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You’ve gone and taken your time carefully applying all of your skincare and then went in with makeup to really take your look to perfection, so naturally, you’d be devastated to see your handiwork to go to waste. That’s where a quality setting spray comes into play. A good one won’t feel too wet on skin, causing any dripping or smudging of your makeup, nor will it be sticky or uncomfortable in any way. That being said, you want to spray enough of the lightweight liquid to cover your face and lock in the work you put in. Some mists do a great job at keeping your look intact during your 9 to 5, but the real standouts are the ones that withstand humidity, sweat, and a night spent on the dance floor—meaning up to 24 hours of wear. Here, the top setting sprays to help your makeup stay put.
Best Overall: Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
This classic has been around for some time and is often a staple in makeup artist’s kits. It’s that good. As the name suggests, it provides long wear for those times when you want your makeup to last the most—when you’re out all night with no time for touch ups. It’s a great choice for anyone because it’s both suitable for all skin types and oil-free. Arguably the best part: it features patented Temperature Control Technology, which means a few spritzes of this helps to decrease the temperature of your makeup to keep it from melting, even in hot and humid or cold and windy conditions.
Best Budget: MAC Prep+Prime Fix+ Little MAC
Another long-time favorite is this mist from MAC. Again, its name is a clear indication of how you can use it: as a priming water to prep skin or after makeup application to affix it and keep it from going anywhere. The trio of green tea, chamomile, and cucumber make it deeply hydrating, not to mention they offer a lovely scent that will have you spritzing throughout the day as a nice little pick me up.
And because this is a travel size version, it’s easy for you to bring on the go, storing it in your purse or gym bag. Pro tip: bring it in your carry-on bag and spray throughout a flight (being conscious of your fellow passengers so they don’t get sprayed), it will help not only to keep makeup looking top notch, but also prevent skin from becoming dehydrated in the dry plane air.
Best Drugstore Option: Milani Make It Last Makeup Setting Spray
Similar to the higher-priced MAC version, this one can be used in a few different ways: before makeup to prime, after makeup to set, and throughout the day to refresh and bring the look of it back to life. It promises 16 hours of wear without creasing or smudging and though it is not completely oil-free, you can rest-assured that you’ll be left a radiant finish.
Best for Oily Skin: Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray
If you’re worried about getting oily throughout the day, it’s smart to finish your makeup with a spritz of this mattifier. The alcohol-free, quick-drying formula won’t dry out skin, but ensures that it prevents makeup from fading, settling, cracking, or melting. Before using, make sure to shake it and mist over your entire face with your eyes closed so that it covers and locks in your eyeshadow as well, but avoid actually getting it in your eyes. Pro tip: if you want more shine control from your foundation or concealer, spritz some of the spray onto your brush or sponge before dipping it into those formulas to spike it for a long-wear, slick-free finish.
Best Dewy Spray: Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist
With highlighter being so popular, this is a great alternative if you’re hesitant about using something that’s too shimmery or glittery. You can get the same healthy, fresh face look in a more natural way than most cosmetic products provide. It’s important to note that a little goes a long way—you wouldn’t want to go too crazy with spraying this because it is laced with over twenty botanical oils (that’s where the dewiness comes from). There’s also an algae and hyaluronic acid combo that helps to moisturize skin, grabbing onto water from the environment and injecting it back into skin so that it remains hydrated and glowing. Stick to 2-3 sprays and reapply if you notice you need a little more later on in the day.
Best Matte Spray: Boscia White Charcoal Mattifying Make Up Setting Spray
One of the trendiest ingredients in skincare right now is charcoal, but there’s not only one type. This spray taps the power of Binchotan white charcoal to control excess oil, detoxify pores, and overall provide balance to the skin. And because oily skin often leads to pores that appear larger, this formula has ingredients to help minimize the look of enlarged pores like artichoke leaf extract and black tea, which is also an antioxidant that helps to protect skin from free radical damage. Stamped with Sephora’s seal of approval, you’ll see their “Clean at Sephora” label next to the product on their site, meaning it’s formulated without certain ingredients including Sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, and formaldehydes .
Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular setting sprays on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 13 different sprays overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers, read over 4 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 5 of the sprays themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.