Home Beauty recipe How do facial mists work? A cosmetic chemist weighs

How do facial mists work? A cosmetic chemist weighs


Compared to moisturizers, serums, and toners, facial mists are relatively new to the beauty scene. Take a stroll down the beauty aisle (or leisurely browse an online retailer) and you’ll notice a number of products that promise hydration with a spritz or two. Like pimple patches, essences, and so many other cosmetic products, they were popular in Korea for years before they made their mark in the Western beauty market. But do facial mists work?

How do facial mists work?

Face mists are a lot like another beauty product that can be sprayed on, setting sprays. But while setting sprays to hold your makeup in place, the main purpose of a face mist is to quench your skin. Some mists can be formulated with additional benefits, such as ingredients that soothe stressed skin or help fight acne.

While skin care is usually locked into morning and evening routines, you can use facial mists whenever you feel your skin needs an extra boost of hydration. A refreshing little spritz in the middle of the day can be refreshing, especially during the hot summer months.

Do facial mists actually work?

So, the question of the hour: are facial mists worth the cost? Or are we just wasting our money? Kelly Dobos, a cosmetic chemist with over 15 years of experience in the industry, says yes. But it depends on the ingredients.

“Facial mists are mostly water and humectants, so they’re fine and sprayable,” she says. “They deliver a rapid burst of hydration to the surface of the skin.” She adds that they can be used any time of the day for refreshing hydration, and she personally keeps one at her desk. (Best tip: Keep one in the fridge to help you survive the sticky humidity during the summer months.)

To be effective, facial mists must be formulated with humectants. A moisturizer, humectants sit on your skin and draw moisture from your surroundings, whether it’s your home, office, or the great outdoors.

According to SkinKraft Laboratories, humectants form hydrogen bonds with water, which slows down evaporation. (And that’s what helps keep your skin soft.) There are several types of humectants. Dobos recommends keeping an eye out for a few: “Humectants like glycerin and propanediol, a less sticky alternative, are good ingredients to look for. Another is sodium hyaluronate.

Hyaluronic acid, which appears in all kinds of skin care products, from sunscreens to moisturizers, is also a humectant.

Dobos adds, “Some face mists are very fine emulsions that contain oils and other lipids that help replenish the skin barrier.

This is because humectants alone won’t do the job. They must work in tandem with a family of ingredients called occlusives, an agent that forms a protective barrier on the skin, trapping moisture. Without occlusive, your face mist can have the opposite effect. This is especially true if you are in a low humidity environment, as the humectant has no moisture to draw from. (For this reason, moisturizers infused with hyaluronic acid can make your skin dry.)

Ingredients with occlusive properties include petroleum jelly, silicones, waxes, vitamin E and other oils, most butters, and even some seaweed extracts.

7 cruelty-free facial mists that actually work

From sprays for dry, sensitive skin to those dealing with acne, dullness, redness and dark spots, here are our top picks of cruelty-free face mists that can get the job done.

Use InnBeauty’s Face Mist for a quick hydrating spray, or as a setting or toning spray. | HostelBeauty

Power Up two-phase face mist InnBeauty Project

This 3-in-1 mist can be used as a makeup setting spray, moisturizing toner, or as a quick uplift for your skin all day long. Dobos explains that this mist “has two phases, an oily / lipid phase which is shaken to combine just before use”. These lipids then help to replenish the skin.

This combination of moringa seed and ginger root oils helps nourish and soothe the skin, while witch hazel, aloe, and electrolytes work to hydrate and clarify. It is also enhanced by turmeric, pine bark and boerhavia diffusa– a flowering plant used in herbalism for its anti-inflammatory properties – to help even out your complexion.

Split Image: Honest Beauty Mist on a Background, Honest Beauty Mist Sprayed
Honest Beauty Facial Mist is infused with watermelon extract. | Honest beauty

Honest Beauty High Hydration Mist

The face mist from this brand owned by Jessica Alba provides a burst of hydration, thanks to watermelon extract and two types of hyaluronic acid (which help attract moisture). It also includes celery seed extract, an antioxidant-rich ingredient that contains vitamins A, C, and K, which can help slow photoaging (i.e. fine lines and dark spots resulting from sun exposure) as well as reduce redness and the appearance of your pores. It also has a lovely botanical scent, courtesy of lavender.

Split Image: Two Bottles of True Botanicals Face Mist Outfit
You can also use True Botanicals Face Mist as a makeup setting spray. | True Botanicals

True Botanicals Nutritive Mist

Described as a “daily multivitamin for your skin,” this facial mist’s main job is hydration. But you can also use it as a makeup setting spray. It contains a wide array of antioxidant-rich ingredients including green and white tea extracts, kombucha, two types of seaweed extracts (remember seaweed is an occlusive ingredient, which means it help retain moisture) and milk thistle oil. It’s so subtly scented with jasmine, neroli, and rose, so even sensitive skin can enjoy it.

Split image: a face mist on a green background and the face mist with other Elf products on a bathroom shelf.
Coconut water and argan oil are two key ingredients in this hydrating facial mist. | Elf

ELF Glow dew mist

For the low price of $ 8, this economical sweetheart ELF Mist hydrates your skin with an infusion of antioxidant-rich coconut water, hyaluronic acid and argan oil, which is rich in antioxidants that help protect the skin from environmental damage, such as polyphenols and vitamin E. It is also rich in fatty acids, which moisturize and nourish. (In particular, it contains oleic and linoleic fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties)

Split Image: Woman spraying her face with Tower 28 Facial Mist and a bottle of facial mist against a blue background.
This face mist was specially designed for people with inflamed skin. | Round 28

Tour 28 SOS Daily Rescue

Formulated for all skin types, but especially inflamed skin, Tower 28’s SOS Daily Rescue is a 3-ingredient daily care spray that helps soothe skin and reduce the appearance of redness.

The product contains hypochlorous acid which has antimicrobial properties to inhibit acne causing bacteria.

Its main ingredient is hypochlorous acid, a natural molecule produced by your white blood cells to fight infections, bacteria, and skin damage. Dobos explains that this skin-safe acid has antimicrobial properties that inhibit acne-causing bacteria. It also contains electrolyzed water and sodium chloride (aka salt), which is commonly used in skin care products for its binding and preservative properties.

This gentle mist has received the seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association, which means it is safe for sensitive skin.

Vertly Face Mist on a pink background with split flowers with a bottle of Vertly Face Mist next to its box.
This CBD facial mist contains a nourishing blend of vitamins and fatty acids for the skin. | Vertly

Vertly CBD Infused Soothing Facial Mist

Formulated for all skin types — dry, mature, sensitive, acne-prone, combination, you name it — Vertly CBD Soothing Face Mist is a 3-in-1 toner, makeup setting spray and a moisturizing mist. One bottle contains 100 mg of full spectrum CBD, which ultimately is more than just a wellness supplement. In skin care, CBD acts as an antioxidant, which helps reduce inflammation. And no, it won’t sink into your skin and get you high. Unlike its fellow cannabinoid THC, CBD is not psychoactive.

This cruelty-free face mist also contains skin-nourishing vitamins A, D, and E, along with essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. And, it gets an extra boost from the health benefits of calendula flowers, which treat redness. It also contains aloe vera (which retains moisture) and rose (which tones, hydrates and imparts a natural floral scent).

two bottles of herbivore face mist, one on a plain white background, the other with flowers.
Herbivore Face Mist contains skin-soothing organic rose hydrosol. | Herbivore

Herbivorous Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist

Cruelty-free, vegan-friendly skincare brand Herbivore’s Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Facial Mist targets dullness and dryness with a gentle cloud of hyaluronic acid, organic rose hydrosol ( aka rose water, a moisturizing and skin-soothing ingredient), coconut water and hibiscus extract, which contains skin-softening malic acid.

You can use it on freshly cleansed skin or over makeup for moisturizing refreshment throughout the day. It is also free from synthetic fragrances, preservatives and dyes – this baby pink color is all natural.

LIVEKINDLY is here to help you navigate the growing market for sustainable products that promote a smoother planet. All of our selections are curated by the editorial team. If you purchase something that we return from our site, LIVEKINDLY may earn a commission.


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