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If you enjoy wearing makeup but have oily or combination skin, you probably know that a carefully applied face of makeup can go from looking vibrant and fresh to greasy and smudged in just a few hours. Thankfully, setting sprays are not only for special occasions these days, but can also be the perfect daily staple to prevent your makeup from running and smudging. 

What is a setting spray?

A setting spray blends your makeup, decreases the look of powder, and shields your skin from sweat to prevent running and clumping. Most setting sprays consist of a polymer like PVP, VP/VA copolymer, or polyvinyl alcohol dissolved in a solvent along with other beneficial skincare ingredients. Setting sprays are applied as a light mist, which allows the solvent to quickly evaporate, leaving a layer of polymer on your skin to hold your makeup in place. There are also other types of setting sprays that don’t contain polymers. These sprays don’t set makeup as well, but they’re still useful to blend makeup and reduce the powdery look.

What to look for with oily skin?

Like most skincare products, setting sprays are formulated for dry, normal, or oily skin. With oily or acne-prone skin, look for setting sprays labeled as “mattifying” to reduce oil and shine while avoiding setting sprays labeled as “dewy,” “luminescent,” or “hydrating.” Many mattifying setting sprays contain niacinamide or kaolin clay to reduce or absorb excess oil throughout the day. 

Our favorite setting sprays

NYX Professional Makeup Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray - $8.50, 2.02 oz

This setting spray has thousands of 5-star reviews, and the low price point makes it even more exciting. It’s a mattifying spray that has been touted as the perfect spray to give you that “just applied” makeup look on even your oiliest days.

Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray - $31, 4.0 oz

This setting spray is alcohol-free and contains kaolin clay to help absorb excess oil throughout the day and reduce shine. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free!

Urban Decay All Nighter Ultra Matte Makeup Setting Spray - $33, 4.0 oz

This setting spray claims to lock in your makeup and reduce oil for up to 16 hours. It also uses kaolin clay to absorb oil and reduce shine while keeping it vegan and cruelty-free.

Makeup Revolution Pro Fix Oil Control Makeup Fixing Spray - $8, 3.38 oz

This is another super affordable setting spray that will set your makeup for up to 12 hours. It’s also formulated with skin conditioning ingredients like Aloe vera to provide extra health and hydration.


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