Whether you’re going full glam for a happy hour with friends or an important meeting, it’s important to make sure that beat doesn’t budge — that’s why you should be using one of the best setting sprays. These sprays basically act as liquid cellophane for your makeup, and they’re the easiest way to ensure your flawlessly applied foundation, blinding highlighter, and sharp-winged liner doesn’t melt off.
But what actually is setting spray? According to Los Angeles-based cosmetic chemist Victoria Vohland, setting spray is made up of three parts: water, alcohol, and a film former. Together, these create a barrier to prevent makeup from slipping. Fun fact: It’s the same chemical formula that’s used in hair gel, but it’s tweaked to be safer and gentle enough to use on the face. “These are very much used in long-wear makeup, especially when [brands] make claims like ’12-hour-wear,'” she previously told Allure.
Using a setting spray may seem pretty simple — just spray it all over your face when you’re done with your makeup, and you’re done, right? Well, if you want to take your makeup expertise to the next level, New York City-based makeup artist Tommy suggests applying setting spray in a zig-zag motion, starting on the forehead and moving down to the chin. “I spritz it on the skin in distance to help rehydrate the face after applying makeup,” he says.
Another tip, courtesy of makeup artist Kate Lee, who works with celebrities such as Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway, and Emma Roberts, is to dampen a Beautyblender with the magic liquid before pressing it on the skin to smooth out dry patches or creased makeup.
With these tips in mind, here are the best makeup setting sprays on the market right now to ensure your makeup lasts all day (with a mask or just on its own), according to Allure editors and makeup artists.