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The 7 Best Setting Sprays For Smudge-Proof Makeup Looks

The right setting spray is the essential finishing touch for any look. We break down the best setting spray options for every skin type and event.

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7 Best Setting Sprays For Smudge Proof Makeup LooksRD.COM, VIA MERCHANT (3)

A setting spray makes or breaks any makeup look. Setting sprays were once an open beauty secret in the entertainment industry to keep carefully applied makeup intact under any studio circumstances. Today, everyone can add this simple but essential final step to their makeup routine.

Similar to hair spray, setting mists create a lightweight invisible shield over foundation and bronzer to prevent smudging. Not only do they extend the wear of makeup, but they also create seamlessness between products on the face for a dewier, less cakey-looking finish. As a trained makeup artist, I never let anyone leave the makeup chair without a coat of setting spray. It takes two seconds to apply, yet adds hours of longevity to any makeup application.

I’ve tried and tested an extensive range of setting sprays on different complexions from my time as a makeup artist. Combined with other professional recommendations and online reviews, we curated a compact list to ensure you find the best setting spray for your needs.

The best setting sprays

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Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray
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Best overall setting spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray

An easy makeup secret from professional makeup artists and beauty fans everywhere, the All Nighter Setting Spray from Urban Decay has long been seen as the magic mist that keeps makeup in place for hours on end.

Whether you’re working all day or dancing all night, this setting spray ensures makeup stays put and looks fresh. We’d consider it a year-round bathroom shelf essential. A few light spritzes to finish off a makeup look means products won’t budge or transfer—even in soaring temperatures or unexpected showers.

Pros

Cons

  • Contains alcohol
  • Doesn’t spray in a fine mist like other setting sprays

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Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray
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Best budget setting spray

NYX Matte Setting Spray

Just two spritzes of this setting spray from NYX will keep makeup looking as though it’s been freshly done even hours after application. For those who have never tried one before, this best drugstore setting spray is a great option to see the benefits of setting sprays. Coming in at under $9, it provides incredible staying power for makeup, meaning less reapplying throughout the day. It also works especially well on oily skin due to its soft matte finish.

Pros

Cons

  • Some people prefer a more dewy finish

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Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray
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Best splurge setting spray

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray

This setting spray from Charlotte Tilbury went viral during the pandemic due to how well makeup held up under face masks after applying it. While its $38 price tag deems it a luxury purchase, a little product goes a long way. It’ll also save you from having to reapply frequently and doubles as a primer. The flawless finish (along with gorgeous packaging) makes it totally worth the splurge.

“My second time buying this because I LOVE IT!” raves Amazon purchaser Rita Hurtado. “I have oily skin and after using a setting powder plus this makes my makeup literally last all day! Last week I had allergies and my eyes were watering but I had used this and you could not even tell I had been wiping my eyes all throughout the day.”

Pros

Cons

  • Some people may not like the scent

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Milani Make It Last
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Best setting spray on Amazon

Milani Make It Last

The fact that this setting spray from Milani has over 40,000 ratings is enough to make it a must-have Amazon beauty product. Founded in East L.A., it’s no surprise that Milani keeps makeup looking fresh in the sweltering city heat. This mist doesn’t disappoint—wear it under or over makeup or on its own for a natural glow. Makeup doesn’t budge after using this spray and with its versatile uses, it’s an easy repurchase.

Five-star reviewer Jessica says, “This setting spray keeps my makeup looking amazing all day! That’s coming from someone who works in a restaurant for hours running all around! Have bought it multiple times and is now a vital part of my makeup routine. It blends all my makeup together and makes my skin look gorgeous.” 

Pros

  • Over 40,000 ratings on Amazon with a 4.4-star average
  • Great price
  • Available with SPF
  • Hydrates and illuminates skin
  • Available on Amazon, Ulta and Walmart

Cons

  • May not be the best choice for sensitive skin

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Ben Nye Final Seal Setting Spray
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Best waterproof setting spray

Ben Nye Final Seal Setting Spray

Ever wondered how singers and dancers keep their makeup looking in check for entire concerts? It’s most likely that they all have a bottle of this peppermint green spray in their dressing rooms. Performers and makeup artists have used Ben Nye Final Seal for years due to its unmatched ability to literally seal in makeup. More than just a setting spray, this product locks in makeup to withstand just about any environment.

“One of my favorite setting sprays for special occasions and mask-wearing,” writes Amazon reviewer Carla May Pare. She also has some advice for new users. “Since it is drying (I imagine decreasing oil production is part of how it works) I recommend an intense moisturizer and pore cleanser after use,” she says. “And ALWAYS wash it off at the end of the day.”

Pros

  • Water- and sweat-resistant
  • Locks in makeup
  • Trusted by professional performers and makeup artists
  • Controls shine with a matte finish
  • Available on Amazon and Walmart

Cons

  • Strong peppermint smell
  • Pricey for such a small amount

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Skindinavia Bridal Makeup Finishing Spray
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Best setting spray for brides and weddings

Skindinavia Bridal Makeup Finishing Spray

Everyone loves a good wedding but keeping makeup intact through tears and endless photos is something that concerns brides, bridesmaids and wedding guests alike. Fear not as setting spray expert Skindinavia has come up with this mist to solve that problem. It uses special cooling technology to keep products in place and leave the makeup camera ready.

This is a hidden gem setting spray, and five-star reviewer Krystal Mosely agrees. “As a makeup artist, I love this product,” she says. “It’s my holy grail for over a decade. I sweat on my face and the makeup holds up and never separates. Works well under hot weather, hot lighting and more.”

Pros

  • Up to 16 hours of makeup protection
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Paraben- and oil-free
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Available on Amazon and Walmart

Cons

  • Spray dispenser isn’t the easiest to use

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Physicians Formula InstaReady Setting Spray
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Best setting spray for sensitive skin

Physicians Formula InstaReady Setting Spray

The majority of setting sprays tend to be chemical- and alcohol-heavy, which can leave anyone with sensitive skin susceptible to irritation. For almost 90 years, Physicians Formula has made hypoallergenic makeup and its gently formulated InstaReady Setting Spray is both fragrance- and paraben-free. It’s perfect for delicate skin and ideal for everyday use. It also mattifies makeup without drying out skin and causing breakouts.

Pros

  • Dermatologist tested
  • Cruelty-free
  • Blurring properties
  • Available at Walmart and Amazon

Cons

  • Packaging could be better

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What to consider when buying the best setting spray

As is the case with any makeup or skincare product, your skin type is a big factor to consider. The good news is there are a variety of setting sprays that’ll fit your skin type, whether you’re oily, dry or have sensitive skin. If price is a factor as you’re shopping, rest assured that drugstore setting sprays can be just as effective as high-end ones. Consider adding a primer to your makeup routine for an even more long-lasting look.

How we found the best setting spray

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test

FAQ

What does a setting spray do?

A setting spray essentially extends the wear of makeup by creating a seal and preventing transfer and smudging. By controlling oil and using cooling properties, setting sprays keep everything in place.

Do professional makeup artists use setting spray?

Yes. In fact, a setting spray was a makeup artist’s secret to keep performers’ makeup intact under stage lights and active dance routines. Due to how well it worked, setting sprays eventually crossed over to mass market makeup. Adding one to your routine is a makeup rule to follow.

What is the right way to use setting spray?

The best way to apply a setting spray is to hold the bottle about six to eight inches away from the face and apply it in a “T” and “X” form with your eyes closed. Use a makeup sponge to pat it on your skin.

What’s better: setting spray or powder?

Actually, you can use both. Setting powder is used to mattify makeup and absorb oil, while setting spray often leaves a dewier (but non-greasy) finish. Depending on your skin type and your lifestyle, combining both is the best way to prevent unwanted shine and get your makeup to last longer. If you have dry skin, skip powder and go straight for a spritz of setting spray.

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Clare Holden
Forever curious and endlessly creative, ever since graduating from my BA (Hons) in Journalism and Communications 15 years ago I have worked as a freelance writer - covering beauty, skincare, health, events, nutricosmetics, wellness, yoga, interiors, luxury fashion and jewellery as well as tech advancements and apps within these sectors. I write engaging content for the reader while organically integrating keywords for SEO and product recommendations. I also trained and worked as a makeup artist in London and have a background in fashion.