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A setting spray is probably one of those makeup products that aren’t a part of your daily routine. Rather, it’s an occasional add-on, something you reach for on special occasions when makeup meltdown is simply not an option. But for those whose complexion veers towards the perpetually slick side, setting sprays could, and should, be a standby staple. Simply put, a few spritzes can mean the difference between a day-long battle with unwanted sheen and complexion perfection. (And really, which would you rather?)
Since not all setting sprays are created equal, there a few key points to remember when choosing one best suited for oily skin. Avoid anything touted as "hydrating" or "moisturizing" or where words such as "dewy" or "luminescent" are involved. Your mission is to mattify, so seek out oil-free spritzes that will tamp down shine and keep unwanted oil at bay. When using one, make it the final step in your makeup routine, the cherry on top of the sundae, as it were. Holding the bottle six to eight inches away from your face (you want to ensure a fine mist hits your skin and not too much liquid), spray in an ‘X’ then ‘T’ shape. This will concentrate most of the product on the areas of your face that tend to get the oiliest.
Try any of the setting sprays for oily skin below and make makeup meltdown a thing of the past.
Best Overall: NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray Matte
You’ve likely seen this touted somewhere on the Internet; it repeatedly gets tons of online buzz from devoted fans. Lightweight and long-lasting, it leaves the perfect matte finish. Also nice: The formula is completely vegan and cruelty-free, too. The ultra-affordable price is the icing on the cake.
What Our Testers Say
"By mid-day, my forehead and nose are usually pretty oily and I use blot tissue to minimize the shine, but I found that the spray did a good job of keeping my skin fairly matte that I didn’t need to blot my skin until the early evening. Needless to say, I was impressed." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester
Best Cooling: Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray
Setting sprays may come and go, but this one remains a perpetual fan favorite among Byrdie editors and pro makeup artists alike. Not only does it reduce shine and keep your skin matte (Fun fact: In a study, 85% of participants said it was the longest-lasting oil-control product they’ve ever used), but it also truly locks makeup in place. Credit temperature control technology, which cools it to ensure it doesn’t budge. Cool, indeed.
Best Lightweight: Skindinavia The Makeup Oil Control Finishing Spray
Working to effectively set both powders and liquids in place, this is a staple for many makeup artists who work on film and TV sets (because hot lights are a recipe for makeup meltdown). It works by essentially forming a lightweight film on top of the skin, which slowly evaporates, removing heat with it, to keep products in place. We know, "film" sounds like a recipe for clogged pores, but don’t stress, the product is both non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic.
Best Soothing: Volition Beauty Oil-Control Mattifying Mist
For those dealing with the oh-so-fun combo of oily and sensitive skin, this is a major win. Infused with rose water to tamp down redness, it also has an amino acid complex that helps keep your skin’s pH balanced, a major component in the quest for complexion perfection. But yes, it combats oil, too. A humectant powder does the seemingly oxymoronic job of both removing excess oil and simultaneously attracting just the right amount of moisture to the skin. Because matte is good but chalky and cracking is not.
Best Drugstore: Maybelline Lasting Fix Makeup Setting Spray
Once upon a time, not so long ago, you may have been hard-pressed to find an effective setting spray at the drugstore. Happily, that’s not the case anymore. A few quick spritzes of this drugstore staple keeps makeup in place and skin matte all day long, no big spending required.
Best With SPF: Coola Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30
In case you haven't heard, you're supposed to reapply sunscreen every two hours. It's an admittedly tough goal, but one made notably easier thanks to this spray. The formula (which is 70% organic, we should add) offers all-important SPF 30 while also absorbing shine and minimizing the look of pores. While sprays aren't the most effective formula for solely protecting your skin from damaging rays, they can help ward off rays, keep grease at bay, and makeup set.
Best Matte: Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray
Two superstar ingredients, kaolin clay and ancient African tree bark, work together to leave your complexion totally shine-free. Alcohol-free and quick-drying, it still feels comfortable on the skin. You can use it as a finishing spray, for sure, but you can also mist it on a brush or sponge before applying foundation or concealer to mattify the formula, too.
Best Oil-Absorbing: Boscia White Charcoal Mattifying Makeup Setting Spray
Activated charcoal is created from carbon-rich materials burned at high temperatures, like coal, coconut shells, and wood. In skincare, there are claims that it binds to and removes impurities from the skin, but more research is needed.
Charcoal is a well-known oil-fighting ingredient, but this spritz doesn’t use any old kind of charcoal. Here you’ll find Binchotan white charcoal, a unique type derived from Japanese oak trees that’s even better at absorbing unwanted oil. As if that weren’t enough, artichoke leaf extract minimizes the look of pores and black tea offers up some serious antioxidant protection. Try using it on clean skin before any other skincare, right before makeup, or as a finishing step.
Runner-Up, Best Oil-Absorbing: The Body Shop Mint Mattifying Face Mist
Seaweed is a very powerful concentration of seawater and is able to uptake minerals by absorption and active transport from seawater. Because of these processes, some seaweeds have a dense concentration of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and lipids, which all pose benefits for the skin.
Along with oil-absorbing kaolin clay, this also touts mint extract, a natural astringent—the double whammy means excess sheen doesn’t stand a chance. That mint also makes this feel fresh and cooling, making it a solid choice for hot days or after sweaty workouts. It also contains vitamin- and mineral-rich seaweed and is dermatologically-tested to work on all skin types, not just the oily crowd.
Best Two-in-One: Rimmel London Stay Matte Fix & Go Primer & Spray
There’s nothing we don’t like about a good multi-tasker, and this is no exception. Bookend your makeup routine with this oil-free mist; the first spritz acts as a primer to prep your complexion, the final spritz seals makeup in place. It’s also infused with cucumber extract to keep skin nice and soft, not to mention rings in at a very wallet-friendly price.
Best Blurring: Too Faced Peach Mist Mattifying Setting Spray
The goal of a mattifying setting spray is to lock in makeup and tamp down shine, but what if it could do even more to leave your skin flawless? This one offers a soft-focus finish that instantly and seamlessly blurs away imperfections. It’s like an Insta filter IRL, but even better, since you get 12 hours of shine control, too. Bonus points for the yummy peach and fig scent. Top tip: Make sure to give it a good shake for a few seconds before spritzing.
Best Long-Wear: Milani Make It Last 3-in-1 Setting Spray
One of Byrdie editors' favorite drugstore setting sprays, you can spray this onto skin before or after makeup application (or both). Either way, you get up to a whopping 16 hours of staying power, with no creases, smudges, caking, or creasing in sight.