Best setting sprays to keep your makeup in place

Makeup Setting Sprays

by Even Miller |
Updated on

We all did it back in the day - you'd reach for your trusty hairspray to keep your makeup in place and you'd think nothing of it. Now, luckily for our skin, it's all about the miracle potions that are setting sprays. With just a few generous spritzes of setting spray, you can keep your foundation and base in place for hours. Ideal really when you have a toddler who insists on splishy, sploshy bath times and smushing soggy Weetabix in your hair.

Setting sprays were created to be the last step in your makeup routine (probably after you pop on your favourite lipstick), literally setting your makeup in place so that it lasts all day long. It sounds like magic, but if you pick the right one, the results are incredible. Setting sprays will lock in your look, setting your brow makeup, blush, bronzer etc, so you can just get on with your day, feeling your best.

There are a lot of setting sprays on the market these days, with beauty gurus and celebs swearing by them. Some are designed for different skin types, with many being formulated to give oil-control or hydration. And some are even designed with different finishes in mind, with dewy finish setting sprays becoming hugely popular, thanks to the natural, glowy look they give.

Editor's Choice:

 Best setting spray for going day to night: Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
 Best hydrating setting spray: MAC Prep + Prime Fix+
 Best botanical setting spray: RARE BEAUTY Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Mist

With so many choices, it can be hard to pick a setting spray that will work for you, but don't worry, we've got you! We've looked at all the setting sprays on the market and these are the very best of the lot. We've considered price point, finish, ingredients, and results when picking these fabulous beauty buys.

The best makeup setting sprays 2024

Best setting spray for going day to night

The Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray is a cult favourite with celebrities and beauty influencers, but we can vouch for the spray as it truly lives up to its claims. Your make-up will last *all* night (and until tomorrow's lunchtime for good measure!) Whether you have girl's night out coming up or just a long family day out, this is a winner.

Mother&Baby writer, Eve Miller, said: "This has been my ride-or-die for a few years now. The spritz is light and refreshing, and it doesn't feel sticky at all, which perplexes me, as it ensures that my makeup is stuck to my face all day. For nights out, you can't beat this formula, especially if you like a good dance like me."

Another reviewer said: "I had been wanting to try this for a really long time. Once I bit the bullet I was so in love that I immediately bought a back-up. This is a staple for me for special occasions, long days, or anytime I just want to look extra-nice (it does somehow make your whole look a little more cohesive). This does not cause acne or irritation, is actually paraben-free and I can't live without it now that I've found it. This is certainly a staple for me in the summer."

Pros

  • Lightweight feel
  • Works on all skin types
  • Temperature Control Technology

Cons

  • None!

Best hydrating setting spray

Another OG and favourite. Not only will this ensure your makeup looks less like er, makeup, it will also keep your base intact a lot longer if you give it a spritz after your morning moisturiser. The MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ has a vitamin-powered formula, so it's refreshing for your skin too. This will leave your skin looking i-Mac-ulate, guaranteed!

Mother&Baby writer, Eve Miller, said: "My skin does look lovely and dewy when I use this, making it great for spring and summer days. I actually prefer it as a primer on my bare skin before applying my makeup - it just makes my skin look really healthy."

Another reviewer said: "I have used this spray for many years and I even have the small bottle for travel. I never go anywhere without it. I spray it on my face once my makeup is complete and it stays in place all day long. It comes off easily at the end of the day. I also love the scent!"

Pros

  • Can be used to correct makeup mistakes and to wet brushes
  • A super hydrating formula
  • Doubles as a primer as well as a setting spray

Cons

  • Spritz isn't as light as others

Best budget setting spray

The NYX Finish Setting Spray makes sure that your makeup will stay put without smudging. It is available in a dewy finish, but we'd recommend the matte formula for those with oily skin, or on a hot day when you're out and about. We love how comfortably this lightweight formula sits on the skin after application.

One reviewer said: "My friend was at her birthday party and got cake smashed in her face while wearing this setting spray. When I tell you her makeup did not budge at all, even when we wiped her face free of cake debris!

Another reviewer said: "This is one of the most amazing and affordable sprays I have ever used . It melts my makeup together beautifully and as a oily girl it keeps my makeup in place all day long. Absolutely love it."

Pros

  • Amazing value
  • Stops unwanted shine
  • Not sticky at all

Cons

  • A smaller bottle

Best setting spray for blurring pores

Creating a flawless finish for up to 16 hours, the benefit Porefessional Super Setter Setting Spray has a water-based formula that sets your base makeup beautifully. It will blur your pores while giving your skin some much-needed hydration, plus it's fast-absorbing for applying on the go.

Mother&Baby writer, Eve Miller, said: "I really loved the original Porefessional primer, so I thought I'd give this a go. I like how fine the mist is and how it covers my face with just a few sprays. It doesn't drench the face either, plus it does gives a long-lasting finish."

Another reviewer said: "I havent found a fix spray that works for me yet. But I have to say this is most definitely the best one I have found. It also give my makeup an amazing finish. Definitely worth purchasing."

Pros

  • Matte but still hydrating
  • Waterproof
  • Weightless mist application

Best protective setting spray

The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray has been receiving a lot of hype recently, and for good reason. Formulated with aloe vera, Japanese green tea and an aromatic resin, this spray will lock in your makeup while protecting and nourishing your skin throughout the day. We love the smoothing effect this has.

One reviewer said: "Make Up Must Have - LOVE this so much, it keeps my make up in place all day without needing to touch anything up which is great when you have a bust day."

Another reviewer said: "The only setting spray I will ever buy, love it! Used plenty other rival brands in the past but nothing matches up to this."

Pros

  • Blurs and smooths
  • Refreshing formula
  • High-quality ingredients

Cons

  • Some reviewers weren't big fans of the scent

Best botanical setting spray

Doubling as a nourishing primer and refreshing setting spray, the RARE BEAUTY Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Mist soothes the skin while setting your base. It's made with white waterlily, gardenia, lotus, niacinamide and sodium hyaluronate, so it's a skincare product as well as a smoothing setting spray.

Mother&Baby writer, Eve Miller, said: "I love applying this before I do blush and highlighter. It makes me skin feel and look amazing, with a gorgeously glowy finish. It's also great to spray on minimal makeup days. It just makes my skin look naturally dewy and fresh."

Another reviewer said: "Smells amazing and is refreshing. I feel like my makeup stays on longer with this mist."

Pros

  • Gives a plump and healthy finish
  • Calms the skin
  • 4-in-1 skincare formula

Cons

  • Not the best for 'full glam' looks

Best mattifying setting spray

Even though we all have them, the appearance of pores can knock our confidence, which is why the MILK MAKEUP Pore Eclipse Setting Spray is such gamechanger. Infused with oil-absorbing lentil extract and niacinamide, this setting spray mattifies your skin while minimising the appearance of pores. We love that this formula is 90% natural.

One reviewer said: "In my 15 years of doing makeup, i have literally tried every product under the sun to help keep my oil at bay. This product is one of the only things that does that for me. I never thought I would find that in a setting spray form. I am honestly so impressed and am excited to try this out with different foundation formulations. I do still have a touch of oil peek through at the end of the day, but it is NOTHING compared to what normally happens. The only other product that comes close is the Paula's Choice Shine Stopper, but that can leave the face feeling tight. This spray is so comfortable and you can't tell it's there. Highly recommend!"

Another reviewer said: "This is great, I use it in combination with the primer and my oil skin is matte and the makeup looks great!"

Pros

  • Clean and vegan formula
  • Nice, even mist
  • Skincare ingredients

Cons

  • Only one size available

Best setting spray for artistic makeup

NIMYA was created by Youtube darling and beauty guru, NikkieTutorials, so you just know that a lot of thought was put into the NIMYA Set It & Forget It Spray. This long-lasting formula can work for your everyday makeup but also more extravagant makeup with vibrant pigments. It applies beautifully and will make sure you makeup stays put.

Mother&Baby writer, Eve Miller, said: "I really like the scent this spray has and it's not too overpowering either. This is great for when I want to have a dewy or glowy look, but I want it to last and not look too shiny."

Another reviewer said: "I love this spray. It smells so good. It sets your makeup and gives it a great 'put together' finishing look. I have bought this multiple times and will continue. I use it everyday and it is by far the best setting spray I have used. Use multiple times throughout doing your makeup to make it set even more."

Pros

  • Long-lasting results
  • Gives your complexion a fresh feel
  • Boosts eyeshadow pigmentation

Cons

  • Not as lightweight as others

What should you consider when picking a setting spray?

Skin Type: You'll have dry, oily, or combination skin and that will definitely effect your choice - for example, those with oily skin may want a more mattifying formula to combat unwanted shine.

Finish: Different base finishes have come in and out of style in the last few years, but it's down to personal preference. Do you want a more dewy look? Or are you looking for a matte finish?

Price Point: Yes, many setting sprays can be a little pricey, but there are lots of fabulous affordable options out there too. If you have a makeup budget, stick to it, and opt for a spray within that budget.

Formula: You'll need to look at what different formulas offer. Are the ingredients right for your skin? Will dry quickly when you're getting ready in a rush? Is it safe to use during pregnancy?

Is setting spray really necessary?

Everyone is welcome to do their makeup how they want to, but we do recommend using a setting spray if you want to get the most from your makeup look. The right setting spray really does make a difference to the longevity and overall finish of your makeup. If you wear more than just mascara on your face, setting spray will be your beauty bestie.

What is the best way to use setting spray?

We recommend spritzing your face with setting spray after you have applied your full face of makeup. Make sure you hold it around 6 inches away from your face, lightly covering your whole face to get the effect you want. You don't want to drench your face but you do want flawless results. You can also spray some setting spray before applying blush and highlighter if you want them to look super dewy and more pigmented.

Many makeup artists use setting spray to wet their brushes before applying certain eyeshadows or powder products. If you want your eyeshadow look to be super high-impact, this could be a handy trick for you.

Eve Miller is a Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby, working for Bauer Media for over two years. She is passionate about beauty, creative writing, and women’s healthcare.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
How we write our articles and reviews
Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.