Some people assume that waterproof makeup is only necessary when heading to the pool or the beach. Those people have never walked four blocks to work in L.A.'s sweltering summer heat with a rising humidity index. I have. In fact, I do so often, which is exactly how I know that waterproof makeup has a role in everyday life. Without it, I'd be crawling into the office with a red, shiny face devoid of makeup because my concealer and mascara would melt off somewhere about two blocks back. That's why, in order to look halfway presentable throughout the summer months, I stock up on all the waterproof basics—including but not limited to mascara, concealer, and lipstick.
But one of the most important products behind a crease-free, smudge-free, and non-melted makeup look has to be setting spray. It keeps the makeup right where it was applied, not smudging down the cheeks or collecting in a dark and streaky mess underneath the eyes. Water-resistant setting sprays work even better (yes, those exist!). Because they're immune to sweat and humidity, they're perfect for people who are prone to melty makeup (like me).
This Ben Nye product has received a lot of attention from beauty bloggers since it's one of the few truly water-resistant setting sprays on the market. When it's misted over the skin, it forms a seal that stops sweat and humidity from messing with your makeup (seriously, some people claim it keeps their faces set perfectly for up to eight hours at a time). It's the real deal, though I've heard some reviewers mention that it feels a little heavier and tighter than other setting sprays do. Still, even if the final texture isn't ideal, its insane staying power might make up for it. It may be well worth it for the hottest and most humid of summer days. No melting makeup here.
Ever since Covergirl went through a huge rebrand, we've been loving the chic black-and-white packaging, like that of this setting spray. It's resistant to sweat, humidity, and heat (which is exactly what we need come summer). It's also infused with cucumber and chamomile for a cooling feeling. Take it from one reviewer who wrote, "This product is great! My makeup stayed in place all evening and looked the same at the end of the night, as it did when I left the house. The spray smells great and feels refreshing when applied."
Here's another waterproof setting spray that's readily available on Amazon. Even though it forms a barrier between your makeup and sweat, humidity, or moisture, it's alcohol-free and safe for sensitive skin. It can be used every single day, though it's strong enough to work on special-effects makeup (so you know it's the real deal). Take it from the reviews, which are overwhelmingly positive. "This stuff is amazing! I have tried a few different other setting sprays that I've bought at Sephora and this is better than any of them. Once the spray dries, your make-up looks smooth and in place. I was amazed after a few hours it looked the same! I have somewhat oily skin and even through that it looked great."
Okay, so this isn't technically a setting spray, but it works to waterproof your makeup all the same. Mix a few drops of this liquid with your powder formula or pencil of choice, and it will instantly become waterproof. How cool is that? You can transform your existing makeup without buying multiple new products. One Sephora reviewer says you can even go swimming and it will have zero effect on the vibrancy or placement of your makeup. "I bought this product a while back and brought it with me on my trip to Costa Rica. I went swimming and diving underwater using this eye seal and mixing it with my regular everyday shadows and it ever smudged or faded away!"
Illamasqua's cult-favorite Sealing Gel works similarly to the aforementioned Make Up For Ever pick. Simply add a drop to any powder formula, and it will transform into a water-resistant paste. Try to apply it quickly (as it dries down rather quickly), and it will stay put all day, despite 90-degree weather with 80% humidity. As one reviewer (who also happens to be a makeup artist) put it, "I use this to set my client's makeup by mixing it into my fixing spray added with shimmer pigments. Shake before use. Spray all over the finish makeup for ultimate last longer & glowing makeup. Must try!" There you have it.
If it's just your eye makeup that gives you trouble, look no further than this transparent waterproofing product from Trish McEvoy. Add a drop or two into your favorite eye shadow, and it becomes a budge-proof and water-resistant eyeliner. That means you can turn almost any eye shadow into long-wearing eyeliner. Just think about all the possibilities (and money saved from no longer purchasing multiple liners).
"I have used a powder eyeliner for years and have loved its overall soft effect. The downfall has been that is has poor lasting quality, and by midday, my eyes have developed the raccoon effect and there is no longer the appearance of a lined eye. [...] This product comes in a convenient bottle with a dropper to put a discreet amount of the liquid onto the back of my hand to load my eyeliner brush. My brush is then able to pick up the perfect amount of powder liner the create a distinct, yet still soft lined-eye effect. No more do I lose the powder off the lash line by midday. The lined eye lasts all day until I remove my make-up in the evening."
4 Other Setting Sprays We Love
Urban Decay's setting sprays are some of my all-time favorites. Each one is effective and lightweight, though I have a special love for this one. You see, if it's super hot and humid, my skin has a way of overproducing oil so I look slick by lunchtime. This helps to keep my makeup from sliding off while keeping shine at bay. I love a velvet complexion.
This Nyx setting spray comes in two different finishes: matte and dewy. Like I said, my combination skin veers on the oily side in the summer, which is why I personally prefer the matte one. However, they seem equally as popular, with positive reviews littering the internet. "I've only ever paid attention to Urban Decay's setting spray but after getting a lot of recommendations for this I decided to try it. I live in a humid area and constantly dealt with my makeup becoming a mess. This is an affordable and great product."
This setting spray is specifically designed to last through a tough workout, so you know it will stay put when it comes in contact with moisture and sweat. Reviewers say it's the perfect pick for hot weather. Writes one reviewer, "I purchased this setting spray specifically for the summer. I live in a very hot and humid area and my makeup melts off my face any time I do anything during the summer months. I wore this yesterday to an outside birthday party, in 90 degree weather and my makeup never budged. My sweat didn't even come through! For a drug store priced setting spray, this works incredibly well! I highly recommend this to everyone! It would be absolutely perfect for weddings, outdoor pictures, etc. I even tested it with products that usually make me oily and my skin stayed matte all day and my makeup looked just like I had applied it after 10 hours of wear."
Another one of my favorite setting sprays is this one from Milani (which I personally think is a vastly underrated beauty brand). Spritz it on your skin before or after makeup since it doubles as a skin-prepping product. It keeps makeup from budging, creasing, and smudging for up to 16 hours. Take it from one particularly enthusiastic reviewer, who writes, "Oh my gosh!! THIS truly is the Holy Grail of all setting sprays!! I'm a makeup enthusiast, to say the least, and though I haven't gone 16 hours with makeup on my face with this product, my makeup lasts 10-12 hours, even through naps, without having to retouch ANYTHING! I will never use any other setting spray again. I've done 3 days worth of testing, using mid range end makeup and drugstore brand makeup, and none of it has budged! It smells so good too! I'm very sensitive to fragrance, and the fragrance used is very light and soft. I ABSOLUTELY recommend this everyone who loves makeup as much as I do!"
Next, check out even more setting sprays we love, based on our specific skin types.