The best makeup fixing sprays and setting sprays

Anna Hunter 25 July 2019
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

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The Best Makeup Fixing Sprays

If you’ve ever misted your freshly made up face with hairspray, you’ll be familiar with the desire to make your makeup last as long as possible, but I must assure you that there’s another way. I was a ‘mister’ in the 90s (no, not a boy…), and I have far too heady memories of the chemical cloud invading my orifices, not to mention the sticky film of highly fragranced lacquer and resulting irritation that followed a good hairspray face date. It seemed worth it at the time, given that it made my tweeny bopper glittery blusher last throughout the school disco and beyond, but these days the hairspray trick is well and truly redundant, no matter your age, as there’s a makeup setting spray to suit everyone. Whether oily skin , hot flushes , flakiness or simply time itself are your makeup longevity nemeses, this line up have it covered…

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The cult one

Urban Decay's All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray , £26, enjoys well-deserved cult status among makeup maniacs like myself, not to mention clubbers, office workers, gym bunnies and holiday goers. Given that most of us fit into at least one of these categories, it’s time you got acquainted with the makeup world’s magic mist. This iconic spray does exactly what it says on the bottle and is the perfect intro to setting sprays; it’s vegan (as are all iterations of the spray) and there’s nothing quite like it to boost the longevity of foundation and control shine without leaving the face super matte and flat. Not only great for applying after makeup, it’s the perfect antidote to revive tired skin following an afternoon shine meltdown.

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The Classic One

This is the first ever makeup setting spray I remember seeing on the shelves, and the reformulated Clarins Fix’ Make Up  , £24 for 50ml, does indeed feel very grown-up. Stimulating, reviving and almost aromatherapeutic, this feels more mini-facial than makeup sealing, but it stops makeup from sliding as its name suggests, with added silica microspheres to mop up oil. One thing to note is that it’s quite heavy on the fragrance front, so if perfume gives you skin grief this may be one to dodge. Otherwise, it’s dreamy.

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The Rainproof One

Kiko Makeup Fixer , £7.99 for 75ml, probably comes as close to the dreaded hair product formally mentioned of the bunch, but the fact that it contains soothing chamomile and tailored cosmetic alcohol makes it far less detrimental to both skin and your airways. That’s leaving out the fact that it’s incredibly effective; it puts makeup under lock and key for a good 12 hours, and probably more if you’re a party animal. It dries instantly and is invisible to the naked eye, but spray from a distance to avoid pain.

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The Balancing One

Don’t have a particular brief or concern but want it all? Enter  Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist , £16 for 80ml. Hydrating yet also shine-evading, the rosewater and green tea based elixir makes sure that your makeup doesn’t do a runner while also calming and conditioning skin. A cocktail of plant extracts plus skin barrier boosting glycerin and inflammation fighting  niacinamide , your skin will drink this up and look better for it, makeup or no makeup. Keep it desk side, in the fridge, in the glove pocket, but most importantly, to hand; it’s a gem.

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The Caffeinated One

Estée Lauder Set + Refresh Perfecting Makeup Mist , £22 for 116 ml, is a hit of ‘big skin energy’ - it’s got hydrating electrolytes for boost moisture levels and caffeine  to stimulate circulation. It also does a good job of perking up makeup without making it go patchy too - the mist is fine enough to revive without removing your ‘look’ (which would be missing the point of a setting spray completely but it has happened to the best of us).

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The Travel Friendly One

Lugging a makeup setting spray to a wedding or on a weekend break seems a bit excessive, but then again these are probably the occasions when you most require your makeup to do the distance.  Smashbox Photo Finish Set and Refresh Primer Water , £12 for 30ml, two-in-one primer and setting spray that works hard to earn a (small) space in your hand luggage - spray it on after cleansing to seal in moisture, post-makeup to set and anytime you need a pick-me-up during the day or night.

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The Mattifying One

Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray , £23 for 120ml, helps to absorb excess sebum and keep t-zone oil slicks at bay thanks to a kaolin clay enriched formula, plus it dries almost instantly so you won’t have to hang around with a clammy base before leaving the house. It’s fragrance and alcohol-free too so a sounds option if your skin’s on the reactive side. It won’t mimic the mattifying effects of a setting powder , but it locks down makeup and prevents meltdowns.

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The Hydrating One

This budget beauty brand does everything well only at a snip of the price, and we applaud them for it. The Revolution Hyaluronic Fixing Spray , £6 for 100ml, is packed with hyaluronic acid , the skin-quenching ingredient that holds onto water for better hydrated, plump skin. A quick mist of this throughout the day will ensure you’re fixing your makeup while looking after your skin, too. It’s also fragrance-free and contains aloe, which will be a relief for those with sensitive skin.

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The Cool One

A variation on Urban Decay’s classic ‘All Nighter’ setting spray, Chill Setting Spray , £24 for 118ml, not only prolongs and adds polish to your makeup, but it also cools and hydrates, taking you from hot and bothered to dewy and serene in a spritz. As well as freezing makeup for up to 12 hours, this contains  aloe vera  to soothe parched and clammy skin and boasts time-release temperature control technology to actively ‘chill’ the skin’s surface. The time-release part evaded me somewhat, but a squirt of this in a stuffy office is pretty refreshing whether you need to give your makeup added powers of endurance or not.

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The budget one

NYX's Setting Spray , £7, feels very light on the face and comes in both dewy and matte finishes. The matte one is recommended for oily skin to stay shine-free while dewy is good for dry complexions for a hydrated appearance for dusk til dawn.

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The pro-approved one

Makeup artist Cher Webb sings the praises of Caudalie's Beauty Elixir , from £12. This skincare mist is primarily known for a burst of hydration but professional MUAs, like Cher, keep it in their kit to set makeup thanks to rose, grape and rosemary to tighten pores and give the complexion a boost in the glow department.