When it comes to choosing the best makeup setting spray, two popular contenders are Urban Decay and Charlotte Tilbury. Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray has gained a cult following for its long-lasting formula, making it the UK’s number one best-selling premium setting spray. It offers a classic version along with mattifying and extra radiant finishes.

On the other hand, Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray is a new product that not only sets makeup but also functions as a primer. It claims to keep makeup looking fresh and flawless while providing a light, fresh scent. It aims to perfect the makeup without appearing cakey or dull, and it even blurs pores for an airbrushed finish.

Both setting sprays work by using a polymer dissolved in a solvent. The solvent evaporates upon application, leaving a polymer “film” that locks in makeup and offers some waterproofing. While most setting sprays contain polymers, there are also refreshing sprays like MAC’s Fix+ that focus on rehydrating the skin.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray has been a personal favorite for the author, who uses it multiple times during application. It has a price of £26 for a 118ml bottle, which lasts a long time. The spray contains aloe extract, vitamin E, and scented extracts from chamomile, but it also has added perfume, which may not be suitable for sensitive skin. However, the author, who is sensitive to fragrance in skincare, has not experienced any negative reactions.

During testing, the Urban Decay spray proved effective in various situations, including lower-activity days, mask-wearing, and exposure to heat while cooking. Although there was some makeup transfer onto the mask, there was no visible smudging or patchiness upon removing the mask. While the spray did not significantly enhance radiance, it also did not make the makeup appear more matte. The author was satisfied with the product’s performance, and the only drawback noted was that towards the end of the bottle, the product tended to come out in blobs instead of a fine mist, which could smudge the makeup.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray is priced similarly to Urban Decay’s offering, at £26 for 100ml. The main difference is that it can be used as a primer in addition to being a setting spray. However, the author did not find much benefit in using it as a primer, as they preferred a creamy, tacky primer for a soft and supple feel. The Charlotte Tilbury spray has a stronger scent and felt slightly more drying compared to the Urban Decay spray. Nonetheless, it provided excellent makeup fixing and minimal transfer or smudging in different scenarios.

While the Charlotte Tilbury spray promised a blurring effect, the author couldn’t attest to that claim, although it did not settle on the skin or look patchy or crumbly. The spray delivered a fine mist that dried quickly without leaving a shiny finish.

In the author’s personal preference, Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray emerged as the favorite due to its compatibility with sensitive skin and its ability to keep the skin soft and hydrated. However, it was noted that both sprays performed admirably, and those accustomed to Urban Decay may find it worthwhile to try the Charlotte Tilbury spray for its finer mist. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on individual preferences and skin types.

Ultimately, the decision between Urban Decay and Charlotte Tilbury setting sprays comes down to personal preference. Both products offer excellent makeup fixing and minimize transfer onto masks. However, considering the author’s experience, the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray is their personal favorite.

It’s worth noting that neither product is ideal for sensitive skin due to the added fragrance. However, the author’s sensitive skin tolerated the Urban Decay spray well, and it provided a soft and hydrated feel. The Charlotte Tilbury spray had a slightly drier formula, which may be more suitable for oilier skin types. It did not overly mattify the skin, which is beneficial for those seeking a dewy, glowy finish.

While the Charlotte Tilbury spray offers the unique feature of doubling as a primer, the author did not find significant benefits in using it as such. However, individuals with different preferences may find value in its versatility.


What is a makeup setting spray?

A makeup setting spray is a product that is used after applying makeup to help it last longer and stay in place. It is typically applied as a fine mist over the face and creates a thin barrier that helps seal the makeup, preventing it from smudging, melting, or fading throughout the day.

How does a makeup setting spray work?

Most makeup setting sprays contain polymers that form a film on the skin when the solvent evaporates. This film helps lock in the makeup and provides some degree of water resistance. Additionally, setting sprays can help blend the layers of makeup together for a more seamless look.

Can a makeup setting spray replace other makeup primers?

While some makeup setting sprays, like Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray, can double as a primer, not all setting sprays offer the same benefits as dedicated primers. Makeup primers are specifically formulated to create a smooth canvas for makeup application, minimize the appearance of pores, and enhance the longevity of the makeup. If you prefer the additional benefits of a primer, it’s recommended to use a separate primer in conjunction with a setting spray.

Are makeup setting sprays suitable for all skin types?

Makeup setting sprays can be used by individuals with various skin types. However, it’s important to consider the specific formulation of the setting spray and any potential ingredients that may not be suitable for your skin. For example, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid setting sprays that contain added fragrances or other potential irritants.

How should I use a makeup setting spray?

To use a makeup setting spray, hold the bottle at arm’s length from your face and mist it over your makeup. Start with a light spritz and then build up if needed. Allow the spray to dry naturally without touching or blending it in. It’s best to follow the instructions provided by the specific setting spray you are using.

Can a makeup setting spray make my skin feel sticky?

While some setting sprays may have a slightly tacky or sticky feel initially, they should dry down relatively quickly, leaving a lightweight and comfortable finish on the skin. If you find that a particular setting spray leaves your skin excessively sticky or uncomfortable, you may want to explore alternative options or adjust the amount of product you use.


The Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray emerged as the preferred choice due to its compatibility with sensitive skin and its ability to keep the skin soft and hydrated. Nonetheless, the Charlotte Tilbury spray performed exceptionally well, and those who have been loyal to Urban Decay may want to explore the finer mist of the Charlotte Tilbury option.