One of the newest and most fashionable trends in makeup has to be the rise in the best setting spray.
Originally, setting spray was created with the entertainment industry in mind; to limit the re-application of makeup on actors or on music video sets. You can read more about the history of setting spray and how it works in our guide to What is setting spray and what does it do?
Like with any face product, choosing the best makeup setting spray is all about the ingredients, especially if you’ve got more sensitive skin.
Gone are the days of setting sprays or products of this nature including harsh alcohol, known to dry out or irritate delicate skin. Nowadays many sprays are full to the brim with vitamins, aloe gel, and even green tea to either counteract the alcohol effect, or to replace it completely.
To help you on your quest to find the best setting spray, aka the glue that holds your makeup looks together, we’ve created a list of our favourites.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best concealer | Best makeup brush | Best foundation brush | Best eyeshadow palette | Best foundation | Best foundation for dark skin | Best foundation for oily skin | Best foundation for dry skin | Best contour kit | Best lip gloss | Best lip liner | Best mascara| Best primer | Best highlighter | Best brow pomade | Best blusher | Best setting spray| Best makeup sets | Best false eyelashes | Best eyeliner | Best setting powder | Best eyelash curlers
Why we love it: We didn’t think any setting spray could top the one from Urban Decay but Charlotte Tilbury has smashed our previous favourite out of the water.
Not only does it smell super fresh and the spray applicator allows you to cover your face with a gentle, effective mist, but it also works amazingly. It dries almost immediately and gives a natural finish that’s not too shiny if you like to have a matte finish, and it’s not too matte if you prefer a more dewy glow.
What’s more, a little goes a long way – which goes some way towards justifying the high price.
We’ve had a bottle of this setting spray for around two months now and despite using it daily, we’re not even a third of the way through the bottle.
FURTHER READING: Charlotte Tilbury Sale
Recently, the brand released a limited-edition White Tea of Bali scent. It’s the same setting spray, in terms of performance, but its fragrance has been designed to lift your mood and senses, at the same time as setting your makeup. This includes violet and rose, to enhance your mood; mint and tea to revitalise; calming vetiver and relaxing notes of white musk.
As you can read in our Charlotte Tilbury setting spray article, the setting spray works so well because it contains so-called Flawless Film Formers. These act as an invisible shield to help set makeup all day without melting, fading or settling into lines. Other ingredients include Aloe Vera, Japanese Green Tea and Aromatic Resin which soften and smooth the skin.
Why we love it: It’s so cheap for one thing; so cheap, and so good. It includes ingredients including cucumber, Vitamins C, A and E, and aloe – all excellent for keeping your skin hydrated and protected.
It does exactly what it says on the tin, and will even hold your pesky bronzer, usually the first thing to go. It only comes in an 80ml bottle, which is small, but for the price and the quality, this is forgivable. For extended hold, try spraying the product onto your cosmetic brush or sponge prior to applying any makeup.
FURTHER READING: Spotlight on e.l.f
£32.50 | Buy now from BeautyBay
Why we love it: If you’re looking for the first-ever setting spray, literally designed to be the best and pave the way for all other products, look no further. This spray claims to hold even the runniest of makeup for up to 16 hours, come rain or shine. It’s secret? Temperature control technology that slowly releases the product onto the skin over the course of a day. This means your face is never without a fresh and held finish.
£10 | Buy now from Missguided
You’d be fooled into thinking that a setting mist for a tenner would be average at best but we were blown away by just how good this spray is. It’s not as cheap as e.l.f’s version, and it doesn’t quite live up to the Charlotte Tilbury spray – which is why it’s sitting in fourth in our best setting spray guide rather than higher up – but it’s a fantastic fixing mist.
We’re big fans of the gentle sprays of other brands but you need to perfect the spray and swish movement in order to cover your whole face. This setting spray from Missguided delivers a light mist, but in a much more direct application. It dries quickly, despite feeling super wet when it first hits the skin, and it creates a shine-free, dewy finish. Ideal for no-makeup, makeup looks or for fresh-faced finishes.
From £12 | Buy now from Lookfantastic
You may be familiar with Benefit’s POREfessional range. It’s renowned for its selection of primers, as well as its mattifying “rescue gel,” and the brand recently added its first setting spray to the mix.
Called The POREfessional: Super Setter, the Benefit setting spray has a microfine mist that promises to lock makeup in place while blurring your pores. Benefits promises that this effect lasts for 16 hours, too.
The setting spray is currently on sale for £12, for the smaller 30ml version, or you can get a 120ml version for £26.
Why we love it: Ask anyone who has used Urban Decay’s All Nighter setting spray and they’ll tell you it did absolutely everything they bought it to do.
You want to reduce shine? It’ll do it. You want your makeup to last all day and night? Oh yes. You want your skin to feel refreshed and clean? Urban Decay has the ticket.
This mist goes on lightly, meaning you won’t even know it’s there – albeit it’s not as light as the Charlotte Tilbury mist.
Even in the stickiest or most humid of conditions, this spray will only leave your makeup looking more vibrant.
On top of all of this, one bottle will last you a good six months so it’s well worth the slightly more expensive price. Our one complaint is that despite its high price, the bottle and the applicator feels cheap. Particularly alongside Charlotte Tilbury’s luxury bottle, which costs the same.
£7.99 | Buy now from KIKO Cosmetics
Why we love it: Not only is this setting spray such a bargain, but it’s especially effective at keeping your foundation or base makeup in place. KIKO has produced something that will hold your foundation in place all day and all night. The only downside of this product is its inclusion of cosmetic alcohol which can sometimes be a bit of an irritant to those of us with slightly more sensitive skin.
£21 | Buy now from MAC
Why we love it: If your face has a tendency to dry out a little during the day, and you struggle with what to do about it because of tricky combination skin we present to you the MAC Prep+ Prime setting spray. This setting spray is an oldie but certainly a goodie.
It’s excellent at soothing and hydrating, while being so lightweight you wouldn’t even know it was there. This product is also wonderful because it comes in a couple of different types, so if your skin is on the dryer or more oily sides, MAC has got you covered. Our one complaint is that it smells a little odd, and make sure you shake it before use or you’ll be left with white dots on your face.
Why we love it: This spray is much more of a refresher than a rock-hard setting spray, although it does do the latter more than adequately. Fenty refers to it as a ‘makeup boosting moisturiser in a bottle’. It contains witch hazel, which is a firm favourite for blemish-prone skin.
This is because it has a number of qualities including relieving irritation, inflammation and acne, making it a handy added bonus for your setting spray. It’s also non-sticky and has a refreshing light rose scent.
Libby graduated from Bournemouth University with a degree in Multimedia Journalism. She’s worked as a researcher and writer for Heart Radio as well as a features writer for a Somerset newspaper. She’s since taken time out to travel, manage a hotel restaurant, do a lot of dog walking, and now works in London’s West End