Setting sprays are a conundrum. Do you need one? Do they even work? If you ask us, they’re a bit like toners: your routine won’t fall apart without them, but they’re a lovely addition to help foolproof your look.
Finding the best setting spray for oily skin, or even combination skin can be hard as so many just feel like they add unnecessary wetness to your skin when you just wish it’d dry out already!
So here’s a handpicked list of our all-time fave setting sprays to get you on your way.
The 15 Best Setting Sprays for Oily Skin
1. Mario Badescu Facial Spray (Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea)
Mario Badescu products are popular for their high end feel at mid-range prices. And this superfood infused spray is no exception.
Along with green tea, a powerful natural antioxidant, it contains soothing cucumber water and aloe. On top of that, peppermint oil is pretty high up on the ingredient list, providing a refreshing sensory experience and scent.
Its power to reduce oiliness and soothe throughout the day makes it a great step between moisturizer and makeup. Because the real secret to great makeup is healthy skin.
The strong fragrance could cause skin sensitivity in some, so if you’re currently avoiding excessive fragrance, keep reading!
2. boscia White Charcoal Mattifying Makeup Setting Spray
Another one for plant lovers, this boscia setting spray claims to minimize the appearance of pores. But what we really love about it is its ability to safeguard makeup from sweat.
Feeling oily or wearing lots of SPF? This is the perfect product to stop greasiness from dissolving your looks. In fact, it might just be the best mattifying setting spray out there for all-round performance.
It’s not as scented or as prettily packaged as the Mario Badescu spray – and you might have to watch for white specks on your clothes from the charcoal – but it makes up for this in how kind it is to skin and to your looks.
It’s alcohol-free (yay!) and even contains arginine, an amino acid which promotes the skin’s overall health and hydration while protecting from free radicals. Fancy!
3. COOLA Makeup Setting Spray
For many skincare junkies, SPF is the most important step in a morning routine. And we think they have a point! This is why this petite but powerful bottle from COOLA makes our No. 3 spot.
This is a high-end product with a heart. Its SPF is environmentally friendly in that it’s coral reef safe, and the rest of the ingredient list is very skin-soothing.
Along with more common calming agents like aloe and cucumber, there’s hyaluronic acid in here. This fantastic hydrator draws moisture to the skin and keeps it there to aid natural plumpness, without breaking you out.
4. Urban Decay All Nighter
If you know your makeup is going to really be put to the test, reach for this product and it won’t disappoint.
You won’t find many plant extracts or fancy active ingredients here. However, it does the job and does it well – for 16 hours! And it’s oily skin safe, with nothing that should trigger breakouts and a little aloe to soothe irritation.
Perfect for the busy parent, professional or a party animal, this spray won’t let a single drop of your makeup be dissolved by sweat, oil, or whatever you end up spilling on yourself at that party.
The packaging not only packs a lot of product, but it looks pretty cool too. True to Urban Decay’s usual fun and trendy aesthetic, this soft-touch black bottle with purple detailing is sure to look cool on your dressing table.
5. Mac Prep+Prime Fix+
This spray has a refreshingly short ingredient list, containing soothers like German chamomile and cucumber as well as a skin-protecting amino acid.
It keeps makeup in place for 12 hours, so not as long as Urban Decay but more than enough for everyday use. And we love that this isn’t an overly drying product too.
Many people with oily skin reach for the immediate result of a drying spray. But in the long run, what your skin really needs is some TLC! Particularly if you’ve been suffering breakouts and acne scars.
So if you want to be kind to your skin without sacrificing a smooth finish, definitely check this out!
6. Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later
There’s no avoiding it: many classic looks pop more with a matte finish. So you need something truly mattifying which won’t upset your oily skin.
This simple, vegan formula applies in the form of a fine mist, making for very even coverage. It also means you avoid that “wet” feeling some mists leave you with.
Denatured alcohol is very high up on the ingredient list here, meaning it wouldn’t be the best for people suffering from dry or flaky skin. However, if your skin is very oily – yep, we’ve all been there – and properly moisturized, it can take the alcohol no problem.
On top of that, the fragrance here is very subtle. Many setting sprays opt for strong fragrances over performance, so it’s nice to see a brand doing the opposite.
7. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water
It doesn’t get much more refreshing than this cooling but fast-absorbing spray which can be used before or after makeup.
As always with Smashbox, the packaging isn’t much to shout about, but it definitely follows through on its promises performance-wise. It’ll prep your skin wonderfully for makeup even if you have a skin which switches between dry and oily.
Its versatility is thanks to the formula, which mattifies just enough to reduce oil without using drying alcohols. On top of that, it contains caffeine, which is a great ingredient for reducing puffiness.
While it works best after your makeup as a setting spray, it’s a fantastic primer option if you’re allergic to silicones and can’t use standard primers and lasts all day.
8. L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender
Being a mammoth brand, L’Oreal has a big rep to live up to. And with this long-lasting yet lightweight setting spray, it doesn’t disappoint.
This is probably the best makeup setting spray for oily skin if you wear full-coverage heavy makeup every day (or for that cosplay you’ve been dreaming of that involves buckets of bodypaint!).
The fine mist is easy to apply and won’t leave your skin feeling sticky. It does contain denatured alcohol, but if you’re wearing it on top of a lot of makeup or if you have very oily skin, it won’t dry you out and will lead to a lovely matte finish.
There’s some fragrance here also, but it’s safely at the bottom of the ingredient list, and you’ve got some aloe vera to balance things out.
9. e.l.f. Cosmetics Matte Magic Mist & Set
This mattifying counterpart to e.l.f.’s Illuminating spray performs just as well (so very well!) with added shine control.
If you’re new to setting sprays and cautious about splurging too much on a new product this is perfect for you. While it does contain drying alcohol and doesn’t have the luxury feel or finish of more expensive brands, it really does work.
Not only that but it contains some Arctium Majus Root Extract, a botanical extract you don’t see every day! This ingredient has antioxidant and skin-soothing properties and is probably there to counteract the alcohol.
All in all, we reckon this is the best mattifying setting spray for beginners or gals on a budget.
10. Revlon PhotoReady Prime Plus Makeup and Skincare Primer
While many of these products make great primers for both skincare and makeup, it’s nice to see one that’s explicitly branded for both.
This fantastic little spray is infused with a complex containing B5 as well as hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate. If you’re suffering from dry patches, acne scarring, or general skin damage, this will help all of that for an affordable price!
On top of that, this is a guilt-free purchase if you’re into “clean beauty”. Perfect if you’re looking to lessen your carbon footprint and avoid things like sulfates and parabens.
Performance-wise, this spray provides decent coverage and wear. It’s not the longest wearing product out there, but should get you through the workday or a party as long as you’re not too sweaty!
11. NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Matte Finish Setting Spray
From NYX’s affordable trio of setting sprays (which include ‘dewy’ and ‘radiant’ options too), this is probably the best – as well as being the best for oily skin.
For such a good price, you get a fair amount and a solid, no-nonsense, formula. While it’s not suitable for those avoiding denatured alcohol, it does contain some complexion-smoothing niacinamide and gentle plant extracts.
Apart from the alcohol, this is a very non-irritating product that should play nicely with all oily or combination skin types. It does take longer than some to dry, but once it’s settled, it feels nice and lightweight.
12. Milani Make It Last Setting Spray
This product claims to prime, correct, and set for a whopping 16 hours. Skeptical? So were we. But it really does!
It’s great for textured or scarred skin and eliminates creasing for longer than many of its competitors. And you won’t find much-blotting happening during application even on your oiliest days.
Like many more affordable setting sprays, this one does contain denatured alcohol. Sigh! But right next to it high up on the ingredient list is niacinamide. Niacinamide has a multitude of benefits, including oil control, and will help to soothe any irritation.
The formula isn’t super special, but what makes this product stand out against others in its price range is the long-wear, which truly won’t let you down.
13. Maybelline New York Facestudio Lasting Fix
The packaging here could be plucked straight from a professional hairstylist’s shelf. Right from the off, we like its style! And it follows through with long wear to boot.
It’s a great dupe for more expensive setting sprays, and honestly, we can’t really fault it. It’ll retain just enough moisture to stop you from drying out from the talc and the alcohol while providing that matte finish you need on your shiniest days.
The best makeup setting spray for oily skin ever? Eh, maybe not. But very good for the price. If you use it along with a good primer, you won’t notice much difference in performance between this and higher-end brands.
14. City Color Oil Control Face Matte Setting Spray
When it comes to value for money, it doesn’t get much better than this. This is a super cheap, super cute little bottle with an impressively non-irritating formula.
Zero alcohol means this is accessible to those with dry or irritable skin, and it contains a good amount of aloe too along with the fashionable and effective ingredient niacinamide.
If that wasn’t enough, the formula contains a special mushroom extract which is known to help with inflammation, tightening capillaries to reduce puffiness. All of these ingredients work together to reduce oil and create an overall tighter, cleaner finish.
We can’t stress enough how impressive this formula is for the price you pay. Both professionals and beginners will find themselves impressed!
15. COVERGIRL Outlast Active
If you like a cooling effect but don’t want to fork out for Mario Badescu, check out this modestly packaged but hardy, long-wear formula.
This product dries in quickly and you’ll find that it’s pretty water-resistant too. Which does mean it’s harder to remove, but also that it stays put when you need it to! And as long as you have a good cleansing system in place, getting it off shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s a mist rather than a spray, making it perfect for those wanting a lightweight feel. And once it’s on, it won’t dry out your skin thanks to the inclusion of sodium hyaluronate and the fact that it’s alcohol-free!
Maybe the best setting spray for oily skin if you don’t mind a little fragrance and want something simple, cheap, and non-drying.
More products for oily skin:
- Setting powders for oily skin
- Serums for oily skin
- BB creams for oily skin
- Drugstore toners for oily skin
- Primers for oily skin
Joan S. Wilson is a lifelong makeup and skincare enthusiast. She used to work as a makeup artist for 5 years. Joan is always curious and wants to learn more when it comes to makeup and skincare. She tries her best to make other people’s skin health better. This is why Joan is so passionate about writing articles on beauty topics. She always looks for products that are high-quality, dermatologist-tested, and does that it says on the label. In every article, she shares her knowledge to make your life healthier and happier!