The world of beauty can be overwhelming, as much for our cabinets as our wallets. But rest assured: a high-powered cosmetics arsenal need not break the bank. Take it from the stars of Vogue’s Beauty Secrets, who have revealed that some of their most prized products are in fact some of the best priced.
See La Roche-Posay’s $14 Serozinc Toner, a mattifying mist that has earned Naomi Campbell’s seal of approval. What’s more? The Kendall Jenner–beloved Mario Badescu Facial Spray—laced with soothing green tea, cucumber, and aloe—rings in at just $12; spritz it on before applying a layer of Sydney Sweeney’s go-to $16 Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre or a $19 hyaluronic-acid-infused primer that’s a mainstay in Jessica Alba’s Dopp kit. Gigi Hadid, meanwhile, swears by Maybelline’s Lifter Gloss. Delivering an ultra-moisturizing, ultra-shiny finish for only $7, it’s one makeup must-have that will leave you anything but high and dry.
Below, shop the best beauty products under $20 on Amazon, as chosen by Vogue’s Beauty Secrets stars Gigi Hadid, Emma Chamberlain, and more.
Whether you’re going full glam for an occasion, or an important meeting over Zoom, it’s important to make sure that beat doesn’t budge — especially after sitting under the glow of the computer screen for hours on end. Luckily, the easiest way to ensure your flawlessly applied foundation, blinding highlighter, and sharp-winged liner doesn’t melt off, is by incorporating a setting spray — aka hairspray for your face — into your routine.
According to Los Angeles-based cosmetic chemist Victoria Vohland, setting spray is made up of three components: water, alcohol, and a film former that create a barrier to prevent makeup from slipping. It’s the same chemical formula used in hair gel, just made safer and gentle enough to use on the face.
To use, simply give your whole face a mist, or in cues. New York City-based makeup artist Tommy applies setting spray in a zig-zag motion on his clients, starting on the forehead and moving down to the chin. “I spritz it on the skin in distance to help rehydrate the face after applying makeup,” he says.
Another tip, courtesy of makeup artist Kate Lee, who works with celebrities such as Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway, and Emma Roberts, dampens a BeautyBlender sponge with the liquid before pressing it on the skin to smooth out dry patches or creased makeup.
With these tips in mind, here are the best setting sprays on the market right now:
Patrick Ta Major Glow Dewy Milk Mist
Patrick Ta’s Major Glow Dewy Milk Mist is made with rosehip seed oil to moisturize, black tea to even out skin’s tone and texture, and witch hazel extract to calm and refresh. All this to say: This facial mist does way more than give you a glowy finish. Plus, the glass packaging is so luxe, you’ll feel rich when spritzing.
Morphe’s Continuous Setting Mist has a nozzle that sprays wide so it hits every inch of your face with just one hit. Just spray it eight inches from your face (eyes closed!) and you’ll immediately thank it for the long-lasting effects it has on your makeup.
Coola’s Makeup Setting Sunscreen Spray has SPF 30 in the formula to protect from harsh rays as it holds makeup in place. It’s also made with hydrating hyaluronic acid, and a blend of juniper, date palm, and peony extracts to maintain moisture as it shields.
Benefit The Porefessional Super Setter Pore-Minimizing Setting Spray
According to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, dimethicone, which you can find in Benefit’s The Porefessional Super Setter Pore-Minimizing Setting Spray, “gives a blurring effect to the skin.” The microfine mist minimizes the appearance of pores, all while maximizing the wear time of makeup.
Tarte’s Maracuja Miracle Mist Setting Spray is made of a cocktail of maracuja oil (rich in vitamin C to brighten and rose and cucumber water to soothe. Spray this over your finished makeup to lock in your look and reveal an overall luminous glow.
Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
Another 2020 Best of Beauty winner, the Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray is a longtime favorite of magazine editors and makeup artists alike. The microfine mist lets you dance the night away (on Zoom, of course) without worrying about your foundation melting off or your shadow creasing. You’ll seriously be set for 16 hours straight.
When commerce writer Angela Trakoshis first tried Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray, she didn’t have high hopes because setting sprays never really work for her. Luckily, it proved to be the exception. “My makeup lasted all day — even under a mask — and that, my friends, is impressive,” she says.
The way Hourglass Veil Soft Focus Setting Spray is part makeup lock, part skin moisturizer, all with lots of staying power. The Allure Best of Beauty 2020 Award winner creates an invisible shield over skin to give it a forgiving finish if you have any blemishes while keeping your makeup in place for the day.
Milani Make It Last Setting Spray Prime + Correct + Set
The Milani Make It Last Setting Spray Prime + Correct + Set doubles as both as a primer and a finisher, which makes it that more of a favorite to former assistant beauty editor Kat Suico. “I love that I’ve found a drugstore option that works well for me,” she says. “This spray comes out in a fine mist that covers my face in about two to three pumps. I’m convinced it grips and helps makeup last all day.”
L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Shake and Glow Dew Mist
I love a good multi-tasking product, which is why the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Shake and Glow Dew Mist earned a 2020 Best of Beauty Award. Use it as a skin freshener when you need a pick-me-up. The coconut water and vitamin C will prime and give dull skin a boost. And then spritz again after applying makeup to set it.
If you’d spend $5 to have your makeup last all day — look no further. E.L.F.’s Makeup Mist & Set Spray was one of the staples in editorial assistant Gabi Thorne’s makeup bag when the drugstore aisle was the primary source of her collection. “It keeps my foundation lasting all day long for a very low price and leaves a nice mist of product on the face without feeling like you’ve been attacked by the spritzer,” says Thorne.
Tower 28 Beauty SOS Save.Our.Skin Daily Rescue Facial Spray
The Tower 28 Beauty SOS Save.Our.Skin Daily Rescue Facial Spray is a very gentle formula made with saltwater and hypochlorous acid, which calms irritated skin and soothes inflammation. Los Angeles-based makeup artist Robin Black like to spritz it on a clean face before applying skin care and makeup. “It’s also great midday as a quick makeup refresh and at night before bed,” she says.
The Nyx Dewy Finish Makeup Setting Spray is great if you’re looking for more of a dewy finish, rather than matte. The drugstore find leaves skin looking luminous but never oily. They do have a matte version of this setting spray though, if you need.
Marc Jacobs (Re)Cover Perfecting Coconut Setting Mist
The Marc Jacobs (Re)Cover Perfecting Coconut Setting Mist is described as a ‘micro-mist,’ this milky spray is so fine you’ll need to bring the bottle just four inches from your face to feel the full effect. Once you do let the mist hit, it’s ah-mazing. Post-spritz, your skin will look slightly dewier and happier.
“This lightweight mist is always in my kit,” says makeup artist Elisa Flowers. According to Flowers, the MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ helps prep the skin for makeup, refreshes it during the day when products tend to separate on the skin, and makes for a great mixer if you add it to powder products.
If glass skin is what you’re after, then Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Dewy Set Setting Spray was made for you. The 2019 Best of Beauty winner gives skin a gorgeous radiance with zero shimmer or sparkle to be found — and it locks makeup in place for hours. Just call it liquid gold.
You’ve probably seen Tower 28’s sunny, beach-inspired products on your Instagram feed. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #24 series on my blog.
After dealing with embarrassing flare-ups throughout her career, while working for some of the biggest brands in the beauty industry, Liu wanted to create makeup products that people with sensitive, compromised skin would feel good about using.
In under two years, Tower 28 has become known for its clean formulas, beach-inspired shades, colorful packaging, and accessible price points.
However, while Tower 28’s cult-favorite SOS Daily Rescue Spray has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, the brand’s products aren’t just for people with eczema or other chronic skin conditions.
“My hope is the products aren’t just for people who suffer from eczema or have problem skin like mine,” Liu tells InStyle. “It’s been fascinating because if you were to look at the people who tag us on Instagram, there’s everything from beauty guru full makeup looks to people who are more into skincare. It makes me so happy because I wanted this brand to be for everyone.”
Find out how Liu broke into the beauty industry, her thoughts on the future of the clean beauty movement, and so much more.
How did you wind up working in the beauty industry?
My first job out of college was consulting. I didn’t feel an attachment to the work I was doing because once I was done a project somewhere I would leave. I went through what I call my quarter life crisis, and went to business school with the intention of changing careers. I don’t consider myself to be a super glam person or a beauty junkie, but the way people engage with beauty products and the psychology of beauty products has always fascinated me. Putting on makeup can be a confidence boost, and as someone who’s aging and has had compromised skin, I understand that experience. So, I went to USC for business school and did my first internship at L’Oréal with Maybelline. Then I worked at brands like Smashbox and Kate Somerville. All the while, I always knew I wanted to do my own thing but I’m quite a risk-adverse person. The idea of walking away from a job with a decent salary and raising money to start a brand was really scary. In the end, I ended up raising money from friends and family and that’s how I started Tower 28.
What is the inspiration behind Tower 28?
I’ve had compromised, inconsistent, eczema-prone skin since I was in college. You see it addressed in skincare, but not really in makeup. I really wanted to wear makeup when I had flare-ups, but my biggest fear was making it worse by using products. I also felt self-conscious at work when I was presenting products to people and my hands had eczema on it. I’m sure part of it was in my own head because no one ever said anything to me, but it made me want to create something that could help people with compromised skin who felt guilty or bad about wearing products.
My parents immigrating to America from Taiwan is the second thing that’s inspired the brand. I was born in the U.S., grew up in California, and felt very American, but I still felt a little bit on the outside because I didn’t fit into what was considered the typical standards of beauty. That’s part of the reason why the brand has a beach theme to it. I’ve lived in Southern California near the beach for so long and you don’t just see blue eyes and blonde hair. Tower 28 is a real place on the edge of Santa Monica and Venice, and you could not find a more diverse group of people there. I wanted to tell a different story about the beach, and bring clean beauty to a larger group of people.
California just passed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act. As a clean beauty brand founder, how do you think this bill will affect the industry?
In general, as a wide statement, most businesses will not change unless there’s a real threat to their business. However, I’m happy that it’s happened and I hope it’s the tip of the iceberg. I think the consumer and the demand for clean products what will ultimately change the industry. I don’t think people think this new legislation is strict enough, especially if they’re already using clean products.
What Tower 28 product are you most proud of?
The product I’m most proud of and personally reliant on, is our SOS Spray. We recently announced that we’re launching a jumbo size on Instagram and all of the comments were from people saying how excited they are. I’ve had this skin problem so long and started the brand not knowing I’d make something that really helps me, and then so many other people. It’s exactly all of the things I wanted to get out of creating a brand. Outside of that, I also think it’s cool that we don’t just have one hero product. We only have a few SKUs, but they’re all pretty productive.
I hope to provide access to mentorship and education at a time where so many Black founders are suddenly being seen and there’s an influx of demand. Since I’ve worked in the beauty industry for 17 years, I’m able to help people connect the dots, find mentors, and hopefully leverage this moment. A huge part of the success I’ve had in my career is due to my network and community in the industry, which in itself is a privilege.
Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
For a natural, streak-free glow, a cream bronzer is your best bet. Tower 28’s buildable formula blends like a dream, thanks to skin-conditioning ingredients like mango butter and calming green tea extract. It comes in two shades” West Coast is a medium bronze with neutral undertones, while Best Coast is a deep bronze with red undertones.
What do you get when you combine everything you love about your favorite lip balm and gloss? Tower 28’s ShineOn Lip Jelly. The six translucent shades (including this red) offer high shine and hydrate lips — without any stickiness.
This isn’t your average refreshing facial mist, the cult-favorite spray is formulated with hypochlorous acid, an ingredient that helps reduce bacteria and inflammation, which in turn, can soothe compromised skin and prevent acne.
There’s no right or wrong way to use this tinted balm. Dab it on your eyelids, lips, and cheeks for a luminous, sheer wash of color. The three available shades are inspired by the warm tones of a Santa Monica sunset.
Available in four shades inspired by alternative milks, the milky edition of ShineOn Lip Jelly is a level up from the original. It’s infused with apricot kernel and raspberry seed oils to nourish and protect lips from free radicals and environmental aggressors.