The 12 Best Setting Sprays with SPF to Win Against Summer Heat
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InStyle / Kristin Kempa
Those who wear makeup daily (or even from time to time) know that there’s nothing more frustrating than catching a glimpse of yourself mid-afternoon only to see that it’s faded. Or in warmer temperatures, melted and slid right off. Setting sprays, while formerly a polarizing product for anyone with oily or acne-prone skin, have been refined over the last several years, yet these new iterations are handier than ever. Not only are they formulated to help your makeup stay brilliantly in place for hours on end without budging, they can also give you a dewy or matte finish, depending on what you’re looking for.
However, if you’re planning to wear makeup during the daytime — especially if you’re spending time in a hot part of the world — skincare pros all stress that you should be wearing SPF, and reapplying it every couple of hours. Of course, if you’re wearing a full face of makeup, you’re hardly going to want to rub some of that sticky white lotion into your skin all day long.
Happily, some of our favorite brands heard our prayers — this new generation of setting sprays contain SPF to lock makeup in place and defend against the sun’s rays without gunking up your pores or disrupting your whole look. We conducted extensive research, spoke to several dermatologists and a makeup artist, and spritzed ourselves into oblivion to curate this list of the best setting sprays with SPF out there.
What We Love: It hydrates and refreshes skin while setting makeup with a dewy finish.
What We Don’t Love: Those with oil-prone skin may not love the finish.
Aside from being recommended by two dermatologists and a celebrity makeup artist, it was immediately clear to us through our own testing that this spray kept our makeup in place for hours.
“This SPF 30 formula from Coola has an ingredient list that most resembles that of a setting spray, with skin-loving, hydrating ingredients to help keep makeup fresh, like aloe vera, cucumber extract, and glycerin,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Geeta Yadav. “It also features potent plant-based antioxidants, like juniper and date palm extracts.”
With a bevy of nourishing ingredients, the spray is safe for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin, although Dr. Asmi Sanghvi, a NYC-based board-certified dermatologist, notes that it “provides a dewy finish.” And while a glowy, summery makeup style is our favorite kind of look, it may cause anyone prone to slick-looking skin to appear shiny as the day drones on.
With that said, celebrity makeup artist Elaina Badro actually says Coola is “one of the only sunscreen brands that doesn’t irritate my skin with sun exposure.” She adds, “The organic aloe vera helps hydrate and also helps to soothe the skin.” Bottom line: While this setting spray may not be suitable for everyone, those who love it really love it.
Price at time of publish: $36
SPF: 30 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 1.5 oz | Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, juniper, date palm, and peony extracts, cucumber, aloe vera | Water-Resistant: Yes
What We Love: It keeps makeup in place for up to 16 hours.
What We Don’t Love: It smells like sunscreen.
Milani is primarily a makeup brand, so naturally they prioritized makeup-setting properties with this formula. The Make It Last spray is formulated to keep your makeup intact for up to 16 hours, and while it also protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, that doesn’t mean you should be relying on it to keep your skin protected all day. If you're spending time in the summer sun, you should be reapplying every two hours, but luckily, this spray comes in a small enough size to easily carry around in your purse.
We should note that this spray does have a distinct smell, similar to a regular sunscreen, which is a little unpleasant, but not as intense as a full-on sunscreen would be. And considering the fact that this option is affordable, vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated with clean ingredients, not to mention leaves us with a beautiful glow, we'll take our chances on catching the errant whiff here and there.
Price at time of publish: $15
SPF: 30 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 2.03 oz | Active Ingredients: Indian cress flower extract | Water-Resistant: No
What We Love: It offers the highest SPF level on this list and provides a matte, smoothing finish.
What We Don’t Love: Not everyone loves the lavender scent.
This investment setting spray kind of has it all, if we’re honest, especially if you prefer a matte visage. “I like this formula from Kate Somerville because it has a high SPF level of 50, rare in a setting spray with SPF, and features a silicone powder as one of its ingredients,” explains Dr. Yadav. “This will help blur the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores as well as cut back on shine to deliver a mattified finish, which a lot of people love, especially in the summer. It also contains adaptogenic and antioxidant plant rhodiola rosea to defend skin from free radical damage.”
While all of these properties are valuable, it's the smoothing effects of the silicone powder that make the UncompliKated spray particularly beneficial for mature skin, as it helps soften the appearance of fine lines. It's also a great pick for those with oily skin or anyone who tends to sweat when the temps go up. But skin type and texture aside, we'd say it's a safe bet that everyone will love that it’s formulated without harsh chemicals, like parabens, sulfates or phthalates.
We appreciate that the brand masks the chemical, sunscreen-y scent with a soft floral lavender, which we really like (and would take over the smell of sunscreen any day), but sensitive noses may find it overwhelming. Chalk it up to personal preference.
Price at time of publish: $44
SPF: 50 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 3.4 oz | Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, rhodiola rosea root extract | Water-Resistant: No
What We Love: It promotes a healthy glow while feeling lightweight and non-greasy on the skin.
What We Don’t Love: It smells a little strong at first.
This setting spray with SPF from Soleil Toujours may be on the more expensive side, but you won’t regret springing for it. The brand is woman-owned and dedicated to providing high-performing sun protection in all shapes and forms. Their setting spray is made from at least 70 percent organic ingredients, is reef-safe, and comes in responsible packaging as well, meaning it’s as kind to the planet as it is to your skin.
Developed with brightening and firming vitamin C, moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid, and soothing vitamin E, this spray is a rare powerhouse. As the hyaluronic acid attracts water, the skin begins to appear plump and youthful, which is boosted by the anti aging effects of vitamin C. In fact, we'd spritz this magical mist all over our faces simply for the way it nourishes the skin barrier, and it's just an added bonus that it also feels lightweight, non-greasy and refreshing as it locks our makeup in place.
Unlike many other options, this setting spray is sweat- and waterproof for up to 80 minutes, and it's tiny enough to toss into a beach bag or bucket purse for touchups throughout the day. It smells a little strong at first, but dissipates quickly, leaving behind all its yummy properties instead.
Price at time of publish: $42
SPF: 30 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 3.4 oz | Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E | Water-Resistant: Yes
What We Love: It’s great for touch-ups on the go.
What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t always spray evenly onto the skin.
Supergoop!’s sunscreen range has become indispensable to celebs and InStyle editors alike over the past few years, and you better believe it’s worth the hype. Exhibit A: This setting spray with SPF is another product that was recommended by all three of the experts we spoke to.
“Supergoop! (Re)setting Refreshing Mist SPF 40 is a great SPF setting spray that works for all skin types,” says Dr. Jaimie DeRosa, a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Boston. “The silica helps to create a matte finish and take away shininess, while the English field mustard and chinawood oil found in this product help to form a thin barrier between your skin and environmental pollutants. With the antioxidants rosemary and mint infused in the spray, it smells great, too.”
While setting sprays can be dangerous territory, as those with oily skin are woefully aware, the inclusion of mattifying silica in the formula makes it an absolute dream. It's also oil-free and non-comedogenic, so basically, it's great for everyone, even if your skin lands within "normal" territory. And best of all, it feels impossibly lightweight and dries down quickly, so you won't have to worry about it caking your makeup or needing to pat it down with a tissue. Our only complaint is that it doesn’t always spray evenly, so be sure to give it a hearty shake before using.
Price at time of publish: $20
SPF: 40 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 3.4 oz | Active Ingredients: Optical-diffusing silica silylate, English field mustard, chinawood oil | Water-Resistant: No
What We Love: It gives your skin a beautiful glow.
What We Don’t Love: While we love the glow it gives, those with oily skin may not.
We already love Naked Sundays for its incredible multi-tasking tinted moisturizer, but it turns out you can pretty much count on the entire range from the Australian brand to deliver the performance and quality we all deserve in a sunscreen-filled setting spray.
“Naked Sundays SPF 50+ Glow Mist Top Up is a great setting spray that not only has a high SPF level of protection, but also contains antioxidants including watermelon extract and vitamin C-rich Kakadu plum as well as hyaluronic acid to enhance the glow and radiance of your face,” says Dr. DeRosa. “It’s also paraben-free, vegan and non-comedogenic."
For Dr. DeRosa, the real clincher is that the mist is totally invisible as its sprayed, landing gently on top of makeup and immediately drying down without disturbing a thing. There's not a trace of the dreaded white cast, or even worse, a sticky feeling. Instead, the generous dose of hyaluronic acid ensures that skin looks healthy and radiant, never oily, while the antioxidants from the fruit extracts support the skin barrier and overall skin health.
While the spray does have a high SPF of 50, it was specifically developed to wear over makeup and not as the primary sunscreen for a sun-soaked day at the beach. But if you're down for reapplying throughout the day and adore a compliment about your gorgeous complexion, then believe the hype surrounding this spray.
Price at time of publish: $30
SPF: 50 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 3.4 oz | Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, watermelon extract, kakadu plum | Water-Resistant: No
What We Love: It delivers a healthy, radiant effect without making skin look shiny.
What We Don’t Love: It stings your eyes if you don’t close them tightly.
Pacifica has long reigned as one of our go-to brands to help keep our sensitive skin calm and happy (even their retinol is somehow gentle), and their new setting spray-sunscreen hybrid is a true, non-irritating gem of a product.
“It's rare to find such an affordable product in this category, and this one from Pacifica is not only budget-friendly, but well formulated,” says Dr. Yadav. “It features a high SPF 45 as well as skin-brightening vitamin C and a blend of algae and minerals to help condition and hydrate skin. The vanilla citrus scent is a nice bonus.” Meanwhile, those with dry skin will appreciate this setting spray’s hydrating properties, while Dr. DeRosa also notes that vitamin C can also protect against pigmentation, like sun spots.
This spray achieves the improbable: It gives a beautiful glow without an oil slick finish or unseemly white cast. As for its makeup-setting abilities, we were impressed that the hydrating formula, although it felt watery, didn't cause our makeup to run and dried super quickly without a touch of stickiness — it didn't feel like we were wearing anything at all. The glass bottle even looks cute on our bathroom vanity.
Beware spraying with abandon— you’ll need to close your eyes tightly while misting to avoid a strong sting.
Price at time of publish: $18
SPF: 45 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 1.7 oz | Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, sea algae, sea minerals | Water-Resistant: No
What We Love: It’s formulated with a cocktail of skin-loving ingredients.
What We Don’t Love: The smell is too strong for some.
Designed to fit nicely in your handbag, this spray from Vacation combines the ease of a spray with the sun protection of a super effective SPF. Although we admit it's not technically a setting spray, we found that it does work beautifully over a full face of makeup and full coverage foundation. It never melted the coverage or made it cake; it only left us with a dreamy satin finish. And unlike other setting sprays, you don't need to be heavy handed — just one or two spritzes of the fine mist provides plenty of protection.
Additionally, it's a great option for just about every skin type and texture with a formula that's vegan, cruelty-free, reef-compliant, and made without PEG and parabens. Even the retro-style packaging is made from recycled materials, in accordance with the brand's mission to limit their impact on the planet.
But that’s not all: The spray is rich with a whole bunch of skin-loving ingredients. Bisabolol, aloe and cucumber soothe the skin during long periods of sun exposure. Caffeine de-puffs. Banana and coconut extracts nourish skin and combat the sun's drying effects. Antioxidants green tea, vitamin E, algae and ferulic acid help curtail the impact of blue light and environmental stressors. Shea and maracuja oils bring waves of lightweight hydration.
Although many love the aroma — to us, it smells like a mini escape — but sensitive noses may not find it quite as relaxing as we do, but like with many products, it’s mostly a question of personal preference here.
Price at time of publish: $24
SPF: 50 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 2.2 oz | Active Ingredients: Aloe vera, cucumber, caffeine, banana extract, green tea, vitamin E, algae, ferulic acid, and coconut, shea and maracuja oils | Water-Resistant: Yes
What We Love: It provides great sun protection, plus the buildable coverage of a high-performing foundation.
What We Don’t Love: The color can transfer onto clothing if not set properly.
For those who prefer the convenience of applying makeup and SPF all in one easy step, it doesn’t get much better than Colorescience’s Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield. Available in fair, medium and tan, this SPF 50 spray offers the buildable coverage of a superb foundation with a defense against environmental stressors that you’d expect from a heavy duty facial sunscreen. And unlike many other tinted skincare-suncare hybrids, this one does not mess around. More specifically, the inclusion of zinc oxide protects from UVA and UVB rays, while iron oxides shield blue light damage and two of the brand's proprietary blends — lipochroman and vital ET — offer antioxidant properties to shield skin from pollution.
Color-wise, this product is formulated with super clever tone-adapting pigments to even and enhance the skin's natural color while simultaneously blurring hyperpigmentation and imperfections. This spray offers an impressive level of coverage that can easily replace foundation — just make sure to wait a couple of minutes after the first application to see if you need another layer for your desired level of coverage as the pigments need that time to fully settle into the skin.
Price at time of publish: $49
SPF: 50 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 1.8 oz | Active Ingredients: Sunflower sprout extract, tara fruit pod extract, silver ear mushroom extract, niacinamide | Water-Resistant: Yes
What We Love: It sprays on evenly for a sheer, non-sticky finish.
What We Don’t Love: It smells great, but isn’t suitable for those who are sensitive to fragrance.
We admit this is simply a spray-style sunscreen, not an actual setting spray, but we disagree. We found that the mist felt light on our skin and gave us just the right amount of glow we wanted without veering into greasy territory. We were so impressed that we even took it with us to a baseball game because we felt confident that the broad-spectrum SPF would protect our skin from UVA and UVB rays and equally important (almost), the oil-free formula would keep our makeup looking flawless.
Like nearly every product from the drugstore staple brand, this mist from Hawaiian Tropic smells delightful — like coconut and sandy beaches and happy summer memories (although, all poetry aside, this does mean it might not be for you if you’re sensitive to fragrance). Not only is the formula vegan and cruelty-free, but it also contains the antioxidant-rich green tea extract, which adds an extra layer of protection against skin damage. Plus, it sprays on really evenly, so you can definitely trust it to provide full coverage, as long as you’re reapplying as instructed.
Price at time of publish: $14
SPF: 30 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 3.4 oz | Active Ingredients: Green tea extract | Water-Resistant: Yes
What We Love: It feels soothing and refreshing.
What We Don’t Love: Be careful as you mist, as it can cause quite an eye sting.
Let’s get this out of the way straight off the bat: Despite calling itself a face mist, the brand recommends to spray the product into your palm first, then pat and press it onto your face. Well, for the sake of research, we tried it both ways, and the only precaution we recommend is steering clear of the eye area, as that triggered a mighty sting.
One of our favorite things about this face mist is that it worked just well under makeup as it did on top. When we sprayed it on top of our done-up faces, it provided a subtle dewiness that we quite enjoyed. And when we tried it the other way — spraying the formula into our hands and patting it onto our skin before starting our makeup routine — it dried down quickly and gave us a more matte look, rather than a glow.
Still, with a fairly high SPF level, you can't really go wrong any way you apply it. We love that it contains soothing, anti-inflammatory witch hazel to calm any redness caused by high temps, but what we really love is that the formula has been tested by dermatologists and is reef-safe for beach vacations. And to top it off, it’s also non-comedogenic and oil-free, so it won’t clog pores or trigger a breakout.
Price at time of publish: $18
SPF: 45 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 3.4 oz | Active Ingredients: Witch hazel | Water-Resistant: Yes
What We Love: It’s the perfect size to carrying with you on vacation for a quick refresh.
What We Don’t Love: It’s not one for the cucumber haters out there.
Infused with loads of refreshing cucumber extract, this teeny bottle is heaven to take with you on all your summer travels. It’s specifically designed to be sprayed directly on top of either makeup or skincare, so you can defend against harmful rays without messing up your makeup look. It gives skin stunning, radiant finish that will leave you feeling glowy AF — whether you're on a tropical isle or indulging in a staycation.
Whereas other setting sprays leave you with a greasy, sticky finish in the name of dewiness, this iteration from HABIT actually feels incredibly weightless, and sprays onto skin easily and evenly for all-day touch-ups. It sinks into the skin quickly, and courtesy of the energizing cucumber, it feels beautifully refreshing and hydrating for those hotter days, so those frequent touch-ups are a welcome treat, rather than a chore. As far as we can tell, the only people who will have a problem with this spray are those who don't like the relaxing spa-like aroma of freshly chopped cucumbers.
Price at time of publish: $30
SPF: 38 | Sunscreen Type: Chemical | Size: 0.9 oz | Active Ingredients: Cucumber fruit extract, PVP | Water-Resistant: No
All the products on our list contain SPF 30 or higher — which is the minimum level of acceptable SPF for quality protection, per our experts. “In terms of SPF level for a SPF setting spray, look for one that has a SPF of 30 or higher, just as you would for sunscreen,” recommends Dr. DeRosa.
She goes on to explain that most setting sprays with SPF shouldn't replace a regular sunscreen for those glorious summer days spent entirely in the sun. “Do not skip the step of applying sunscreen under your makeup even if you’re planning to also use a SPF setting spray,” she says. “Instead, think of the SPF setting spray as a little added protection from the harmful UVA and UVB sun rays.”
Like with any skincare product, you should always consider your skin type or skin concerns before choosing a setting spray with SPF. “If someone has dry skin, they should look for hydrating ingredients, like glycerin or hyaluronic acid,” says Dr. Sanghvi. “If someone has oily skin, they should opt for an oil-free formulation. If they have sensitive or eczema-prone skin, they should watch out for drying ingredients like alcohol or acids.”
Many of the setting sprays on our list are water-resistant, and you should opt for one of these if you’re intending to use yours in warmer weather, or days spent splashing about in a pool or between the waves.
“A water-resistant sunscreen will be able to stand up to hot, humid days spent sweating or swimming,” says Dr. Yadav. “However, you still must reapply sunscreen after sweating or swimming, and generally speaking sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. While water-resistant claims are helpful in summer, don't think of them as an excuse for only applying SPF once.”
We turned to our makeup pro to answer this question. “Apply makeup as usual and then hold the bottle anywhere from 6-10 inches away from your face,” says Badro. “Make sure to apply to your neck and chest as well.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Yadav says you shouldn’t try to save on the amount of product you use. “Apply thoroughly to make sure you're getting a full amount of coverage,” she recommends.
Totally! But you should keep in mind that they’re not a one and done situation. “Setting sprays with SPF can help with keeping makeup in place, and are effective for protecting from UV exposure, but you should reapply every two hours for lasting impact,” says Dr. Sanghvi.
While these products may well set your makeup for hours on end, the SPF element won’t last all day, so it’s imperative that you reapply regularly. “Just like regular SPF sunscreen, setting sprays with SPF need to be reapplied every two hours or more frequently if your face is also getting sweaty or otherwise wet,” says Dr. DeRosa.
Iris Goldsztajn is a Paris-born, London-based freelance writer with 10 years of experience covering fashion, beauty, wellness and lifestyle for the likes of InStyle, British Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Refinery29 and many more. In order to write this article, she researched the best-selling setting sprays with SPF to find the highest quality products, and spoke to several skincare experts for their recommendations, including board-certified dermatologists Drs. Geeta Yadav and Asmi Sanghvi, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr, Jaimie DeRosa and celebrity makeup artist Elaina Badro.What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $36SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $15SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $44SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $42SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $20SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $30SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $18SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $24SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $49SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $14SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $18SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: What We Love: What We Don’t Love:Price at time of publish: $30SPF: Sunscreen Type Size: Active Ingredients: Water-Resistant: