We've all been there: You put extra time and care into flawlessly blending and buffing your foundation, meticulously lining your lash line with kohl eyeliner, and painting on your favorite lipstick. Then, maybe the heat or nerves has caused beads of sweat to drip down your forehead and above your upper lip. Before you know it, your makeup is smudged and runny, and there's no opportunity for you to do some quick damage control.
Luckily, there's an extremely easy way to avoid messing up your makeup. Enter makeup setting sprays. These ultra-fine mists lock your look in place without feeling like you have an extra layer of product on your face. "The main purpose of setting spray is essentially to set your makeup and increase the longevity of wear," professional makeup artist Jonet Williamson tells InStyle. "Some setting sprays are formulated to also help with oil control."
That being said, there's a ton of makeup setting sprays out there, and each comes with their own set of benefits to suit various skin types and makeup styles. Here, we've rounded up the 15 best makeup setting sprays you can always rely on to keep your makeup fresh.
The 15 Best Setting Sprays of 2021
How to Use a Setting Spray
Regardless of your makeup expertise, Williamson assures that setting sprays can fit seamlessly into your existing routine. "Ideally, you'll want this to be the final step in your makeup routine and should be sprayed about six inches from your face so that it falls lightly onto the skin," she explains. For some, it might be beneficial to prime their skin with a spritz or two or finish up with a sweep of powder to really refine the complexion and create long-wearing results. "A trick that I like to do for my clients with oily skin is to spray a layer of setting spray before and after makeup," Williamson adds. "For makeup that holds up under masks, I'd suggest double setting, which means using a setting powder and spray."
It's also important to note that setting spray isn't exclusive to the complexion; it can also be applied to the eyes and lips. In addition to locking your glam in place, Williamson recommends using a setting spray to take your eyeshadow to new heights. "Setting sprays can also come in handy when doing your eye makeup," she says. "It can turn a matte shadow into a cream liner and intensify the color payoff of shimmery shadows."
How to Find the Right Setting Spray for Your Skin
As we've mentioned before, there are a lot of setting sprays to choose from. When it comes to selecting the right formula, Williamson suggests starting with the ingredient list. From there, you can tailor it to your skin's needs and your glam style. "With anything skincare related I always highly suggest paying attention to the ingredients and what it is formulated to do," she shares. "I believe there's a setting spray for every skin type. If you're someone with drier skin you'll want to use a setting spray with hydrating ingredients like essential oils and hyaluronic acid for added moisture. For oily skin, you may want to use a setting spray that will also help control oil and shine on the skin."
Below, learn more about how the best setting sprays work so you can incorporate one into your makeup routine.
Best Overall: Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray
Perfect for: All skin types
Perks: Lasts 16 hours, soaks up shine, has a skin-like finish
The MVP of setting sprays, this Urban Decay product remains a favorite among makeup artists and beauty lovers alike because it's safe for all skin types. Although, oily skin will love that it's infused with kaolin clay for excess oil and shine control. "I love the satin finish, which for me doesn't interrupt my glow, but for more oily skin you still don't have to worry about getting too dewy," celebrity makeup artist Amber Amos previously told InStyle. The microfine mist is lightweight and holds makeup in place for up to 16 hours, which means that you can "set it and forget it," as Amos put it. Reviewers have given it an impressive 4.7-star rating and noted that it's also incredibly transfer-resistant.
To buy: $33; ulta.com.
Best SPF: Milani Cosmetics Make It Last Sunscreen Spray SPF 30
Perfect for: Normal-to-dry skin, or anyone that wants to have an SPF spray handy
Perks: Protects you from the sun, hydrates and improves radiance, last 16 hours
Yes, no one wants their makeup to melt off their face, but protecting your skin against sun damage is more important than a flawless face of foundation. Luckily, Milani has combined makeup setting spray and SPF 30 into a single product. This micro mist locks makeup in place for up to 16 hours, hydrates, and shields skin from UVA/UVB rays. Fans of the SPF setting spray love its lightweight feel and glow-boosting formula.
To buy: $14; ulta.com.
Best for Dewy Skin: Tatcha Luminous Dewy Mist
Perfect for: Dry, dull, and mature skin types
Perks: Gives your skin that lit-from-within dewy glow while keeping it hydrated and nourished
This mist is a must-have for anyone (OK all of us) who are after that elusive lit-from-within glow. Made with humectants and botanical oils, use the hydrating formula as a primer before applying makeup or refresh your skin throughout the day to keep your makeup from getting dry and cakey. And, it even helps fight aging using amino acids and other ingredients that encourage collagen production, which translates to a radiant and dewy complexion. According to reviewers, it's "pure magic," just as "hydrating as lotion," and makes their skin look plumper.
To buy: $48; tatcha.com.
Best Matte: NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray
Perfect for: Oily and acne-prone skin types
Perks: Fights shine, blurs pores, and locks in makeup for 24 hours
If you have oily skin, you're familiar with melty, runny makeup. This popular NYX spray sets makeup while mattifying skin, combating shine, and minimizing the appearance of pores. And it keeps your glam locked in and perfect all day long without letting sweat, texture, or dry spots ruin your look. No wonder it's got more than 45,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. In fact, a lot of reviewers said it works better than some of the pricier setting sprays on the market.
To buy: $9; amazon.com.
Best for Long-Wear: L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Make-Up Extender
Perfect for: All skin types, especially those with oily, acne-prone, or mature skin.
Perks: Lasts up to 24 hours, doesn't settle into fine lines, oil-free formula doesn't cause breakouts
If you're looking for a setting spray that doesn't budge, we've got just the one for you. L'Oréal's spray is a standout because the lightweight mist keeps makeup looking freshly applied for hours on end — 24 to be exact. Unlike others, it extends the wear of your makeup without causing it to cake, crease, or settle into fine lines, which is great news for those with mature skin. Bonus: The formula is oil-free and non-comedogenic, so rest assured it won't clog pores and lead to breakouts or cause irritation. Hundreds of reviewers vouched for its all-day hold, with many praising the formula for keeping their makeup from slipping, even on hot summer days.
To buy: $12 (Originally $17); amazon.com.
Best Primer: MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Primer & Setting Spray
Perfect for: All skin types, especially dry and sensitive skin
Perks: 12-hour coverage, creates a dewy glow, preps skin for makeup, calms redness
This two-in-one product primes skin for smooth, even makeup application and keeps it fresh for 12 hours when used to set. It also works as a great pick-me-up for your skin throughout the day thanks to its refreshing formula, which reviewers say gives your skin a dewy sheen. Packed with green tea, chamomile, and cucumber, the spray also soothes and calms redness, making it a great option for sensitive skin, too. This versatile spray can also help improve the pigment of your favorite eyeshadows — just mist the bristles of your brush with the Prep + Prime Fix+ Primer & Setting Spray before applying to make your eyes really pop.
To buy: $30; nordstrom.com.
Best Waterproof: Hourglass Veil Setting Spray
Perfect for: Dry and mature skin types
Perks: Doesn't budge for up to 24 hours, minimizes imperfections, gives skin a smooth, dewy finish
It might seem counterintuitive, but spritzing this setting spray on your face after you've finished applying your makeup will make your look waterproof for up to 24 hours. The water-resistant formula also gives skin a smooth finish and blurs imperfections. Plus, it gives skin a shot of hydration and a glazed doughnut-level dewiness. Fans of this setting spray say its all-day hold is no joke, and that it's great for making your concealer crease-proof.
To buy: $48; sephora.com.
Best for Touchups: Fenty Beauty What it Dew Makeup Refreshing Spray
Perfect for: All skin types
Perks: Primes skin for makeup, locks in moisture, keeps makeup from creasing and caking
OK, this might technically be a face mist, but it was created with the sole purpose of reviving and refreshing makeup throughout the day. Better yet, you can spritz it on your face before reaching for your makeup to create a hydrated, dewy base for your foundation and concealer. Fenty Beauty fans love the mist's lightweight and fast-absorbing formula, which leaves their skin feeling dewy rather than slick. It's also got a revitalizing rose scent that's equal parts energizing and calming.
To buy: $30; fentybeauty.com.
Best Hydrating: Rare Beauty Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Prime & Set Mist
Perfect for: All skin types, especially dry and dull skin
Perks: Primes, sets, and refreshes skin, hydrates and plumps, boosts glow
This multitasking spray from Rare Beauty takes care of your skin during every phase of your glam, starting at prep and carrying you throughout the day. It's formulated with dryness-quenching ingredients that lock in moisture and make the skin look more supple as it smooths away signs of texture and extends the wear of your makeup. The spray is so hydrating that it can be used to refresh your makeup and keep your skin moisturized for hours. Reviewers say it keeps their makeup in place during hot, sweaty days and even gives their skin a lasting glow.
To buy: $24; sephora.com.
Best Drugstore: Maybelline Facestudio Lasting Fix Makeup Setting Spray
Perfect for: All skin types, but especially oily skin
Perks: Last 16 hours, soaks up oil, blurs pores, mattifies skin without losing its natural texture
Looking for something that will work that doesn't come with a price tag? This affordable spray from Maybelline has a 16-hour hold that improves the wear of your makeup while making it look freshly applied. With its mattifying formula, it's able to control shine and blur the look of pores and other sources of texture in the skin. But it does so without making things feel overdried or look creasy, which is courtesy of its breathable, skin-like finish. Amazon shoppers were also excited to share that its transfer-resistant and sweat-proof.
To buy: $8; amazon.com.
Best Alcohol-Free: Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Setting + Refreshing Spray
Perfect for: All skin types, but dry and sensitive skin types will really love it
Perks: Offers 12 hours of coverage, refreshes skin throughout the day, moisturizes and brightens skin
Whether your skin can't hang with alcohol-based skincare products or you simply don't want the ingredient in your setting spray, the Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Setting + Refreshing Spray helps you skip it altogether and protect your glam. With blue agave extract at the center, the two-in-one formula, which can be used as a setting spray and a midday refresher mist, hydrates your skin while keeping your makeup fresh for up to 12 hours. This ingredient is also known for its plumping abilities, and when combined with other hydrators like hyaluronic acid, hemp-derived cannabis seed extract, and moringa seed oil, it gives the skin a dewy, supple glow. Sensitive skin types can also enjoy the soothing benefits of aloe, whereas dull skin types will be all about the brightening niacinamide.
To buy: $36; sephora.com.
Best Airbrush Finish: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Makeup Setting Spray
Perfect for: All skin types, especially dull, textured, or mature skin
Perks: Primes skin for makeup, melt- and fade-resistant for up to 16 hours, blurs pores, softens lines, hydrates skin
Rising to fame on TikTok for its long-lasting hold and Instagram filter-like results, the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Makeup Setting Spray perfects your complexion with its 16-hour hold. Designed to be used as a primer and setting spray, it gives your skin the hydration it needs for a healthy glow as it blurs away pores, softens the look of fine lines, and improves the wear of your makeup. No fading or melting here! According to reviewers, their makeup has never looked better. But if you're prone to oil, many say following up with a powder will keep any shine under control.
To buy: $35; nordstrom.com.
Best Pore-Blurring: Benefit Cosmetics The Porefessional: Super Setter Pore-Minimizing Setting Spray
Perfect for: All skin types, especially those with oily and acne-prone skin
Perks: Locks makeup in for 16 hours, refines pores, waterproof and smudge-resistant, soft-focus mattifying effect, controls oil
If pores are your main concern, this texture-blurring setting spray will help smooth them away in addition to enhancing your glam. Its long-wearing formula keeps your makeup fresh, locked in, and fade-, transfer-, and smudge-resistant for up to 16 hours. Beauty lovers with oily skin don't have to worry about shine interrupting their day thanks to its mattifying effect, which leaves the skin with an airbrushed, soft-focus finish. "This setting spray literally holds my makeup in place even after sweating all day," one reviewer wrote. Another added, "The mist is so fine, you're like 'is this thing even working?!' But then your face is fully coated in it like magic."
To buy: $32; ulta.com.
Best Transfer-Resistant: Ben Nye Final Seal Matte Makeup Sealer
Perfect for: Oily skin types looking for shine control, or anyone that's tired of smudging their makeup all over their face mask.
Perks: Soaks up oil, keeps makeup safe from smudging, sweat-resistant and waterproof, all-day coverage
One of Williamson's favorites, this expert-approved formula is designed to lock in your makeup, making it resistant to everything from sweat and caking to smudging and transferring. In fact, it's commonly used on performers to keep their glam from sweating off while on stage. "It's a pro makeup artist go-to for makeup that will not move," she says. The mattifying setting spray also works wonders on those with oily skin by refining their pores and controlling shine. According to reviewers, this heavy-duty spray is a force to be reckoned with, especially if you're someone who always ends up with makeup on their clothes or face mask. "I've had the worst problems with makeup transfer forever," one wrote. "This has saved my life. Your makeup will not move with this."
To buy: $32; amazon.com.
Best with Anti-Aging Benefits: Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Perfect for: Mature, dry skin types
Perks: Sets makeup, primes skin, works as a toner, enhances radiance, refines pores
This versatile spray improves the look of lines and texture with its skin-refining formula, which smooths, blurs, and brightens the complexion. Not only is it great for minimizing imperfections, but it also helps prevent the common signs of aging using antioxidant-rich ingredients like grape extract. It can be used as a setting spray, or as a midday touch-up spray for skin that's lacking in moisture. Many reviewers say it also works as a balancing toner, adding that it makes their skin feel like it's just been to the spa.
To buy: $49; amazon.com or dermstore.com.
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