When you want to look glowy but not greasy, dewy without breaking a sweat, or radiant without a stitch of highlighter, the right setting spray can help you strike that very fine balance. To get specific, the best dewy setting sprays lock your makeup in place for hours while simultaneously refreshing your skin. Unlike a mattifying setting spray — the dewy setting spray’s more famous cousin — these impart a luminous, hydrated effect, rather than a flat or powdery one. The vast majority do that without the use of actual shimmer, so the result is more “lit-from-within,” not “lit from a pulsing strobe light overhead.”
Setting sprays can actually be used a few ways: As a primer for your makeup; as a fixing spray to set your makeup into place once you’ve finished your routine; or for touchups throughout the day whenever your complexion is looking dull, your makeup is sliding off, or you need to rehydrate your skin. These also work beautifully on your bare face, especially when you don’t feel like wearing makeup, but still want some subtle radiance.
Scroll on to shop five of the best dewy setting sprays on the market, depending on your budget, skin type, and glow tolerance/preferences.
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1. The Fan Favorite
With over 35,000 five-star ratings, this NYX setting spray is far and away the most popular setting spray on Amazon. The "Dewy Finish" version featured here mattifies any shine you don’t want, and imparts the kind you do — i.e., the glowy kind — so it's an especially good choice if your skin is on the oily or combination side. One Amazon reviewer reported that this “life-changing” setting spray helped their makeup last for over 12 hours, and that it doesn’t make their oily skin look or feel greasy.
2. The Budget-Friendly One
Setting sprays, as a species, are generally inexpensive. But the $5 price tag on this one from wet n’ wild is a standout among a pretty cheap bunch. As the name says, the formula is water-based, so it feels extra lightweight and refreshing. All three scents (coconut, cucumber, and rose) are spiked with chamomile and green tea to temper redness, and to offer some more hydration.
3. The Splurge-Worthy One
But if you’re gonna splurge, splurge on this. Anastasia’s finishing spray helps your makeup blend seamlessly into your skin and imparts a radiant, airbrushed finish that lasts for hours, even through sweat, tears, and blizzard-like conditions (according to fans). This ultra-fine mist is scented with vanilla and coconut, so you'll look like an angel and smell like angel food cake. Also, don't be scared of the sparkly bottle — the formula itself doesn’t contain any shimmer.
4. The Shimmery One
And if it is shimmer you’re after, this popular setting spray from Catrice is the one for your glitter-loving face. This contains finely milled silica, mica, and titanium dioxide that refract in the light, so your complexion will look a bit more dynamic. Reviews are mixed on just how intense the shimmery effect is here — some say it’s more “glowy” than “glittery,” while others report sparkling all over the place like a vampire in the sunlight. Prepare yourself for either eventuality.
5. The One That's Great For Your Skin
This Neutrogena setting spray is infused with powerful skin care ingredients — like biotin, peptides, vitamin E, and retinyl palmitate, a gentle retinol derivative — so you may very well see some (subtle) lasting effects in your skin with every spritz. In the interim, it imparts the most gorgeous, long-lasting radiance I ever did see from a setting spray. I don't even need to wear highlighter with this. The formula contains added fragrance, but this feels super-gentle and refreshing on my sensitive skin.