use a minimal amount of product for maximum hold.
12. Rare Beauty Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Prime & Set Mist
Glow and set in one simple step with this multifunctional setting spray from Rare Beauty. It’s infused with skin-loving ingredients like niacinamide and sodium hyaluronate to prime, hydrate, refresh, and set your makeup in place. It leaves behind a radiant, naturally glowing finish that’s never too matte.
13. One/Size by Patrick Starrr On ‘Til Dawn Mattifying Waterproof Setting Spray
For nights when you don’t want your makeup to budge, reach for this One/Size setting spray. It acts like a magnet, locking onto your makeup and covering it in a microfine aerosol mist that prevents it from moving or fading for up to 16 hours. The rub-proof formula absorbs oil and blurs texture for all-day extended makeup wear without ever having to touch it up.
14. E.L.F. Cosmetics Stay All Night Micro-Fine Setting Mist
This budget-friendly setting spray extends the life of your makeup look without being overly drying. Infused with cucumber, aloe, and green tea extract, it hydrates and soothes dry, sensitive skin while keeping your makeup looking fresh and flawless.
15. Tower 28 Beauty SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray
The Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray is more than a setting spray—it’s also a soothing skin treatment with the ability to tone down redness and irritation. It contains hypochlorous acid, a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredient used to promote skin healing and repair. For those with sensitive skin, this setting spray can be used before, during, and after makeup application to calm red and reactive skin.
16. Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Hydrating Setting Spray
Dry skin types will love this hydrating setting spray from Make Up For Ever. The formula is 90% water, which dry skin will drink up, leaving your complexion looking refreshed and radiant. This pro-loved makeup setting spray can be used to prep, set, and refresh your makeup anytime you need an extra boost.