With the hot and humid days of summer comes the chance for a dreaded makeup meltdown. Of course there are ways to help prolong the life of your foundation and eyeshadow, but to really give your makeup a fighting chance against sweat, finding the best setting spray is the way to go. Facial mists tend to be scoffed at as just glorified water, but the right one can work wonders. Not only can a setting spray lock everything in place, but it can also offer a matte or dewy complexion (if that's something you're after) and even add some SPF for those days in the sun. Essentially hairspray for your face, a setting spray might sound a little too good to be true. So I put five to the test to see which could hold up against my oily complexion and sweat.
To test each setting spray, I first applied all of the same makeup products without using any other primers or setters. (I used a Laura Geller foundation, Benefit bronzer and blush, MAC eyeshadow for both my eyelids and eyebrows, Kat Von D liquid eyeliner, Lorac mascara, and Sonia Kashuk lipstick.) I used six sprays evenly over my face from each setting spray. I then walked one mile and jogged one mile outside to see how my makeup would hold up in the heat and humidity. Of course the temperature and humidity were not the same everyday, but it was always between 78 and 85 degrees. Upon return, I analyzed each product I applied to see if it had creased, faded, or smudged. Here's what I found:
From left: e.l.f. Cosmetics e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set, $3, Amazon; L'Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray, $11, Amazon; Pevonia Botanica Phyto-Aromatic Mist, $22, Amazon; Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, $28, Amazon; Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray, $30, Amazon
Without any setting spray (or other priming and setting products), I was surprised by how well my makeup held up on its own. However, up close I was able to notice that my foundation had worn off of my nose and the center/edges of my forehead. My eyeshadow had creased and faded, while my eyeliner and the top of my left eyebrow faded. However, my lipstick, blush, bronzer, and mascara all still looked in place.
This wetter-feeling spray gave a dewy finish. I found that, after my run, my foundation was still slightly on my nose and the center of my forehead (both wins in my book), but had faded from the edges of my forehead. My eyeshadow had creased but not faded, and my eyeliner was slightly smudged. However, my eyebrows, mascara, lipstick, blush, and bronzer all seemed to still be in place.
L'Oreal's setting spray had a wetter consistency, a neutral to dewy finish, and the mist was not as fine as some of the others. Foundation did wear off my nose and forehead. And unfortunately, the setting spray could not protect my makeup from my sweat, as I could actually see the color running down my face instead of my sweat still being clear. Additionally, my lipstick and tops of my eyebrows were slightly faded. However, while my eyeshadow did crease, it did not seem to fade. My eyeliner, mascara, blush, and bronzer were all still in place.
This setting spray also had a wetter consistency, a neutral to dewy finish, and the mist was not as fine as some of the others. However, it still did a decent job at keeping my makeup in place. I did find that my foundation had worn off my nose and the center/edges of my forehead. But, while my eyeshadow creased, it did not really fade. Further, my eyebrows, eyeliner, lipstick, blush, and bronzer all still looked in place.
The Supergoop! setting spray had a very fine, dry mist that mattified my face (a huge plus for my naturally oily skin). After perhaps my most sweaty trial, I was surprised to find that my foundation had only worn off around the edges of my forehead but was still on my nose. It is also important to note that the sweat running down my face was clear, meaning it did not mix with my makeup. Naturally, my eyeshadow creased, but did not appear to have faded much. And even though my lipstick slightly faded, I was pleased to find that my eyebrows, eyeliner, mascara, blush, and bronzer all still looked in place.
Although slightly wetter than the Supergoop! spray, De-Slick also mattified my face. However, my foundation did wear off my nose and the edges of my forehead, and my eyeshadow creased and faded. On the other hand, my eyebrows, eyeliner, lipstick, mascara, blush, and bronzer were still in place.
Depending on your skin type, the makeup you wear, and whether you prime and set with other products (foundation and eyeshadow primer, eyebrow set and powder, respectively), using a setting spray may or may not be necessary. However, if you don't want to have to use those other types of primers and setters, do want a little extra hold, or do want a different finish to your face, a setting spray is the way to go. And although the right one can keep face makeup in place through a good sweat, if you have oily eyelids, an eyeshadow primer may still be necessary. Here's how these five stacked up:
Best Hold: Supergoop!
Has SPF: Supergoop!
Neutral Finish: L'Oreal Paris
Happy sweating, my friends.
Images: Courtesy of Brands; Miki Hayes (7)