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Best setting spray 2023: Lock your makeup into place with dewy, mattifying and hydrating setting sprays

Oily, dry or combination – get a flawless, long-lasting finish whatever your skin type with our pick of the best setting sprays

Ever got to midday to find yourself in makeup meltdown? Well, worry not – for a look that lasts simply lock your makeup into place with a setting spray. These magic mists will give your skin a dewy boost or a polished matte finish while increasing the hold of your makeup. Give those mid-morning touch-ups a miss with a flawless face that will last all day.

But the world of setting sprays can be a daunting place. With formulas and finishes aplenty, it’s difficult to know which setting spray will be right for your skin. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favourite setting sprays, including spritzes that are suited to oily and dehydrated skin types. If you need a little extra help, scroll a little further and we’ll give you the full low-down on setting sprays.

How we test setting sprays

We personally test all of the setting sprays in our roundup, following the directions on the packaging.

First we note the ingredients making up each formula of setting spray, as well as recommended use (such as for oily or dry skin, or whether a product is waterproof). Having applied the setting spray as directed over freshly applied makeup, we note any hydrating or mattifying effects and a product’s scent. We also pay attention to how the skin feels: whether there’s any itchiness as a result of use, or clumping/caking of makeup. We wear our makeup with the setting spray applied for a typical day, and evaluate how well makeup lasts without smudging or fading, using photographs to help us document the performance of the setting spray. Finally, we confirm package size and estimate how long one bottle of spray could be expected to last with typical use.

READ NEXT: Our pick of the best primers for all skin types

The best setting spray you can buy

1. Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray: Best setting spray

Price: £26 (118ml) | Buy now from Look Fantastic

Give your makeup long-lasting staying power with Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray. Waterproof, sweatproof and surprisingly weightless, the All Nighter setting spray promises plenty – and actually delivers. A spritz or two of this spray and your makeup will stay in place for an impressive 16 hours, which means you can go from office to bar without stopping off to reapply your face.

Free from skin-clogging nasties such as mineral oils and parabens, the formula is suited to all skin types and was developed in partnership with makeup brand Skindinavia. All Nighter uses a patented Temperature Control Technology to keep your makeup cool and looking fresher for longer – it even does its stuff in humid and rainy weather. It’s pricey, but with one bottle lasting up to 6 months (if it’s used once a day), we think Urban Decay’s All Nighter is a worthy investment.

Buy now from Look Fantastic

2. NYX Professional Makeup Long-Lasting Setting Spray: Best drugstore setting spray

Price: £5 (6ml) | Buy now from Boots

On the lookout for a high-quality setting spray that’ll fix your look without costing a fortune? The NYX Cosmetics Long-Lasting Setting Spray gives you a professional-looking finish on a budget. Unlike most drugstore options, this facial mist feels incredibly lightweight and comfortable on the skin – with no chalky spots or stickiness. Available in two formulations, they dry to either a silky matte or dewy glow in seconds, so there’s no need to wait around. Just spritz and go!

Loved by makeup artists, NYX’s setting spray is great for misting over bridal or special occasion makeup, thanks to its long-lasting formula and ease of wear. And it works just as well over minimal makeup for a natural look, too.

3. Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Setting Spray: Best setting spray for oily skin

Price: £24 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

Trying to get makeup to stay put on oily skin can sometimes feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. And with holiday season fast-approaching, shiny t-zones are certain to become an everyday occurrence. That’s where the De-Slick Oil Control setting spray comes in (yes, it’s Urban Decay again). Formulated for oily and combination skin types, De-Slick stops your makeup from melting by using Urban Decay’s signature Temperature Control Technology. Promising to stop oil in its tracks, the setting spray deflects shine for a beautifully matte, “just-applied” makeup look.

An ultra-fine mist, you’ll hardly feel the product on application. And unlike setting powder, you won’t get a cakey finish if you use too much. Although we can’t guarantee you’ll be oil-free for hours on end (because it kind of depends on how oily your skin gets and the conditions you’re exposed to), overall the De-Slick Oil Control does a great job of keeping shine to a minimum.

Buy now from Feel Unique

4. Mac Prep + Prime Fix +: Best setting spray for dry skin

Price: £18.90 (100ml) | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

Mac’s Prep + Prime Fix + is a staple in most makeup artists’ kit for good reason. Packed full of moisturising vitamins and minerals, the Fix + formula hydrates and soothes the skin while setting makeup in place for a lasting finish which makes it a great fit for sensitive and dry skin. It might not have the staying power of other long-lasting setting sprays in this list, but it’s perfect for refreshing the look of your makeup.

The best part? This multi-purpose setting spray can be used in a number of ways. Mix with your base to achieve a sheer coverage, or apply over eyeshadows to enhance the colour. You can even spritz the setting spray onto bare skin to prime, or use it as a soothing, post-cleansing treat to restore moisture levels. Now that it’s available in four scents including Coconut, Lavender, Rose as well as the Original herbal aroma, it’s even more lustworthy. Overall, a lovely setting spray that smells as good as it looks.

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

5. Becca Skin Love Glow Shield Prime & Set Mist: Best dewy setting spray

Price: £22 (70ml) | Buy now from Space NK

Choosing the right setting spray can make all the difference between a dewy, glowing look that won’t budge and a greasy disaster. Thankfully, with the Becca Skin Love Glow Shield Prime & Set Mist you can cheat a holiday glow without risking a slick t-zone. Conditioning your skin while setting your face in place, this ultra-lightweight setting spray will give you a beautiful, healthy glow thanks to Becca’s Glow Nectar Brightening Hydra Complex. We especially love the natural look this setting spray gives when applied over both dewy and matte foundations.

The alcohol-free setting spray is enriched with a hydrating blend of vitamin E, goji berry, blueberry and cranberry extracts, which makes it ideal for use on all skin types – even sensitive skin. We’d steer clear if you’ve got oily skin, mind. Overall, glow-getters will adore this superfine mist that refreshes and revitalises dull skin with a burst of hydration. 

Buy now from Space NK

6. Mario Badescu Facial Spray: Best setting spray with skincare benefits

Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon

All skin types will benefit from another step of hydration, and the Mario Badescu Facial Spray doubles as a makeup setting spray and a moisturising mist packed full of soothing anti antioxidants. With gentle ingredients like aloe vera, green tea and cucumber to help calm redness, soften the skin and create a moisturised and well-balanced base, it’ll come as no surprise that your makeup will apply better and last longer. These hybrid sprays are also a great alternative to heavier setting mists since they won’t clog pores or irritate the skin.

For best results, use the facial spray before and after makeup application to seamlessly mesh all the products together. But there’s no one way to use the Mario Badescu Facial Spray: spritz over your beauty blender instead of water, use as a toner to soothe the skin after cleansing or to refresh your face after a full day in the office. Plus, there are three lovely scents to choose from.

7. Clarins Fix’ Make-Up: Best hydrating setting spray

Price: £24 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

Clarins’ Fix’ Make-Up setting spray is perfect for misting over skin that’s in need of a pick-me-up. Enriched with hydrating aloe vera and soothing allantoin, this spray really feels as heavenly as it looks. The gorgeous scent of grapefruit extract and organic rose water is a real treat, and thanks to its dinky size, it’s ideal for keeping in your handbag for spritzing on the go. Of course, it wouldn’t be Clarins if it didn’t pack some skincare benefits in too. Using the brand’s exclusive anti-pollution complex, you can rest assured that your skin will be protected against any nasty pollutants.

Our thoughts? It’s a winner because of its hydrating formula and invigorating scent. But while ideal for setting a light base and minimal makeup, we’d recommend investing in a long-lasting setting spray for a full face of makeup.

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

How to buy the best setting spray for your skin

What is a setting spray?

When you spend time expertly applying your makeup each morning, you want it to last beyond a few hours. Come lunchtime, however, you may well find that your foundation has melted, concealer is creased and your eyeshadow has disappeared. For makeup that won’t budge, a setting spray is a perfect solution. Applied just after your makeup, a setting spray will mesh your look together and lock everything in place. For best results aim to apply the mist around 10in from your face. Start by spritzing in a T-motion across your nose and forehead, and follow-up with an X-motion for full coverage. 

What type of setting spray should I buy? 

Setting sprays are available in formulations to suit different skin types and to offer a variety of finishes to your final look. Sprays that give a dewy finish are perfect for dry skin, while a matte facial mist can keep shine at bay if you suffer from an oily t-zone. If you need your makeup to stay put all day then a long-lasting setting spray will really lock it in place. 

Should I still use a setting powder?

You may be under the impression that if you’re using a setting spray then you can skip setting powder altogether. This might be true for dry skin types, but on the whole, it comes down to personal preference. If you have oily to combination skin and often find yourself reaching for powder at midday, applying a setting spray over a setting powder will only increase the hold of your look. 

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