How and When to Use Setting Spray, Plus Our Favorite Long-Lasting FormulasOctober 30, 2023
When you want your makeup to last all day (or night), there’s no better insurance than a good setting spray. True to its name, setting spray sets your makeup, making it last and look freshly applied for longer. Depending on the formula you choose, it can extend your makeup’s wear-time and make it transfer-proof, waterproof and sweat-proof. Some setting sprays mattify your face, while others give your skin a dewy glow. Keep reading to find out how to apply setting spray, when to apply it, and to shop some of our editors’ favorite formulas.
What Is a Setting Spray and What Does It Do?
As mentioned, a setting spray is a formula that you spray all over your makeup to lock it in and help it last for hours. It usually comes in a spray bottle format with instructions on exactly how to apply it. Different setting sprays can help you achieve different finishes — from glowy to matte. You’ll want to choose your setting spray based on the type of look you’re going for, plus your skin type.
When to Use a Setting Spray
In general, setting spray should be used as the final step of your makeup routine. When you spray it on last, it locks in the makeup you’re wearing underneath. However, if you want to give your makeup even more staying power, you can apply it in between every step of your base makeup — after foundation, then again after concealer, blush, contour, bronzer and setting powder. If you’re using powder products, a setting spray will help them appear more skin-like in addition to making them last longer.
How to Use Setting Spray
To use setting spray, hold the bottle five to six inches away from your face and spray a generous amount across the entire face. Some brands suggest spraying in an “X” and “T” formation to make sure your entire face is saturated. For the most part, you don’t need to reapply setting spray, but you can if you touch up your powder at any point and want it to appear more seamless.
Should You Use Setting Spray or Setting Powder?
If you’re trying to decide between setting spray and setting powder, it’s important to take your skin type into consideration. In general, setting powders are best for oily skin, because “even mattifying sprays don’t mattify your face the way a setting powder can,” makeup artist Gabriel Almodovar previously told Makeup.com.
If you really want to make your makeup last, no matter your skin type, Almodovar recommends using a setting powder first, then a setting spray as the final step of your makeup routine. Together, the two will lock in your makeup all day.
The Best Makeup Setting Sprays
This award-winning setting spray is a staple for a reason. It’s vegan, cruelty-free and extends the wear of your makeup for up to 16 hours, no touch-ups necessary. In addition to using this spray as the final step of your makeup routine, you can also mist it onto your foundation brush or makeup sponge before you apply foundation to make your formula waterproof.
Soak up oil and shine with this 16-hour wear mattifying setting spray. The lightweight formula leaves behind a long-lasting cloud skin effect that doesn’t fade or settle into fine lines. One reviewer noted that the formula prevented her makeup from smearing during not one, but two, crying sessions — which is the ultimate test, if you ask us.
If you prefer a no-makeup makeup look, opt for this lightweight, dewy mist that will plump and hydrate the skin. It has a combination with hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil and pomegranate extract for a soothing finish.
If you have dry skin, you’ll love this setting spray’s smooth, glowy finish. It keeps makeup on for up to 16 hours and prevents it from caking, creasing or drying out as you wear it, plus it gives your skin a healthy luminosity.
Another hydrating option, this setting spray draws in moisture and refreshes skin with a blend of hyaluronic acid, coconut water and aloe vera. If your skin tends to look dull, patchy or powdery by midday, you’ll love this formula.
Keep your makeup intact all day long with this pro-spray setter that works on all skin types and makeup. It’s non-comedogenic and oil-free too, and will give you a mattified, fresh look for hours.
This waterproof setting spray works best for oily, combination and normal skin types. It’s formulated with witch hazel and green tea extract to help blur your skin, tamp down shine and make pores appear smaller. The ultra-fine mist keeps makeup on for up to 16 hours.
Mattify and blur large pores with this setting spray that’s totally weightless and good for your skin too. It has lentil extract, niacinamide and bakuchiol to smooth skin texture and minimize the look of pores and uneven skin texture.
We love this setter if you’re looking for a natural, matte finish. It has cucumber extract, green tea extract and aloe leaf juice to help soothe and nourish the skin with lots of vitamins.
Lock in your look with this weightless setting spray that contains proprietary polymers to help keep your makeup completely crease-free. It also contains green tea and resin to help eliminate uneven skin tone and large pores.
Fresh and lightweight, this setting spray has glycerin, niacinamide and zinc lactate to help control oil and give your skin a bouncy, hydrated finish.