Makeup setting sprays seem to have become an indispensable part of the beauty routine. These magical sprays are a luxurious way of ending the makeup application process that is meant to lock foundation into place and prevent the makeup from moving, creasing, or melting throughout the day.
If you live in a hot and humid climate, have very oily skin, or if you’d like a little something extra for those nights when you go out and party, then you should definitely consider adding makeup setting sprays to your routine.
I find that my basic makeup routine is good enough for most days, but if I know I’ll have a long day with few opportunities for touch-ups, then I definitely reach for one of my favorite makeup setting sprays.
In this post, I’ll explain exactly what setting sprays are (and what they aren’t) and I’ll help you figure out exactly how they work so you can find out if they’d be right for you. I’ll explain how to choose the best makeup setting sprays for different skin types and purposes, and how to use them properly.
As always, we’ll bring you a list of the best makeup setting sprays and fixing sprays on the market right now, so you don’t have to struggle when you go to the store.
Best Makeup Setting Sprays & Fixing Sprays: Contents
• 19 Best Makeup Setting Sprays for a Look That Lasts
• What Is Makeup Setting Spray and Why Do You Need One?
• The Difference Between Makeup Setting Sprays and Fixing Sprays
• Should You Use Both Makeup Setting Spray and Makeup Primer?
• Makeup Setting Spray vs. Makeup Setting Powder
• How to Choose the Best Fixing & Makeup Setting Sprays For Your Skin Type
• How to Use Makeup Setting Spray
• Fixing & Makeup Setting Spray Tips & Tricks
For a long-lasting and perfectly airbrushed look, here we recommend these 19 makeup setting sprays and fixing sprays that are the best on the market!
1. Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
This might be the very product that started the makeup setting sprays rage. This classic formula comes in a spray bottle with a mister top, and it seriously increases the wear of your makeup.
It’s a great choice for all skin types, as it helps to keep the skin from becoming greasy while keeping foundation looking smooth and preventing it from settling into fine lines. You can purchase it from Sephora.
2. Caudalie Beauty Elixir
This all natural option for makeup setting sprays simultaneously rehydrates the skin while helping to set makeup. It’s a phenomenal choice for those with dry skin who tend to avoid products laden with synthetic chemicals.
It can also be used as a toner or as a skin refresher throughout the day, since it is loaded with nourishing botanicals. It is best to avoid it if your skin is sensitive, since it does contain some powerful essential oils. It is available for sale through Sephora.
3. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water
This is a two-in-one product that can be used before foundation as a primer, or at the end of the makeup as a makeup setting spray. It is a gentle formula with invigorating caffeine that is ideal for normal, dry, and combination skin. It is a great alternative if you find other setting sprays to feel too heavy on your skin. You can pick it up at Sephora.
4. Fresh Rose Floral Water
If you find that after you apply foundation and powder your skin starts feeling a little parched, then this is the product for you. It includes glycerin and rose water to refresh the skin and give it a glow, so it is a fabulous choice for infusing moisture into dry foundation. It is more of a makeup hydrating spray, so it can be used in conjunction with a setting spray or it can double as a toner. It is sold online through Nordstrom.
5. Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray
This fabulous makeup setting spray is the ideal formula for those with dry or sensitive skin. It can also be used as a primer or as a midday makeup refresher, for anyone who wants to feel a bit more hydrated and healthy. It gives the skin a dewy finish, and it has a light coconut scent. You can find it for sale at Sephora.
6. Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Setting Spray
This makeup setting spray goes on the skin unfelt, and yet works beautifully to keep makeup in place all day long. This powerful formula also has significant hydrating properties, so it doesn’t give the skin an overly matte feel. It’s a fabulous option for all skin types. You can pick it up at Sephora.
7. Tarte 4-in-1 Setting Mist – Rainforest of the Sea Collection
This is another one of the best makeup setting sprays for those who also need a hydration boost. It contains both makeup fixing and setting ingredients, along with fabulous hydrators that leave the skin feeling soft and supple, and cancel the powdery feel of a setting powder. This setting spray works for all skin types. If you’d like to try it, pick it up from Sephora.
8. Kat Von D Lock-It Makeup Setting Mist
If you’re a serious makeup wearer who likes a full face to last through serious heat and humidity, then this is one of the best makeup setting sprays for you. It comes from a brand that’s committed to making great products for those who like a full face, so this formula will ensure your makeup will stay in place all day long. It can work for all skin types. It is available for sale at Sephora.
9. MAC Prep + Prime Fix+
This is the classic hydrating spray, and you cannot go wrong with it. It is a hydrating mist that can be used on the skin anytime during the day, as well as before makeup as a hydrating toner. It helps get rid of that powdery effect that makeup sometimes has, and lightly extends its longevity by allowing layers of foundation and powder to meld together.
It can be used in conjunction with a stronger makeup setting spray for maximum hold. It’s great for all skin types, but especially those who are dry and dehydrated. It is sold online via Ulta.
10. Boscia White Charcoal Mattifying MakeUp Setting Spray
You can really control oily skin with this unique take on makeup setting sprays from Boscia. This alcohol-free formula includes charcoal and kaolin clay to absorb excess oil from the skin, while it also contains some hydrating ingredients to prevent a cakey look.
Instead it just creates a flawless skin finish that lasts a while. It does require some hard shaking before use, to disperse the clay in the bottle. Buy this setting spray at Sephora.
11. Marc Jacobs Beauty Re(cover) Perfecting Coconut Setting Mist
This is a nourishing makeup setting spray that is best for those with dry and dehydrated skin. It gives the makeup a healthy glow, while also increasing its longevity and preventing creasing. It contains skin-refreshing coconut water and moisturizing squalane, so it can also be used before a makeup application. You can purchase this spray from Sephora.
12. Jane Iredale Pommisst Hydration Spray
Sitting a little closer to hydrating sprays than makeup setting sprays, this luxurious and all-natural formula is hydrating and refreshing without being oily or greasy. It can be used as a hydrating toner, but as a setting spray it gives the skin a gorgeous finish that is hydrated without being heavy. It somewhat increases makeup’s wear time, especially for those with dry skin. You can find it at Nordstrom.
13. Cover FX High Performance Setting Spray
Cover FX can always be trusted to create workhorse products that will do an excellent job without too much fuss, and their makeup setting sprays are no different. It’s a product that works best for those with oily skin who really struggle to keep their makeup from melting off throughout the day.
It has even been described as “hair spray for the face.” If you’re looking for one of the strongest makeup setting sprays around, then definitely grab this one from Sephora.
14. NYX Professional Makeup Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray
This is another strong makeup setting spray that is ideal for those with normal, combination, and oily skin. It’ll give you all-day wear out of your foundation, and for a fraction of the prices of some of the cult products you’ll find at Sephora. If you’re looking for an affordable dupe for Urban Decay, this is the one. It is available for purchase online through Ulta.
15. Coola Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30
It’s hard to imagine that a company managed to make one of the best makeup setting sprays double as a natural sunscreen. This lightweight formula works for all skin types to set foundation and keep it in place, but it also has a remarkably high SPF to protect from the sun and make for easy sunscreen reapplication over makeup. Grab yourself a bottle from Sephora.
16. GlamGlow GLOWSETTER Makeup Setting Spray
This is another great option for hydrating makeup setting sprays. This gentle product contains humectants and nourishing extracts to energize the skin and to get foundation looking healthy and hydrated. It’ll help your makeup look fabulous throughout the day, especially if you find you normally get flakey or cakey after a few hours. You can find it for sale at Nordstrom.
17. Skindinavia The Makeup Finishing Spray
This is one of the best makeup setting sprays for all skin types, making sure that everything looks flawless all day look. It is made with a powerful formula that does contain alcohol, so it’s not ideal for very dry skin. It’ll last through all kind of heat and humidity, and has one of the best spray nozzles around. It is sold online through Dermstore.
18. Pretty Vulgar Lock It In Makeup Setting Spray
This solid makeup setting spray keeps makeup in place without drying out the skin. It is best suited to those with normal and combination skin types. Where it really stands out is in the adorable packaging – who can resist a bright pink bottle with a retro feel? You can purchase it at Sephora.
19. Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF 50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray
If 30 SPF is not enough, then Kate Somerville is here with a powerful 50 SPF sunscreen that also acts as a makeup setting spray, giving a pore-blurring effect. It is better suited to normal and dry skin types, as it does have a more moisturizing finish, and it is a great option for reapplying sunscreen over makeup throughout the day. You can buy it from Sephora.
Makeup setting sprays are often compared to hair spray, and I can understand why. Also known as makeup finishing sprays, makeup setting sprays are liquids that come in a spray bottle meant to be sprayed unto the skin after the makeup application is done. Their purpose is to increase the longevity of the makeup and to prevent any creasing, smudging, or oiliness. They also help to take away a powdery look from the makeup.
The most powerful of fixing sprays work with the help of polymers like PVP. These polymers are dissolved in a liquid, but once they’re misted over the skin they merge to form a film that holds the makeup and makes it more waterproof. This is why the strongest makeup setting sprays sometimes also feel a little heavy on the skin.
Gentler makeup setting sprays work by simply rehydrating powder and foundation after they’ve been applied, allowing them to meld together into a more cohesive layer. This helps set them in place somewhat and get the makeup to last a fair bit longer, but it’s hard to compare to the polymer-based makeup setting sprays.
Some fixing sprays have other benefits. Many makeup setting sprays also contain silicones that have a blurring effect on the skin, so they end up making the foundation look a lot smoother. Other makeup setting sprays can contain an SPF to boost your sun protection, while others will double as skin care with a collection of nourishing ingredients.
So you already know what makeup setting sprays are and how they work, but later on in the article I list both the best makeup setting sprays and the best fixing sprays, since the two products are often hard to distinguish from one another.
Generally, if you have oily skin or if you find that your makeup melts off very quickly, you want to opt for a traditional fixing spray with polymers in it. There is some confusion out there, since some setting sprays are labeled with the word “fixing” and vice versa, so you’ll have to look for the polymer ingredients to know if you’re looking at a fixing spray or a gentler makeup setting spray.
If you have dry skin and you find that your makeup tends to look very powdery, then you might prefer a more hydrating makeup setting spray, which is less long-lasting and is more appropriate for everyday use.
Gentle setting sprays may or may not include alcohol. What they do always include is water, humectants like glycerin and butylene glycol, and perhaps some botanical extracts and oils.
These makeup setting sprays help to increase makeup’s longevity by helping the foundation and powder to become a denser, more solid layer. They also give the skin a more radiant and dewy finish by infusing the makeup with additional moisture. This makes them great to use throughout the day.
Makeup setting sprays are kind of like the next level for makeup longevity after primer. Primers, like setting sprays, became a staple of the makeup world only in the last 15 years or so, and they are also touted as the secret for long-lasting makeup.
You can certainly use primers and makeup setting sprays together – there are even setting sprays out there that can double as a primer! By using them together you can have super long-lasting makeup that is also perfectly soft-focused and even on the skin.
However, it’s also okay to use them separately. Some people find that primers don’t work for their skin – they break them out, or they find it difficult to blend their foundation with the layer of primer below it. No matter the reason, under those circumstances a makeup setting spray can make for an excellent alternative.
Other people find that primer on its own works perfectly well to keep their makeup in place, and it also has some additional properties that make the skin feel smoother and blur the pores. In other words, your best bet is to play around and to see what works best for you!
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think that makeup setting powder is a key part of a basic makeup application, and a setting spray is rarely a great alternative.
Setting powder works by absorbing oil from the skin and from your foundation, and setting it into place so that it does not move. Throughout the day the skin may begin to produce oils again, which is where a makeup setting spray can come in to help fortify the makeup against the new oils. That is why it is best to use setting spray in conjunction with setting powder.
It is perfectly okay to use setting powder and foundation without a setting spray, but setting spray applied straight unto foundation without any powder will simply not be as effective or long-lasting. Some exceptions do apply, like when the skin is too dry to handle powder or when the foundation one uses self-mattifies.
Like other makeup and skincare products, you should always take your skin type into account when purchasing a makeup setting spray or a fixing spray. Here’s what you should note!
Best Fixing & Makeup Setting Sprays for Oily Skin
If your skin produces a lot of oil, and you have larger pores, then fixing sprays should be your first choice when looking for makeup setting sprays. These sprays are imbued with polymers that can really resist the oil your skin produces, and help to keep your makeup looking flawless and matte no matter what.
Look for fixing and setting sprays that advertise as “mattifying” and “oil-controling” or that have oil-absorbing ingredients like clay or charcoal.
Best Fixing & Makeup Setting Sprays for Dry Skin
If your skin is dry with small pores and very little oil production, then you want to find humectant-laden makeup setting sprays that will keep your foundation looking hydrated and glowy. Look for setting sprays where the second ingredient is glycerin or butylene glycol, and avoid makeup setting sprays that contain a lot of alcohol.
These sprays will also keep your foundation from looking cakey or dry, which is a frequent pitfall for those with dry skin. If you do live in a humid climate and find your foundation tends to melt away throughout the day despite your dry skin, you can choose to combine a hydrating setting spray (applied first) followed by a fixing spray.
Best Fixing & Makeup Setting Sprays for Normal Skin
If you have medium sizes pores and moderate oil production, then you can use all kinds of fixing and makeup setting sprays. The question in your mind should be what you want to get out of your makeup setting sprays.
If you’re looking for maximum longevity, then definitely opt for a fixing spray with polymers. If you want to avoid those heavy ingredients, however, and just enjoy something that’ll refresh your makeup, then opt for a gentler setting spray instead.
• Begin by applying your face makeup as you normally would. You don’t have to change anything, so feel free to use a primer, foundation, concealers, and a setting powder, not to mention your eye, cheek, and lip makeup.
• Take your setting spray bottle and give it a firm shake.
• Hold the makeup setting spray away from your face and slightly above it. Depending on the type of spray nozzle you might want to hold it as close as 8 inches or as far as 12 inches (I’m afraid you’ll have to experiment and figure it out for yourself).
• Begin spraying your face. Some sources recommend spraying in an X-shape or a T-shape, but I actually recommend rapidly pumping the nozzle a few times and then moving your face into the mist. It’s easiest to do this in sections like the right side of the face, middle of the face, and then the left side of the face.
• If you feel like your makeup setting spray is taking too long to dry, or if you want to speed things up a bit, fan your face with a piece of cardboard and your setting spray will set much more quickly.
• For really intense longevity for those super hot, long days, spray your setting spray unto your skin after every makeup step. Spray it on after priming, again after applying foundation, and one final time after powdering the skin.
• This one only applies to the non-fixing makeup setting sprays: spray your makeup sponge or brush with your hydrating setting spray before dipping it into your foundation. This will give your complexion a more long-lasting and smooth finish.
• You can use makeup setting sprays to get a nicer eyeshadow look, too! Spray you brushes with setting spray before dipping them into your eyeshadow. Your eyeshadow color will become more intense, and the overall application will have less fallout. Doing this with metallic eyeshadows will give you a sort of “foil” effect.
• Setting spray can also help fix small eyeliner mistakes! It works kind of like a thin makeup remover that doesn’t leave a residue behind. You spray it on an angle brush, and use it to smooth out your eyeliner line in cases of smudging or if one wing is thicker than the other.
Photos via @brittany_mcgowan, @ohhellolover, @sherbabes, @glammerina