The Best Setting Sprays to Buy in 2020

Spritz, spritz, spritz ... and STAY! After spending ages doing your makeup, the last thing you want is it slipping and sliding off your face. Not just something YouTubers love to work with on camera, a good setting spray will keep you looking fresh even on your longest day.

What are the Best Setting Sprays? - Smith & Cult Instant Recall Invisible Powder Setting Spray - product bottle flat lay on white bed sheet - 1080 x 771 What are the Best Setting Sprays? - Smith & Cult Instant Recall Invisible Powder Setting Spray - product bottle flat lay on white bed sheet - 1080 x 771

Not just a gimmick, a good makeup setting spray is guaranteed to be found in the kit of all top makeup artists. So, what’s the deal? If you want a stay-all-day setting spray, you need to check the ingredients and work out which product is best suited to your skin type.

If you’re asking yourself, Is setting spray bad for your skin? the Adore Beauty team have done their research and found the answers to your setting spray questions.

What Does a Setting Spray Do?

The best makeup setting spray will keep your makeup looking as fresh as when you first applied it. If you want to avoid smudging, flaking, and the development of frustrating patches, you need to give your face a spritz once you’re happy with your makeup. No one wants to look in the mirror a few hours after heading out the door, only to feel disappointed with their makeup.

Perfect for special occasions, your favourite dewy finish setting spray can be spritzed on to help you stay luminous and Instagram-ready. You don’t need to use a good setting spray every day though; keep it for when you really want you look to stick.

Is Setting Spray Bad for Your Skin?

Your best bet is to pick up a setting spray that doesn’t have parabens, sulphates, or phthalates. A dewy setting spray with natural ingredients will keep skin looking fresh. Only spray a light mist onto the skin, and always wash your face makeup off at the end of the night to avoid irritation. If you have sensitive skin or suffer from breakouts, look for an alcohol free formula to help keep skin happy and healthy.

Do You Put Setting Spray on Before or After Makeup?

Setting spray will keep the top layer of your makeup in place long after you’ve applied it. Whether you’re heading out dancing, having drinks with friends, or are a guest at a wedding, the best foundation setting spray will help keep things in place. Look for a spray that’s suited to your skin type to maximise the effects.

What’s Better, Setting Powder or Setting Spray?

It’s natural to want your full face of makeup to last as long as possible. After all, you created a makeup masterpiece! But when wondering whether a setting powder or a setting spray is better, it all comes down to your skin type. If you have oily skin that’s prone to breakouts and blackheads, a setting powder will generally give you a less shiny finish. A talc-based powder or mineral-based powder will absorb excess oil and give your skin a blurred, soft finish.

If you have dry skin, your skin might enjoy a gentle mist better. If your skin looks flaky and the dry patches are getting you down, a dewy finish setting spray will lift your look. If you live in a colder climate, a spray might also help give skin back its glow. If you have combination skin, you might want a spray that will help keep the shine at bay (that rhymed!).

So, when picking between a powder or setting spray, check the ingredients and work out your skin type. Make sure you pick the best makeup setting spray for combination skin, the best setting spray for dry skin, and the best setting spray for oily skin. Check out the selection below to help you choose.

How Do You Choose Between Setting vs Finishing Spray?

When choosing between a setting and finishing spray, you want to decide what you need your spray to do. If you need it to keep your makeup in place for hours, a setting spray should do the trick. Depending on the ingredients, a finishing spray might not lock your look down quite so tightly. A finishing spray might also prep your face for makeup, whereas a setting spray will help keep makeup where you put it.

You might be asking yourself, What is setting spray made of? Well, most of them are made up of Polymers. A Polymer will dissolve in a solvent (usually alcohol) and work to set your makeup. Polymers are long molecules that keep things in place. The Polymer and the alcohol work together to form a droplet that acts as a makeup-setting film. Perfect! Of course, the ingredients included depend on what product you’re using, so always check the label.

When to Use Setting Spray?

Unless you’re really into a heavy makeup look, you probably don’t need to use a setting spray every day. Just a light spritz when you’re heading out for a long day should do the trick.

If you’re thinking of trying a new setting spray, we’ve delved into some tried and tested formulas, and found our favourites for you.

With an assortment of skin-loving ingredients, this skin-loving Mac setting spray will take your look to the next level. A cult classic, M.A.C Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ is a versatile hydration spray that sets makeup for enhanced wear. Perfect for refreshing your look as the day wears on, the lightweight formula contains a blend of vitamins and minerals to revive the skin’s complexion.

Suitable for all skin types, M.A.C Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ is now available in four scents including Rose, Lavender, Coconut, and the original Herbal blend. A great bridal setting spray option, this formula can be used to sheer out heavy makeup and to keep makeup in place with a dewy essence.

Ever wanted to get your daily makeup so on point it looks like you work for M.A.C Cosmetics? Well check out these routines from M.A.C. Cosmetics staff members and pick up some hot new beauty tips...


Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray has been an M.U.A favourite for a few years now. The unique blend of ingredients works to revive the colour of your makeup and keep it looking fresh long after it’s been applied. Skindinavia makeup setting spray stops makeup from melting off the face during the summer and from drying out in the winter.

Helping maintain your makeup look for up to 16 hours, Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray leaves skin with a healthy look and a breathable finish. It can be used over or under makeup and keeps midday touch-ups to a minimum. This is a formula that’s loved by runway models, celebs, and influencers all over the globe.


With a just little spritz, ICONIC London Prep-Set-Glow is versatile, is skin-friendly, and gives you that most-wanted Insta-glow. And it’s not just good at setting your makeup! Iconic London prep set glow spray can be used as a primer before makeup and after you’ve applied your full face. The subtle mist offers a unique glow that catches the light in the prettiest way.

For those with dry skin, this hydrating formula will instantly lift your look and give it a dewy finish. And ICONIC London Prep-Set-Glow has some great skin-loving ingredients! Chamomile soothes and tones skin, while Cucumber, Green Tea, and Vitamin E help protect your skin from damaging free radicals. Use regularly to see your skin’s tone improve.


Designed for all skin types, MAKE UP FOR EVER Mist & Fix Setting Spray will lock makeup in place for the duration of your event. Lightweight and hydrating for a more natural finish, this iconic formula helps makeup last for up to 12 hours. And the unique alcohol free formula makes it superkind to sensitive skin. If you’ve accidentally given yourself a powdery look, it’ll bring your skin back in balance.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Mist & Fix Setting Spray coats the skin in an invisible barrier and offers skin protection from environmental aggressors. Prep the skin with a quick spritz and use once you’ve applied makeup to see the long-lasting effects. Touch up your complexion throughout the day to keep makeup where you want it.


For extra glow on your special day, Napoleon Perdis Radiance Boosting Final Fix Setting Spray is a great bridal setting spray option. With light-reflecting particles, the spray can be used before and after makeup application to intensify your look. It’s a mua makeup setting spray that many love to use. Perfect for normal to dry skin types, the Cucumber and Chamomile formula keeps skin soothed.

Napoleon Perdis Radiance Boosting Final Fix Setting Spray nourishes and conditions the skin while keeping your makeup in place. Apply as the last step in your makeup routine for a glowy finish. You could also spray the formula onto a brush and apply to the cheeks and collarbones for a high-shine finish.


This is a Mac dewy setting spray with extra shimmer! Made to hydrate, refresh, and soothe the skin, this cult classic has a little shimmer added for extra effect. Spray M.A.C Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ Shimmer onto your face after makeup application to set your look and sheer out heavy foundation. Providing immediate luminosity, the ultra-fine shimmer gives the skin a dewy finish.

Perfect for international travel, the bottle is handy-dandy for your bag. Tote it wherever and spray the skin when you need to liven up. The vitamins and minerals in M.A.C Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ Shimmer hydrate skin, and the lightweight formula helps to revive the complexion.


Get the Natural Look

If you want a flawless finish, Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day Setting Spray - Lemongrass is a great place to start. Made to lock down your makeup, the gentle formula keeps things in place while being kind to skin. If you’re struggling with a powdery look, this Lemongrass-infused formula will give skin a dewy finish.

Get the Natural Look

Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day Setting Spray - Lemongrass is a great option for all skin types. Spray the stay all day setting spray for oily skin whenever you need to refresh your skin. You only need a light mist to get the desired effect.


Slay All Day With This Spray

If you’re looking for a flawless finish, Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day Setting Spray - Grapefruit will help get you there. Fortified with ingredients that lock down makeup and help control shine, this spray will keep makeup looking fresh and just-applied.

Slay All Day With This Spray

If your makeup has an annoying powdery finish, Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day Setting Spray - Grapefruit will boost moisture without moving makeup around. The lightweight formula is never sticky and dries down for a natural finish. Niacinamide and Vitamin E soothe and calm skin while providing serious antioxidant protection against free radical damage. Use the spritz as and when you need to.


Cruelty-free and vegan, elf Makeup Mist & Set Clear will keep your look in place while you dance the night away. With a cocktail of natural nourishing vitamins and antioxidants, this elf setting spray improves the wearability of your makeup and prevents pigments from running. This affordable setting spray will refresh the skin with each pump.

An alcohol-free formula, elf Makeup Mist & Set Clear is perfect to pack when you travel. It’ll boost the skin’s natural radiance and keep skin moisturised and healthy-looking. Aloe, Green Tea, and Cucumber work together to keep the skin looking nourished and hydrated. Plus, it will keep your makeup in place!


Barry M Flawless Mist & Fix Spray - Matte is a lightweight, conditioning spray that will set your makeup and protect skin from the elements. It will help rid you of that annoying powdery finish and can be used before and after makeup application. Cornflower Extract helps defend the skin with anti-ageing properties, and this matte formula will keep unwanted shine at bay.

Barry M Flawless Mist & Fix Spray - Matte is a light astringent, making it ideal for those who suffer from high shine, blemishes, and imperfections. Skin will be kept lightly conditioned and protected from environmental aggressors. Hold the bottle at arm’s length and cover skin with a light mist. This is a great matte finish setting spray.


Help makeup reach its full potential with elf Illuminating Mist & Set. This soothing setting spray will hold your makeup look down and refresh skin throughout the day. The Aloe, Cucumber Extracts, and Green Tea keep the skin healthy, hydrated, and soothed throughout the day.

You can also use elf Illuminating Mist & Set on a bare face to hydrate and add a little bit of moisture. If you want to intensify the illuminating effect, simply spray the formula onto a brush or sponge and apply where you want to see some shine! This is a vegan and cruelty-free formula.


With a chic approach, Smith & Cult Instant Recall Invisible Powder Setting Spray is an ultralight, spray-on powder formula. Made to absorb oil, control shine, and keep your makeup exactly where you want it, the spray leaves a soft, matte finish. Invisible on all skin tones, the flash-friendly formula is perfect for special occasions.

Smith & Cult Instant Recall Invisible Powder Setting Spray has a smooth, velvety texture that won’t create mess or fallout. Enriched with Rice Starch and an entire coconut’s worth of antioxidant-rich Coconut Water, the unique, kind formula helps defend the skin against daily aggressors. Shake the can before use and spray as and when you need to. This is thought by some to be the best makeup setting spray for sweat. Our beauty editor featured Smith & Cult Instant Recall Invisible Powder Setting Spray in a Beauty IQ article, read all about it here - There's A Whole New Way To Keep Shine At Bay


Prep + Prime Fix+: Hack Your Eyeshadow with Deepica Mutyala | MAC Cosmetics


If none of those products takes your fancy, you could always make a DIY setting spray yourself! For a lovely Rosewater and Witch Hazel setting spray, simply add 1 tablespoon of Rosewater and 1 tablespoon of Witch Hazel to 1 1/2 cups of water. Give your bottle a shake, and there you have it! A natural setting spray, perfect for oily skin. You could also try adding Aloe and Lavender to help keep skin hydrated. There really is a setting spray out there for every skin type!

Wan to discover more of our favourite makeup products and tools? Check out these guides -


Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.


Base Makeup For Beginners - Creating The Perfect Base That Lasts