Although we’re in the midst of a pandemic, that doesn’t mean we can’t do a full face beat every now and then. Whether it’s for a virtual happy hour with friends 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 mid-Zoom, 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 with the magic 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 to ensure your makeup lasts all day (with a mask or just on its own), according to Allure editors and makeup artists.
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 Allure 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 assistant beauty editor 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.
It was the very specific scent of INN Beauty’s Power Up Dual-Phase Face Mist that made staff writer Nicola Dall’Asen fall in love with the setting spray. According to her, it smells just like a Muji store, which is extremely soothing to her organizational Virgo side. Scent aside, it’s also a damn good finisher, she says. “I’ve gone through the whole bottle so quickly because as it turns out, it’s really good at melting all my makeup together and keeping in place for the day,” says Dall’Asen.
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 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.
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.
Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes loves the Pixi by Petra Makeup Fixing Mist because it does exactly what it says it does: fixes makeup. Use this mist throughout the day when you feel like your base may be moving, it’ll freshen it up with just one or two spritzes.
“I’ve never really been a fan of setting sprays, but I recently discovered the Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum SPF 50,” says makeup artist Molly R. Stern. This setting spray is great for someone who wants a matte finish or works outside. You can ‘reapply’ your sunscreen midday, which is a necessity, without messing up your makeup.
“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.
Top four French makeup artists have spoken about high-quality, democratically priced future cult classics that they stock up on in U.S. drugstores. Here, 12 steals you should add to your beauty repertoire, with some of my tips along the way.
Batiste Original Dry Shampoo
“When you have bangs, dry shampoo is your best friend. I also use it to give my hair texture and help shape and style it. I love the mini travel size version.”
My tip: working early mornings and late evenings leaves me no desire to wash my hair as often as I’d wish, so, this bad boy has been my third-day staple for years! It comes in a variety of different scents and sizes, as well.
“You can create a smoky eye on the go in just two minutes. I bought the entire shade range and pick one each day based on my mood.”
My tip: the shade MILK from this lineup is an industry staple white base, perfect for other shadows to pop on the lid or in the waterline. No-budge formula of this pencil has been around for years for a good reason.
“This mascara not only makes your lashes look longer and full, but lets you easily add more than one coat without clumping.”
My tip: this industry staple is one for a reason, with almost every brand out there trying to recreate their own version of a result that this mascara gives you. Volume, length, separation, longevity – it has it all. It also comes in a waterproof version, and a variety of fun shades!
“I keep a few of these with me so I can use it on my clients and give it to them for touch ups or a night on the town. The formula is rich, velvety, and easy to apply, and the pen doesn’t need to be sharpened.”
My tip: if you can’t find this product in your local stores, I recommend Maybelline’s SuperStay Ink Crayon as an alternative.
“I mix this serum into foundation to get rid of bags. I place two drops into the palm of my hand, add one dot of foundation, blend with my finger, and smooth it from the inner to outer corner of the undereye area.”
My tip: for a quicker and better result, use this product by itself before makeup application. Perhaps along with a moisturizer, while you’re working on the eye makeup or brows.
Oh boy, my eyebrows were a casualty of the early teens in the sense that when I say I tweezed them into one singular line of hair, it’s not at all an exaggeration.
After time passed and trends evolved, I finally decided it was time to restore the damage I’d done on my brows. Thankfully, my brows — through years of training — rose from the ashes like a phoenix, and now, I tend to them like the miracle story they are. That of course includes using a brow gel on the daily so they look their best.
And since I generally try to scale back my makeup-wearing days to care for my skin, I often prefer to restock my usual makeup staples from more budget-friendly options — which is exactly how I found my new holy-grail brow product, the NYX Cosmetics Control Freak Eyebrow Gel.
As is the case with most great makeup discoveries, I started with a Google search and ended up on Amazon. In my quest to find a dupe for my usual brow gel, I came across this NYX one thanks to the thousands of glowing reviews of the formula. Then, after spotting the $5 price tag, it was on my mind to purchase within seconds.
Since I first tried Glossier’s Boy Brow years ago, I’ve been sold on it. It gives my brows just enough hold without feeling sticky and locks them in place throughout the day unlike any formula I’d used before. But with a $16 price tag, I wasn’t above finding a dupe, which in and of itself gives me a high, if you will. And based on the reviews, it’s clear I’m not the only one who’s made this discovery.
“I bought this because I ran out of Boy Brow and didn’t feel like paying for a refill,”said one Amazon shopper. “I’m SO glad I didn’t. I will be using this from now on. This holds brows in place and isn’t heavy. You only need to sweep over the brows one time and you’re good. For such an affordable product I’m seriously so impressed, I don’t usually buy cheap makeup but this has blown my mind and now I’m wondering why I’ve been spending so much money on products that might work as well as drugstore brands.”
I’d have to agree. The clear gel tames my brows into a natural and defined shape, and keeps them that way throughout the day without ever feeling heavy or sticky. And at a price tag that’s less than a latte, it’s one staple I plan on keeping in my makeup bag for a very long time.
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.