We updated this article in April 2022 to add more expert information from the Good Housekeeping Institute about each featured product. In addition to our original top-rated picks, we've included our product pros' favorite setting spray recommendations and added in eight new picks, including MILK Makeup Hydro Grip Setting + Refreshing Spray, Rare Beauty Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Prime & Set Mist, Tower 28 S.O.S. Daily Rescue Facial Spray and more.
Whether it's a big event or a hot summer day, making sure that your eyeshadow, lipstick and foundation last from day to night is a serious feat. Enter setting spray: If you want your makeup to stand up against the elements, tears and everything in between, a makeup setting spray is necessary. According to celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney, a setting spray is a liquid mist, usually alcohol-based, that's applied as the last step in a makeup routine to help lock it in. Just spritz on to keep makeup looking and feeling fresh through warm weather, vacay hotspots and sweaty workouts. And yes! Setting sprays work on all skin types, though Henney recommends a light hand on sensitive skin.
Our Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab experts and chemists regularly test makeup products of all kinds, from primers to face mists to drugstore cosmetics and airbrush kits. We consider the skincare benefits, application process and effects to get a sense of whether the ingredients hold up over time. We also try them in real life to make sure they perform just as well. The setting sprays ahead are either picked by our editors and staffers, come highly recommended by verified online reviewers or are regularly stocked in the kits of professional makeup artists.
No matter if you've got oily skin or sensitive skin, we rounded up the 17 best setting sprays you should introduce to your makeup routine:
If you ask any beauty expert about their favorite makeup setting spray, chances are they love this Urban Decay formula — it's our product experts' go-to choice, too, especially Executive Textiles Director Lexie Sachs. "There are very few products that I'll consistently splurge on, but this one is worth it," she says. "I've tried many setting sprays, but none of them have kept my makeup intact as long as this one." The brand claims it will keep your makeup looking vibrant for up to 16 hours. Plus, it's paraben-free, sulfate-free and vegan.
This inexpensive setting spray drugstore pick boasts hydrating aloe, green tea, cucumber and a bunch of vitamins (A, C and E!) for moisture. Bonus: It's alcohol-free, which is great for sensitive skin. One Walmart reviewer who uses it for their work as a model describes it as "hairspray for your face" since it impressively keeps everything in place.
Amazon shoppers swear by this $12 makeup setting spray — it has over 2,500 reviews and a 4.4 average rating! "I really like it because I don't feel like I have anything extra on my face, my foundation stays on all day, and no more under-eye smudges," writes one Amazon reviewer. Its fragrance-free formula means it's likely sensitive skin-friendly. Plus, its use of green tea can be soothing on puffy skin and blemishes.
These facial sprays refresh and hydrate your skin to lock in makeup without a matte or cakey finish. "I like my makeup more natural so I use it for dewiness," says former GH staffer Shanon Maglente. The duo comes with two hydrating formulations: one formulated with aloe, herbs and rosewater, and the other with aloe, cucumber and green tea.
This setting spray from L'Oreal promises to extend your makeup and keep it fresh all night long. Our Lab loves how L'Oreal's Infallible line performs (the Total Cover Foundation stays on for a whopping 24 hours!), so it's safe to say this Makeup Extender will live up to our expectations. "With other setting sprays, even high-end ones, I typically have to blot my oily areas often and do touch-ups, but not with this," says one Amazon reviewer.
Recommended by TikTok, our associate product & reviews editor hurried to the store to test the promise that this setting spray prevents makeup from fading. "True to its name, the hydro grip spray truly keeps my makeup in place," she says. "I spritz about three layers directly on my face and add one spritz into my face mask for extra measure. I swear, it has drastically reduced makeup transfer." Plus, the mini-sized bottle alone has lasted her for months. Thanks to its blend of hyaluronic acid and hemp seed oil, it feels super hydrating.
Selena Gomez's beauty brand never misses: This setting spray is that cherry on top for locking in natural glowy makeup. It's not drying at all. In fact, our associate editor tried it on her dry, sensitive skin and found that it only hydrated. It dries down to a subtle, shine-free sheen. Its fine mist is infused with acne-fighting niacinamide and sodium hyaluronate.
Designed for sensitive skin, many Tower28 beauty products use formulas accepted by the National Eczema Association. This one is fragrance-free, alcohol-free, oil-free and hypoallergenic. Our GH associate editor suffers from severe eczema and found it super compatible with her skin. "I reach for it as both a primer and a setting spray," she says. "It feels super refreshing." The brand also recently re-released the spray in recyclable packaging!
For a totally shine-free makeup look, try this affordable NYX setting spray. It seals in your face makeup while leaving skin with a velvet-like appearance, making it perfect for people with oily skin who want to prevent shiny T-zones. Some Ulta reviewers like to blot their skin with a tissue after applying the setting spray to get rid of excess shine.
For those with dry skin who don't want a completely matte makeup look, this setting spray makes skin look fresh and glowy. After trying several setting sprays on her dry skin, Home & Apparel Reviews Analyst Amanda Constantine loves this one for making her skin look dewy. "The packaging is glittery, but there's no glitter in the actual mist, which is what I prefer," she says.
This Boscia spray is said to minimize pores, set makeup and leave a delicate, matte finish. It contains kaolin and white charcoal: Both can help give a mattifying effect on oily areas, says the Executive Director of the GH Beauty Lab, Birnur Aral. It also claims to be free of artificial fragrances, dyes, alcohol, parabens and preservatives. Just don't forget to shake the bottle before spritzing to evenly disperse the charcoal! Otherwise, it may leave behind some powdery residue on your skin.
If you're searching for an option with sun protection for your beach days and pool parties, Supergoop!'s setting spray offers SPF 50 and claims to be water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. Just be sure to use regular sunscreen, too, because chances are you won't apply enough setting spray for adequate protection (which, FYI, is a teaspoon-sized dollop for your face.) "I don't smell any alcohol or sunscreen scents like with other mists I've tried," says one Ulta reviewer.
In our everyday testing, our product experts loved that this formula's spray was "gentle and fine, making application easy" and that the product smells great (like all cosmetics should!). Plus, it didn't disturb makeup and sat well on the skin without feeling greasy or shiny.
According to professional makeup artist Tobi Henney, this is a hydrating setting spray that also doubles as a primer. It's also alcohol-free, which means it's a better option for dry or sensitive skin types. The small nozzle sprays out a fine, continuous mist that makes it perfect for on-the-go pick-me-ups.
This spray really helps lock in makeup, according to Associate Video Producer Lauren DeThomasis. She especially loves using it after powder because it makes the powder "melt" into makeup, giving a "more natural and not cakey" appearance. It's half the price of premium setting sprays but with the same staying power, she says.
Made from soothing aloe vera, moisturizing Japanese green tea and sweet-smelling aromatic resin, this setting spray aims to give a pore-minimizing finish to makeup looks. "This one is great as it will set your makeup for up to 16 hours and is oil-free, so it's perfect for oily skin types," says Henney.
"Ben Nye Setting Spray has been my go-to for years," says Henney. "It was created and used a lot in theater and helps if the client is going to be in hot and humid climates or is perfect on a wedding day." The brand describes it as smudge-proof and water-resistant, so it's a great option for those who sweat easily.
Our Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab experts and chemists regularly test beauty products of all kinds, from sunscreens and razors to nail polish and more. We consider the ingredients and formula to get a sense of whether the product will hold up over time. We also try them in real life to make sure they apply easily and wear well. The setting sprays in this list are either personal favorites of our product experts or popular options with rave consumer reviews and ratings.
While the GH Beauty Lab hasn't tested this category specifically, we have tried many of these picks in our daily lives. Our pros recommend looking for gentle formulas that are free from irritating ingredients such as parabens, sulfates and petroleum (fragrance can also be irritating to especially sensitive skin). It should also apply easily while offering long-lasting staying power.
If you're not sure how to put on makeup setting spray, the good news is that it's super easy! First, read the label because some formulas might have specific instructions. (You might need to shake the bottle beforehand, etc.) Once all of your makeup is applied (Yes, everything from powder to mascara.), hold the bottle about eight inches away from your face, close your eyes and mist in a slow circular motion to cover all of your face, says Henney. If you tend to have drier skin, layering some spritzes in between powder applications can help keep skin dewy and make things blend easier.
Here at the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab, we put all types of skincare to the test in Lab and with consumer testers. We evaluate facial steamers, body sprays, toners and more to find the best quality products that are actually worth buying.
This list was put together with the help of Associate Product & Reviews Editor Jacqueline Saguin who regularly consults with professional makeup artists and collaborates with GH's Beauty Lab to put together product reviews on the very best makeup out there, according to consumer and Lab testing. She has spent years researching and experimenting with products that work with her severe eczema, and she subsequently began her career covering everything from buzzworthy buys to sensitive-skin staples.
We also consulted professional makeup artist Tobi Henney who has a list of celebrity clientele spanning Barbara Palvin, Megan Fox and more.