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Face mists have come a long way. In recent years, they’ve expanded beyond pretty, watery sprays to do, well, basically anything you can imagine. Sure, they still hydrate. But on top of that they brighten, tone, nourish, and strengthen the skin barrier, all with a few quick spritzes.

“Depending on the formulation, a face mist can also deliver a dose of vitamins and nutrients to skin, add a glow, set makeup, or deliver sun protection,” says Geeta Yadav, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Facet Dermatology in Toronto. With so many options now available, face mists have become a skin-care category of their own, leaving you spoiled for choice—but, for the most part, finding your best face mist will depend on both your skin and whether you want something that offers benefits beyond hydration.


Experts In This Article


The best face mists, at a glance

What ingredients to look for in a face mist

Dr. Yadav says you’ll want to balance hydration with humectants (which draw moisture into the skin), like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, with emollients, like ceramides and squalane, to keep moisture in your skin.

Other ingredients to look for depend on your skin type and your skincare goals. Some facial mists will contain sunscreen to provide UV protection, while others have antioxidants to prevent free radical damage, like premature aging, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation; others work to set or refresh makeup throughout the day. There are options made to accommodate specific skin types and concerns, too.

What to avoid

Conversely, you’ll want to avoid face mists containing alcohol if possible, says board-certified dermatologist Nava Greenfield, MD. (“It’s very stripping to the skin and disrupts the skin’s pH balance,” adds Dr. Yadav.) However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all alcohol deserves a bad rap. According to the National Rosacea Society, some forms actually prevent water loss, including cetyl, cetearyl, lauryl, and stearyl alcohol. It’s the astringent alcohols—like ethyl or ethanol alcohol, methanol, isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, and benzyl alcohol—that you’ll want to watch out for on the ingredients list.

Another ingredient to watch out for is? Fragrance, especially if your skin is super sensitive.

Shop the best face mists

Caudalie Grape Moisturizing Face Mist

Best overall: Caudalie, Grape Moisturizing Face Mist — $20.00

Key ingredients: grape water

If you’re on the hunt for a simple, effective face mist, give the Caudalie Grape Moisturizing Face Mist a shot. It’s as minimalist as they come—just grape water, no alcohol or fragrances. I’m all about it because I know it won’t mess with my skin, and it never has. After a workout or when I’m in serious need of a pick-me-up during the day, a couple of spritzes leave me with glowier, more moisturized skin. The spray already feels pretty refreshing, but I’m all about that extra chill, so I stash it in the fridge. The added cooling sensation comes in especially handy during hot summer days.

Fragrance-free: Yes

Size: 2.5 and 6.7 oz.

  • Simple ingredients list
  • Fragrance- and alcohol-free
  • Refreshing
  • No added benefits besides moisture and antioxidants

Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray

Best soothing: Tower 28, SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray — $28.00

Key ingredients: hypochlorous acid

If your skin is on the sensitive side, consider the Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray. Its key ingredient is hypochlorous acid, a natural antimicrobial that helps calm redness and inflammation while fighting acne and that is made without alcohol or fragrance. “The SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray—derms love it, 500+ Sephora shoppers love it, and now I do, too,” contributor Alexa Casanova previously wrote. “Whenever I’m dealing with gnarly breakouts, a compromised skin barrier, or am just feeling a bit sensi, the SOS Spray is what I’ll be reaching for first.” Even better, it’s approved by the National Eczema Association, so you know it’s the real deal.

Fragrance-free: Yes

Size: 1, 4, and 16 oz.

  • Made with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory hypochlorous acid
  • Has National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance
  • Soothes and tones
  • Lacks humectants to lock in moisture

Supergoop! (Re)setting Refreshing Mist SPF 40

Best with SPF: Supergoop!, (Re)setting Refreshing Mist SPF 40 — $34.00

Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, rosemary, mint

“This is not a traditional face mist, but I love it,” says Dr. Yadav. “It features SPF, antioxidants, and oil-absorbing silica to protect the skin and control shine. It makes sunscreen so easy to reapply.” Its SPF 40 protection is also water- and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes, and you can layer it over makeup when it comes time for reapplication. The invisible finish won’t leave a white cast on your skin, either.

Just note: alcohol and fragrant oils are listed on the product’s inactive ingredients list—something to keep in mind if you’re sensitive to alcohol or fragrance.

Fragrance-free: No

Size: 1 and 3.4 oz.

  • SPF 40 protection
  • Water- and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes
  • Contains nourishing antioxidants
  • Not ideal for people sensitive to alcohol or fragrance

Byoma Balancing Face Mist

Best balancing: Byoma, Balancing Face Mist — $14.00

Key ingredients: tri-ceramide complex, probiotics, allantoin

This face mist from Byoma won’t break the bank, and it’s got a tri-ceramide complex that beefs up your skin’s defense against dryness, pollution, and other annoyances. There’s also a probiotic ferment for your skin’s microbiome and allantoin to keep things calm. No alcohol or fragrances in the mix—just a solid formula. “Best of all, Byoma swaps the sterile, run-of-the-mill packaging so many brands have adopted with bright, pop-y colors, stackable shapes, and recyclable bottles,” wrote W+G Commerce Editor, Francesca Krempa. “But the simplicity and fast results are what keep me coming back.”

Fragrance-free: Yes

Size: 3.38 oz

  • Formulated to repair and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier
  • Hydrating
  • Alcohol- and fragrance-free
  • Refillable

Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Hydrating Multi-Protection Mist

Best for damage control: Clarins, Hydra-Essentiel Hydrating Multi-Protection Mist — $36.00

Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid

The Clarins Multi-Protection provides a spritz of moisture while protecting the skin against environmental stressors that pose a threat to our skin’s overall health. “The hydration comes from hyaluronic acid, and protection comes from a plant source high in antioxidants that can neutralize free radical environmental damage,” says Dr. Nazarian. Essentially, it acts as a shield against everyday irritants and pollution like smoke and smog, and helps to maintain our skin’s moisture level. Use it as a primer for your makeup, or to refresh your base throughout the day.

Fragrance-free: No

Size: 2.6 oz

  • Hydrating
  • Formulated to protect against free radical damage
  • Purported to maintain skin’s moisture levels
  • Not ideal for people sensitive to alcohol or fragrance
  • Only one size available

Urban Decay, All Nighter Vitamin C Hydrating Setting Spray — $36.00

Key ingredients: glycerin, vitamin C, cactus water

What a hydrated complexion and makeup that lasts all night? Get a bottle of this stuff. It’s the vitamin C-infused version of the brand’s cult-favorite All Nighter setting spray, so it gives skin a burst of hydration and brightening while locking in the night’s look. The light citrus scent makes it a delight to spritz on, however, it might be triggering for sensitive skin.

Fragrance-free: No

Size: 4 oz.

  • Hydrating
  • Brightening
  • Doubles as a face mist and setting spray

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist

Best for a dewy finish: Tatcha, Luminous Dewy Skin Mist — $49.00

Key ingredients: Tatcha’s Hadasei-3 complex, Okinawa red algae, squalane, silk extract,

Whether you use it as a primer for makeup or to refresh your skin throughout the day, Tacha’s aptly named Luminous Dewy Skin Mist imparts a luminous sheen on the skin—and it doesn’t just work at the surface level.

“This is a very moisturizing and elegant face mist, with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalane, and a blend of nourishing plant oils and extracts—including anti-aging red algae—to hydrate and moisturize skin,” says Dr. Yadav. Board-certified dermatopathologist Gretchen Frieling, MD, also recommends (and uses) the Dewy Skin Mist, adding, “It’s also non-irritating, non-sensitizing, and cruelty-free.” While there’s plenty to love about this facial mist, it is formulated with synthetic fragrance and alcohol, which might irritate sensitive skin.

Fragrance-free: No

Size: .4 and 1.35 oz.

  • Hydrating
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Imparts a dewy sheen on the skin
  • Layers well underneath or over makeup
  • Not ideal for people sensitive to alcohol or fragrance

Avène Thermal Spring Water

Best multipurpose: Avène, Thermal Spring Water — $19.00

Key ingredients: thermal spring water, nitrogen

Face mist purists will appreciate the simple ingredients list of Avène’s Thermal Spring Water. It’s made with only two ingredients—thermal spring water and nitrogen. The brand’s thermal spring water has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe redness, add moisture, and soften skin, while the nitrogen works as a propellant to push the water out as a spray. The fragrance- and alcohol-free formula also makes it ideal for sensitive skin, and I’ve found that it provides the ideal amount of moisture whenever I want. The spray dispenses an ultra-fine mist that doesn’t interfere with my makeup, and it’s also fun to spritz on as a pick-me-up.

Fragrance-free: Yes

Size: 1.6, 5, and 10 oz.

  • Thermal spring water soothes redness and irritation
  • Hydrates and softens skin
  • Neutral pH restores skin balance
  • Alcohol- and fragrance-free
  • Lacks humectants to lock in moisture

FAQS

Are face mists worth it?

It depends on what your skin needs. Face mists are an easy way to add hydration throughout the day, so if you’re often feeling thirsty, it might be time to get your hands on one. Board-certified dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, agrees, adding that “it can enhance penetration of ingredients that follow it in your skincare routine.” There is also convenience. “If you’ve already applied your skin-care products, put your makeup on, and you don’t want to use a moisturizer, face mists add moisture when you want it and won’t interfere with anything that’s on your face,” says Dr. Greenfield.

Is it OK to use a face mist every day?

Yes, but with a caveat: “Don’t rely on it as a primary source of hydration,” says Dr. Greenfield. It works best as a supplement to your moisturizer. Whether you plan to spritz on a face mist daily or whenever you want a boost of moisture, you’ll also want to be sure that it has the right ingredients and that it’s suitable for your skin.

Just don’t be so quick to spritz with abandon as over-misting can have the paradoxical effect of drying out your skin. “It would be like keeping your face wet for a prolonged period of time, which could result in the water evaporating from the surface of the skin and the skin being dry underneath,” explains Purvisha Patel, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. To further prevent dryness, Dr. Patel and most of the dermatologists we spoke to recommend following up your face mist with a moisturizer to lock water into the skin when possible.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.


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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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