Few things are as refreshing and reviving as a good face mist. Face mists are liquid skincare products that come in a bottle with a delicate spray/ mist dispenser, and can do a whole host of wonderful things to your skin.
The primary purpose of a face mist is to moisten and hydrate the skin, making it ready to better absorb additional skincare products like face serums and moisturizers, but the really great face mists contain a lot of other active ingredients that can improve the skin in a variety of different ways.
In this article, I will explain exactly how face mists should be used for all kinds of benefits, how they differ from other skincare products, what kind of face mists there are, how to choose the best one for you, and which face mists are the best ones on the market.
Guide to Face Mists: Contents
• How To Use a Face Mist
• Should You Use a Face Mist?
• Pros & Cons of Face Mists
• Types of Face Mists
• Choosing a Face Mist Based on Your Skin Type and Concerns
• The Difference Between a Face Mist and a Toner
• DIY Face Mist Recipe
• Best Face Mists to Try
The beautiful thing about face mists is that they are fairly self-explanatory, as well as super multi-functional. There are three ways in which you could use a face mist.
The Classic Way
Cleanse your skin well, making sure there is not residue of cleanser left behind. Next, spray your face with your face mist of choice. You should hold the bottle about 10 inches away from your face, with the nozzle facing way.
1 or 2 sprays should be enough to adequately cover your whole face. While your skin is still damp from the mist, follow it up with your usual serums and moisturizers.
This is a great skincare routine for both morning and evening.
For Light Cleansing
For many of us, a full cleansing is not necessary in the morning time. Instead, spray a cotton round with your face mist of choice, and wipe it all over your face in upward motions. This will remove that little bit of excess sebum that your skin produces overnight, while also loading your skin up with wonderful hydrating and nourishing ingredients.
Follow it up with the rest of your skincare routine, and a face sunscreen.
As a Finishing Skin Mist Throughout the Day
Most face mists also work really well as makeup finishing sprays, or as midday makeup refreshers. The hydrating ingredients in face mists will eliminate that overly matte finish of face powder without causing shine.
In the middle of the day, especially on hot days, a spray of a cooling face mist can really refresh both the skin and the mood, and can also make your makeup easier to blend, if you need to touch up your foundation or powder. This won’t work with all face mists, but it will certainly work with the simpler face mist formulas.
So while face mists are not a mandatory skincare step, they are extremely pleasant to use and hold lots of extra benefits. Few things are as luxurious as spraying your face with the finest mist of a lightly scented, refreshing liquid.
You should definitely consider adding a face mist to your routine if you have been dealing with dehydration (especially a face mist with lots of humectants like glycerin or hyaluronic acid) – especially if you have oily skin, and want to avoid additional, heavy skincare steps. A good face mist can be the perfect solution, because it is light yet effective.
You may also want to add a face mist to your routine as a post makeup step, especially if your skin sometimes looks powdery once you’ve finished setting your foundation. For many of us, powder is mandatory if we want to have our foundation last for longer than an hour, but it takes away from the trendy dewy complexion we all crave. A face mist can help restore that shine to the skin.
• Face mists are awesome hydrators!
• They are super multifunctional.
• Using them is a wonderful and refreshing sensory experience.
• Face mists can soothe irritating skin.
• They can finish your foundation off beautifully.
• They are very portable.
• They don’t take any time to apply.
• Lovely on airplanes.
• Absolutely nothing!
There are a few different types of face mists, and you truly have to dive into the ingredients list to figure out what kind of face mist you have. I’ll talk you through some of the common face mists that you can buy, and how to figure out which one you might be looking at!
Hydrating Face Mists
These face mists contain water-binding ingredients called humectants, in a fairly high quantity (second or third on the ingredients list). The most common humectant used in face mists is called glycerin, but you might also see hyaluronic acid or propylene glycol.
These are the most hydrating face mists, and they work best under a moisturizer or as setting sprays to give makeup a dewy finish.
Nourishing and Occlusive Face Mists
These face mists are actually super-light emulsions, because they include some botanical oils. These face mists can even replace a moisturizer, because they occlude the skin (meaning they create a protective barrier over the skin, and prevent moisture evaporation).
Nourishing face mists may or may not also contain humectant ingredients, and are best used as a final, or next to final step in the skincare routine. They don’t always work well after foundation.
Refreshing and Soothing Face Mists
In these face mists you won’t see botanical oils (although you might see fragrant essential oils) or humectants, but instead you’ll see a ton of botanical extracts or hydrosols (most frequently rose water or lavender hydrosol). These ingredients are loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, and are phenomenal for soothing sensitive skin.
Refreshing face mists don’t hydrate as much as the previous two face mists do, and should always be followed up with moisturizer. They work quite well after makeup, but they don’t give as dewy a finish as a hydrating face mist.
Thermal water works very similarly to extract- and hydrosol-based face mists. Thermal water is rich in naturally occurring minerals like selenium, copper, and magnesium that have both skin-protective and soothing properties.
They make the skin feel soft and supple, and much like the aforementioned extract-based face mists, they should always be followed up with a moisturizer.
Astringent Face Mists
These are basically toners in the form of a face mist. They come in the same misting spray bottle, but they contain pore-tightening and pH-balancing ingredients like witch hazel or cucumber extract. These are best for those with oily or acne-prone skin, and they can also work well to prep the skin for chemical exfoliation.
Usually, face mists are one-size-fits-all, so no matter which face mist you choose, it would probably help your skin in some way. However, those with specific skin types and concerns might prefer one type of face mist to the other.
Face Mists for Normal Skin
If you have normal skin that is not too dry or too oily, you will probably need more middle-of-the-road face mists. You may choose to avoid face mists that contain oils, and instead prefer ones that are simply hydrating or refreshing.
Face Mists for Dry and Mature Skin
If you have dry or mature skin, you want a face mist that is more heavy-duty. Look for richer face mists that have a lot of humectants, occlusives, and antioxidants, to moisturize, soothe, and strengthen your skin.
Face Mists for Oily, Combination, and Acne-Prone Skin
If you are already using an adequate moisturizer, you will probably want to use either refreshing and light face mists, or astringent face mists that will tighten your pores and control oil production. You can also choose a more hydrating face mist (maybe even one with light occlusives) to totally replace your moisturizer.
Face Mists for Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin comes in all types of forms, so the key is to look for specific ingredients, and avoid others. Those with sensitive skin should look for skin-soothing ingredients like green tea extract, aloe, or chamomile.
Additionally, some people don’t respond well to ingredients like essential oils, alcohols, or propylene glycol. If such ingredients tend to trigger redness in your skin, make sure to avoid them.
If your skin is extremely sensitive, you might choose to stick to something really simple like Avene thermal water. Whether you choose a more refreshing, light face mist, or a heavier one is totally up to you.
Distinguishing between face mists and toners is not easy, because sometimes they are one and the same. Naturally, a face mist has to come in a spray container, while a toner can come in any type of bottle with any dispenser.
The big difference is that the primary purpose of a face mist is to hydrate and refresh, while oftentimes the main purpose of a toner is to balance the skin’s pH or to tighten the pores. These two purposes are not necessarily mutually exclusive, with many companies releasing multi-functional products.
You can choose to use both a toner and a hydrating mist (especially if your toner doubles as an active treatment), or just the one.
This simple DIY face mist recipe can be made exactly as is, for a simple hydrating tonic, or it can be adapted with a variety of extracts, plant hydrosols, and essential oils, to achieve different skin benefits and consistencies.
Making your own skincare product is not an easy or simple procedure. Any water-based product (as all misting sprays are) can become breeding ground for bacteria very easily, so you should always be careful.
However, if you make sure to keep your DIY face mist in the fridge, and to throw it away after a week, you will be fine. If you want to make a longer-lasting product, or something you can carry around with you on hot days, make sure to also use a preservative.
For this homemade face mist recipe you will need:
• 1 travel size spray container (2 oz is ideal – any larger and your product will likely go bad before you even finish half of it)
• 1.8 oz distilled water (or rosewater for extra refreshment)
• 2 oz Glycerin
• 1-2 drops of an essential oil of your choice
Simply mix all of these ingredients in your spray bottle, and shake to mix. That’s it! You can now spray this lovely mist on either before moisturizer, or after you have finished your makeup.
If you prefer not to go the DIY route, but rather buy ready-made face mists, below you’ll find the best ones for your skin needs.
Rich & Hydrating Face Mists
1. Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator
This face mist is a cult favorite, and is likely the most popular face mist in the green beauty scene. This face mist contains a lot of botanical oils, so it is more moisturizing and occlusive than many other face mists. This means it can easily substitute for a moisturizer, especially in the summertime or for those with oily skin.
It also contains a selection of anti-inflammatory extracts, making it wonderful for sensitive and easily irritated skin. These ingredients are so luxurious and nourishing that it doesn’t seem right to suggest that anyone use it after makeup – instead, apply it beforehand, and let all that goodness properly sink in.
This organic face mist is available through Beauty Heroes, and other eco beauty retailers.
2. Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist
This face mist stands out as the richest skin mist on this list. This gorgeous hydrating spray from Tatcha, contains a blend of hydrating ingredients like glycerin, as well as botanical oils and silicones that will work as occlusives.
This means that this face mist can substitute for a moisturizer, even for those who have slightly dry skin, as well as will function as a skin-soothing and anti-aging treatment thanks to antioxidant plant extracts. It can also be used after foundation, not only to eliminate that powdery finish, but also to provide a bit of a dewy shine.
You can find this multi-functioning face mist at Sephora.
3. Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray
With both glycerin and some really lovely anti-inflammatory extracts, this is a treat for sensitive and dehydrated skin. It doesn’t contain occlusives, so it is certainly best used along with a moisturizer – but this also means that it works fantastically over makeup.
Clinique also gets a big shout-out here for having what is possibly one of the best spray dispensers, with each application being even yet totally able to cover the whole face. This face spray can be purchased at Sephora.
Light & Refreshing Face Mists
1. MAC ‘Mineralized’ Charged Water Skin Hydrating Mist
You might be acquainted with MAC’s Fix+ Spray, which is a setting spray that can also work as a face mist. However, the Charged Water mist is a step above it, with skin-recharging caffeine and many beneficial minerals.
It works well at any time of the day, but is actually meant to be sprayed on as a final step before makeup, to get a longer-lasting, more dewy foundation look. This lovely face mist is available at Selfridges.
2. Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater
Rose is a deliciously scented skincare ingredient that is a natural addition to face mists. It works as an absorption enhancer, allowing your skin to better take in other beneficial skincare ingredients, including moisturizers.
The other ingredients here are mostly soothing botanical extracts, that come together to make a simple and light face spray that can work for every skin type, both before moisturizer and after makeup. You can purchase this rosey face mist at Ulta.
3. Jane Iredale Pommisst
This ultra-light, all-natural face mist is loaded with some really incredible plant extracts, including anti-aging superstar pomegranate extract, and skin-soothing white tea extract. This lightly scented formula instantly refreshes the skin and uplifts the mood, and it also works quite well over makeup.
If you are into green beauty, you’ll be happy to know that this face mist is Ecocert certified, and has organic ingredients. You can pick it up at Nordstrom.
4. Caudalie Grape Water
This face mist from Caudalie proves that simplicity and beauty are not very distant from each other. As much as I love the humectant- and extract-laden face mists on this list, sometimes a single ingredient can offer just as much. As the name says, the only ingredient here is water extracted from grapes.
This makes for an ultra-light face mist that soothes the skin beautifully, and has a ton of purposes. This gentle water mist can be purchased from Sephora.
5. Avene Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray
While the mineral content varies from thermal spray to thermal spray, for the most part they all work similarly, so you can’t choose wrong. However, Avene water is definitely a great choice for hydrating and refreshing. It contains a variety of minerals that will soothe the skin. Find it at Ulta.
Light Yet Nourishing Face Mists
1. First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist
I decided this face mist deserves its own category, because it is oh-so-light, yet rich in wonderful active ingredients. The ingredients that really stand out here are anti-aging vitamin C, skin-brightening licorice root extract, skin-soothing green tea extract, but there are so many more amazing ones!
While there is a hint of glycerin here to hydrate, most of this face mist is water based, so it should be followed with moisturizer. Even those with oily or acne-prone skin can use it, and the witch hazel in it will help to control those oils. You can find it at Ulta.
Balancing & Toning Face Mists
1. Boscia Balancing Face Tonic
From Boscia, we have a toning face mist that is especially effective for those with oily and acne-prone skin. Extract of lavender and rosemary smell gorgeous as they help to purify the skin, and just a touch of glycerin lends a hydrating touch.
Anyone dedicated to this face mist will attest to its ability to reduce redness and prevent breakouts, while still making the skin feel hydrated and refreshed. It’s available at Sephora.
2. Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Sleek Mist
This is by far the cutest face mist on this list. It’s nice that it is also a wonderful product. Formulated with tightening witch hazel, it soothes, hydrates, and controls oils, especially after makeup. Be warned, it does contain a little bit of alcohol. You can find it at Ulta.
Do you use face mists? How do you use them? Get in touch, and let us know!