I write this during a heatwave and while I can only hope the weather will have cooled by the time it’s published, it has forced me to revisit a product I’ve always been pretty snooty about.
Makeup setting sprays have finally found my limit and that limit, it would appear, is anything above 30C in the shade. I will hold up my hands and accept that for those of us who either want to wear makeup or have to wear it for work, there is much to be said for locking it down firmly before it melts straight off the face like a Calippo on a solar panel.
I must give credit where it’s due and say that if you’re in the market for a setting spray (whether because of temperature, oil glands or the menopause), proceed directly to an Urban Decay stockist and add All Nighter, £27, to your basket, because there is no reason to look elsewhere. It is simply the best one.
This stuff is so exceptionally good at its job that it didn’t just keep my makeup on my face throughout a friend’s birthday party on a swelteringly hot apartment balcony, it went above and beyond in also keeping it immaculately fresh for the train journey home.
And it’s idiot-proof, too. After you have finished your makeup, all you have to do is hold the bottle about a school ruler’s distance from your face and mist in an “X” movement. You then leave it a few moments to dry and you’re done.
Even when the outside temperature drops, makeup setting spray remains useful for misting over your eye brush before dipping it in any sparkly shadow, since it packs on the powder densely, and deposits it without any specks dropping on to your cheeks or clothes.
Until this summer, I would keep setting spray in the house purely for this purpose. My former reluctance to use it for its intended purpose stems mainly from its capacity to dry the skin (all the versions that work well contain lots of alcohol, though high humidity helps compensate for that) and for the matte appearance it gives, which I personally find unflattering. I got round the second of these drawbacks by using the newer, glowier Vitamin C version of the original All Nighter spray.
Urban Decay also makes another incarnation – Ultra Matte, for the very oily skinned – but in any case, when applied only in extremis or for a special occasion (a wedding, perhaps), rather than part of a daily routine, I think basically any of its setting spray lineup can be used without tears or smears.