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When you think about long-lasting makeup, waterproof mascara, and kiss-proof lipstick probably comes to mind right away. But there’s one product—which may not be a part of your day-to-day routine—that’s super important to use when creating all of your bridal makeup looks. We’re talking about a setting spray—one simple product that can make a huge difference.
Setting sprays help prolong the lifespan of your makeup, preventing smudging and smears, as well as making everything look smoother and more even, explains New York City makeup artist and beauty expert Neil Scibelli. And here’s the thing: They work on all of your makeup, a true one-stop shop when it comes to locking in everything from your eyeshadow to your foundation to your blush.
No matter whether you’re going to DIY your makeup look or go the professional route, a quick spritz of a setting spray is the perfect way to ensure your makeup lasts—not only on the big day itself, but for also all of those occasions leading up to it—think your bridal shower, bachelorette party, and rehearsal dinner.
Meet the Expert
Neil Scibelli is a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert. He focuses largely on fashion, celebrity, and television, as well as sharing his beauty education via contributions to various makeup outlets.
Read on for the best wedding makeup setting sprays.
Best Overall: Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray
“This is an icon in the setting spray category and one I've used for years,” says Scibelli. It helps to lock in makeup for 16 hours, thanks to its temperature control technology that lowers the warmth of your makeup, preventing it from creasing, smudging, or transferring, he explains. We also appreciate that it comes in both a regular and travel-size bottle.
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Skindinavia The Bridal Makeup Finishing Spray
The name says it all. This is a choice formula for brides that also can last for up to 16 hours. It too has temperature control technology and is waterproof and heat-resistant. Effective for all skin types, it also helps to create the appearance of smoother skin (always a good thing in our book). Top tip: If you want up the staying power, you can mist this on both before and after you apply your makeup.
Best Budget: e.l.f. Makeup Mist and Setting Spray
For basically the same price as a cup of your morning coffee, you can nab this guy. It works equally well to help set both cream and powder formulas and is infused with aloe and antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C, and E. It works great when sprayed all over your face, but you can also spray it onto your makeup brush or sponge if you’re just worried about locking in certain makeup like eye shadow or highlighter.
Best Drugstore: Milani Make It Last Prime+ Correct+ Set+ Makeup Setting Spray
At a great budget price, this is an ideal option for anyone who isn’t sure if a setting spray is right for them (or those who don't want to shell out a lot of money for one). Despite the wallet-friendly price tag, it still works just as well as many of its pricier counterparts, warding off creases and smudges and keeping all of your makeup in place for hours and hours on end. It also works nicely to refresh makeup mid-day.
Best Multi-Purpose: Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner
While this may not be a setting spray per se, it’s one of Scibell’s favorites to use as such, for a few reasons. It features lavender, which is said to have calming aromatherapy benefits that can be helpful for brides on the big day, he says. It also contains moisturizing aloe to help impart a glowy finish, and works nicely to help bind foundation to your skin, he adds. And on days you’re not wearing makeup, you can simply spritz this on anytime your complexion needs a little pick-me-up.
Best Long-Lasting: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray
Scibelli says this is one of his top picks. “It's a staple in my kit because it gives this beautiful, soft-focus finish to the skin and can be applied before and/or after makeup to help smooth and hydrate,” he explains. And while pretty much any setting spray is going to be long-lasting by definition, this both locks in makeup for up to 16 hours of wear and blurs the appearance of pores, a nice option for events (like a wedding!) where you’re going to be photographed.
Best for Oily Skin: NYX Matte Finish Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
The hard truth of the matter is that, if you have oily skin, you’re generally going to be more prone to makeup sliding and slipping. Enter the beauty of a good mattifying setting spray, like this one. It not only helps makeup grip better on your skin, but it also instantly tamps down shine and imparts a matte finish. (And, to that point, can be used even without makeup just for that purpose.) It’s super affordable and comes in three different sizes.
Best for Dry Skin: MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ Makeup Setting Spray
“This was one of the first setting sprays I fell in love with and I still use it, it’s a holy grail-type product for me,” says Scibelli. Great for anyone with dry skin, it contains ingredients like chamomile, cucumber, and green tea that are said to help calm and soothe, while also hydrating and setting makeup for a beautiful finish, he says. It’s alcohol-free too, which is always a win for those with dry skin.
Best for Dry Skin, Runner-Up: Milk Hydro Grip Set + Refresh Spray
Here’s another good pick for those with dryer, dehydrated skin. It touts a litany of different beneficial ingredients: hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and aloe to help hydrate, cannabis seed and moringa seed oils to assist in sealing in that hydration, and blue agave that creates a weightless layer to lock in your makeup. FYI, it’s a dual-phase formula, so make sure to give it a good shake before use.
Best With SPF: Coola Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30
Planning an outdoor or summer wedding? This is an awesome double-duty (actually triple-duty) product that both hydrates, tamps down any unwanted shine, and delivers that oh-so-important sun protection. And on non-wedding day days, you can use it for SPF reapplication purposes, since you technically are supposed to reapply sunscreen every two hours. We also appreciate the fact that the formula is 70% organic and reef-safe.
What to look for in a makeup setting spray
According to Scibelli, the finish is the number one, most important thing to consider. Choose your perfect spray based on both your skin type and the result you’re trying to achieve, he advises. If your skin is on the normal to dry side, a hydrating mist is best. If your skin is oily or shine is a concern, opt for a mattifying pick.
What exactly is a makeup setting spray?
“A setting spray is a liquid mist that helps to prolong the lifespan of your makeup,” explains Scibelli. “It also works to prevent smudging, separating and also helps to bind product to the skin for a smoother, more even finish.”
How do I apply a makeup setting spray?
Typically, it’s used at the very end of the makeup application process; simply hold the bottle about 12 inches away from your face and spray, making sure to cover all angles of your face, says Scibelli. However, makeup artists will often apply it both as a first step and a final step, particularly if they’re using it with a set skincare goal in mind, such as mattifying the skin, he explains.
Why Trust Brides
Brides contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s also a newlywed, and chose to use the Urban Decay setting spray from this list for all of her major wedding events.
Aloe vera. NCCIH.
Antioxidants: in depth. NCCIH.
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Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Report. 2010;3(6):895-901.
Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):253-258.
Niacinamide: 10 benefits for skin, topical or supplement, side effects. Healthline.
Moringa oil uses and benefits. Healthline.
Sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation.