Best face mists to hydrate and soothe your skin

A wash of hydration for parched complexions

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Pai Skincare
Ellie Davis19 December 2023
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One spritz of a face mist can have a transformational effect.

Before we even go onto the benefits for our skin, we must first wax lyrical about the seemingly mystical powers of the spray textures in encouraging a moment of calm during the day. Whether first thing in the morning, to counteract dryness throughout the day, or as a pick-me-up during a midday slump, the cooling nature has a restorative and reviving effect as the mist particles reach your face.

We keep a face mist at our desk, by our bed and a mini in our handbag for a spritz of hydration at a moment’s notice. The best formulas are made up of a super-fine mist that is designed to penetrate through the dermal layers of the skin to impart moisture-boosting, plumping and glow-giving results from the inside out. These formulas also encourage your complexion to retain this hydration and have cooling, soothing properties for when it’s feeling stressed out, irritated or stripped.

What do face mists do?

Dr Vanita Rattan, Skin Doctor and Cosmetic Formulator breaks it down: “A face mist is a skincare product that you spray on the face to quickly hydrate and refresh the skin. Whilst it’s not a substitute for other skincare products, such as a fatty moisturiser, they can provide a burst of hydration to the skin to combat dryness and as a pick-me-up throughout the day”.

When do you apply face mists?

You can really apply a face mist at any point throughout the day. Dr Rattan agrees, “If you tend to experience dry skin first thing in the morning, a face mist can be a great first step in your skincare routine. Similarly, if you are out and about during the day and it’s hot or you are sweating, a quick spray of a face mist can help to refresh and cool down the skin”. Pop one in your gym bag for a post-workout refresh or in your makeup bag as some formulas double up as a setting spray.

What are the benefits of face mists?

We’ve referenced the mood-boosting effects of this product but there are many benefits for the complexion that earn this product its place in your beauty kit. To counteract that tight, stripped or dry feeling, keep a face mist on hand for its hydrating, moisturising and nourishing effects. There are formulas designed for pollution protection to form a veil over the complexion to shield against free radical damage as well as those to purify blemish-prone skin.

However, it is important to remember that face mists should not replace more nourishing steps in your routine, like a moisturiser. “Face mists are primarily made up of water and often contain other hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, urea, or hyaluronic acid”, says Dr Rattan. “Whilst face mists can help to alleviate dry skin, it’s important to remember that this hydration is only temporary. This is because the water from the facial spray will evaporate from the skin. To prevent this from happening, it’s essential to follow up with a fatty moisturiser that will lock in the moisture and keep your skin hydrated for longer.

Pay close attention to the formula to ensure that they are free from the likes of drying alcohols. Dr Rattan recommends to “Opt for a fragrance-free formula that is gentle and non-irritating to the skin”.

Can they replace toner?

“No, because toners tend to have more active ingredients in it” reveals Dr Rattan.“For example, toners may contain ingredients like niacinamide or vitamin C to brighten and even out skin tone, or if you have acne-prone skin your toner is likely to have 2 per cent salicylic acid in it. Toners may also contain exfoliating agents such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) to help remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover”.

She adds, “A toner is typically used after cleansing the skin to remove any last remaining traces of dirt, excess oil, or makeup. Most toners contain anti-inflammatory ingredients such as panthenol (vitamin B5) which you do want to include in your skincare regime because no matter how gentle the face wash is, it does tend to strip fats from the skin”.

What ingredients should you look out for in your face mist?

Dr Rattan explains that “Hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, glycerin, and urea can help provide hydration, antioxidant protection, and brighten the skin. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the specific ingredients you should look for in a face mist may vary depending on your skin type and concerns”.

Shop the best face mists below

Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Cream Mist


Korean skincare label Dr.Jart+ is bringing its expertise in innovative skincare technology to a face mist that is packed with healing ingredients. You may know the brand best for its Jim Carrey-like rubber masks, but we believe this is another product that deserves its place in your bathroom cabinet for its delivery on the hydration front.

The formula contains a powerhouse of five ceramides that support the skin’s protective layer and so has a reparative and nourishing effect. There’s also a blend of soothing ingredients for those experiencing inflammation and it leaves a dewy glow in its wake.

Buy now£24, lookfantastic

Biossance Squalane and Hyaluronic Toning Mist


At the heart of every product in the Biossance range is squalane, which is not only its signature ingredient but has become a beauty buzzword in recent years, lauded for the hydration that it brings to the skin. Squalane (with an a) is created to mimic squalene (with an e) which is found naturally in the skin.

Biossance is the bellwether of the use of this component which is included in this toning mist to refresh and bring moisture to the complexion while prepping the skin for the products or makeup that follows. You can use this in place of your traditional toner and spritz it directly onto the skin, replacing the typically drying product with one packed with hydrating properties. Not only is there squalane but you get double the plumping thanks to the hyaluronic acid that is combined with. It works as both a pre-moisturiser step or post-makeup to set it in place.

Buy now£25, Cult Beauty

Omorovicza Queen Of Hungary Mist


Omorovicza harnesses 2000 years of Hungarian skincare expertise to solve the woes of dehydrated complexions everywhere. The brand combines these beauty secrets with a hi-tech approach, using the benefits of its signature ingredient, the mineral-rich thermal waters of its home country.

This is the bestselling product in the collection and revives a 14th-century recipe used by the namesake Queen of Hungary whose youthful complexion was legendary. While refreshing, it’s also purifying, toning and reparative, lauded for its regenerative effects.

Buy now£62, Cult Beauty

Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray for Sensitive Skin


Whether you’re lounging in the sun or braving a sauna-like commute, you’ll be relieved to have the Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray on hand. There’s the larger version pictured as well as a handbag-sized 50ml variation and we suggest popping one in every bag from little to large for an immediate hit of cooling hydration, whether you have sensitivities or not. The formula is enriched with the brand’s signature thermal spring water to calm stressed complexions.

Buy now£10, lookfantastic

Caudalie Grape Water


You will likely be familiar with Caudalie’s cult Beauty Elixir face mist which is one of the bestselling products in its collection, but it’s another face mist that has won our seal of approval lately.

Caudalie has formulated this gentle but potent product using all organic grape water. The brand’s speciality is using off-cuts from the wine-making process and the ingredients are all naturally derived and rich in antioxidants. This runs true for this mist that is soothing and hydrating, acting as a protective layer for stressed-out skin suffering from irritation.

Buy now£12, Cult Beauty

Venn Skincare Synbiotic Defence Mist

Venn Skincare

If you feel like the barrier of your skin is compromised, dehydrated or lacklustre, you’ll want to call in the big guns - and that’s exactly how we’d describe the Venn Skincare Synbiotic Defence Mist.

This formula is brimming with reparative ingredients that are designed specifically to balance the microbiome of the skin with probiotic and prebiotic ferments that encourage the growth of good bacteria. This is combined with supercharged ingredients like niacinamide, glutathione, panthenol and more that bring long-lasting hydration. It has the ability to lock in the moisture to make your complexion feel refreshed for longer.

Buy now£75, Space NK

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist


If it’s that doughnut-level of dewiness that you are after, Japanese wellness label Tatcha delivers. This mist, which can be used as either a setting spray or an instant hydration hit, is packed with humectants to give dehydrated complexions what they need to counteract that tight, dry feeling.

Hyaluronic acid and unique Okinawa-red algae are combined with botanical oils to give a healthy sheen. There is also the brand’s trademarked complex that you’ll find across the range known as Hadasei-3 where the trio of double-fermented Uji green tea, Mozuku algae and Akita rice are rich in nutrients and amino acids for that lit-from-within look. The mist is super-fine so can be used as a quick fix with an even coverage.

Buy now£48, Space NK

Elemis Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist


You likely associate Elemis with a spa feeling and this is something that can be brought into your every day or to revive you from the afternoon slump with a face mist from the British label. But while there are more fragrant options available in the range, if you want a product that is both luxe, while being hard-working (because, well, same), you’ll be interested in the Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist.

This is a multitasking four-in-one formula that does so much more than coat your complexion in water. It gives a boost of hydration, yes, but also tones and primes and can be used as a setting spray. The formula combines a mix of antioxidant-rich coconut water, rooibos tea and vegan kefir ferment. The latter is derived from soybeans and is soothing and balancing for the skin.

Buy now£26, Cult Beauty

Pai Skincare Century Flower Barrier Defence Mist

Pai Skincare

Sarah Brown launched Pai Skincare when she struggled to find products for her hyper-sensitive skin. The collections bring truly clean and organic compositions to the market without sacrificing efficacy. Each of the heroes is incredibly soothing and the same goes for the Barrier Defence Mist which will be a godsend for those suffering from inflammation and irritation.

Hydration is the name of the game but it also works to calm and tackle breakouts at every stage of the process - after, during and as a preventative measure. The spritz balances the complexion with a combination of lotus plant extract, hyaluronic acid, deep sea magnesium, inulin and the light aroma of orange blossom. These ingredients are rich in minerals with a protective effect against potential damage from external aggressors.

Buy now£39, Cult Beauty

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Essence Mist


A skincare range that’s championed by aesthetic doctors and dermatologists, as well as one you’ll find in every beauty editor’s bathroom cabinet, SkinCeuticals is well-placed to create a super-soothing skin spray. Clinically tested on post-procedure complexions for its ability to calm and cool redness, the formula is packed with a concentrated amount of antioxidant-rich botanicals including thyme and cucumber, that help heal and repair alongside a calming duo of amino acids.

Also helping to ease skin that’s temporarily red and reactive, hyaluronic acid and glycerine pull and hold water into the skin, keeping it plump and comfortable. Perfect for on-the-go application, it won’t disturb make-up and the herbal scent adds a refreshing pick-me-up too.

Buy now£60, SkinCeuticals