Make up is expensive. Make up is fickle. Makeup is tragic, when its melting off your face. However there are a variety of “finishing” or “setting” sprays that are meant to be used the last step of your makeup routine to ensure that your face doesn’t go the way of Chernobyl by the end of a long day/night.
Almost every cosmetics company offers at least one and most of then claim that their spray will lock down makeup, preserve it some way and extend its wear time.
What’s This About
Two of the most well known are Urban Decay’s “All-Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray” and Skininavia’s “Makeup Finishing Spray” (original version). They don’t exactly make your make up bulletproof in the way that “fixing” sprays do but they do help your makeup withstand the shit that daily-life throws at you. Well, not literally shit but you get the point. Both are designed to help your makeup last longer, keep it in place and on your face.
This comprehensive review and comparison of the two contending sprays will hopefully help some people decide whether they should get one or both of the finishing spray and provide more information by a direct comparison of both.
What They Claim and What I Think
As taken from the UD Website:
- “All Nighter keeps your makeup looking gorgeously just-applied for up to 16 hours – without melting, cracking, fading or settling into fine lines.
- Developed in an exclusive partnership with SKINDINÄVIA, our groundbreaking, clinically tested formula is suitable for all skin types and features patented Temperature Control Technology. Yep, this baby actually lowers the temperature of your makeup to keep foundation, eyeshadow, blush and concealer in place – even in hot and humid or cold and windy conditions. The result? Smoother-looking skin and vibrant makeup that lasts all day (or all night).
- Unlike similar products on the market that feel sticky or tight on your skin, the sprayer delivers a microfine mist that goes on so light, you’ll hardly feel it—and once you’ve applied it, you won’t even know it’s there. If you’ve tried other setting sprays that feel sticky or tight on your skin, you’ll be AMAZED by how different this is. Beware of imitations!”
I have never worn my makeup for 16 hours nor do I ever plan to. My skin needs to breathe thank you very much. I have the habit of taking off my entire day face and making up a new night face if i have the time to because if given the choice, i still prefer fresh makeup. But I’m getting off topic here… Anyhow, with use of the all nighter spray, the make up doesn’t melt or crack as claimed by UD. However, if you have heavier to full-coverage foundation/concealer AND you talk or move your face a lot, stuff will settle into larger pores/acne pit scars and cake around fine lines. This can be remedied by carrying around a small buffing brush to banish such areas should they appear.
“Developed with Skinidinavia”… I think that’s just another way of saying, they repackaged the finishing spray and jumbled around a few ingredients (see the end of this post). They smell and feel the same if i spritz them out of generic spray bottles. They also perform identically on me. (Scroll down to read about more details)
I won’t believe anything about clinical tests until they show me or cite the studies conducted. I’m just going to point out something: the “lowering the temperature of you makeup” effect may just be the cooling from evaporation seeing as alcohol is a main ingredient. Again, I’m being skeptical until someone can find me a study that shows evidence of “Hey! It DOES work the way they say!” I’m too lazy to conduct a proper one myself.
Skepticism about psuodoscience b.s. aside, this spray does do an admirable job of preserving my makeup in humid conditions. I was in Southern Taiwan during the summer last year and miraculously, I still had foundation on after walking around in 95% humidity. My makeup didn’t look as fresh as the first hour I applied it but it didn’t decompose either. Both sprays will also allow my makeup to withstand gentle pool activity (splashing and lounging). If i’m racing someone or diving though, nopenopenoope.
As far as being wary of imitations go, sorry UD but Skininavia isn’t an imitation. It’s the original finishing spray and seemingly identical
Skininavia’s website claims the following:
The finishing spray that set the standard. This ultra-fine mist will keep your makeup looking fresh and flawless for up to 16 hours.
Skindinavia’s weightless formula prevents fading and meltdown, even in frigid temps and sweltering summer months.
- Proven to help keep makeup from settling into pores, fine lines and wrinkles.
- Guaranteed fewer touch-ups throughout the day.
- Our patented Temperature Control Technology® keeps the makeup surface cool to avoid melting or sliding.
- All Skindinavia products are paraben-free and hypoallergenic.
Huh… I’m getting a curious sense of deja vu. Those claims sound really familiar. “Prevents fading and meltdown, even in frigid temps and sweltering summer months” sounds awfully similar to, “keep foundation, eyeshadow, blush and concealer in place – even in hot and humid or cold and windy conditions.”
Lets try another one: “This ultra-fine mist will keep your makeup looking fresh and flawless for up to 16 hours.
Skindinavia’s weightless formula prevents fading and meltdown, even in frigid temps and sweltering summer months.” and “Proven to help keep makeup from settling into pores, fine lines and wrinkles.” vs “keeps your makeup looking gorgeously just-applied for up to 16 hours – without melting, cracking, fading or settling into fine lines.”
See why i think UD’s spray is just Skininavia’s repackaged – maybe with a little modification? It’s like a student paraphrasing information to put into his/her research report .
“Cruelty-free,” Oh, by the way, Urban decay is also a cruelty free brand. Some of their stuff is vegan if that’s important to you.
TL;DR: Both sprays are designed to penetrate through the layers of makeup and homogenize them. The setting action allows for more stability so makeup is not as prone to fading, flaking or slipping and sliding around under less than ideal conditions. Before and after is like the difference between a loose stack of sheet paper and a spiral bound notebook with the spray acting as the binding spine. The sprays do not water-proof but they do water-resist. They also save you from cake face most of the time, the homogenizing re-texturizes your product layers a bit to make the makeup appear smoother, hence “finishing”.
How They Perform
Both sprays perform the same way on me. They are water resistant and protect makeup from moderate amounts of friction. I can touch my face and lift away without makeup residue on my skin or clothes. As long as I don’t deliberately rub my face on something, my makeup stays put for pretty much the whole waking day. If you’re snuggling into someone or pillow dancing, you’re going to get makeup all over the t-shirt, sheets and pillows. If i have a cat that likes to lick for face while you are trying to work, these sprays are useless against said assault. If you wear glasses, sunglasses, hats or anything that rubs against your skin, you can expect to have flesh colored film on the nose pads and bald spots on the side of your nose.
I’m an oily-skinned person and even I get about 5 hours (over primer-foundation-concealer-blush) before I need to blot shine away. Without any sort of primer, my favorite foundation + face makeup stays pretty well and does not require me to blot until around hour 5; My eyeliner, lipcolor and eyeshadow require some touch up as the hours march by because those are high impact areas. Eyeshadow does not fade but it doesn’t look as seamless as it did when freshly applied; But if you’re out all day and all night you’re going to want to wear lid and lip primer anyways. With a primer underneath the face makeup, these setting sprays will lock down all the products very admirably. It is important to note that both setting sprays are top coats that protect what makeup is underneath. They do nothing for your base canvas so make sure you moisturize and prep the skin according to your preferences. **Update: my skin is more combo-dry now. I still get the same amount of wear time, and my skin never feels tight or uncomfortable from being dry when using these sprays.
I was in Las Vegas for 8 hours followed by an accidental 6 hour night hike in the desert under slightly windy conditions (long ass story with no place here) and my face makeup still looked acceptable when I went to wash it off. I don’t remember which spray was in the travel bottle i brought along Anyhow, my makeup didn’t look freshly applied. Color had faded some (into a almost no makeup makeup-look, the type where you ask: you have blush on? i cant even tell, why did you bother? the answer: because my foundation blanked me out and i looked dead and needed some color.). It still looked nice enough and put together (no blotchiness or flakes). The after was good enough for photos from a arm’s distance+ but not polished enough for me to comfortably walk into a job interview or first date. It certainly didn’t look like I had been outside for the majority of the day though. More recently I went to Disneyland (SoCal so it was dry and not humid) with a full face of heavy makeup plus some special effects done with eyeshadows. The sfx makeup on my cheeks and forehead experienced what looked like zero wear despite a few wet rides and more than a handful of roller coasters. Color me impressed. (I couldn’t resist the pun) My base makeup had settled into my pores and areas where i had moved my face alot (forehead, under eye, sides of nose, mouth) had creases that were noticeable from a arms length but the coverage was still opaque with no fading over problem areas. If i hadn’t gone to wash everything off (after 15 hours of marinating on my face), the makeup probably could have held up through the night. It probably didn’t fade as much as my LV adventure because i had gone through the pains of applying stuff in thin layers with the goal of attaining long lasting makeup. When i applied my face in the morning of LV, i just slapped everything on over just primer in one go… How scientific of me providing only anecdotal evidence. side note, the Disney princesses use ben nye final seal over their makeup. I can only imagine how that one holds. The people who have used it say its too hardcore for normal everyday use or i would have gotten myself a bottle by now.
One important thing to note: both UD and Skindinavia’s sprays impart a “dewy” finish to the skin after they have dried and set the makeup. The shiny-glow is most evident on high points of the face: forehead, nose bridge, cheekbones and chin. If a matte or satin finish is your thing, don’t start flipping just tables yet. The dewy finish can easily be negated with a very light-handed application of finishing powder. I usually kill the shine with a dusting of MUFE’s HD Microfinish Powder or Smashbox’s Halo Yellow Powder (or more recently, Wet & Wild Reserve your Cabana). If you don’t have or eschew powder, you can always sit in front of a fan for 20-30 seconds. Having a moving breeze do the drying creates a semi-matte effect for some reason.
The thing i like most about the setting sprays are that they truly do lock makeup down and that allows me to touch my face, on accident occasionally. I know i’m not supposed to do that but I do it anyways because I’m human and my nose or something gets itchy sometimes. If I haven’t used the spray, some of the foundation (regardless of what brand or formula i use) will transfer. There will be a fleshy-colored film on my nail, showing that the foundation has been lifted/wiped off my face and onto my finger. Happily, if i do use the spray and wait for it to set, this doesn’t happen (with all but a very few exceptions).
Price Comparison and Availability
All references to oz. will be in US fluid oz.
The Urban Decay Website sells bottles of finishing spray in the following sizes and packages:
Travel Size ( 1 oz. ) $14 = $14/oz.
Full Size ( 4 oz. ) $30 = $7.50/oz.
Mini Size * ( 0.5 oz. ) $5 = $10/oz.
Travel + Full Size Duo ( 5 oz. total ) $32 = $6.40
4 oz. Spray Duo** ( 8 oz. total ) $39 = $4.88
The travel size, full size and travel+full duo is permanently available on the website
* I suspect the mini size bottles were deluxe samples that they usually shipped out with orders of $50 or more. However because of packaging change, they wanted to get rid of the previous generation bottles ASAP. The UD site was selling them for $5 each so I snapped up a bottle to try. The label is emblazoned with “UD All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray” over an image of a night time city-scape.
** The 4 oz. duos are usually available during the Holiday Season from September till whenever they sell out (probably somewhere around February) as well as in the late Spring months (April & May) leading up to Summer season.
The Skindinavia Website sells finishing spray in the following sizes:
These sizes are permanently available assuming they aren’t out of stock.
Here’s a picture-list thing to break up my wall of text:
UD’s spray is also available on Sephora’s Website in Travel and Full Sizes.
Pros and Cons of Each
Skindinavia doesnt have any bottles smaller than 4 oz. so there’s no trying before buying. But if you’ll take my word for it. UD’s and Skindinavia’s sprays perform the same.
Skindinavia’s finishing spray is marginally cheaper than UD’s at face value. Skindinavia’s 4oz. its cheaper by a dollar. 8 oz. wise, they are exactly the same price per fluid ounce if you happen to catch the “All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray Duo” special on the UD Website; you get two, more portable 4 oz. bottles (8 oz. total) for $39 rather than one humongous, unwieldy 8 oz bottle.
If you’re wanting to save as much money as possible, Skindinavia is the way to go. Happily, Skindinavia holds “20% Off + Free Shipping” promotions pretty frequently for 48-hour bursts so make sure you subscribe to their newsletter. Sometimes you’ll even get deluxe samples – 50 mL/1.7 oz. bottles – of their makeup primer spray and finishing spray (which are small enough for travel). You can get the code off the front page and enter it upon checkout to get 20% off your order (before tax) AND free shipping. It’s a pretty sweet deal. UD and Sephora both require a minimum $50 (before tax) purchase to qualify for free shipping that is automatically applied. If you don’t care about racking up Beauty Insider points by buying UD’s spray at Sephora, getting the finishing spray off Skindinavia’s website is the better deal.
The downside is that Skindinavia’s shipping system is sloooow. It’s free so i shouldn’t be complaining but it’s something people should know. For reference, I live in the South-West US. It took a full 14 days for my order to get to me. Skindinavia’s website claims that shipping takes between 4-6 business days. Bull. Fucking. Shit. While I was tapping my feet waiting for my Skindinavia order, hoping that it hadn’t gotten lost somewhere, I went online to see if anyone else had their package delivered by turtleback. There were plenty of fellow customers on the Facebook page and customer service site complaining about slow shipping or asking about the status of their order. If you’re the instant gratification now-Now-NOW sort, Skindinavia’s free shipping might make you tear your hair out. You might be better suited to Sephora’s free@$50 is 3-day shipping or UD’s free@$50 ?-day shipping (their packages usually arrive at my doorstep within 5 days). **Update: UD now offers free shipping on any order if you are a UD Junkie (their members program).
Do note: I’m not bitching about the long shipping time. My complaint is directed toward the false shipping estimate. Even though 2-3 weeks might seem like a really long time to some people, I am used to waiting a month or so for packages from dresslink and aliexpress (sent via cheapest & slowest option). The difference is, DL and AE give estimates that realistically cover the range in shipping time. With my Skindinavia order, i waited 8 business days or 11 regular days before i started freaking out. The 2 extra days were to allow time for customs or other official mail mumbo jumbo. My package arrived on the 14th day, a day more and i probably would have called customer service and the credit card company to cancel the charge. I may be over dramatizing this a bit. Ordering from Skindinavia was one of my first online order experiences. I was still jumpy about remote purchases at the time so i remember the anxiety particularly well. Also, the fact that the tracking was broken didn’t help my nerves. So now you know, if you order from Skindinavia, your package will get to you…. eventually.
One very important thing to note (in my opinion) is that Urban Decay has – by FAR – the superior delivery-system. The nozzle sprays out an even, ultra fine, gauzy veil of mist that seemingly dries within seconds (okay more like a quarter of a minute). Skininavia’s spray nozzle – in comparison – is crap. That is, it does only an adequate, grumpy-huff deserving job. The spritzer sprays out mostly mist, but there are a smattering of larger droplets that take longer to dry and still feel a little sticky on the skin a few minutes later. The larger droplets can form problematic, flesh colored globs with your makeup and effectively ruin it! Heck, even Bath & Body Works’ mini fragrance mists have spritzers that deliver a more fine, even mist than the Skidinavia ones do.
Also – I’m not going to lie – UD’s has some pretty slick packaging. Maybe it’s just me because I love the purple. The matte slightly rubberized-feeling bottle is tall and skinny. If you make an “O” with your pointer finger and thumb, the 1 ounce bottle will probably fit inside that ring. The nozzle is housed inside a cap-inside-a-cap. Kind of like a matryoshka that someone with ADHD gave up on. There’s the outer opaque purple cap that you see, and then there’s a clear cap that pops off the sprayer. Excessive, but cute. Skindinavia’s bottle is your standard black spray bottle with a cap and label slapped on the side. There’s not much else to say.
Uh Oh. Does that mean I should get the UD one? Yes and No. Keep reading.
How I Use Them
First things first. Shake them first. SHAKE THEM. Don’t just invert. If you don’t shake vigorously them every so often, both sprays will be a flop. They don’t separate like oil and water but if you haven’t touched your bottle in about a 2-weeks or so, and try to use it, the densest liquid component will spray out at you. It feels slightly sticky never dries down completely, and is not pleasant.
I finished up my mini bottle of UD spray and poked around a bit before I bought the 8 oz. Skindinavia spray during a 20%+freeship+2samples promotion. There are two problems with the 8 oz. bottle. 1) it is way too big and heavy and 2) the sprayer is crappy. EXTREMELY CRAPPY as i’ve already detailed previously. There is no reason why such an expensive bottle of liquid should come equipped with a sprayer that is inferior to Bath & Body Works misters.
Easy fix for that solution? I cleaned out my mini UD bottle first, shook the big Skindinavia bottle to mix the contents, then decanted some of the Skindinavia liquid into my UD spray bottle. Now i have portability and ultra fine mist 😀 Alternatively, I also like the sprayers on the Mac Fix+ and Skintelligence pH Skin Normalizer bottles, if you can get your hands on an empty one.
After the shaking is all said and done, I hold the bottle 8-10 or so inches away from my face (i haven’t actually used a ruler to measure. just hold it with a right angle at the elbow) and usually spray 3 times: once on each third of my face: I spray the right sides from below ( i bring foundation down onto part of my neck), left side from below and middle of my face & forehead from above (like an upside down mercendes benz logo). Do not hold the bottle too close for the sake of your sanity. If you do that, the liquid will emulsify with and melt your makeup because it does not evaporate in time.
After spraying, I wait about two minute before going over any dewy spots I dislike with a light veil of powder. I keep a small packet of blotting papers to get rid of shiny spots that appear later on. I would avoid re-powdering during the day to get rid of shine because the oils stays on your face and might cake up. With blotting papers, the excess oil is actually lifted away. Both methods disturb my makeup minimally in terms of placement. I also tote around a mini, short-haired domed brush to fix any dry spots or creased areas that develop during the day. If any uneven patches appear, I buff them out with my brush. Likewise with the creases that appear on my face around high movement areas.
All in all, I think the finishing sprays are a worthy investment if you like perfect makeup. Which should be pretty much everyone. I can justify the 8 oz bottle pricing rate but not the 4oz. My recommendation is to get UD’s 1 oz bottle to try first. If you like it it enough to want to repurchase, buy the 8oz off the Skindinavia when they have the Free Shipping + 20% off promotion and pour some product into the 1 oz. bottle. Refill as needed. It’s much more convenient and keeps a little bit of plastic out of the landfills. Plus, did I mention that the sprayer is better?
I hope this review was helpful and that you enjoyed reading it. I also hope that I didn’t miss anything worth saying.
If you have any questions and comments please leave them below.
BONUS: Ingredients comparison
Since you’ve made it this far, let’s go through a little more text torture.
Skindinavia: Water (Aqua), Alcohol Denat, PVP, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Polyhydroxystearic acid, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Sodium Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Dimethicone PEG-7 Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Glycereth-5 Lactate, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Methyl Diisoproprl Propionamide Poloxamer 407 (As transcribed from the label on the back of my bottle.)
Urban Decay:Aqua (Water/Eau), Alcohol Denat, PVP, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Dimethicone PEG-7 Phosphate, PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Glycereth-5 Lactate, Sodium Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Methyl Diisopropyl Propionamide, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum (Fragrance), Poloxamer 407. (As copied from the UD Website)
For those of you you can’t stand lists like that ones above, here’s an easy-to-pick-apart, side-by-side comparison of the ingredients. If you don’t already know, the ones listed first are most prevalent in the product and vice versa, going from the end of the list. On second thought…. It makes perfect sense to me, but I’m not sure about everyone else.
Both Sprays contain the exact same 17 ingredients. Though the concentrations are slightly different between the sprays, there is an overwhelming overlap between the two. Since there’s no discernible difference in performance as far as I can tell, it doesn’t really matter which spray you get as long as you are fine with the price you are getting it for. So go ahead a flip a coin. Or go with the lowest price per ounce – which would be the Skindinavia 8 Oz. Spray – though you would be paying more up front due the greater volume of product.