In a world where there are memes dedicated to baking your concealer, it can seem like setting is a necessary step in your makeup routine. It’s a common technique among drag queens and beauty gurus alike, offering long-lasting wear and a mattified look. It’s also a surefire way to ensure your makeup doesn’t crease, making it a go-to for anyone regularly rocking a full face. But do you need to always set your concealer? We tapped makeup artist Fatima Isadare to find out.
“It isn’t mandatory”, says Isadare, who admits that it ultimately comes down to personal preference, climate and skin type. Oily skin types, for example, are probably going to want to set concealer to ensure it lasts longer, but the same rules don’t apply for someone with dry or normal skin. And while it isn’t necessary, setting your concealer offers added staying powder and — depending on the product — a brightening effect. Creamier formulas like Lancôme Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer benefit from being set and increase the wear time of the formula while others like Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Concealer (Isadare’s drugstore pick) can be blended out and worn on its own.
If you do choose to set your concealer, it’s important to use products that won’t cake after a few hours or feel heavy on top of the skin. Isadare prefers loose setting powders to get the job done, naming the Ben Nye Setting Powder as one of her go-tos. We also like the Dermablend Setting Powder, a cult favorite that feels weightless on the skin and offers up to 16 hours of transfer-resistant wear. If you’re powder-averse or worried about a cakey look, you can also opt for a setting spray, like the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, which locks in your look and offers added hydration to the skin.