Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Like Hairspray For Your Face: Urban Decay All-Nighter VS. Ben Nye Final Seal

This one's going to be a bit of a rambler, but please bear with me. I think it's worth it in the end.

Okay, so a million years ago, back when I was dancing somewhat professionally (not stripping! Ballet, jazz, etc.), I bought a Mehron barrier spray for my makeup kit. If you're unfamiliar with barrier spray, don't feel bad. I only learned about it from dance and theatre. It's a specialty product that, supposedly, keeps your makeup from melting, smearing, and budging. I say "supposedly" because this stuff didn't. It was beyond horrible, and I threw it out after a dress rehearsal or two. (If you like the Mehron, please don't take offense. This was my experience. Please tell me yours in the comments, because I may have used it incorrectly.)

My next barrier spray purchase ('cause you pretty much have to have one) was Ben Nye Final Seal. Now, this stuff worked. It did everything it said it would, and even left your skin feeling tingly and cool. I loved that stuff, and vowed to never be without it. I even kept it in supply during filming of The Night Shift, since we were outside for 90% of the shoot, in triple digit temperatures and saturated humidity, running around for hours at a time. Watching the film, now, you'd never guess by looking at our makeup. In fact, I never even had to do a powder touch-up. Not once. Ever. The only touching-up I ever did on my makeup was lipstick, and even those were minimal. Don't believe me? Here's a shot of me on set, in full makeup (don't judge) which was applied outside on a drizzly, miserable, 100+ degree, June night in lower Alabama. I'd been in it for, oh, a couple of hours, by this point:

Extra Large so you can get a good look. Sorry if it goes over into the sidebar. Also, my character was wearing a Halloween costume. I'm not really a racecar driver. I mean, not officially. I have been known to speed, though. I'm impatient and a bad driver. Carry on!

Seriously. I'm not even shiny.

And with that, I think you can see why it's never left my kit. I make sure it's on-set at all times, even if I'm not--which brings me to the reason for today's post (and yes, I do have a reason). Back in May, we shot a ridiculously cute short (I'm in love with it, and can't wait for you guys to see it). The first day of shooting, the lead actor didn't need makeup other than powder, and the actress scheduled for that morning happened to be a makeup artist and willing to make herself up. I wasn't scheduled to come in until after lunch, and while I normally would still be around anyway, wearing my producer's hat, I had a prior committment that morning and couldn't be there. Still, I packed a touch-up kit to send along with Thomas, in case anyone needed powder, extra color, or anything like that. Just to make sure that no one melted in the heat, I tossed in the Final Seal at the last second.

Of course, I'd completely forgotten that I still had to do my makeup...

So, I put on my makeup, went to spray on my Final Seal, and had one of those dreaded "oh, crap" moments. I'd sent it with Thomas! What was I supposed to do? I still had to pick up lunch for the troops, park, and walk to the downtown, outdoor location. The humidity was crazy high! What was I to do?!?!

That's about the time I remembered that I had a deluxe sample of Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray floating around in my makeup kit. I'd received it as part of a set, and had no use for it at the time. Now was the...well, not perfect time to try it out. Actually, more like the worst possible time, because it could splotch, or cake, or flake, or just plain not work. Visions of the Mehron fiasco danced through my head, but they were fended off by visions of how bad my face would look if I didn't use something. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and sprayed.

You know what? It worked. Here's a shot of me, in full makeup, right after I got to the set:

Sun! In my eyes!! ARGH! BTW, the look is based on the Christina Hendricks tutorial from Pixiwoo. 'Cause really, Christina Hendricks is hot, and if you get to do your own makeup, why not model it after a hot person's?  
Okay. Now, here's a still from the short, taken approximately three to four hours after the first picture. I had been outside the entire time, and it was an exceptionally hot day.

Wilma Flintstone called. She wants her necklace back.
(I can say that because I supplied it. I'm only being snarky to myself. Self-Snarking?)

Again, not bad. I had to touch-up my lipstick, but I don't recall any powder touch-ups. There may have been one, just for good measure, but I couldn't swear to it. As you can see, the eye makeup is completely intact, cheek color is still visible, and I'm not blinding anyone with shininess.

Of course, it could have just been a fluke, right? Maybe I just did my makeup really well? Well, this past weekend I had a singing gig, and while I didn't know it was going to be outside, I like to plan for all contingencies. Right before I walked out the door, I sprayed on a little All-Nighter. After three hours of singing opera in the heat and humidity (and having way too much fun! I am so ready to do it again!!), my makeup had not budged. My hair totally sucked, and I was sweaty and gross, but my face was flawless. Obviously, this All-Nighter stuff worked.

So, finally, we reach the point of this post (I warned you it was ramble-y): Which is better? The Ben Nye Final Seal or the Urban Decay All-Nighter? Honestly, they both worked beautifully, so let's look at the details:

Ben Nye
Packaging: Clear Bottle with White Printed Name
Application: Spray
Wear: Comfortable and Tingly
Availability: Stage Makeup Supply Stores and Websites
Price: $5.50 for 1 oz. or $7.00 for 2 oz.

Urban Decay
Packaging: White Bottle with Full-Color Label
Application: Spray
Wear: Comfortable (Less Tingly)
Availability: Sephora, Ulta, and the Urban Decay Website
Price: $12 for .35 oz or $29 for 4 oz.

Basically, they're the same. The Urban Decay is by Skindinavia, which supposedly makes the best setting sprays on the market. Ben Nye has a reputation for putting out the very best in stage and film makeup. Either way, they're high quality products. The tie-breakers, for me, are price and availability. See, I don't have a stage makeup supply store anywhere in my vicinity. We have to order all of our specialty products. I do have an Ulta and a Sephora nearby, though, so I can walk in and grab what I need, when I need it. However, even with shipping (from most places. One or two are insane), the Ben Nye is worlds cheaper than the Urban Decay. What it boils down to, really, is how much you're willing to pay for convenience and a pretty bottle.


  1. Great review on the final seal. A barrier spray is actually used prior to applying makeup, glitter, latex, or prosthetic to your skin to aid in in the removal of a product that could be potentially abrasive or harmful to your skin during the removal process. It creates a "barrier/ wall" between your skin an said product.

    1. Thanks for explaining tthat. That makes the name make sense now. :) I tried the barrier spray both ways. When I used the mehron before, the makeup patched in spots, and I looked polka-dotted. NOT a good look. When used after, like it says in the description, it left wet spots. Maybe I just got a bad batch, but it was awful. Again, just my experience. Other people swear by it.

    2. Thanks for explaining tthat. That makes the name make sense now. :) I tried the barrier spray both ways. When I used the mehron before, the makeup patched in spots, and I looked polka-dotted. NOT a good look. When used after, like it says in the description, it left wet spots. Maybe I just got a bad batch, but it was awful. Again, just my experience. Other people swear by it.

  2. outa curiosity what brand of makeup did you wear under the sprays?

    1. With the original Mehron barrier spray, I wore Mehron foundation. With the Ben Nye, I was wearing Revlon. I have also used it with Ben Nye, CoverGirl, Maybelline, MAC, and several other brands of differing price points and quality. The Urban Decay was worn with MAC, but I have used it with Ben Nye, Sephora brand, Laura Geller, Benefit, Urban Decay, Maybelline, CoverGirl, and again, several other varying brands. Four years later, they're both still reliable. I do find myself using the Urban Decay almost exclusively, though, due to the convenience factor. Hope that helps!

  3. thank you for such a detailed post and honest review!! I have been wanting to get the urban decay all nighter but then I heard about the ben nye and wanted to do some research. Ive got to say, you made it harder because you described both so well haha! I might even get both. Thank you !!!


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