Friday, May 23, 2014

Makeup Setting Sprays: which ones really work?

In the humidity of summer under the sweltering heat of the mid morning sun makeup can take a turn for the worst. When I was in L.A earlier this year for The Makeup Show one question I was presented with was “how do you get makeup to last all day?” I carefully considered the setting sprays I've tried and which brands I would actually recommend. In warm weather it’s nice to have the confidence that your makeup will remain intact and stay fresh but some sprays may not live up to their claims. Today I will examine and compare the efficiency of a few different sprays and share my findings.

A few years ago when I was on the hunt for the Holy Grail of setting sprays. I did my research, read reviews and I decided to purchase within a few different brands and price ranges.

The setting sprays I will be reviewing are:
*Ben Nye Final Seal (matte makeup sealer) Price (2 oz $10)
*Urban Decay All Nighter Price (4oz $36)
*e.l.f setting spray Price (2.2 oz $3)
*MAC Fix + Price (3.4 oz $25)

I  also considered purchasing the well known Model in a Bottle spray because many Beauty Gurus swear by it but after testing the acclaimed sprays above I threw in the towel. I’m not saying these sprays aren't good, but I was surprised to find that many performed on an equal playing field.

TIP: Before purchasing a spray test it on the inside of the arm to make sure the formula does not cause an adverse reaction. Since many people buy these products with the intention of long-wear it is important to determine if it will irritate the skin.
Ben Nye Final Seal- $10
When I purchased this spray at IMATS the sales reps raved about the formula and its ability to keep makeup in place all day. In fact many have placed Ben Nye’s spray above all others and on Makeup Alley it has received impressive ratings. Although it is suppose to have a mattifying effect it doesn't, it does however keep makeup looking fresh for quite some time. When I use this spray my makeup doesn't budge or crease. It holds up well against humidity, sweat and during activity due to its waterproof formula.

The spray has a peppermint/menthol scent which I don’t care for and it burns if you accidentally get it in your eyes. The spray bottle doesn't always apply the product in an even mist and contact with hair should be avoided.

Final Seal does dry rather quickly but it doesn't offer much in terms of hydration, it also leaves behind a thin layer of sheen which serves to lock everything in place. If you use too much it can make skin feel dry, sticky and a bit tight. Overall this is a good setting spray, it works and is affordable but not everyone will like the finish.
Urban Decay All Nighter- $36
I purchased this spray last year before I made my way into the dessert. There is no better place to test out a setting spray than the intensely hot climate of Dubai. I tested this spray at the beach with slight exposure to water, sweat and intense heat. The product claims that it is “oil free, paraben free” and has “temperature control technology that last up to 16 hours.” It is meant for all skin types and is suppose to prevent “melting, cracking and fading.”

Although the spray works and does help keep makeup in good shape, for the price it doesn't go above and beyond the more affordable sprays. If you spray too much it may take longer to dry and you will begin to see water droplets appear on the skin which messes up makeup application. The spray is light-weight and doesn't feel unpleasant on the skin or have a strong scent. Although my results were good they weren't fantastic and it wasn't quite as long lasting in humidity as my Ben Nye spray which seems to have a stronger seal, almost like a second skin. Overall I like this spray I just don’t love it.

e.l.f Makeup Mist & Set- $3
Infused with aloe, green tea, cucumber and vitamins: A, C, and E this little spray can hold its own against the big guys. It  has actually been called a “dupe for the MAC Fix + spray” and it has been one of my favorites for years. No matter how many high end brands I try I always seem to come back to this one.

I like this product because it keeps my makeup in place; it doesn't irritate my skin as much as some of the other formulas, and the nozzle delivers short, strong busts of spray that coats the face well. It is also lightweight and works great in hot, humid temperatures. If sweating is profuse however you may still need to touch-up but if you don’t want to spend too much for a good spray I would definitely recommend this one.

MAC Fix + - $25
This spray contains vitamins, minerals, green tea, chamomile and cucumber. Compared to the other sprays this one is the most moisturizing and refreshing. It also “adds radiance and helps finish makeup.” I love the smell and unlike the others you can use it before or after makeup application. When used before it provides a supple dewy feeling and helps prime. When used after it lightly sets. It is great for dry skin and doesn't leave a stiff, sticky residue.

This is yet another spray that does help makeup last longer but again I found that compared to the cheaper brands (e.l.f and Ben Nye) it was pretty much on par. You can also use this spray on your brushes before you apply loose pigments and glitter shadow. I primarily use the spray as a moisturizer to mist my skin when I want a moist finish.
All these sprays work well but they do have different, finishes, longevity and scents so choosing one will depend on skin type, preferences and requirements. For me I realized that I didn't have to spend big bucks to get a decent spray, the affordable brands have a lot to offer and sometimes work just as well. If you are new to setting sprays and interested in testing some start within the affordable brands and if you don't find what you are looking for work your way up. 

What is your favorite setting spray?


  1. The only one I haven't tried is the Ben Nye one. All the other 3 work equally well for me and UD's my favorite so far(but obviously not the price). ELF one works really good but the scent is quite strong when first applied.

  2. great round up of makeup setting spray! I find that Mac Fix + doesn't really help prolong makeup as well as Urban Decay Deslick... but after your review, I know that i need to check out Elf and Ben Nye!
    <3 Pauline, ­­Addicted to Makeup

  3. Great post! I have tried the UD All Nighter and liked that, but I'm currently using UD's Deslick and Model In A Bottle as well. I like the ELF spray for super hot days, just to give my face a nice refreshing spray.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love seeing setting spray comparisons! My favorite setting sprays have been the skindinavia sprays, but I want to try the ben nye setting spray. I've tried the elf one too, but I had an allergic reaction to it

  5. Great review! I love the UD one personally, but I don't struggle with oily skin at all, which I know effects it the wear. I'm super curious to try that bill nye one! I've wanted to try their powders, too!
    Kallie - But First, Coffee

  6. I love the MAC setting spray! gives a great finish.
    Great post!
    xo Holly xo


  7. I've only used one setting spray and it was from a brand named p2, I think it's a German brand, I hope I'm not mistaken, but I wasn't that wowed by it. Now that I've read about the elf one I really want to try it :D

  8. I have tried MAC Fix + and liked it, although it is quite pricey.. I really need to try the E.L.F. one - sounds like a winner, especially for the price!

  9. I didn't even realize e.l.f. made a setting spray! I'm a huge fan of Fix+ but it is a little pricey, so I'll have to try that one out next time. Thanks for sharing!


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