When it comes to keeping makeup in place, setting spray is the way to go. The best setting sprays deliver hydration to the skin keeping it refreshed; hold makeup in place for hours, no matter what you throw at it; and prevent shine and excess oil from creeping up on the skin. Makeup artists swear by it. If you struggle with makeup sliding off your face, you need a setting spray.
Whether you’ve got an event that requires a flawless base that lasts (think: wedding), or you simply want a daily glow that doesn’t slide off your face on the commute, Vogue has compiled the best setting sprays to help you get the most out of your beauty look.
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray
Prime, set and refresh with Charlotte Tilbury’s cult setting spray. Loved for its long-lasting setting power, it creates a film that acts as a shield on the skin, keeping your make-up in place for up to 16 hours.
KVD Beauty Lock It Setting Mist
One of the best make-up setting sprays on the market, this delivers a lightweight mist which dries quickly, keeping your make-up in place for hours.
Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Setting Spray
Inspired by the brand’s cult Hangover Primer, this Too Faced setting spray sets make-up in place for hours, leaving a beautiful dewy finish.
MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Mattifying Mist
The famed Studio Fix+ is now available as a matte version, which is perfect for those with oilier complexions and make-up wearers who want to keep skin looking fresh.
Benefit Porefessional Super Setter Setting Spray
Lock make-up into place for up to 16 hours. This refreshing mist leaves skin hydrated and creates a water- and smudge-proof veil that keeps make-up on throughout the day. You can’t go wrong.
E.L.F. Dewy Coconut Setting Spray Mist
If you’re looking for a setting mist that’ll ensure your base is budge-proof and create a dewy glow, this one is for you. It’s infused with coconut and cucumber to deeply hydrate.
Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Set & Refresh Setting Spray
Acting as a topcoat, this setting spray is like a magnet for your make-up. The blue and green layers (the grip phase and glow phase) work in unison to keep make-up in place, while ensuring skin is hydrated and glowing.
NYX Professional Makeup Setting Spray Matte Finish
Perfect for those who prefer a matte finish, this comfortable NYX setting spray gives skin a shine-free finish that remains oil-free all day long.
Makeup Revolution Fix Oil Control Makeup Fixing Spray
Perfect to prevent smudging throughout the day, this setting spray sets make-up in place for up to 12 hours.
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.
Purchasing an eyeliner can feel like a gamble. You walk into your nearest Sephora, money in hand, on a mission to find a formula that doesn’t pull, tug, skip or drag. After perusing the shelves, you’ll settle on one in hopes that it won’t smudge before lunch.
The truth is, you never really know if you’ll get a return on your investment until you take it home and try it for yourself. By then, it could be too late. To make the entire experience feel less risky, experts who know a thing or two about eyeliners weigh in. Ahead, shop the 10 best eyeliners, from pencils to liquids, according to professional makeup artists. They’ll make you feel like you won the jackpot every time.
BEST GEL LINER – AMC Eyeliner Gel
“When I’m creating a bold eye, Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel is my go-to eyeliner, as it’s available in a variety of rich high-pigmented shades,” says makeup artist Millie Morales (also a Garnier celebrity hairstylist). “The creamy formula glides on with ease, but most importantly, it boasts long-lasting wear.”
BEST SMUDGE-PROOF LIQUID – Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
“When it comes to precision, I like to use a marker-like tip, as it gives me the freedom and flexibility to create an elegant wing or a thick dramatic look,” says Morales. “Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner dries fast, won’t smudge and only comes off when you take it off!”
If you’re looking to try a colored eyeliner, look no further than Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencils. Makeup artist Steve Kassajikian says, “these shades are bright, pigmented, creamy, easy to blend, and glide on like a gel.” As if that’s not enough to get you on board, Kassajikian adds, “they set in 60 seconds and don’t budge throughout the day. Plus, they’re specifically made for wet surfaces like the waterline.”
Celebrity makeup artist Claudia Betancur, a L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador, is a fan of the brand’s new Flash Cat Eye Liquid Eyeliner because it “has the perfect tip to create a precise wing, and glides on super smooth. The cap has a wing stencil attached to help create the perfect cat eye,” she says.
“This micro-fine gel pencil has next level staying power,” says makeup artist and artistic director of Glamsquad, Kelli J. Bartlett. “I originally tested the Hourglass 1.5 MM Mechanical Gel Eyeliner on my hand, and it lasted through a workout and a shower, so you know it means business. I love to use it on the inner rim of the upper lash line to create a lush look as it holds up to watery eyes.”
BEST LONG-LASTING PENCIL – BADgal BANG! 24 Hour Eyeliner Pencil
Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Potter-Dixon says this liner “is a hard worker. It works wonders on the waterline and stays put due to its waterproof formula.” She adds, “it also works beautifully as a lash liner, plus the blending tool on the end means you can even use it to create a simple smokey eye.”
Makeup artist and co-founder of Shespoke Makeup, Rebecca Perkins, says it doesn’t get better than Pat McGrath Labs’ liquid liner. She says, “the pen tip is so fine, you can do super subtle details. Mother does not mess around, and her products always do what they say.”
BEST TRUE BLACK – Infallible 16HR Never-Fail Eyeliner
Finding a true black formula can be difficult. Luckily, Perkins assures that her pick is “tried and true.” She says, “L’Oréal’s carbon black shade comes in a gel pot (perfect for when I am doing someone else’s makeup) or the mechanical pencil (for when I’m doing my own makeup).” Finally, she adds, “it’s not fancy, but it works every time.”
Dell Ashley, YSL Beauté Director of Makeup Artistry, knows a thing or two about luxury beauty, but there’s one drugstore favorite he keeps in his kit. He says the NYX Matte Liquid Liner is “a great budget-friendly eyeliner because it offers rich color and has a nice, long wear.” And at $8 a pop, you can keep your makeup bag stocked with it too.
BEST VERSATILE FORMULA – TattooStudio Sharpenable Gel Pencil in Brown
Vincent Oquendo, the artist behind Hollywood’s most beautiful faces (Lily Collins, Gabrielle Union, Nina Dobrev), recommends you pick up this other drugstore option. “I use it to create my shape before I perfect it with a black liner and for subtle definition in the waterline when I’m creating a sultry look,” he says. “The combination of black and brown liners create a more natural makeup look when smudged at the lash line.”
When your skin is naturally shinier than a glazed donut, the struggle is real when it comes to finding a foundation that controls excess oil and stays in place all day. To say that wearing foundation when you have an oily skin type is tough may be a massive understatement, but it’s not completely impossible.
More often than not, the reason that makeup slips and slides down oily complexions is because it’s the wrong formula. “Some of the most common mistakes that people with oily skin make is wearing the wrong foundation,” explains celebrity makeup artist Daniel Chinchilla who works with Ariana Grande. “They choose foundations that are for dry skin or formulas that have a glowing finish to them. You should definitely stick to foundations that are matte and possibly oil-free.”
Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Mattifying Foundation
No one likes a quitter, so when you’re choosing a foundation that will keep you shine-free, opt for a formula that will stick around for the whole day. Along with keeping excess oil under control, MAKE UP FOR EVER’s tube offers full coverage that isn’t cakey or pills as the day goes on.
Giorgio Armani Beauty Power Fabric Longwear High Cover Foundation SPF 25
Armani’s newest foundation is the matte counterpart to its cult-favorite Luminous Silk Foundation. This formula glides on like velvet and will keep oil at bay without settling into any fine lines or wrinkles.
Although L’Oreal’s tube helps you achieve a shine-free complexion, it won’t leave your skin looking flat. Its demi-matte finish conceals imperfections and lasts for up to 24HRS, so those blotting papers in the bottom of your makeup bag are no longer necessary.
The next time you find yourself in a heat wave or you’re finally taking that SoulCycle class after work, this foundation is your best bet. Its formulated to keep skin from looking like an oil slick throughout heat, sweat, and humidty.
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation
This foundation is spiked with Amazonian Clay which sucks up excess oil and erases pores without drying out complexions. Even better: its coverage lasts up to 15 hours, so you can skip your previously scheduled lunchtime touchup.
Whether you need it to cover a blemish, lift dark under-eye circles, or simply even out skin tone, finding the best concealer for you and your skin can be game-changing. In fact, now that fresh, luminous skin is wholly in (and we’re all about cutting down on time spent in front of the mirror), concealer is the one product we all really need to get right. Many make-up artists actually recommend forgoing foundation in favour of a good concealer applied in all the right places: on reddened areas, spots, hyperpigmentation, and anywhere that needs brightening.
Of course, different occasions (not to mention skin types) call for different concealers, and it can be a minefield finding the right one for the job. Those who want to cover blemishes might look for a kind-to-skin concealer which is formulated with ingredients like salicylic acid to unclog pores, while mature skins should look for a concealer with a subtle, sheer coverage that won’t settle into fine lines, but instead will bring the glow. What everybody wants – whatever their skin type – is a flexible, elastic concealer that melts seamlessly into skin, delivering smooth, even coverage.
Formulations have come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years – you will be hard-pressed to find anything that imparts a cakey effect now. But if it does, it might be down to the way you’re applying it. Many make-up artists recommend applying concealer with your fingers, since the warmth from your skin helps melt the product into skin for an imperceptible finish – although make sure you do so with clean hands. For those who prefer a brush, look to Artis – its brushes are the best for buffing product into skin.
Once you have found the best concealer for you, your skin will thank you. For all of your texture, finish and coverage requirements, here is British Vogue’s edit of the best concealers to buy now – from Tom Ford’s Emotionproof Concealer (great for weddings), to MAC’s Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette.
Best For Long Wear: Tom Ford Emotionproof Concealer
We all have those occasions when we know tears will roll. That’s when you need Tom Ford’s Emotionproof concealer – it will stay put through those trying moments.
Best For Long Wear: Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer
Designed to diffuse light for a soft-focus appearance, Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer works wonders on dark circles, but remains more or less undetectable on the skin. Shades are divided into cool, warm and neutral undertones, making it easier than ever to find your perfect match.
Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer, £24, available at CultBeauty.com.
Best For Long Wear: Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Concealer
True to its name, this liquid concealer lasts for up to 16 hours and won’t budge no matter how much humidity you are hit with.
Best For Long Wear: BareMinerals BareSkin Stay-In-Place Liquid Concealer
For something that lasts but is still lightweight, look to this BareMinerals concealer, which has numerous skincare benefits, too.
BareMinerals BareSkin Stay-In-Place Liquid Concealer, £24, available at Feelunique.com.
Best For Long Wear: IL MAKIAGE Fck I’m Flawless Concealer
For a vast spectrum of shades that is sorted by skin tone and undertone, to make finding your perfect shade easier, this longwear concealer is the ultimate for covering all manner of skin concerns, from blemishes to under-eye circles. A must-try.
IL MAKIAGE F*ck I’m Flawless Concealer, £24, available at IlMakiage.com.
Best High Street Concealer: L’Oréal Paris True Match Eye Cream In A Concealer
The ultimate hybrid product, this concealer is also an eye cream that is packed with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and brighten the delicate skin around the eyes. It’s also less than £10.
L’Oréal Paris True Match Eye Cream In A Concealer, £9.99, available at Lookfantastic.com.
Best High Street Concealer: Benefit Boi-Ing Industrial Strength Concealer
Creamy and soft, this concealer will disguise anything you’ve got – and will stay put for hours.
Best High Street Concealer: Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation And Concealer
If you like to keep the products in your make-up bag to a minimum, look no further than Clinique’s dual foundation and concealer, which offers full coverage and a flawless finish.
Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation And Concealer, £28.50, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Full Coverage: BECCA Ultimate Coverage Longwear Concealer
Known for products that make skin glow, Becca’s longwear concealer is no exception: it utilises light pigments to blur fine lines, pores and uneven texture while imparting a satin finish, which makes skin look fresh and radiant.
BECCA Ultimate Coverage Longwear Concealer, £21, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick
For those who like a full-coverage concealer that isn’t cakey, look no further than Marc Jacobs’s offering, which is formulated with snow mushroom to help hydrate as it conceals.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick, £24, available at HarveyNichols.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Uoma Beauty Stay Woke Luminous Brightening Concealer
A brilliant shade range for all undertones, plus fun packaging, make for a must-buy concealer that, importantly, is also small enough to fit inside any purse or clutch bag you own.
Uoma Beauty Stay Woke Luminous Brightening Concealer, £21, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Estée Lauder Double Wear Instant Fix Concealer
Double Wear foundation is a best-seller for a reason, so if you’re a fan of the classic Estée Lauder foundation, you’ll love this full-coverage finish concealer. The dual-ended wand has one side that dips into a hydrating base to prep the area, while the other gives instant brightness and coverage.
Best For Under-Eyes: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
Nars’s award-winning concealers are truly amazing. This particular one is popular for its medium to buildable coverage, which allows for correction with a more natural and dewy finish – it works perfectly on fine lines under the eyes.
Best For Under-Eyes: Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer
Using clever adaptable pigments, this fluid concealer is as good on grey, sallow skin as it is on red, raised skin. The angled doe-foot applicator allows you to apply small amounts in delicate areas (like under the eyes), or sketch a little more broadly across larger areas if needed.
Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer, £22.50, available at Boots.com.
Best For Under-Eyes: Erborian BB Eye Touche Parfaite
With purslane, a powerful antioxidant that is also anti-inflammatory, this concealer is as good at being an eye cream as it is obscuring under-eye bags.
Erborian BB Eye Touche Parfaite, £34, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best For Under-Eyes: Sarah Chapman Eye Insurance SPF 30 Protecting Eye Tint
If it’s a light-reflecting glow you want under your eyes, rather than anything too full on, Sarah Chapman’s new eye tint is your guy. This light-as-air formula is primed to make you look more awake, and simultaneously firms, brightens and protects from UV damage, thanks to an SPF of 30.
Best For Mature Skin: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer
If you’re keen to treat your skin to some nourishment while disguising blemishes, look to Bobbi Brown’s hybrid serum concealer; expect a fresh, flawless finish and hydration thanks to mushroom, Indian tree root and bamboo grass extract within the formula.
Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer, £30, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Mature Skin: Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist Super Natural Concealer
Imparting a bright finish, this concealer feels like satin and contains brightening pearls to help lift areas of darkness or uneven skin tone. It’s particularly brilliant for underneath the eyes.
Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist Super Natural Concealer, £24, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best All-Rounder: MAC Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette
Can’t find the exact concealer shade for you? One of MAC’s six-part palettes will have you covered in both winter and summer as your skin tone changes – you can also layer or blend for the ultimate colour match.
MAC Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette, £30, available at Selfridges.com.
Best All-Rounder: Glossier Stretch Concealer
Elastic micro-waxes mean that Glossier’s Stretch Concealer never settles into fine lines, whilst the oil-packed formula gives it a dewy finish. Perfect for subtle, natural-looking coverage.
The Retoucher does exactly what it says on the tin. Perfect for concealing blemishes and imperfections, its lipo-siliconic compound provides a traceless, plaster-like cover which blends seamlessly into the skin.
Best All Rounder: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer
If you’ve tried Giorgio Armani’s cult Luminous Silk foundation, you’ll know how brilliant it is at offering just the right amount of coverage and the ultimate radiant finish. The concealer is just as good, and blends seamlessly into skin.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer, £34.50, available at Selfridges.com.
We’ve all been there: You put extra time and care into flawlessly blending and buffing your foundation, meticulously lining your lash line with kohl eyeliner, and painting on your favorite lipstick. Then, maybe the heat or nerves has caused beads of sweat to drip down your forehead and above your upper lip. Before you know it, your makeup is smudged and runny, and there’s no opportunity for you to do some quick damage control.
Luckily, there’s an extremely easy way to avoid messing up your makeup. Enter makeup setting sprays. These ultra-fine mists lock your look in place without feeling like you have an extra layer of product on your face.
That being said, there’s a ton of makeup setting sprays out there, and each come with their own set of benefits to suit various skin types and makeup styles.
Best Overall: Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray
The MVP of setting sprays, this Urban Decay product remains a cult-favorite because it’s safe for all skin types. Although, oily skin will love that it’s infused with kaolin clay for excess oil and shine control. The microfine mist is lightweight and holds makeup in place for up to 16 hours.
Best SPF: Milani Cosmetics Make It Last Sunscreen Spray SPF 30
Yes, no one wants their makeup to melt off their face, but protecting your skin against sun damage is more important than a flawless face of foundation. Luckily, Milani has combined makeup setting spray and SPF 30 into a single product. This micro mist locks makeup in place for up to 16 hours, hydrates, and shields skin from UVA/UVB rays.
This mist is a must-have for anyone (OK all of us) who are after that elusive lit-from-within glow. Made with humectants and botanicals oils, use the hydrating formula as a primer before applying makeup or refresh your skin throughout the day to keep your makeup from getting dry and cakey.
If you have oily skin, you’re familiar with melty, runny makeup. This best-selling NYX spray sets makeup while mattifying skin, combating shine, and minimizing the appearance of pores. No wonder it’s the number one setting spray in America, according to Neilson data.
Best for Long-Wear: L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Make-Up Extender
There are a ton of setting sprays at the drugstore, but not all are created equal. L’Oréal’s spray is a standout because the lightweight mist keeps makeup looking freshly applied for hours on end. Bonus: The formula is non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested, so rest assured it won’t clog pores and lead to breakouts or cause irritation.
Best Primer: MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Primer & Setting Spray
This two-in-one product primes skin for smooth, even makeup application and keeps it fresh all day long. Packed with green tea, chamomile, and cucumber, the spray also soothes and calms redness, making it a great option for sensitive skin, too.
It might seem counterintuitive, but spritzing this setting spray on your face after you’ve finished applying your makeup will make your look waterproof for up to 24 hours. The water-resistant formula also gives skin a smooth finish and blurs imperfections.
Best for Touchups: Fenty Beauty What it Dew Makeup Refreshing Spray
OK, this might technically be a face mist, but it was created with the sole purpose of reviving and refreshing makeup throughout the day. Better yet, you can spritz it on your face before reaching for your makeup to create a hydrated, dewy base for your foundation and concealer.
Setting powder has long been a staple in most make-up bags, despite getting significantly less love than some other hero products. While it’s unparalleled in its ability to set make-up and prevent oiliness, the drawbacks of creasing, flashback in photos and an overly matte finish are undeniable. That said, the best setting powders can fix make-up, control shine, conceal breakouts, and are far easier to work with than thick, creamy textures. For example, make-up artists usually advise that those who wish to try contouring for the first time use a powder contour, not a cream kit, as it’s easier to layer and buff to seamless perfection, and there’s little more effective against an oily T-zone than a sheer veil of the translucent stuff.
But with the advent of “glass skin” and our general preoccupation with looking dewy at all times, powder has fallen by the wayside. Perhaps it’s down to unwelcome associations with “baking”, the technique invented by drag queens and popularised by the Instagram make-up set, which involves using hefty amounts of powder to affix make-up. Or maybe it’s just a natural casualty of the pursuit of round-the-clock radiance. Happily, powder formulas have advanced at a rate of knots in recent months. BECCA Hydra Mist Set & Refresh Powder is formulated with 50 per cent water and glycerine, meaning that, despite resembling a loose powder, it feels more cooling than chalky once applied. Likewise, By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder is infused with skincare favourite hyaluronic acid. The HA microspheres attract water and so help to “blur” and “fill” imperfections, without looking ashy or settling into creases. It’s gossamer-light, so don’t be perturbed by the opaque white colour, as it settles to a soft-focus effect on all skin tones.
Glossier Wowder is delivered in a Korean-inspired cushion compact, with the powder sitting beneath a sheer layer of netted film. Simply press and swirl your brush over the centre to pick up a light dusting of the kaolin clay infused formula (that’s to mop up oil), and dust all over. Meanwhile, Vitamin E helps to keep the powder feeling silky rather than dry on the skin – nobody wants a patchy effect. Beauty Pie One Powder Wonder looks almost sparkling in the pressed compact, but buffs onto skin with a believable luminosity that helps to tackle dehydration and the appearance of large pores, making it ideal if you need all-day hold but still want a candelit glow.
Of course, the “go big or go home” option is surely Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder Glow. A brand already beloved by make-up artists for its classic translucent setting powders, this latest offering sits somewhere between the original formula and a highlighter. Infused with pearl pigments and micro-refined silica, it offers an incredibly light-reflecting finish that still grips onto make-up for dear life.
Aside from the additions of microspheres and luxurious-sounding crushed gem particles, one thing that makes 2020’s powders better is the notable absence of talc. Apart from the health concerns around the inclusion of talcum powder in beauty, many cosmetic chemists have chosen to remove it from their products altogether as the finish is resolutely chalky. In the ’90s, super-matte was considered chic, but now that dewy skin is in, talc is fast becoming a thing of the past in beauty circles. Instead, additions like silk, peptides and collagens (like the hydrating and firming complex found in It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder) offer a healthier-looking fix that still helps tackle shine.
The powder revolution is in no way limited to base, as a slew of recent lip launches demonstrates. Giorgio Armani Lip Magnet gives a featherweight wash of colour over the lips with a finish that resembles the effect created by that classic make-up artist trick: blotting a richly pigmented lipstick. Likewise, MAC Powder Kiss lipsticks offer a softly diffused, just-been-kissed look, while Chanel Lip Powder Duocombines a hydrating balm with a loose pigment powder for effortless texture.
Blurring but not masking, hydrating but not greasy, and shine controlling while still offering a healthy glow, powder can finally sit in that sweet spot between functional and fun. And remember, when it comes to powder – if in doubt, buff it out.
See Vogue’s edit of the best setting powders below…
Pat McGrath Labs
A swish of this setting powder will leave skin glowy and radiant, while getting rid of any unwanted shine. It feels feather-light and imparts a soft-focus veil over skin thanks to amino acid pigments that work with your skin rather than against it.
Since Glossier is a brand dedicated to dewy skin, the launch of Wowder was somewhat unexpected. The loose, light-reflecting powder won’t leave you without a glow though, it’s designed to set make-up whilst maintaining a radiant complexion.
Perfect for top-ups on the go thanks to the mirror inside the compact, IT Cosmetics’s Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder blurs imperfections and is enriched with a blend of peptides, silk, collagen and antioxidants.
If an oily T-zone is your nemesis, look to MAC’s classic Blot Powder for long-lasting matte. With a good shade range and an impressive shine-combatting formula, it offers decent coverage without looking caked-on or flat.
Bobbi Brown’s Sheer Finish Loose Powder is lightweight enough that you can barely tell you’re wearing it, plus, its oil-free formula is enriched with vitamin E for comfortable wear. Great for setting make-up that you need to last all day.
A glow isn’t the first thing you’d associate with powder, but Chanel has somehow created a formula that reduces shine while retaining radiance with its Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder. Natural-looking, flattering and the best setting powder for when you need to add a subtle hint of warmth to a pale complexion.
Promising to diffuse light over skin to boost radiance, this loose powder from the queen of red carpet make-up is formulated with tsubaki oil and squalane to nourish and strengthen skin. Plus, it smells like rose.
Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powder is a cult classic for good reason – you can fake a full night’s sleep with the luminous, diffusing, flawless finish it creates. It’s like having your own Instagram filter in your make-up bag.
A finely-milled and lightweight powder, Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder Glow acts as the perfect finishing touch for make-up. Highly pigmented, only a small amount is needed each time, so one pot will keep you going for ages.
Formulated with the brand’s patented Miracle Broth, which is made up of hydrating marine ingredients, La Mer’s finishing powder might be expensive, but it certainly does the job well. It’s translucent enough to be imperceptible on the skin, so you can look forward to the most flawless finish.