These 13 Setting Sprays Are the MVPs of Makeup Hold

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Whether it’s a major event, a night out with friends, or just an abnormally long day, there are certain times when makeup touch-ups just aren’t going to be in the cards. Enter the beauty of a good setting spray.

A quick mist of one of these as the final step in your makeup routine is all it takes to ensure makeup lockdown, setting your look for hours on end. There are surprisingly more options out there than you might think, and not all setting sprays are created equal.

So rather than just pick up the first setting spray you see, read on for this list of the best setting sprays, tailored exactly to what you need.

Best Overall: Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

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Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Makeup looks fresh for hours

  • Wears comfortably

What We Don't Like
  • Can feel sticky at first

This staple is a universal favorite, beloved by many a beauty editor. The oil-free formula works great on all skin types, though it does have a mattifying and anti-shine effect that those with oily complexions will definitely appreciate. Still, the microfine mist is lightweight and breathable and sets makeup in place for up to 16 hours.

Size: 1 / 4 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Finish: Natural | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"Not surprisingly, All Nighter blew past my expectations and I had makeup that didn’t budge for the entire day." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester

If your skin does skew oily, use this spray both under and over your makeup, as the first and last step in your routine.

Most Popular: NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray Matte

4
NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray, Matte
What We Like
  • Feels weightless

  • Great value

  • Regulates oil

  • Keeps skin hydrated

What We Don't Like
  • Can feel sticky

Those with oily skin are arguably the most prone to experiencing makeup meltdown, making a setting spray even more of an essential. This one—which was the number one setting spray in America in 2020, according to Nielsen data—is choice. One quick spray locks makeup in place while also mattifying the skin and combating shine instantly, and helping to minimize the look of pores in the process, too.

Size: 2 fl. oz | Scent: None | Finish: Matte | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"With such an all-star ingredient and hydrating properties, NYX's Professional Makeup Setting Spray Matte struck a solid balance between nourishing my skin and keeping my oiliness at bay." — Khera Alexander, Product Tester

Best Drugstore: Maybelline Lasting Fix Makeup Setting Spray

Maybelline Lasting Fix Makeup Setting Spray
What We Like
  • Great value

  • Keeps makeup fresh all day

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

There are plenty of setting sprays to be found at the drugstore, but this one takes first place in our book. Dermatologist- and allergy-tested, it’s a good fit even for sensitive skin and offers a subtle mattifying effect that lasts all day. And of course, in true drugstore fashion, it’s super affordable.

Size: 3.4 fl. oz | Scent: None | Finish: Matte | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Dewy Finish: Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist

Courtesy of Tatcha

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Makes skin look radiant

  • Won't dry out skin

What We Don't Like
  • May make oily skin look greasy

To achieve that gorgeous, lit-from-within glow everyone and their mother wants, sure, you could load on highlighter galore…or you could just use a quick spritz of this guy. Made with over 20% botanical oils and humectants, it attracts plenty of moisture to your skin to leave it dewy and radiant. Mist it over a foundation that might otherwise read as matte or flat for instant luminosity. The formula also prevents caking.

Size: 0.4 / 1.4 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Finish: Dewy | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Classic: MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ Makeup Setting Spray

MAC Prep+Prime Fix+ Little MAC

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Makes skin look radiant

  • Soothing formula

  • Won't aggravate acne-prone skin

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more long-lasting

There’s a good reason why this has been a staple in the kits of pro makeup artists’ kits for years. It sets makeup and improves wear for 12 hours, and delivers an immediate dose of hydration, as well as skin-soothing green tea, cucumber, and chamomile. Not to mention that it’s also dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested, and non-acnegenic, too.

Size: 1 fl. oz | Scent: Herbal | Finish: Natural | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best With SPF: Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF 50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray

What We Like
  • SPF 50

  • Easy to use

  • Controls oil

What We Don't Like
  • Contains chemical sunscreens

We heart products that make SPF reapplication easy, and this formula definitely falls into that category. The fine mist aerosol sets makeup and reduces shine, hydrates with hyaluronic acid, and even contains silicone powders that create a subtle blurring effect to make skin look that much better. And indeed, you get a dose of SPF 50 to boot.

Size: 3.4 fl. oz | Scent: Floral | Finish: Matte | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Dry Skin: iNNBEAUTY Power Up 3-in-1 Mist

Innbeauty Project Power Up Dual-Phase Mist

Courtesy of Credo

What We Like
  • Multipurpose product

  • Hydrates

  • Makes skin look dewy

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more long-lasting

Part setting spray, part hydrating mist, part toner, this spritz is particularly great for dry skin. The bi-phase formula contains moringa seed oil in the first phase and clarifying witch hazel plus moisturizing aloe and electrolytes in the second. (Be sure to give the bottle a good shake before using to combine the two.) Spray it on to set your makeup, but it’s also worth keeping on hand to use mid-day, or whenever your skin feels dry and needs a little pick-me-up.

Size: 3.4 fl. oz | Scent: Citrus | Finish: Dewy | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Makeup Mist and Set Spray

Elf Makeup Mist & Set

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Great value

  • Nourishing, soothing formula

  • Keeps makeup fresh all day

What We Don't Like
  • Contains parabens

This comes in both a small and large size, ringing in at just a few bucks respectively, a true steal of a deal. Even more so given how effective the formula is at setting makeup, while also nourishing skin with aloe, green tea, cucumber, and vitamins A, C, and E.

Size: 2 fl. oz | Scent: None | Finish: Natural | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Try spraying a little onto your eyeshadow brush before applying shadow to help set it in place and prevent creasing.

Best Multi-Tasker: Fenty Beauty What it Dew Makeup Refreshing Spray

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna What it Dew Makeup Refreshing Spray

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Can be used to prime skin

  • Travel size available

  • Feels refreshing

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more long-lasting

While not a setting spray in the traditional sense, this does work great to revive and refresh makeup, eliminating the need for touch-ups (hence its appearance on this list). You can also use it pre-makeup to hydrate and prep skin, and even during application to help all your products blend seamlessly. Also nice: It comes in a mini travel size that’s great to take on-the-go.

Size: 1.4 fl. oz | Scent: Herbal | Finish: Dewy | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Scent: Beauty Bakerie Spray Your Grace Baking Spray

Beauty Bakerie Spray Your Grace Setting Spray

 Courtesy of Byrdie

What We Like
  • Smells great

  • Can be used to prime skin

  • Spritzes out extremely fine

What We Don't Like
  • Nozzle sometimes get clogged

Beauty Bakerie is known for its long-lasting liquid lipsticks (Beyoncé is a fan—enough said), but its setting spray is not to be missed either. Like all the brand's creations, this product has a yummy scent (in this case, vanilla), but it also really works. Infused with aloe and ginger extracts, it's a 360-degree ultra-fine mist that smooths the skin while holding makeup in place. Plus, it actually doubles as a primer, so you can use it at both ends of your daily routine.

Size: 3.4 fl. oz | Scent: Vanilla | Finish: Dewy | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Natural: True Botanicals Nutrient Mist

True Botanicals Renew Nutrient Mist

 Courtesy of True Botanicals

What We Like
  • Plant-based, nourishing formula

  • Smells great

  • Makes skin glow

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for very dry skin

You’ll only find plant-based oils and extracts in this squeaky clean formula, which not only sets makeup but also hydrates and offers a hefty dose of protective antioxidants (thanks to all those natural ingredients). The scent is also addicting, a floral mix of jasmine, neroli, and rose…that’s naturally-derived, obviously.

Size: 1.7 fl. oz | Scent: Floral | Finish: Natural | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Cooling: Urban Decay Chill Cooling and Hydrating Setting Spray

Urban Decay Chill Cooling and Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray

Courtesy of Urban Decay

What We Like
  • Keeps makeup fresh all day

  • Feels refreshing

  • Holds up in heat and humidity

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Yes, it’s another Urban Decay repeat; the brand really knows setting sprays. Reach for this one on those hot summer days when you can basically feel the makeup sliding off your face as soon as you leave the house. It boasts a unique temperature control technology that actually chills your makeup to set it in place for up to 12 hours, not to mention feels gloriously refreshing going on. #science.

Size: 4 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Finish: Natural | Waterproof: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Alcohol-Free Formula: Make Up For Ever Mist and Fix Makeup Setting Spray

Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Hydrating Setting Spray

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Won't dry out skin

  • Makes skin glow

  • Travel size available

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

An alcohol-free formula is pretty much a must if you have dry and/or sensitive skin, which is why we like this one. A clinical test showed that not only did it set makeup in place for up to 12 hours, it also moisturized skin up to 63% immediately after application. Color us impressed. Plus, it also boasts an oxygenating complex that ensures your skin looks fresh and glowy.

Size: 1 / 3.4 fl. oz | Scent: Original | Finish: Natural | Waterproof: No | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

What to Look for in a Setting Spray

Alcohol

While formulas with alcohol can help prolong your makeup, the ingredient can be irritating for dry or sensitive skin types, especially if you plan to use it every day. “Remember that alcohol is not a skincare ingredient,” says makeup artist Mia Yang. “Please keep in mind that setting spray is not for everyday use and a little goes a long way—a light mist is more than enough.” Alternatively, alcohol-free formulas are water-based and tend to be more hydrating, though they may have a slightly shorter wear time.

The Finish

Determine the finish you want to achieve as well as your skin type. If you tend to get oily, a mattifying setting spray could help to counteract any shininess. But if a luminous finish is what you prefer, opt for a dewy formula.

SPF

While an SPF in your setting spray isn’t mandatory, it’s certainly useful to give your skin some extra backup against the sun’s UV rays—or a layer of protection on those days where you do a full face and realize you’ve forgotten an essential step.

FAQ
  • What is setting spray?

    Setting spray is a liquid mist that helps extend the wear of your makeup and prevent fading and smudging. While water and alcohol are typically the main ingredients in a setting spray, many formulations leave alcohol out of the mix for a more hydrating finish.

  • How do I apply setting spray?

    After you’ve finished applying your makeup, give the bottle a generous shake, then hold it about 6 to 8 inches from your face. Spray on a light veil, and allow it to dry.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Lachenmeier, Dirk W. “Safety evaluation of topical applications of ethanol on the skin and inside the oral cavity.” Journal of occupational medicine and toxicology (London, England) vol. 3 26. 13 Nov. 2008, doi:10.1186/1745-6673-3-26

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