Which drugstore setting spray is best?

You spend a reasonable amount of time putting on the perfect face for an important event, only to find that midway through the evening, your eye shadow is caking, your eyeliner is running and your contouring is rubbing off. The solution is a good setting spray, but no need to reach for the pricey prestige brands. There are several excellent options at your local drugstore. If you’re looking for an inexpensive but effective drugstore setting spray, L’Oréal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a drugstore setting spray

Skin type

Do you tend to have oily skin? Dry skin? The answer can point to the right setting spray for you. An oil-free spray is best for skin that’s prone to oiliness and break-outs. Go with a hydrating formula if your skin is dry or mature.


Are you going to an outdoor wedding on a humid day? Prepping for an indoor evening event during winter? Your setting spray can help offset the ravages of humidity, dry air and other external factors on your makeup. 

Your propensity to develop shine

Somewhat correlated with the oiliness of your skin, but not always directly related, knowing how likely you are to develop shine through your makeup can help point the way to the right setting spray for you. If you tend to develop a greasy look under your makeup, look for a mattifying spray. If this isn’t a common problem for you, feel free to lean into the dewier versions that add moisture and help minimize the look of fine lines.

What to look for in a quality drugstore setting spray


Waterproof setting sprays aren’t for every occasion and can feel heavier on the face than those not labeled as such. But in the face of humidity or heat that may make you sweat, they can be a lifesaver for keeping makeup looking as good at the end of the night as at the beginning. Look at the forecast and if there’s high heat or humidity in it, opt for a waterproof setting spray.

Shimmer vs. matte

If you’re going for glow, you can assist your shimmery makeup and highlighter with a bit of illumination in your setting spray as well. It will add dimension to the sparkle you’ve applied on eyes and cheeks and will help your makeup catch the light.

Versatility as a primer

If you’re looking to shave time off your makeup routine or travel light by stocking up on products that do double duty, look for a setting spray that also works as a primer. That way, you can carry just one product instead of two.

How much you can expect to spend on a drugstore setting spray

You can find a good drugstore setting spray for as little as $5. The average range is $8-$20.

Drugstore setting spray FAQ

Can you reapply setting spray?

A. Absolutely. If you’re going to be in a high-heat or humidity situation (or sweating at a dance club), you can reapply setting spray. Opt for a mattifying formula that will help control shine in those circumstances.

Can you use setting spray every day?

A. Setting spray is generally associated with heavy makeup applications that need to stay on a long time (think wedding or a big night out). However, if you choose a light enough formula, a daily setting spray application can keep eye shadow from caking at the creases and skin looking fresh. If you do opt for daily use, it’s even more important to be diligent about washing off your makeup at the end of the day.

Should I apply setting spray before or after primer?

A. After. In fact, it’s the final step to your makeup application. After you cleanse, hydrate and tone, you apply primer. Then apply makeup. When you’ve got your look exactly the way you want it, a setting spray helps keep it all in place. If you’ve used primer, you may want to go for a mattifying setting spray, as primer layered beneath concealer and foundation can tend to get heavy and promote shine.

What’s the best drugstore setting spray to buy?

Top drugstore setting spray

L'Oréal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray

L’Oréal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray

What you need to know: This setting spray will turn most makeup into extended wear. 

What you’ll love: Lightweight and great for both dry and oily skin, this spray helps your makeup go the distance.

What you should consider: Some users reported not enjoying the smell.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Top drugstore setting spray for the money

E.L.F. CosmeticsMatte Magic Mist & Set

E.L.F. CosmeticsMatte Magic Mist & Set

What you need to know: This is a lightweight application that punches above its weight class in terms of quality and finish.

What you’ll love: Besides doing a great job of fixing makeup in place, it’s a hydrating, soothing formula that makes skin feel revived with its fine mist.

What you should consider: This product can take a while to feel fully dry, so give it some time before heading out the door.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Worth checking out

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray with Hyaluronic Acid

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray With Hyaluronic Acid

What you need to know: Soothing and hydrating, this setting spray is an excellent choice for mature skin.

What you’ll love: Part of the Neutrogena Hydro Boost family of products, it mixes well with its primer and is excellent when used in conjunction with the cult-favorite hydrating mask for the same line.

What you should consider: It has a strong scent. Some users love it, but try it out before committing if you’re sensitive to smells.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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